Over in the forums, one of the most frequent complaints by people who try to answer questions is around the lack of information about the Oracle product version and the operating system version and edition. This information is usually missing by people who want to learn Oracle by installing it on their home/school/laptop computers.
A general hint for all of you who want to learn by installing Oracle product on your computer ...
It may be a surprise that Microsoft has different versions and different editions of Windows. Each version has different internals. Each edition has different capabilities.
When Oracle programs are written and released, they expect certain internals (DLLs, registry layout, etc.) and certain capabilities (supporting applications, such as security administration)
If you try to install Oracle product on a Windows version that is too old or too new, Oracle may not be able to call the operating system properly. So installing Oracle 8i database 8.1.7 on Windows XP Professional may not work, and installing any Oracle database version lower than 10.2.0.3 on Vista will not work.
(All right, technically Express Edition is at version 10.2.0.1 - but it was modified to work with Vista and a lot of the incompatible features are not included in XE.)
If you try to install Oracle product on a Windows Edition that is too limited, you may encounter problems because of Windows capabilities being missing, turned off, or just being limited. So installing Oracle 9i or 10g Database on Windows XP Home may or may not work (or some aspects may not work) partially because some features require security settings that are not exposed in XP Home. This seems to be especially true of the Vista Home vs Vista Business editions.
Please mention the version & edition of Windows! (And the product, version and edition of Oracle!)