Microsoft XP Embedded (XPe) is a slimmed-down version of Microsoft Windows XP Professional. XPe is used on a range of electronics, from arcade games and slot machines to trains and navigation equipment. The operating system is distributed under a licensing agreement that bars it from use on most fully functional PCs. However, there have been several exceptions to this restriction. Many of the disadvantages inherent to the Windows operating system are present within XPe.
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Although the system requirements of XPe are not high (128 MB ram, 20GB hard-disk space, 500MHz processor), Microsoft recommends twice these numbers to run the system. In practice, the system is clumsy and prone to crashing with anything less than a Pentium-class processor. These requirements are high for a system that is not intended for a fully functioning personal computer.
Microsoft Support Is Split
Microsoft is currently supporting Windows XP, Vista and 7. Because of the frustration that many users have found with the later versions of Windows, Microsoft is unable to drop its support for Windows XP. However, even Windows XP is split into several editions (Home, Professional and Embedded), with embedded remaining the least common. Thus support for Windows XP embedded is often gleaned from forums and support topics that are targeted more directly at the Professional and Home editions.
Windows API Is Vulnerable
Unlike Macintosh OS and the various Linux distributions, Windows is highly vulnerable to viruses and malware. The Windows API (Application Program Interface) was developed on a build-and-patch framework. The system relies on antivirus software to catch software that attacks its vulnerabilities while the vulnerabilities are not fixed. Since 2001 Microsoft has continued to release service packs that attempt to plug security holes, but the deeper liabilities of the API remain.
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