In anticipation of the Windows XP operating system's launch on October 25, Microsoft and a number of PC makers on Wednesday announced a program to designate PCs as "Windows XP Ready." PC vendors involved in the program include Compaq, Dell and Hewlett-Packard.
In order to meet the minimum Windows XP Ready requirements, a PC must have Microsoft's Windows 2000 Professional or Windows Millennium Edition operating systems preinstalled and 128MB of memory, a Microsoft spokeswoman said. The spokeswoman asked not to be named in accordance with Microsoft policy.
According to early reports from beta testers and some PC manufacturers, PCs need 256MB of memory for optimum Windows XP performance. In addition, PCs need at least a Windows 2000-level system, which is a 300MHz Intel Pentium III system with 128MB of memory.
"Let me just stress that these are the minimum requirements which have been determined after exhaustive beta testing," the spokeswoman said. "At this point in the beta testing process, we have not released requirements for the speed of the PC, be it 233MHz, 300MHz or 600MHz. And if other beta testers discover conditions which they believe necessitates a change in the requirements, they should contact us and we will certainly look into it," she said.
The software giant pointed out that some of the PCs may need additional drivers to meet the minimum hardware requirements for running the Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home Edition operating systems. The drivers can be obtained from the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) once Windows XP is officially released, the Microsoft spokeswoman said.
Compaq's Windows XP Ready PCs will be available beginning in "late June," and the company is also launching an upgrade program for all Windows XP Ready PCs purchased in the next six months, Compaq said in a separate statement.
All of Compaq's consumer PCs and existing business PCs will be made Windows XP ready with the exception of the Presario 800 notebook line of consumer PCs and select Deskpro EX or EXS and iPaq models in the business PC line, Compaq said.
PC makers Gateway, EMachines, Lan Plus (makers of the Integra Series of PCs), MicronPC, Premio Computer and Systemax are also part of the Windows XP Ready program, Microsoft said.
"The program is mainly a marketing effort. The program is to allay any fears buyers may have when buying a new PC that it wouldn't be able to run Windows XP," the Microsoft spokeswoman said.