My personal experience was managing roll-outs of new PC's and upgrades of some older ones beginning in November of that year. These were not fun times for the faint of heart because there were many issues going on simultaneously. All the computers were still plain 100 MHz SDRAM which was bad enough because 1 GB was not even an option. It was more like 2 or 3 slots of 128 MB or 256 MB DIMMs for a total of 384 or 512 or 768 total! Windows XP really needed at least 512 MB to run smoothly.
We also had the rather serious problem of using a non 48-bit LBA Windows XP ( sometimes on older machines with a non 48-bit LBA BIOS ) just as harddrives were crossing the various size boundaries. It wasn't until SP1 that things became safe with respect to data storage, so large drives crossing the 128+ GB barrier without risk was solved. Updated BIOS's eliminated the need to fiddle with CHS since Auto-Detect finally worked correctly. This whole thing was a bad memory thankfully left in the rear-view mirror of history.
Probably the worst thing of all was the fact that as usual, Microsoft was releasing an Operating System built and tested on expensive cutting edge hardware that wasn't yet present in the average workplace. Intel had just switched over to Pentium 4, and that very first Willamette generation sucked bad. Not to mention the fact that frequencies were just barely into the 1.3 GHz range on single-core CPUs. The bulk of that limited power was used up managing the screen elements ( themes and effects ) and also on the huge list of services compared to previous releases that we now had to deal with. Most damaging was disk indexing and which soon became the first thing to disable on a system. System Restore didn't help much but was often required in the work environment. The consequences of an under-powered computer using Windows XP could be seen in the lags from pressing the Start Button and waiting for menus to finally popup
In my opinion, things were not at all smooth until late-2004, after SP2 and after Intel had most of their processors well over 2 GHz and some over 3 GHz with their Northwoods and Prescotts. Let's not forget to mention AMD's Athlon XP which in itself was an extraordinary CPU that fit perfectly underneath this operating system. By this time we were well into the DDR era and DDR-2 was becoming available and running with 1 or even 2 GB of DDR RAM was simple and effective. This is really when computers running Windows XP began to shine. And shine they did from this point forward. As the dual-core and quad-core era approached Windows XP got a second and third wind, becoming as fast on that hardware as Win98se is on the earlier generation.
Of course Microsoft was already plotting to destroy this satisfying era and were already in the process of continuing their tradition of building an OS designed for hardware for ~3 years into the future with Longhorn/Vista set for release "at any moment" but actually two more years away. But that's off-topic for this day. Happy Birthday!
At least one reputable site remembered ...
Windows XP turns 11, still not dead yet ( PC World 2012-10-25 )
EDIT: typo, clarity, updated image URLs, and again
This post has been edited by CharlotteTheHarlot: 06 May 2013 - 08:06 AM