Windows Live Messenger
MSN Messenger rebranded as Windows Live Messenger, was a cross-platform instant messaging client developed by Microsoft. It connected to the Microsoft Messenger service while having compatibility with Yahoo! Messenger and Facebook Messenger; the client was first released as MSN Messenger Service on July 22, 1999, was marketed under the MSN branding until 2005 when it was rebranded under Windows Live and has since been known by its present name, although its previous name was still used colloquially by most of its users. In June 2009, Microsoft reported the service attracted over 330 million active users each month, placing Messenger among the most used instant messaging clients in the world. Versions of MSN/Windows Live Messenger were released for Windows, Xbox 360, Mac OS X, BlackBerry OS, iOS, Java ME, S60 on Symbian OS 9.x, Zune HD, Windows Phone, Windows Mobile and Windows CE. Following the acquisition of Skype Technologies in May 2011, Microsoft added interoperability between Skype and Microsoft accounts, allowing Skype to communicate with Messenger contacts.
In 2013, Windows Live Messenger was discontinued and Microsoft began ceasing service to existing clients. The service in China remained active for another 18 months, ceased operations on October 31, 2014. Before the product was renamed Windows Live Messenger, it was named "MSN Messenger" from 1999 to 2006. During that time, Microsoft released seven major versions; the first version of MSN Messenger Service, version 1.0, was released July 22, 1999. It included only basic features, such as a simplistic contact list; when it was first released, it featured support for access to America Online's AIM network. America Online continually tried to block Microsoft from having access to their service until the feature was removed, it has not re-surfaced in any versions of the software. AOL did this by exploiting a buffer overflow bug in AIM, which causes it to execute a bit of machine code sent by the server; when this code runs, it determines if the client is AIM and sends a message back to verify the client.
Since the software has only allowed connections to its own service, requiring a Windows Live ID account to connect. Microsoft released the first major update, version 2.0, on November 16, 1999. It included a rotating advertising banner and the ability to customize the appearance of the chat window, it came as an install option for Windows Me. This version was followed the next year by version 3.0, released May 29, 2000. It included file transfers and PC-to-PC and PC-to-phone audio capabilities with Net2Phone and Callserve, two of the larger VoIP providers. Along with the release of Windows XP came version 4.6 of MSN Messenger, on October 23, 2001. It included major changes to the user interface, the ability to group contacts, support for voice conversations. In this version, the client software was renamed from "MSN Messenger Service" to just "MSN Messenger," while the underlying service became known as ". NET Messenger Service"; this version was only compatible with Windows 95, 98, ME, NT 4.0, 2000, because Microsoft provided a scaled-down new program for Windows XP, called Windows Messenger.
Version 5.0 of MSN Messenger was released on October 24, 2002. It was the first version, allowed to be installed along with Windows Messenger on Windows XP, it included UPnP based file transfers, minor changes to the user interface artwork, a Windows Media Player interface plug-in. Version 6.0 of MSN Messenger was released July 17, 2003. MSN Messenger 6.0 was a major overhaul of the whole platform, upgrading its simple text-based interface to include customizable elements such as emoticons, personalized avatars, backgrounds. An update, version 6.1, focused on improvements to the conversation window, enabling users to hide the window frame and menu bar, the ability to change the theme color. The theme color could be set differently for each user. Another update, version 6.2, was released April 22, 2004, it was the last version of the MSN Messenger 6 series. The most notable changes were a dedicated Mobile group for mobile contacts, a connection troubleshooter, the Launch Site feature was renamed to Fun & Games.
MSN Messenger received a major upgrade to version 7.0 on April 7, 2005. This version brought wink features that were only available in threedegrees; this version advertised items to sell to you including animated display pictures and backgrounds. The contact list window style was updated to match instant message windows; this version introduced the Xbox Live Integration feature. This version introduced digital ink and handwriting recognition support, it is the last version of MSN Messenger to support Windows 98, Windows Me and Windows 2000. The last version of MSN Messenger before the name change, version 7.5, was released August 23, 2005. New features included the Dynamic Backgrounds feature and the "msnim" protocol handler, which allowed Web sites to provide links which automatically add a contact or start conversations. Additionally, a new Voice Clips feature allowed users to hold down F2 and record a message for a maximum of 15 seconds and send it to the recipient; the window for conversations was changed with an added video button.
