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Many components that XP has are either unclear or superfluous or both. There is a sort of mystery behind many of the things that XP runs. For example, XP's firewall usually prompts users whether they want to block or unblock an application. Often times, the applications it prompts for are not very well known to the user. The person who encounters this prompt might accidentally block a component of Windows that needed network access for something he or she wanted to do.
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XP's Indexing Service
If you thought you have seen it all, you should see Windows XP's indexing service. The service is very slow and indexes your hard drive's entire contents for search. Although this is expected of almost any indexer, it is problematic when the indexing service is a part of the Windows operating system. Fortunately, this can be disabled, and you will no longer have to deal with a mess. However, the inconvenience of it still stands. For the average computer user, the indexing service is more of a nuisance than a friendly program. It is not so much of a resource hog as it is a drive hog. If the computer's hard drive is busy, other programs that use it to load components into virtual memory will run very slowly. This is what makes the service utterly annoying.
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Hibernation Doesn't Always Work Fine
Hibernation can be a wonderful addition to systems, especially notebooks, when it works. However, there are some cases when it is very dangerous. To give the average Joe a good idea of what hibernation does, it basically writes all the current system contents (what it has in RAM among other things) onto the hard drive. That way, instead of booting normally, which takes a long time, the system reads the information from the hard drive and places it where necessary. However wonderful the theory may sound, it does not always work in practice. The reason for this is because of hardware constraints. Certain hardware cannot reproduce the state it was in before the computer was shut down for hibernation. To eliminate this issue, hardware manufacturers and Windows developers need to team up to solve the impeding problem. For the time being, you will just have to shut your computer down normally if you are having problems with hibernation.
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Windows Product Activation
XP's Windows Product Activation can potentially invade your privacy. It is also rather annoying and gut-wrenching. Users who want an easy-to-use operating system might have looked too far into the sky when looking at XP, considering the fact it has a lot of kinks that do not quite make life easier. This raises a few other questions. Could there be other ways in which Windows XP hinders anonymous web surfing? Does Microsoft look at everything we do? These questions may remain unanswered for a very long time, especially since Windows' source code is very closed to the public.