History of Microsoft Windows Operating Systems

  • Windows 1.01 is Released

    Windows 1.01 is Released
    The first independent version of Microsoft Windows, version 1.0, released on 20 November 1985, achieved little popularity. It was originally going to be called "Interface Manager" but Rowland Hanson, the head of marketing at Microsoft, convinced the company that the name Windows would be more appealing to customers. Windows 1.0 was not a complete operating system, but rather an "operating environment" that extended MS-DOS, and shared the latter's inherent flaws and problems.
  • OS/2 A Successor to DOS Launched

    OS/2 A Successor to DOS Launched
    During the mid to late 1980s, Microsoft and IBM had cooperatively been developing OS/2 as a successor to DOS. OS/2 would take full advantage of the aforementioned protected mode of the Intel 80286 processor and up to 16 MB of memory. OS/2 1.0, released in 1987, supported swapping and multitasking and allowed running of DOS executables.A GUI, called the Presentation Manager (PM), was not available with OS/2 until version 1.1, released in 1988.
  • Windows 2.02 is Released.

    Windows 2.02 is Released.
    Microsoft Windows version 2 came out on 9 December 1987, and proved slightly more popular than its predecessor. Much of the popularity for Windows 2.0 came by way of its inclusion as a "run-time version" with Microsoft's new graphical applications, Excel and Word for Windows. They could be run from MS-DOS, executing Windows for the duration of their activity, and closing down Windows upon exit. Microsoft Windows received a major boost around this time when Aldus PageMaker appeared.
  • Windows 3.0 Released

    Windows 3.0 Released
    Microsoft Windows scored a significant success with Windows 3.0, released in May 1990. In addition to improved capabilities given to native applications, Windows also allowed users to better multitask older MS-DOS based software compared to Windows/386, thanks to the introduction of virtual memory. Windows 3.0's user interface was finally a serious competitor to the user interface of the Macintosh computer. PCs had improved graphics by this time, due to VGA video cards.
  • Windows 3.1 Launched

    Windows 3.1 Launched
    Windows 3.1 (originally codenamed Janus, of which two betas were published), released on April 6, 1992, 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. Similar functionality was available for Windows 3.0 through the Adobe Type Manager (ATM) font system from Adobe. Windows 3.1 was designed to have backward compatibility with older Windows platforms.
  • Windows for Workgroups 3.1 Launched

    Windows for Workgroups 3.1 Launched
    Windows for Workgroups is an extension that allowed users to share their resources and to request those of others without a centralized authentication server. It used the SMB protocol over NetBIOS. Windows for Workgroups 3.1 (originally codenamed Winball and later Sparta), released in October 1992, features native networking support. Windows for Workgroups 3.1 is an extended version of Windows 3.1 that comes with SMB file sharing support via the NetBIOS.
  • Windows 3.1 Multimedia PC Version Launched

    Windows 3.1 Multimedia PC Version Launched
    Windows 3.1 Multimedia PC Version (Beta only, released Nov 1992 – codenamed Bombay) included a media viewer, and the ability to play video files. It was targeted to the new multimedia PC and included sound and video integration with CD-ROM support.
  • Video for Windows first Introduced.

    Video for Windows first Introduced.
    Video for Windows was first introduced in November 1992 as a reaction to Apple Computer's QuickTime technology which added digital video to the Macintosh platform. Costing around $200, the software included editing and encoding programs for use with video input boards. A runtime version for viewing videos only was also made available. Originally released as a free add-on to Windows 3.1 and Windows 3.11, it then became an integral component of Windows 95 and later.
  • Special Version Windows 3.1 for Central and Eastern Europe

    Special Version Windows 3.1 for Central and Eastern Europe
    A special version named Windows 3.1 for Central and Eastern Europe was released that allowed the use of Cyrillic and had fonts with diacritical marks characteristic of Central and Eastern European languages. Microsoft introduced its own codepage (Windows-1250) and supported its use in violation of many countries' ISO standards (e.g., the official Polish codepage is ISO-8859-2, which was ignored by Microsoft but is supported by contemporary Internet Explorer versions).
  • Windows NT 3.1 Launched

    Windows NT 3.1 Launched
    Windows NT 3.1 is a 32-bit operating system developed by Microsoft. It constitutes the first operating system of the Windows NT family and was released on July 26, 1993. The version number was chosen to match the one of Windows 3.1 on account of the similar visual appearance of the user interface. The architecture of Windows NT 3.1 was designed from scratch. The central design goals were portability to multiple processor architectures, as well as higher security and stability.
  • Windows 3.11 Launched