This version introduced the Windows Installer for its auto-update feature. As part of Microsoft's Windows Live effort, which rebranded many existing MSN services and programs, MSN Messenger was renamed "Windows Live Messenger" beginning with version 8.0. The first beta of the
In software, a spell checker is a software feature that checks for misspellings in a text. Features are in software, such as a word processor, email client, electronic dictionary, or search engine. A basic spell checker carries out the following processes: It scans the text and extracts the words contained in it, it compares each word with a known list of spelled words. This might contain just a list of words, or it might contain additional information, such as hyphenation points or lexical and grammatical attributes. An additional step is a language-dependent algorithm for handling morphology. For a inflected language like English, the spell-checker will need to consider different forms of the same word, such as plurals, verbal forms and possessives. For many other languages, such as those featuring agglutination and more complex declension and conjugation, this part of the process is more complicated, it is unclear whether morphological analysis—allowing for many different forms of a word depending on its grammatical role—provides a significant benefit for English, though its benefits for synthetic languages such as German, Hungarian or Turkish are clear.
As an adjunct to these components, the program's user interface will allow users to approve or reject replacements and modify the program's operation. An alternative type of spell checker uses statistical information, such as n-grams, to recognize errors instead of correctly-spelled words; this approach requires a lot of effort to obtain sufficient statistical information. Key advantages include needing less runtime storage and the ability to correct errors in words that are not included in a dictionary. In some cases spell checkers use a fixed list of misspellings and suggestions for those misspellings. Clustering algorithms have been used for spell checking combined with phonetic information. In 1961, Les Earnest, who headed the research on this budding technology, saw it necessary to include the first spell checker that accessed a list of 10,000 acceptable words. Ralph Gorin, a graduate student under Earnest at the time, created the first true spelling checker program written as an applications program for general English text: SPELL for the DEC PDP-10 at Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, in February 1971.
Gorin wrote SPELL in assembly language, for faster action. Gorin made SPELL publicly accessible, as was done with most SAIL programs, it soon spread around the world via the new ARPAnet, about ten years before personal computers came into general use. SPELL, its algorithms and data structures inspired the Unix ispell program; the first spell checkers were available on mainframe computers in the late 1970s. A group of six linguists from Georgetown University developed the first spell-check system for the IBM corporation. Henry Kučera invented one for the VAX machines of Digital Equipment Corp in 1981; the first spell checkers for personal computers appeared in 1980, such as "WordCheck" for Commodore systems, released in late 1980 in time for advertisements to go to print in January 1981. Developers such as Maria Mariani and Random House rushed OEM packages or end-user products into the expanding software market for the PC but for Apple Macintosh, VAX, Unix. On the PCs, these spell checkers were standalone programs, many of which could be run in TSR mode from within word-processing packages on PCs with sufficient memory.
However, the market for standalone packages was short-lived, as by the mid-1980s developers of popular word-processing packages like WordStar and WordPerfect had incorporated spell checkers in their packages licensed from the above companies, who expanded support from just English to European and even Asian languages. However, this required increasing sophistication in the morphology routines of the software with regard to heavily-agglutinative languages like Hungarian and Finnish. Although the size of the word-processing market in a country like Iceland might not have justified the investment of implementing a spell checker, companies like WordPerfect nonetheless strove to localize their software for as many national markets as possible as part of their global marketing strategy. Firefox 2.0, a web browser, has spell check support for user-written content, such as when editing Wikitext, writing on many webmail sites and social networking websites. The web browsers Google Chrome and Opera, the email client Kmail and the instant messaging client Pidgin offer spell checking support, transparently using GNU Aspell and Hunspell as their engine.
Mac OS X now has spell check system-wide, extending the service to all bundled and third party applications. Some spell checkers have separate support for medical dictionaries to help prevent medical errors; the first spell checkers were "verifiers" instead of "correctors." They offered no suggestions for incorrectly spelled words. This was helpful for typos but it was not so helpful for logical or phonetic errors; the challenge the developers faced was the difficulty in offering useful suggestions for misspelled words. This requires applying pattern-matching algorithms, it might seem logical that where spell-checking dictionaries are concerned, "the bigger, the better," so that
Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, licenses and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, related services, its best known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, the Microsoft Office suite, the Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. Its flagship hardware products are the Xbox video game consoles and the Microsoft Surface lineup of touchscreen personal computers; as of 2016, it is the world's largest software maker by revenue, one of the world's most valuable companies. The word "Microsoft" is a portmanteau of "microcomputer" and "software". Microsoft is ranked No. 30 in the 2018 Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue. Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975, to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800, it rose to dominate the personal computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by Microsoft Windows.
