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History of Microsoft Windows

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Those days when computers were invented, their usage is possible only for some computer geeks or in respectful terms, programmers (but geek cool'na ). But today even a 7-year old can use a work station, this drastic change is due to the development of operating system(O.S). Before getting along with history of windows, we can go through the types of O.S.

Depending upon the number of users and tasks O.S is classified as:

1.Single User-Single Task : At a time, Only one user can do only one task. If user wishes to perform the next task, he has to close the current task.

Example: D.O.S

2.Single User-Multi Task : At a time, one user can perform multiple task without affecting each other.

Example: Windows

3.Multi User-Multi Task : At a time, two or more user can simultaneously perform multiple task on their own system.

Example: Unix, Linux, Windows Server.

From the past 40 years, the development of new technologies have brought many companies in Opertaing System design market. Yet only few managed stand firmly in the ever growing O.S production field. Some of them include Microsoft Windows, Apple Inc.. Mac O.S, Ubuntu, Unix and Linux. In these, Microsoft windows still remains uncrowned king of O.S Design.

Bill Gates and Paul Allen

Bill Gates and Paul Allen

When Bill Gates and Paul allen stared Microsoft in 1975, their aim was to have a computer on every desktop and every home, all running windows O.S . It seems now, they reached their aim mostly. According to wikipedia "As of October 2009, Windows had approximately 91% of the market share of the client operating systems for usage on the Internet.

Now let us see the development of different version Windows, starting with M.S DOS.

MS DOS logo

MS DOS logo


MS‑DOS stands for Microsoft Disk Operating System. It’s is created with collaboration of IBM and introduces a whole new language to the general public. Typing “C:” and various cryptic commands gradually becomes part of daily work. People discover the backslash (\) key. It act as a interface between computer hardware and software. As we seen earlier, it is a Single User-Single Task type O.S. Even to perform basic operation we need to know some Crap loads of command words. MS‑DOS is effective, but also proves difficult to understand for many people. here has to be a better way to build an operating system.

Windows 1.01 Boot up Screen

Windows 1.01 Boot up Screen

Windows 1.0

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Bill Gates says, “It is unique software designed for the serious PC user…”

Microsoft Windows 1.0 is introduced in November 20, 1985. In Windows 1.0 rather than typing MS‑DOS commands, you just move a mouse to point and click your way through screens, or “windows. You're able to switch among several programs without having to quit and restart each one. Windows 1.0 ships with several programs, including MS‑DOS file management, Paint, Windows Writer, Notepad, Calculator, and a calendar, card file, and clock to help you manage day-to-day activities. There’s even a game—Reversi. Windows 1.0 is initially sold for $100.00.

Windows 2.03 bootup screen

Windows 2.03 bootup screen

Windows 2.X

Windows 2.0

Microsoft Windows 2.0 was released December 9, 1987 . its It featured several improvements to the user interface and memory management. Windows 2.0 allowed application windows to overlap each other and also introduced more sophisticated keyboard-shortcuts.It could also make use of expanded memory. Control Panel makes its first appearance in Windows 2.0. and it is initially sold for $100.00

In 1988, Microsoft becomes the world’s largest PC software company based on sales. Computers are starting to become a part of daily life for some office workers.

Windows 2.1

Windows 2.1 was released in two different versions:

Microsoft Windows/386 or Windows 386 is introduced December 9, 1987 . Windows/386 employed the 386 virtual 8086 mode to multitask several DOS programs, and the paged memory model to emulate expanded memory using available extended memoryand is initially sold for $100.00.

Microsoft Windows/286 or Windows 286 is introduced June, 1988 and is initially sold for $100.00. Windows/286 (which, despite its name, would run on the 8086) still ran in real mode, but could make use of the high memory area.

Windows 3.0 screenshot

Windows 3.0 screenshot

Windows 3X

An advertisement: “Now you can use the incredible power of Windows 3.0 to goof off.”

Windows 3.0

Microsoft Windows 3.0 was released May, 22 1990. Windows now has significantly better performance, advanced graphics with 16 colors, and improved icons. A new wave of 386 PCs helps drive the popularity of Windows 3.0. With full support for the Intel 386 processor, programs run noticeably faster. Program Manager, File Manager, and Print Manager arrive in Windows 3.0. Windows is increasingly used at work and home and now includes games like Solitaire, Hearts, and Minesweeper.

Microsoft Windows 3.0 or Windows 3.0a with multimedia was released October, 1991.

Windows 3.1

Microsoft Windows 3.1 was released April, 1992 and sells more than 1 Million copies within the first two months of its release. It includes a TrueType font system (and a set of highly legible fonts), which effectively made Windows a viable desktop publishing platform for the first time. Windows 3.1 Multimedia PC Version (Beta only, released Nov 1992 ) Included a media viewer, and the ability to play video files. It was targeted to the new multi-media PC and included sound and video integration with CD-ROM support.

Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.1 was released October, 1992.

Windows 3.1J

Microsoft also released Windows 3.1J with support for the Japanese language, which shipped 1.46 million copies in its first year on the market (1993) in Japan

Windows 3.11

Microsoft Windows 3.11, an update to Windows 3.1 is released December 31, 1993. Thus, Windows 3.11 is not a standalone version of Windows, but rather a software update from Windows 3.1, much like modern Windows service packs. For those who did not own Windows 3.1, full disk sets of Windows 3.11 were available at the time.

Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11 was released February, 1994.

Windows 3.2

In 1994, Microsoft released a Simplified Chinese version of Windows for the Chinese market. Windows 3.2 is the Chinese version of Windows 3.11.


Windows NT

"Windows NT represents nothing less than a fundamental change in the way that companies can address their business computing requirements," Bill Gates says at its release.

Windows NT 3.1 is a 32-bit operating system, which makes it a strategic business platform that supports high-end engineering and scientific programs. The NT family of Windows systems was fashioned and marketed for higher reliability business use. The first release was NT 3.1 (1993), numbered "3.1" to match the consumer Windows version, which was followed by NT 3.5 (1994), NT 3.51 (1995), NT 4.0 (1996).

However it was really useful for only engineers and corporate companies. It doesn't get a warm welcome from normal users.



Windows 95

It’s the most publicized launch Microsoft has ever taken on. Television commercials feature the Rolling Stones singing "Start Me Up " over images of the new Start button. The press release simply begins: “It’s here.”

Microsoft Windows 95 was released August 24, 1995 and sells more than 1 Million copies within 4 days. It is the starting for Internet explorer, start button , task bar, maximize, minimize and close button features. This is the era of fax/modems, e‑mail, the new online world, and dazzling multimedia games and educational software. Windows 95 has built-in Internet support, dial-up networking, and new Plug and Play capabilities that make it easy to install hardware and software. The 32-bit operating system also offers enhanced multimedia capabilities, more powerful features for mobile computing, and integrated networking.

Microsoft Windows 95 Service Pack 1 (4.00.950A) is released February 14, 1996.

Microsoft Windows 95 (4.00.950B) aka OSR2 with FAT32 and MMX support is released August 24, 1996.


Windows 98

Microsoft Windows 98 was released June, 1998.

With Windows 98, you can find information more easily on your PC as well as the Internet. Compared to windows 95 it is slightly improved with FAT32 features. Other improvements include the ability to open and close programs more quickly, and support for reading DVD discs and universal serial bus (USB) devices. Another first appearance is the Quick Launch bar, which lets you run programs without having to browse the Start menu or look for them on the desktop. Microsoft released a second version of Windows 98 in May 1999, named Windows 98 Second Edition (often shortened to Windows 98 SE).

Windows CE/Mobile

Windows CE/Mobile

Windows CE

Microsoft Windows CE 1.0 was released November 1996, CE 2.0(November, 1997), CE 2.1(July, 1998), CE 3.0(1999).

Windows CE (officially known as Windows Embedded Compact), is an edition of Windows that runs on minimalistic computers, like satellite navigation systems and some mobile phones. Windows CE is the core from which Windows Mobile is derived.

On January 4th at CES Bill Gates announces the new version of Windows CE will be called Pocket PC.

Microsoft's latest mobile OS, Windows Phone 7, is based on components from both Windows CE 6.0 R3 and the upcoming Windows CE 7.0.

Windows 2000

Windows 2000

Windows 2000

In October of 1998 Microsoft announced that future releases of Windows NT would no longer have the initials of NT and that the next edition would be Windows 2000.

Microsoft Windows 2000 was released February 17, 2000.More than just the upgrade to Windows NT Workstation 4.0, Windows 2000 Professional is designed to replace Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT Workstation 4.0 on all business desktops and laptops. Built on top of the proven Windows NT Workstation 4.0 code base, Windows 2000 adds major improvements in reliability, ease of use, Internet compatibility, and support for mobile computing.

Among other improvements, Windows 2000 Professional simplifies hardware installation by adding support for a wide variety of new Plug and Play hardware, including advanced networking and wireless products, USB devices, IEEE 1394 devices, and infrared devices.

Moreover, it is a failure due to the lack of security and reliability.

Windows Millineum

Windows Millineum

Windows ME

Microsoft Windows ME (Millennium) released June 19, 2000. Windows ME updated the core from Windows 98, but adopted some aspects of Windows 2000 and removed the "boot in DOS mode" option. It also added a new feature called System Restore, allowing the user to set the computer's settings back to an earlier date. Windows Movie Maker provides users with the tools to digitally edit, save, and share home videos. And with Microsoft Windows Media Player 7 technologies, you can find, organize, and play digital media.