    Windows 3.11 Launched
    On August 11, 1993, Microsoft released an update for Windows 3.1 known as Windows 3.11. 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.
  • Modular Windows for Tandy Launched

    Modular Windows for Tandy Launched
    Modular Windows is a special version of Microsoft Windows 3.1, designed to run on the Tandy Video Information System. Microsoft intended Modular Windows to be an embedded operating system for various devices, especially those designed to be connected to televisions. However, the VIS is the only known product that actually used this Windows version. It has been claimed that Microsoft created a new, incompatible version of Modular Windows ("1.1") shortly after the VIS shipped.
  • Windows 3.2 Chinese Launched

    Windows 3.2 Chinese Launched
    On November 22, 1993, Microsoft released a Simplified Chinese version of Windows for the Chinese market. The updated system identified itself as Windows 3.2. Thus, Windows 3.2 is the Chinese version of Windows 3.11. The update was limited to this language version, as it fixed only issues related to the complex writing system of the Chinese language.
  • Windows NT 3.5 Launched

    Windows NT 3.5 Launched
    Windows NT 3.5 is an operating system developed by Microsoft Corporation; it is the second version of the Windows NT family of operating systems. It was released on September 21, 1994. One of the primary goals during Windows NT 3.5's development was to increase the speed of the operating system; as a result, the project was given the codename "Daytona" in reference to the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Windows NT 3.5 is succeeded by Windows NT 3.51.
  • Windows NT 3.51 Launched

    Windows NT 3.51 Launched
    Windows NT 3.51 is the third release of Microsoft's Windows NT line of operating systems. It was released on May 30, 1995, nine months after Windows NT 3.5. The release provided two notable feature improvements; firstly NT 3.51 was the first of a short-lived outing of Microsoft Windows on the PowerPC architecture. The second most significant enhancement offered through the release was that it provides client/server support for interoperating with Windows 95.
  • Windows 95 Launched

    Windows 95 Launched
    Windows 95 is a consumer-oriented graphical user interface-based operating system. It was released on August 24, 1995 by Microsoft, and was a significant progression from the company's previous Windows products. During development, it was referred to as Windows 4.0 or by the internal codename Chicago. Windows 95 integrated Microsoft's formerly separate MS-DOS and Windows products. It featured significant improvements over its predecessor, Windows 3.1, most notably in the GUI.
  • Windows NT 4.0 Launched

    Windows NT 4.0 Launched
    Windows NT 4.0 is a preemptive, graphical and business-oriented operating system designed to work with either uniprocessor or symmetric multi-processor computers. It was part of Microsoft's Windows NT line of operating systems and was released to manufacturing on 31 July 1996. It is a 32-bit Windows system available in both workstation and server editions with a graphical environment similar to that of Windows 95.
  • Windows 98 Launched

    Windows 98 Launched
    Windows 98 (codenamed Memphis) is a graphical operating system by Microsoft. It is the second major release in the Windows 9x line of operating systems. It was released to manufacturing on May 15, 1998 and to retail on June 25, 1998. Windows 98 is the successor to Windows 95. Like its predecessor, it is a hybrid 16-bit/32-bit[2] monolithic product with an MS-DOS based boot stage.[3] Windows 98 was succeeded by Windows 98 Second Edition on May 5, 1999, then by Windows Me (Millennium Edition).
  • Windows 2000 Launched

    Windows 2000 Launched
    Windows 2000 is an operating system produced by Microsoft for use on both client and server computers. Windows 2000 was released to manufacturing on December 15, 1999[3] and launched to retail on February 17, 2000.[4] It is the successor to Windows NT 4.0, and is the last version of Microsoft Windows to display the "Windows NT" designation.[5] It is succeeded by Windows XP (released in October 2001) and Windows Server 2003 (released in April 2003).
  • Windows Millenium Edition (ME) Released

    Windows Millenium Edition (ME) Released
    Windows Millennium Edition, or Windows Me (pronounced as an abbreviation, "M-E"), is a graphical operating system released on September 14, 2000 by Microsoft, and was the last operating system released in the Windows 9x series. Windows Me was the successor to Windows 98 and was targeted specifically at home PC users. It included Internet Explorer 5.5, Windows Media Player 7, and the new Windows Movie Maker software, which provided basic video editing and was designed to be easy to use.
  • Windows XP Launched