The company's 1986 initial public offering, subsequent rise in its share price, created three billionaires and an estimated 12,000 millionaires among Microsoft employees. Since the 1990s, it has diversified from the operating system market and has made a number of corporate acquisitions, their largest being the acquisition of LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in December 2016, followed by their acquisition of Skype Technologies for $8.5 billion in May 2011. As of 2015, Microsoft is market-dominant in the IBM PC-compatible operating system market and the office software suite market, although it has lost the majority of the overall operating system market to Android; the company produces a wide range of other consumer and enterprise software for desktops and servers, including Internet search, the digital services market, mixed reality, cloud computing and software development. Steve Ballmer replaced Gates as CEO in 2000, envisioned a "devices and services" strategy; this began with the acquisition of Danger Inc. in 2008, entering the personal computer production market for the first time in June 2012 with the launch of the Microsoft Surface line of tablet computers.
Since Satya Nadella took over as CEO in 2014, the company has scaled back on hardware and has instead focused on cloud computing, a move that helped the company's shares reach its highest value since December 1999. In 2018, Microsoft surpassed Apple as the most valuable publicly traded company in the world after being dethroned by the tech giant in 2010. Childhood friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen sought to make a business utilizing their shared skills in computer programming. In 1972 they founded their first company, named Traf-O-Data, which sold a rudimentary computer to track and analyze automobile traffic data. While Gates enrolled at Harvard, Allen pursued a degree in computer science at Washington State University, though he dropped out of school to work at Honeywell; the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics featured Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems's Altair 8800 microcomputer, which inspired Allen to suggest that they could program a BASIC interpreter for the device. After a call from Gates claiming to have a working interpreter, MITS requested a demonstration.
Since they didn't yet have one, Allen worked on a simulator for the Altair while Gates developed the interpreter. Although they developed the interpreter on a simulator and not the actual device, it worked flawlessly when they demonstrated the interpreter to MITS in Albuquerque, New Mexico. MITS agreed to distribute it, marketing it as Altair BASIC. Gates and Allen established Microsoft on April 4, 1975, with Gates as the CEO; the original name of "Micro-Soft" was suggested by Allen. In August 1977 the company formed an agreement with ASCII Magazine in Japan, resulting in its first international office, "ASCII Microsoft". Microsoft moved to a new home in Bellevue, Washington in January 1979. Microsoft entered the operating system business in 1980 with its own version of Unix, called Xenix. However, it was MS-DOS. After negotiations with Digital Research failed, IBM awarded a contract to Microsoft in November 1980 to provide a version of the CP/M OS, set to be used in the upcoming IBM Personal Computer.
For this deal, Microsoft purchased a CP/M clone called 86-DOS from Seattle Computer Products, which it branded as MS-DOS, though IBM rebranded it to PC DOS. Following the release of the IBM PC in August 1981, Microsoft retained ownership of MS-DOS. Since IBM had copyrighted the IBM PC BIOS, other companies had to reverse engineer it in order for non-IBM hardware to run as IBM PC compatibles, but no such restriction applied to the operating systems. Due to various factors, such as MS-DOS's available software selection, Microsoft became the leading PC operating systems vendor; the company expanded into new markets with the release of the Microsoft Mouse in 1983, as well as with a publishing division named Microsoft Press. Paul Allen resigned from Microsoft in 1983 after developing Hodgkin's disease. Allen claimed that Gates wanted to dilute his share in the company when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease because he didn't think he was working hard enough. After leaving Microsoft, Allen lost billions of dollars on ill-conceived or mistimed technology investments.