Windows XP

Microsoft Windows XP is released October 25, 2001. For Microsoft, Windows XP becomes one of its best-selling products in the coming years. It’s both fast and stable. Navigating the Start menu, taskbar, and Control Panel are more intuitive. Awareness of computer viruses and hackers increases, but fears are to a certain extent calmed by the online delivery of security updates. Consumers begin to understand warnings about suspicious attachments and viruses. There’s more emphasis on Help and Support.

Windows XP Home Edition offers a clean, simplified visual design that makes frequently used features more accessible. Designed for home use, Windows XP offers such enhancements as the Network Setup Wizard, Windows Media Player, Windows Movie Maker, and enhanced digital photo capabilities.

Windows XP has several editions during these years:

  • Windows XP 64-bit Edition (2001) is the first Microsoft operating system for 64-bit processors designed for working with large amounts of memory and projects such as movie special effects, 3D animations, engineering, and scientific programs.
  • Windows XP Media Center Edition (2002) is made for home computing and entertainment. You can browse the Internet, watch live television, enjoy digital music and video collections, and watch DVDs.
  • Windows XP Tablet PC Edition (2002) realizes the vision of pen-based computing. Tablet PCs include a digital pen for handwriting recognition and you can use the mouse or keyboard, too.
Windows Vista ultimate

Windows Vista ultimate

Windows Vista

Microsoft announces it's next operating system, codenamed "Longhorn" will be named Windows Vista on July 23, 2005.

Microsoft releases Microsoft Windows Vista to corporations on November 30, 2006 .

Microsoft releases Microsoft Windows Vista and Office 2007 to the general public January 30, 2007.

It contains a number of new features, from a redesigned shell and user interface to significant technical changes, with a particular focus on security features.The redesigned Start button makes its first appearance in Windows Vista. User Account Control helps prevent potentially harmful software from making changes to your computer. In Windows Vista Ultimate, BitLocker Drive Encryption provides better data protection for your computer, as laptop sales and security needs increase. Windows Vista also features enhancements to Windows Media Player as more and more people come to see their PCs as central locations for digital media. Here you can watch television, view and send photographs, and edit videos. It is available in a number of different editions, and has been subject to some criticism.

Windows 7 theme

Windows 7 theme

Windows 7

Microsoft Windows 7 includes many features, such as new ways to work with windows—Snap, Peek, and Shake. Windows Touch makes its debut, enabling you to use your fingers to browse the web, flip through photos, and open files and folders. You can stream music, videos, and photos from your PC to a stereo or TV.

By the fall of 2010, Windows 7 is selling seven copies a second—the fastest-selling operating system in history.

History of Windows in Youtube

A Little about future_A first look at the new "Windows 8" user interface

Check this mates..


Chad Davis on July 22, 2013:

A very interesting hub, thank you. Perhaps you could update this hub now to include Microsoft Windows 8 (Windows 9 will be released at the end of this year according to the most reliable rumor sources).

ArvinD_ (author) from a small planet where life exist called Earth on June 15, 2011:

Gee Myi4u, I wonder how you guys managed each boot up in those days. It just amazing to Compare those day green and black looks with today Nvidia features, technology have improved so much. Thank for your comment @Myi4u.

ArvinD_ (author) from a small planet where life exist called Earth on June 15, 2011:

Surely MS paint was a favorite software for all computer users. I was born only in 1990, so I missed used many windows old versions. I started with Win 95 only, its good to hear from you guys the old stories. Anyway thanks for your appreciation @ C Wanamaker

ArvinD_ (author) from a small planet where life exist called Earth on June 15, 2011:

Thanks for your appreciation @ PlatinumOwl, it helps me a lot. Its interesting to know that you are still using Windows 98.You certainly have some thing about Win98 :)

myi4u from United Kingdom on June 15, 2011:

Nice hub! I still remember the time where my first computer was an Apple Mac and it didn't even have a hard drive. I had to boot up the Mac using a huge 5.25" disk. At that point of time, it just looked amazing even though it's just green and black!

Christopher Wanamaker from Arizona on June 14, 2011:

Very comprehensive. I've been using computers since the DOS days. I remember I had a IBM 286 with extended memory. It would barely run Windows 3.1. Programing in QBasic was fun and so was playing with mspaint and solitaire. Oh the memories.

platinumOwl4 on June 14, 2011:

I find this hub very interesting. I have copies of windows Me, 95,98,98se,2000 and XP. For what I do the majority of the time my original copy of windows 98 is perfect. The new versions are always attempting to find information online or constantly updating. Love your hub it brings back memories of each software I installed and every computer that I built. Keep up the great work.

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