Microsoft first began developing Windows in September 1981
under the name Interface Manager. It used a graphical user interface (GUI) from
their own operating system MS-DOS. It used pull-down menus and dialogs, such as
used on the
Xerox Star. In 1985 Microsoft Windows 1.0 was released
to compete with the Apple Lisa, GEM from
Digital Research, DESQ from Quarterdeck, the Amiga
Workbench , GEOS/GeoWorks Ensemble, IBM OS/2, NeXTstep
and DeskMate from Tandy. Windows 1.0 was not very popular and it was
limited because of legal restraints from Apple. eg. no trash can. This and other
restraints were later removed. Windows 1.0 package, included: MS-DOS Executive, Calendar, Cardfile,
Notepad, Terminal, Calculator, Clock, Reversi, Control Panel, PIF (Program
Information File) Editor, Print Spooler, Clipboard, RAMDrive, Windows Write, and
In the autumn of 1987, Windows 2 was released and it was much
more successful than the first Windows. Much of the popularity for Windows 2.0
came because 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, using/executing Windows for the duration of the program, and then
closing down Windows when it was exited. Windows 386 was released later that
year and it allowed multiple programs to be run under MS-DOS. Windows 2.0 was
then renamed Windows 286 to create consistency.
Released in 1990 Windows 3.0 was
the first really popular version of Windows and it provided a complete redesign
of the Windows environment. It sold over 10 million copies and independent
software companies began to develop software for it.
In 1992 Windows
3.1 was released and it provided improvements on 3.0.
In August of 1995
Windows 95 was released, a 32-bit system, an upgrade from the previous version
that was only 16-bit. It introduced a new user interface including the
"Start" button, which quickly became a PC icon.
Windows NT 1.0 was originally OS/2 3.0. While IBM released OS/2 2.0
Microsoft released an improved version of it under the name of Windows NT.
Microsoft's marketing was so effective most people were unaware of the
connection. Windows NT was developed for networking and Dave Cutler, one of the
chief architects of VMS at Digital Equipment Corporation (now part of Compaq),
was hired to develop NT into a more capable operating system.
Windows CE was an operating
system developed for handheld PC units with version 1.0 being released in
November 1996. Windows CE 2.0 was released in early 1998 and 3.0 in June, 2000.
Windows CE 2.0.
Windows 98 was released in June of 1998. It included Integrated Web Browsing
allowed you to browse your local files the way you browse the internet.
New Hardware support supported the latest technology such as DVD, Firewire, USB,
was released on February 17 2000. It was
the new name given Windows
NT 5.0, and it like Windows 98 integrated Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 into
its operating system allowing for Integrated Web Browsing. It provided a
platform for internet, intranet, and
On Thursday Sep. 14, 2000
Microsoft released Windows Me, short for Millennium Edition. It was aimed
at the home user. Its operating system included some enhanced multimedia
features. eg. an automated video editor and improved Internet plumbing. Although
many users thought that it was too much like the previous versions on Windows
i.e. Windows 98.
Windows XP: Home and Professional Editions
Microsoft officially launched
Windows XP on October 25th, 2001. Windows XP comes in two versions: Home and
Professional. Windows XP is another complete redesign of Windows for consumers.
It contains an improved and easier to use interface, as well as a customable
colour schemes/skins. It contains the 32-bit kernel and driver set from Windows
NT and Windows 2000. It includes many new features that no previous version of
Windows contained. Although old DOS and Windows programs still run under it, and
may even run better.