He invested in low-tech sectors, sports teams, commercial real estate. Despite having begun jointly developing a new operating system, OS/2, with IBM in
Windows Media Player
Windows Media Player is a media player and media library application developed by Microsoft, used for playing audio and viewing images on personal computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system, as well as on Pocket PC and Windows Mobile-based devices. Editions of Windows Media Player were released for classic Mac OS, Mac OS X and Solaris but development of these has since been discontinued. In addition to being a media player, Windows Media Player includes the ability to rip music from and copy music to compact discs, burn recordable discs in Audio CD format or as data discs with playlists such as an MP3 CD, synchronize content with a digital audio player or other mobile devices, enable users to purchase or rent music from a number of online music stores. Windows Media Player replaced an earlier application called Media Player, adding features beyond simple video or audio playback. Windows Media Player 11 is available for Windows XP and included in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.
The default file formats are Windows Media Video, Windows Media Audio, Advanced Systems Format, its own XML based playlist format called Windows Playlist. The player is able to utilize a digital rights management service in the form of Windows Media DRM. Windows Media Player 12 is the most recent version of Windows Media Player, it was released on October 22, 2009 along with Windows 7 and has not been made available for previous versions of Windows or has it been updated since for Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. These versions of Windows instead use Groove Music and Microsoft Movies & TV as the default playback applications for most media. Windows RT does not run Windows Media Player; the first version of Windows Media Player appeared in 1991, when Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions was released. Called Media Player, this component was included with "Multimedia PC"-compatible machines but not available for retail sale, it was capable of playing.mmm animation files, could be extended to support other formats.
It used MCI to handle media files. Being a component of Windows, Media Player shows the same version number as that of the version Windows with which it was included. Microsoft continually produced new programs to play media files. In November of the following year, Video for Windows was introduced with the ability to play digital video files in an AVI container format, with codec support for RLE and Video1, support for playing uncompressed files. Indeo 3.2 was added in a release. Video for Windows was first available as a free add-on to Windows 3.1, integrated into Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0. In 1995, Microsoft released ActiveMovie with DirectX Media SDK. ActiveMovie incorporates a new way of dealing with media files, adds support for streaming media. In 1996, ActiveMovie was renamed DirectShow. However, Media Player continued to come with Windows until Windows XP, in which it was renamed Windows Media Player v5.1. In 1999, Windows Media Player's versioning broke away from that of Windows itself.
Windows Media Player 6.4 came as an out-of-band update for Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0 that co-existed with Media Player and became a built-in component of Windows 2000, Windows ME and Windows XP with an mplayer2.exe stub allowing to use this built-in instead of newer versions. Windows Media Player 7.0 and its successors came in the same fashion, replacing each other but leaving Media Player and Windows Media Player 6.4 intact. Windows XP is the only operating system to have three different versions of Windows Media Player side by side. All versions branded. Windows Media Player version 7 was a large revamp, with a new user interface and increased functionality. Windows Vista, dropped older versions of Windows Media Player in favor of v11. Beginning with Windows Vista, Windows Media Player supports the Media Foundation framework besides DirectShow. Windows Media Player 12 was released with Windows 7, it added new features. With Windows 8, the player did not receive an upgrade. On April 16, 2012, Microsoft announced that Windows Media Player would not be included in Windows RT, the line of Windows designed to run on ARM based devices.
Windows Media Player supports playback of audio and pictures, along with fast forward, file markers and variable playback speed. It supports streaming playback with multicast streams and progressive downloads. Items in a playlist can be skipped over temporarily at playback time without removing them from the playlist. Full keyboard-based operation is possible in the player. Windows Media Player supports full media management, via the integrated media library introduced first in version 7, which offers cataloguing and searching of media and viewing media metadata. Media can be arranged according to album, genre, date et al. Windows Media Player 9 Series introduced Quick Access Panel to browse and navigate the entire library through a menu; the Quick Access Panel was added to the mini mode in version 10 but was removed in version 11. WMP 9 Series introduced ratings and Auto Ratings. Windows Media Player 10 introduced support for aggregating pictures, Recorded TV shows, other media into the library.
