At this moment one billion people all over the world use Windows 10, the latest version of the Windows operating system. Microsoft Windows is a family of operating systems that are deployed to personal computers, workstations, servers, and mobile phones. The first Windows OS was launched in 1985 by Microsoft and since then it came a long way been the most popular and user-friendly operating system. As a result, windows runs more than 90 percent of all personal computers the remainder running Linux and Mac operating system.

Versions of Windows OS

Windows 1.0

Windows 1.0 was released in November 1985, by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. This is the first operating system that allows multi-tasking with the graphical user interface in 16 bit. Since this is an extension of MS-DOS windows 1.0 shared some difficulties and limitations.

Windows 2.0

In December 1987 Microsoft launched Windows 2.0, which was designed for the Intel 286 processor. One of the modifications was windows 2.0 could overlap each other and introduced the ability to minimize or maximize windows. This version could use up to 16 megabytes of memory.

Windows 3.0

Windows 3 was launched in 1990 and was the first OS supported 256 colours which made a colourful look to the interface offering better icons. Windows 3 consisted of useful applications like Program Manager, File Manager, Print Manager, and games.

Windows 95

So as the name Windows 95 was released in 1995 and it included several important internal improvements. It supports 32-bit applications. For the first time, it introduced the Start button and the concept of ‘plug and play’. Internet explorer also made its debut on Windows 95.

Windows 98

Released in June 1998, Windows 98 was the upgrade from Windows 95. It introduced the back and forward navigation buttons and the address bar in windows explorer. USB support was much improved and supported new technologies like DVD, FAT32, ACPI. AGP, MMX.

Windows 2000

Windows 2000 Professional was built to replace Windows 95, Windows 98 with its high performance, stability, and security. Windows 2000 was distributed in four different editions;

· Windows 2000 professional

· Windows 2000 Server

· Windows 2000 Advanced Server

· Windows 2000 Datacenter Server

Windows ME (Millenium Edition)

Windows ME was the last windows to be based on MS-DOS released in September 2000. It was created for home computer users. It included internet explorer 5.5, windows media player 7 and new windows movie maker program which provided numerous music, video reliability improvements.

Windows XP

Windows XP was released in October 2001 giving the user a reliable and secure environment. It included features for business and advanced home computing. The graphical interface was redesigned with a more modern style.

Windows Vista

Vista is the longest timeline break for Microsoft between two operating systems. However, it got new features including side panel, safer version of internet explorer, user account control feature, start menu and many more. Vista is more responsive than Windows XP on identical hardware.

Windows 7

Windows 7 was released in October 2009 with new features such as multi-touch support, Internet Explorer 8, voice recognition, etc. It was faster, more stable and easier to use. This can be used on desktops, tablet PCs, netbooks and laptops.

Windows 8

In 2012 Microsoft released Windows 8 to the public. The major change in the interface was Start Menu is replaced by the Start Screen while the Windows desktop is placed in the background. Although Windows 8 was faster than previous versions of Windows it was not welcomed by many as wished.

Windows 10

Released in 2014, bringing many new features like redesigned toolbar, built-in security, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft’s new browser. Windows 10 brought back the historic start menu with much renewed compared to the past.

Software Engineering Undergraduate University of Kelaniya