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Windows OS Versions and History

1. Windows 1.0

The first Windows version was released in 1985 as an add-on to the MS-DOS operating system. It allowed the user to navigate a virtual desktop, open multiple windows, and display folder contents with a single click. Windows 1.0 also included Windows Paint, Windows Write, a calendar, a clock, a notepad, a file manager, a terminal application, and, last but not least, a game Reversi.

2. Windows 2.0

Because of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel software, the second version of Windows was released in 1987 and became more successful. At the same time, this version of Windows added new features such as overlapping windows, a new way to maximize and minimize the window instead of using ‘zooming’ and ‘iconizing,’ keyboard shortcuts, and VGA graphics support. It also included a control panel feature, which allows you to access multiple device settings and configuration options all in one location.

3. Windows 3.0

Windows 3.0 is regarded as the start of the desktop operating system’s worldwide success. It debuted in 1990, alongside DOS multitasking programs and the first appearance of the now-iconic Solitaire game. It supported 256 colors, making the GUI more vibrant and sophisticated.

4. Windows 3.1

Version 3.1 was released two years later, in 1992, with essential new features such as the ability to scroll icons, support for TrueType fonts, and OLE Compound File support. It was also the first version of Windows to be distributed via CD-ROM at the time. Sparta was the code name for the project when it was in progress. It was the most widely used operating system for graphical user interfaces on personal computers.

5. Windows NT 3.1

In 1993, Microsoft released Windows NT 3.1, a server and business desktop operating system. It was a 32-bit operating system that included a User Manager, an NTFS file system, network management software, and a performance monitor.

6. Windows NT 3.5

Windows NT 3.5, released in 1994, is the second version of the Windows NT operating system. The main goal of this version’s creation was to increase the operating system’s speed, which is why it was called “Daytona” after the Daytona International Speedway. Windows NT 3.5 includes performance enhancements that use less memory and new features such as file names up to 255 characters long, object linking and embedding, and input/output completion port support.

7. Windows NT 3.51

The third version of Windows NT, Windows NT 3.51, was released in 1995. There were two significant enhancements in this edition. It was Microsoft’s first operating system for the PowerPC architecture, and it supports client/server communication with Windows 95.

8. Windows 95

As the name implies, Windows 95 was released in 1995 and is the most well-known Windows version. It was the first 32-bit Windows version, with the start menu, taskbar, and plug-and-play functionality. Another significant feature in Windows 95 was the addition of the Internet Explorer browser.

9. Windows NT 4.0

Microsoft’s first business-oriented operating system, Windows NT 4.0, was released in 1996. It’s a 32-bit operating system with a graphical user interface that’s identical to Windows 95’s.

10. Windows 98

Microsoft released Windows 98 in 1998. Outlook Express, MicrosoftChat, Web Publishing Wizard, new hardware drivers, enhanced USB support and connectivity, and the FAT32 file system, which supports disc partitions larger than 2GB, were all included in this version

11. Windows 2000

Windows 2000 introduced a range of new features, including a revamped Device Manager, Windows Media Player, and DirectX. Not only that, but it also featured a multilingual user interface that enabled users to choose their preferred display language.

12. Windows ME

In the year 2000, Microsoft launched Windows ME (Millennium Edition), dubbed “The Mistake Edition” by users due to a slew of issues with its installation and service. The process of removing and restoring those changes after a program’s installation went wrong.

13. Windows XP

Windows XP was released in two versions in 2001: Home and Professional. This version was a huge hit because it was created with the customer in mind, particularly in design. It had vibrant colors, a green start icon, and themes personalized to the user’s liking. It had CD burning tools, desktop scan, remote desktop, and other essential features. Besides, protection has been enhanced.

14. Windows Vista

In 2007, Microsoft launched Windows Vista, which included several useful features such as Windows Defender, DirectX 10, speed recognition, and Windows DVD Maker. On the other hand, Vista was a flop because of its poor efficiency, high resource consumption, and the User Account Control dialogue boxes’ annoyance.

15. Windows 7

Microsoft launched Windows 7 in 2009 to correct the shortcomings in Windows Vista, and it proved to be much more impactful than the previous version. This version offers significantly improved overall efficiency and the ability to recognize handwriting and preview minimized application windows. Internet Explorer 9 and Windows Media Player 12 were both installed with Windows 7.

16. Windows 8

In 2012, Microsoft launched Windows 8, which looked distinct from the previous versions. This version authorized customers to access their Microsoft accounts, including USB 3.0 support, Xbox Live integration, and a lock screen similar to smartphones.

17. Windows 8.1

Version 8.1 was released as a free update to troubleshoot Windows 8 a year later. As a result, the new version included a start button on the taskbar, improved consistency, and improved SkyDrive integration.

18. Windows 10

Microsoft released Windows 10 in 2015 with several new features, including Cortana, a personal digital assistant, the Microsoft Edge web browser, which replaced Internet Explorer, the flexibility to shift between tablet and desktop mode, and several other improvements and shortcuts that offer users a far more intricate yet easy experience.

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