A Pocket PC known by Microsoft as a'Windows Mobile Classic device', was a kind of personal digital assistant that runs the Windows Mobile operating system. It has some of the abilities of modern desktop PCs; as of 2010, thousands of applications existed for handhelds adhering to the Microsoft Pocket PC specification, many of which were freeware. Some of these devices are mobile phones. Microsoft-compliant Pocket PCs can be used with many add-ons such as GPS receivers, barcode readers, RFID readers, cameras. In 2007, with the advent of Windows Mobile 6, Microsoft dropped the name Pocket PC in favor of a new naming scheme: Windows Mobile Classic: devices without an integrated phone; the Pocket PC was an evolution from prior calculator-sized computers. Keystroke-programmable calculators which could do simple business and scientific applications were available by the 1970s. In 1982, Hewlett Packard's HP-75 incorporated a 1-line text display, an alphanumeric keyboard, HP BASIC language and some basic PDA abilities.
The HP 95LX, HP 100LX and HP 200LX series packed a PC-compatible MS-DOS computer with graphics display and QWERTY keyboard into a palmtop format. The HP OmniGo 100 and 120 used a pen and graphics interface on DOS-based PC/GEOS, but was not sold in the United States; the HP 300LX built a palmtop computer on the Windows CE operating system, but not until the form factor and features of the Palm platform were adapted that it was named the Pocket PC. Prior to the release of Windows Mobile 2003, third-party software was developed using Microsoft's eMbedded Visual Tools, eMbedded Visual Basic and eMbedded Visual C. eVB programs can be converted easily to NS Basic/CE. Or to Basic4ppc. According to Microsoft, the Pocket PC is "a handheld device that enables users to store and retrieve e-mail, appointments, play multimedia files, exchange text messages with Windows Live Messenger, browse the Web, more." From a technical standpoint, "Pocket PC" is a Microsoft specification that sets various hardware and software requirements for mobile devices bearing the "Pocket PC" label.
For instance, any device, to be classified as a Pocket PC must: Run Microsoft's Windows Mobile, Pocket PC edition Come bundled with a specific suite of applications in ROMNote: the name Windows Mobile includes both the Windows CE operating system and a suite of basic applications along with a specified user interfaceInclude a touchscreen Include a directional pad or touchpad Include a set of hardware application buttons Be based on an ARM version 4 compatible CPU, Intel XScale CPU, MIPS CPU or SH3 CPU. The Pocket PC/Windows Mobile OS was superseded by Windows Phone on February 15, 2010 when the latter was announced at Mobile World Congress that year. No existing hardware was supported for a Windows Phone 7 upgrade. Additionally, not a single one of the thousands of apps available for Windows Mobile would run unaltered on Windows Phone; the first Windows Mobile 6.5 device was first shown on September 2009. Leaked ROMs surfaced in July 2009 for specific devices; the generic ROM images for Mobile 6.5 are available as part of the distributed and downloadable development kit.
Several phones running Windows Mobile 6.1 can be updated to Windows Mobile 6.5. Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.1 was announced on April 1, 2008 and introduced instant messaging-like texting. Windows Mobile 6.1 was built upon Windows CE 5. Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6, internally code-named'Crossbow', was released by Microsoft on February 12, 2007. Mobile 6 was still based on Windows CE 5 and was just a face-lift of Windows Mobile 5. With Mobile 6 came Microsoft's new naming conventions and devices were no longer called Pocket PCs: devices with no phone abilities were named Windows Mobile Classic, devices with phone abilities were named Windows Mobile Professional. Windows Mobile 5 for Pocket PC was based on Windows CE 5 and contained many fixes and improvements over Windows Mobile 2003. Pocket PCs running prior versions of the operating system stored user-installed applications and data in RAM, which meant that if the battery was depleted the device would lose all of its data. Windows Mobile 5.0 solved this problem by storing all user data in persistent memory, leaving the RAM to be used only for running applications, as it would be on a desktop computer.
