Founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Microsoft has become a computer software giant over the years. Microsoft got rave response from the market in its early years, ever since the products and services have started to replace the extensive human labor.
This article provides an overview of all Windows OS versions from Windows 1.0 to Windows 10.
Release date: November 20, 1985.
Windows 1.0 was the first GUI-based operating system ever released by Microsoft. Built on top of MS-DOS, it could only tile its windows without overlapping.
Release date: November 1987.
Without drawing too much attention, this version of the Windows OS allowed users to overlap windows among other things.
Release date: May 22, 1990.
It was the first version of Windows OS that got public’s attention. Also, it was the first version to include the popular game “Solitaire”.
Release date: March 18, 1992.
Quite similar features of its predecessor.
Windows NT 3.1
Release date: July 27, 1993
Windows NT 3.1 was the first version of the NT (new technology) OS family. It was a stand-alone OS, not MS-DOS based such as all previous versions.
Windows for Workgroups 3.11
Release date: August 11, 1993.
Windows NT 3.5
Release date: September 21, 1994.
Release date: August 24, 1995.
The Windows 95’s interface was redesigned and different from its predecessors. Microsoft introduced new Taskbar, the Start Menu, and Windows Explorer the way we know it today.
Windows NT 4.0
Release date: July 29, 1996.
Windows NT 4.0 was the NT version of Windows 95 with the all-new elements from Windows 95: the Taskbar, the Start Menu, etc.
Windows 98 & 98 SE
Release dates: June 25, 1998 and May 29, 1999.
Windows 98 was based on 95’s kernel, but it came with different graphic improvements and functionality. In May 1999, an improved version of Windows 98 was released, the Windows 98 SE (second edition) which fixed many issues with Windows 98, had improved USB support, and included newer versions of Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player.
Release date: February 17, 2000.
Based on NT kernel, Windows 2000 incorporated many of the new features from Windows 98 and 98 SE into the NT line of Windows. It also included plug-and-play capabilities fro devices. There were several Windows 2000 editions for servers and one for regular computers.
Release date: September 24, 2000.
Was a hated version of Windows (even by Microsoft). Could have been called Windows 98 third edition since it didn’t have many improvements.
Release date: October 25, 2001.
A major release of the OS, similar to Windows 95. Windows XP came with a completely new screen and interface but preserved many of the features of Windows 2000. It was based on NT technology. It came in several editions: Home, Professional, Media Center, and Tablet PC Edition.
Windows Server 2003
Release date: April 24, 2003.
It was meant to be the server edition of Windows XP.
Release date: January 30, 2007.
Five years after the release of Windows XP, Windows Vista was released. It featured a sidebar and great looking transparent windows, but it required a pretty fast computer with plenty of RAM and CPU available. Unfortunately, Vista got a bad reputation for not working well with programs and devices that had worked with Windows XP. This was soon fixed.
Windows Server 2008
Release date: February 27, 2008.
The server version of Windows Vista.
Release date: October 22, 2009.
Upon sayings of many computer professionals and general users, it was the best Windows OS ever. Way faster than Vista, it had many new features. Windows 7’s most notable feature was the redesigned taskbar. Other features included a windows “snap” option to easily maximize windows and put two side-by-side, better multitouch support; libraries for documents, pictures, videos, etc; and Homegroup which allowed for easy sharing of files and printers between computers on a home network.
Windows 8 and 8.1
Release date: October 26, 2012.
With Windows 8, just about everything previously familiar to Windows users has changed. Microsoft intended Windows 8 (and newer versions) to work not just on regular PCs but also on tablets. This is something they have been trying to do ever since Windows XP. Microsoft even made a tablet of their own and called it Surface.
Windows 8 interface was redesigned from ground-up. The familiar Start Menu was converted into a full-screen menu called the “Metro” interface. The way users do they regular tasks has changed completely.
With Windows 8.1, the Start Menu was reintroduced due to Metro negative feedback among professionals and general users.
All these changes will result in a steep learning curve for longtime Windows users, but it seems Microsoft has finally made a real tablet operating system that people will buy, and it may give iPad a run for its money.
For more tutorials on how to do different tasks in Windows 8, check this page at LeraBlog.