Microsoft Windows is a group of OSs manufactured by Microsoft. Windows is available in 32 and 64-bit versions. Windows OSs constitute client as well as server versions. Similar to other operating systems, Windows makes a computer system user-friendly by providing a graphical display and organizing information so that it can be easily accessed.
Estimates suggest that 90% of personal computers use the Windows operating system. Microsoft introduced the operating system in 1985 and it has continued to be widely used despite competition from Apple’s Macintosh operating system.
Family of Microsoft Windows
Windows has seen nine major versions since its first release in 1985. Here’s a brief look at the history of Windows.
This is where it all started for Windows. The original Windows 1 was released in November 1985 and was Microsoft’s first true attempt at a graphical user interface in 16-bit.
Two years after the release of Windows 1, Microsoft’s Windows 2 replaced it in December 1987. The big innovation for Windows 2 was that windows could overlap each other, and it also introduced the ability to minimize or maximize .
Windows 3 was the first version to see more widespread success and be considered a challenger to Apple’s Macintosh and the Commodore Amiga graphical user interfaces, coming pre-installed on computers from PC-compatible manufacturers including Zenith Data Systems.
As the name implies, Windows 95 arrived in August 1995 and with it brought the first ever Start button and Start menu. Internet Explorer also made its debut on Windows 95.
Released in June 1998, Windows 98 built on Windows 95 and brought with it IE 4, Outlook Express, Windows Address Book, Microsoft Chat and NetShow Player, which was replaced by Windows Media Player 6.2 .
It was the consumer-aimed operating system coupled with Windows 2000 aimed at the enterprise market. It introduced some important concepts to consumers, including more automated system recovery tools.
Microsoft’s automatic updating played an important role in Windows 2000 and became the first Windows to support hibernation.
Windows XP was the longest running Microsoft operating system, seeing three major updates. Its biggest problem was security: though it had a firewall built in, it was turned off by default.
It was faster, more stable and easier to use, becoming the operating system most users and business would upgrade to from Windows XP.
The new tiled interface saw programme icons and live tiles normally associated with “widgets”. Windows 8 was faster than previous versions of Windows and included support for the new, much faster USB 3.0 devices.
Announced on 30 September 2014, Windows 10 has only been released as a test version for keen users to try. The “technical preview” is very much still a work in progress.