Microsoft’s Windows operating system was first introduced in 1985. Windows has seen eight major versions since its first release in 1985. Here’s a brief look at the history of Windows:
The origin of window 1 was released in November 1985 and it runs as a graphical, 16-bit multi-tasking shell on top of an existing MS-DOS installation. It provides an environment which can run graphical programs designed for windows, as well as existing MS-DOS software.It was notable because it relied heavily on use of a mouse before the mouse was a common computer input device.
To help users become familiar with this odd input system, Microsoft included a game, Reverse (visible in the screenshot) that relied on mouse control, not the keyboard, to get people used to moving the mouse around and clicking onscreen elements.
The origin of window 3.1 was released on 1992. Windows 3 was the first version to see more widespread success and be considered a challenger to Apple’s Macintosh and the Commodore Amiga graphical user interfaces, coming pre-installed on computers from PC-compatible manufacturers including Zenith Data System
Windows 3 introduced the ability to run MS-DOS programmer in windows, which brought multitasking to legacy programmer, and supported 256 colors bringing a more modern, colorful look to the interface.
Windows 95 arrived in August 1995 and with it brought the first ever Start button and Start menu.It also introduced the concept of “plug and play” – connect a peripheral and the operating system which finds the appropriate drivers for it and makes it work.
Windows 95 also introduced a 32-bit environment, the task bar and focused on multitasking. MS-DOS still played an important role for Windows 95, which required it to run some programmed and elements.
Windows XP was released in October 2001 and brought Microsoft’s enterprise line and consumer line of operating systems.Windows XP was the longest running Microsoft operating system, seeing three major updates and support until 13 years from its original release date. Windows XP was still used on an estimated 430m PCs when it was discontinued.
The Start menu and task bar got a visual overhaul, bringing the familiar green Start button, blue task bar and vista wallpaper, along with various shadow and other visual effects.
Windows Vista was originated at January 2007. Vista updated the look and feel of Windows with more focus on transparent elements, search and security. Its development, under the code-name “Longhorn”, was troubled, with ambitious elements abandoned in order to get it into production.
Vista also included speech recognition, Windows DVD Maker and Photo Gallery, as well as being the first Windows to be distributed on DVD. Later a version of Windows Vista without Windows Media Player was created in response to anti-trust investigations.
It was first released in October 2009. It was intended to fix all the problems and criticism faced by Vista, with slight tweaks to its appearance and a concentration on user-friendly features and less “dialogue box overload”.
It was faster, more stable and easier to use, becoming the operating system most users and business would upgrade to from Windows XP, forgoing Vista entirely.Handwriting recognition debuted in 7, as did the ability to “snap” windows to the tops or sides of the screen, allowing faster more automatic window re sizing.
Windows 8 was faster than previous versions of Windows and included support for the new, much faster USB 3.0 devices. The Windows Store, which offers universal Windows apps that run in a full-screen mode only, was introduced. Programs could still be installed from third-parties like other iterations of Windows, but they could only access the traditional desktop interface of Windows.
Windows 8 introduced in October 2013, Windows 8.1 marked a shift towards yearly software updates from Microsoft and included the first step in Microsoft’s U-turn around its new visual interface.
Windows 8.1 re-introduced the Start button, which brought up the Start screen from the desktop view of Windows 8.1. Users could also choose to boot directly into the desktop of Windows 8.1, which was more suitable for those using a desktop computer with a mouse and keyboard than the touch-focused Start screen.
Announced on 30 September 2014, Windows 10 has only been released as a test version for keen users to try. The “technical preview” is very much still a work in progress.
Windows 10 represents another step in Microsoft’s U-turn, bringing back the Start menu and more balance to traditional desktop computer users.
Some interesting features include the ability to switch between a keyboard and mouse mode and a tablet mode, for those computers like the Surface Pro 3 with a detachable keyboard.