As a result, Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PCs had more flash memory, less RAM, compared to earlier devices. Windows Mobile 2003 consisted of the Windows CE. NET 4.2 operating system bundled with scaled-down versions of many popular desktop applications, including Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer, Excel, Windows Media Player, others. Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition added native landscape, square screen and VGA support as well as other fixes and changes to those features present in the original release of Windows Mobile 2003. Pocket PC 2000 was launched April 2000, ran Windows CE 3.0. Pocket PC 2000 featured a mobile version of Microsoft Office, a chief feature being the ability to password-protect Excel files. Pocket PC 2002 was launched October 2001, was powered by Windows CE 3.0, as with its predecessor. Some Pocket PC 2002 devices were sold as "Phone Editions", which included cell phone functionality in addition to the PDA abilities. Before the Pocket PC brand was launched, there were other Windows-based machines of the same form factor made by HP, others called Palm-size
Windows XP is a personal computer operating system produced by Microsoft as part of the Windows NT family of operating systems. It was released to manufacturing on August 24, 2001, broadly released for retail sale on October 25, 2001. Development of Windows XP began in the late 1990s as "Neptune", an operating system built on the Windows NT kernel, intended for mainstream consumer use. An updated version of Windows 2000 was originally planned for the business market; as such, Windows XP was the first consumer edition of Windows not to be based on MS-DOS. Upon its release, Windows XP received positive reviews, with critics noting increased performance and stability, a more intuitive user interface, improved hardware support, expanded multimedia capabilities. However, some industry reviewers were concerned by the new licensing model and product activation system. Extended support for Windows XP ended on April 8, 2014, after which the operating system ceased receiving further support or security updates to most users.
As of March 2019, 1.75% of Windows PCs run Windows XP, the OS is still most popular in some countries with up to 38% of the Windows share. In the late 1990s, initial development of what would become Windows XP was focused on two individual products. However, the projects proved to be too ambitious. In January 2000, shortly prior to the official release of Windows 2000, technology writer Paul Thurrott reported that Microsoft had shelved both Neptune and Odyssey in favor of a new product codenamed "Whistler", after Whistler, British Columbia, as many Microsoft employees skied at the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort; the goal of Whistler was to unify both the consumer and business-oriented Windows lines under a single, Windows NT platform: Thurrott stated that Neptune had become "a black hole when all the features that were cut from were re-tagged as Neptune features. And since Neptune and Odyssey would be based on the same code-base anyway, it made sense to combine them into a single project". At PDC on July 13, 2000, Microsoft announced that Whistler would be released during the second half of 2001, unveiled the first preview build, 2250.
The build notably introduced an early version of Windows XP's visual styles system. Microsoft released the first beta build of Whistler, build 2296, on October 31, 2000. Subsequent builds introduced features that users of the release version of Windows XP would recognise, such as Internet Explorer 6.0, the Microsoft Product Activation system and the Bliss desktop background. On February 5, 2001, Microsoft announced that Whistler would be known as Windows XP, where XP stands for "eXPerience". In June 2001, Microsoft indicated that it was planning to, in conjunction with Intel and other PC makers, spend at least 1 billion US dollars on marketing and promoting Windows XP; the theme of the campaign, "Yes You Can", was designed to emphasize the platform's overall capabilities. Microsoft had planned to use the slogan "Prepare to Fly", but it was replaced due to sensitivity issues in the wake of the September 11 attacks. On August 24, 2001, Windows XP build. During a ceremonial media event at Microsoft Redmond Campus, copies of the RTM build were given to representatives of several major PC manufacturers in briefcases, who flew off on decorated helicopters.
While PC manufacturers would be able to release devices running XP beginning on September 24, 2001, XP was expected to reach general, retail availability on October 25, 2001. On the same day, Microsoft announced the final retail pricing of XP's two main editions, "Home" and "Professional". While retaining some similarities to previous versions, Windows XP's interface was overhauled with a new visual appearance, with an increased use of alpha compositing effects, drop shadows, "visual styles", which changed the appearance of the operating system; the number of effects enabled are determined by the operating system based on the computer's processing power, can be enabled or disabled on a case-by-case basis. XP added ClearType, a new subpixel rendering system designed to improve the appearance of fonts on liquid-crystal displays. A new set of system icons was introduced; the default wallpaper, Bliss, is a photo of a landscape in the Napa Valley outside Napa, with rolling green hills and a blue sky with stratocumulus and cirrus clouds.
The Start menu received its first major overhaul in XP, switching to a two-column layout with the ability to list and display used applications opened documents, the traditional cascading "All Programs" menu. The taskbar can now group windows opened by a single application into one taskbar button, with a popup menu listing the individual windows; the notification area hides "inactive" icons by default. A "common tasks" list was added, Windows Explorer's sidebar was updated to use a new task-based design with lists of common actions. Fast user switching allows additional users to log into a Windows XP machine without existing users having to close their programs and loggin