Frequently used programs are automatically displayed in the left column, newly installed programs are highlighted, and the user may opt to "pin" programs to the start menu so that they are always accessible without having to navigate through the Programs folders.The default internet browser and default email program are pinned to the Start menu.
There are significant changes made to Windows Explorer in Windows XP, both visually and functionally.
Microsoft focused especially on making Windows Explorer more discoverable and task-based, as well as adding a number of features to reflect the growing use of a computer as a “digital hub”.
The GDI dynamic library can be shipped with an application and used under older versions of Windows.
The total number of GDI handles per session is also raised in Windows XP from 16384 to 65536 (configurable through the registry).
The user's name and user's account picture are also shown on the Start menu.
The taskbar buttons for running applications and Quick Launch have also been updated for Fitt's law.To help the user access a wider range of common destinations more easily from a single location, the Start menu was expanded to two columns; the left column focuses on the user's installed applications, while the right column provides access to the user's documents, and system links which were previously located on the desktop.Links to the My Documents, My Pictures and other special folders are brought to the fore.Direct X 9 was released in 2003, which also sees major revisions to Direct3D, Direct Sound, Direct Music and Direct Show.support for floating-point texture formats, Multiple Render Targets, and texture lookups in the vertex shader.The task pane is displayed on the left side of the window instead of the traditional folder tree view when the navigation pane is turned off.