    Windows XP Launched
    On 25 August 2001, Microsoft released Windows XP (codenamed "Whistler"). The merging of the Windows NT/2000 and Windows 95/98/Me lines was finally achieved with Windows XP. Windows XP uses the Windows NT 5.1 kernel, marking the entrance of the Windows NT core to the consumer market, to replace the aging 16/32-bit branch. The initial release met with considerable criticism, particularly in the area of security, leading to the release of three major Service Packs.
  • Windows Server 2003 Launched

    Windows Server 2003 Launched
    On 25 April 2003 Microsoft launched Windows Server 2003, a notable update to Windows 2000 Server encompassing many new security features, a new "Manage Your Server" wizard that simplifies configuring a machine for specific roles, and improved performance. It has the version number NT 5.2. A few services not essential for server environments are disabled by default for stability reasons, most noticeable are the "Windows Audio" and "Themes" services;
  • Windows XP x64 and Server 2003 x64 Editions Launched

    Windows XP x64 and Server 2003 x64 Editions Launched
    On 25 April 2005, Microsoft released Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and Windows Server 2003, x64 Editions in Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter SKUs. Windows XP Professional x64 Edition is an edition of Windows XP for x86-64 personal computers. It is designed to use the expanded 64-bit memory address space provided by the x86-64 architecture
  • Windows Server 2003 R2, an update of Windows Server 2003 Launched

    Windows Server 2003 R2, an update of Windows Server 2003 Launched
    Windows Server 2003 R2, an update of Windows Server 2003, was released to manufacturing on 6 December 2005. It is distributed on two CDs, with one CD being the Windows Server 2003 SP1 CD. The other CD adds many optionally installable features for Windows Server 2003. The R2 update was released for all x86 and x64 versions. Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition was not released for Itanium.
  • Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs Launched

    In July 2006, Microsoft released a thin-client version of Windows XP Service Pack 2, called Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs (WinFLP). It is only available to Software Assurance customers. The aim of WinFLP is to give companies a viable upgrade option for older PCs that are running Windows 95, 98, and Me that will be supported with patches and updates for the next several years. Most user applications will typically be run on a remote machine using Terminal Services or Citrix. [edit]
  • Windows Home Server Launched

    Windows Home Server Launched
    Windows Home Server (codenamed Q, Quattro) is a server product based on Windows Server 2003, designed for consumer use. The system was announced on 7 January 2007 by Bill Gates. Windows Home Server can be configured and monitored using a console program that can be installed on a client PC. Such features as Media Sharing, local and remote drive backup and file duplication are all listed as features.
  • Windows Vista Launched

    Windows Vista Launched
    Windows Vista was released on 8 November 2006 to business customers, consumer versions following on 30 January 2007. Windows Vista intended to have enhanced security by introducing a new restricted user mode called User Account Control, replacing the "administrator-by-default" philosophy of Windows XP. One major difference between Vista and earlier versions of Windows, Windows 95 and later, is that the original start button was replaced with just the Windows icon.
  • Windows Server 2008 Launched

    Windows Server 2008 Launched
    Windows Server 2008, released on 27 February 2008, was originally known as Windows Server Codename "Longhorn". Windows Server 2008 builds on the technological and security advances first introduced with Windows Vista, and is significantly more modular than its predecessor, Windows Server 2003.
  • Windows 7 Launched

    Windows 7 Launched
    Windows 7 is the current major release after Windows Vista and was released to manufacturing on 22 July 2009, and reached general retail availability on 22 October 2009. It was previously known by the codenames Blackcomb and Vienna. Windows 7 has the version number NT 6.1. Some features of Windows 7 are faster booting, Device Stage, Windows PowerShell, less obtrusive User Account Control, multi-touch, and improved window management.[20] Features included with Windows Vista and not in Windows 7 i
  • Windows Home Server 2011 Launched

    Windows Home Server 2011 Launched
    Windows Home Server 2011 code named 'Vail' was released on 6 April 2011. Windows Home Server 2011 is built on the Windows Server 2008 R2 code base. It follows the release of Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 which added support for Windows 7 to Windows Home Server. Windows Home Server 2011 is considered a "major release". (its predecessor having been built on Windows Server 2003) and only supports x86-64 hardware.
  • Windows 8 Launched

    Windows 8 Launched
    Windows 8 is the new version of Microsoft Windows. Windows RT, a special version of Windows 8, runs on system-on-a-chip devices with mobile ARM processors. Windows 8 features a redesigned user interface, designed to make it easier for touchscreen users to use Windows. The interface includes a full-screen Start screen to replace the Start menu, and a new full-screen application platform. The desktop interface is also present for running windowed applications.