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A long, long time ago, Microsoft brought us an operating system called "DOS," which stood for Disk Operating System. That was in the early 1980's. Over the years, they've upgraded and improved their interface, but systems as recent as Windows ME have continued to rely on DOS for at least some of its functionality. At one point, Microsoft, understanding the limitations of DOS, created a whole new OS called Windows NT, which is much more stable, although its primary market was the corporate marketplace. What's important to know about Windows XP is that it is the first consumer OS Microsoft has released that's based on the Windows NT kernel, making it much more stable and much more reliable.