The history of Windows has been written for more than three decades, and that is that this year, the Microsoft operating system will be a whopping 35 years in November. During this time, there have been many versions of the system that Redmond has been developing and offering to all users. Versions with better or worse acceptance among users, which have been incorporating more or less news and improvements and of which we are going to review. These are all the main Windows versions.
Currently, the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system is Windows 10. A version that for many is undoubtedly the best in history, with a modern interface, many configurations and customization options and quite stable. Although that does not mean that there are still many details to improve, it is interesting to see how, over time, the system has been improving and adapting to the needs of users. However, not surprisingly, it has also had some significant fiascos.
Versions and evolution of Windows
Although there was already talk of the existence of the first version of Windows before the introduction of Windows 1.0, the truth is that it was not officially announced until November 20 of the year 1985 this early version of the system. A version that offered limited functionality and that was not a complete operating system, as it was instead a graphical extension of MS-DOS that made you think of leaving behind the use of commands.
Windows 1.0 was supported until December 31, 2001, so despite being a version with hardly any functionality, Redmond’s offered support for just over 16 years.
Meanwhile, just two years later, in November 1987, Windows 2.0 arrived. A version that was quickly updated with v2.03 and that already included windows that could overlap between them for the first time. Not to mention that it already included certain utilities that, we could say we’re going to be the origin of the current office automation tools.
This version of Windows was supported until the same date as the previous version. That is, until December 31, 2001, when Microsoft decided to discontinue Windows 1.0 and 2.0.
On May 22, 1990, the Windows 3.0 operating system was released and launched, which arrived with a graphical interface in which the concepts of windows were already beginning to be appreciated a little more. It was the first version to be commercially successful, selling up to two million copies in just a few months from its launch.
With the update to version 3.1, the system received the famous Minesweeper game that has provided so much entertainment over the years. Also, we must highlight the existence of the file and program manager. A version that the company offered support until December 31, 2001. Same date as the previous two.
August 24, 1995, is an essential date in the life of the Microsoft operating system since it is the day the famous Windows 95 version was released. The first version that offers a much-improved interface and where the bar already appears task and the Start menu, two essential elements that are still part of the Microsoft operating system today. That without forgetting that Windows 95 included Internet Explorer, the web browser that has been accompanying the system for so many years and, therefore, Internet support.
A version intended for the consumer market and with which one went from a cooperative 16-bit multitasking architecture to 32-bit appropriative architecture and also multitasking. The end of standard support for Windows 95 was on December 31, 2000, but it had extended support that lasted one more year, that is, until December 31, 2001.
Although before the arrival of Windows 98, we must mention along the way the version of Windows NT focused primarily on a business client. However, on June 25, 1998, Microsoft released the new version of its operating system. Like the previous one, it acquired the last two figures of the year of its launch as a name, and it was a version that came with the FAT32 file system, and that tried to boost access to the network. Also, it included the entrance of DVDs and the incorporation of the USB port.
However, greater complexity in the system caused the performance of the system to be significantly penalised, making it one of the most criticized versions of Windows for its slowness and unreliability compared to Windows 95, which in this sense had set the bar very high. Still, Windows 98 was a version that had standard support until June 30, 2002, and extended support that ended on July 11, 2006.
On March 29, 1999, the Windows NT 5.0 EUR Edition operating system was launched, which was nothing other than the German version of Windows NET 5.0 and would later be called Windows 2000. A version of the system that Microsoft developed as part of its professional line and from which part of its source code was leaked on the Internet. This made the company decide to use its core to develop the new version of the system.
In addition to continuing the NET path, focusing on business, Windows 2000 included new options for more excellent file protection and even had its home version, Windows 2000 Millennium Edition (ME), which included new tools and multimedia options. Standard support for this release ended on June 30, 2005, while extended support ended on July 13, 2010.
Another significant leap in the development and evolution of Microsoft’s operating system occurred on October 25, 2001, when Windows XP was launched. The first version of the 21st century and that was a great success as it was a high-quality product. A version that was built from the Windows NT kernel and that came in two different editions, Home and Professional.
In the visual aspect, it is necessary to highlight significant improvements in the user interface, with new icons, menus and options that allowed users to go deeper and control all kinds of tasks on the system. But not only stayed in offering visible improvements but also came with a significant increase in speed and agility.
Windows XP incorporated functions such as encryption of system files, support for WiFi networks, remote assistance and its 64-bit version, which caused an explosion in the market for operating systems. This version had standard support from Microsoft until April 14, 2009, while extended support lasted until April 8, 2014.
It took up to 6 years for the arrival of the new version of the system, Windows Vista. A version that Microsoft released worldwide on January 30, 2007 and that came with countless new features and functions, a redesigned Shell and an interface with significant changes and focused on improving user security. That, however, was not liked by the vast majority of users.
With Windows Vista, we were able to see the Aero UI interface, which undoubtedly offered great visual appeal, but turned out to be too problematic on less powerful computers. A host of circumstances that made it become one of the fiascos in the history of the operating system despite the high expectations of the company.
But the continuous problems, the slowness and overloads, overshadowed all the graphic novelties. This version received standard support from the company until April 10, 2012, while extended support was extended until April 11, 2017.
On October 22, 2009, Microsoft announced the release of Windows 7 as a solution to the Windows Vista fiasco and that it turned out to be one of the essential versions of the Microsoft operating system. Something that has been portrayed in the history of the operating system, since it has been labelled as one of the most stable versions.
It added multi-touch support, a redesigned Windows Shell, a new taskbar, a network system, improvements in performance and speed, and a reduction in the consumption of resources. Also, it introduced the unique design of the taskbar, making it more full, and a system with larger icons. Standard Windows 7 support lasted until January 13, 2015, while extended support came until January 14, 2020.
Almost three years later, on October 26, 2012, Windows 8 was released. A version that added support for ARM microprocessors and whose interface had been modified to make it more suitable for use with touchscreens, showing new flat effects for windows and buttons with pure colour.
This also involved the removal of the classic Windows Start menu by Tiles, something that was not to the liking of the vast majority of users. For the first time since Windows 95, the operating system dispensed with one of the essential elements such as the Windows Start button.
The low acceptance of the Metro interface by users caused Microsoft to launch Windows 8.1 to try to respond to users who missed some traditional elements of the system and recovered some of the features. Standard and extended support for Windows 8 ended on January 12, 2016, while for Windows 8.1, standard support lasted until January 9, 2018, and extended support is still in effect until January 10, 2023.
It was on July 29, 2015, when Microsoft released the latest and expected version of its operating system, Windows 10. A version that has a great set of applications, a modern interface with high performance, and that is also cross-platform. That is, it allows its use on computers and mobile devices.
But they are not the only novelties since it is also worth noting the use of universal applications, the new Edge browser, the central role of its assistant Cortana, the new System Configuration page, TimeLine or the return of the Start menu that both They longed for the vast majority of users, among many other things. In short, the best version of the system to date and a product that meets the current needs of users.
Being the latest version of the system and the current one, it has standard support in force until January 9, 2024, while extended support lasts until the same day but in the year 2029.