The Different Versions of the Windows System

windows system

Windows is a graphical operating system that translates user instructions into a language that hardware can understand. It also links different parts of the computer system together.

Windows 2 introduced the control panel, which gathers a variety of system settings in one place. It also added support for extended memory and for the Intel 80386 processor.

Windows 1.0

The first version of Microsoft’s flagship GUI with desktop features, Windows 1.0 debuted in November 1985. It drew upon technology from Xerox PARC and was built to rival Apple’s Mac OS, which had come out just two years earlier.

The system ran on top of MS-DOS and provided a cooperative multitasking environment that supported graphical programs designed for Windows and a subset of compatible DOS applications. It allowed multiple windows to be displayed side by side but did not allow them to overlap, instead displaying them as tiled windows.

Windows NT 3.1

The first of the Windows NT line of server and business desktop operating systems, it was released on July 27th 1993. It was built with 32-bit architecture and processor independence, and it brought advanced capabilities to the corporate marketplace that had previously only been available on more expensive Unix-like OSes.

Unlike DOS or Microsoft Windows, NT was designed from the ground up with modern computing needs in mind. This included the ability to run multiple programs from different sessions, although applications did sometimes behave strangely under these conditions.

NT 3.1 also introduced domains, which enabled a single OS to manage a large network of individual computers and users by using centralized authentication. The system was available on Intel x86 PC compatible and DEC Alpha (or ARC-compliant MIPS) systems.

Windows XP

Built on the core of the highly successful Windows NT operating system, XP prioritized users’ needs and offered a more intuitive graphical user interface. It was also more stable and advanced than its predecessors in terms of security features.

In addition, it was designed to be compatible with a wide variety of software and hardware, enabling many users to easily transition to the new operating system. This broad compatibility made XP a popular choice among business and home consumers.

It introduced the function to switch users without closing applications, and it incorporated a memory function called “data execution prevention” that prevents an unstable program from crashing a working application or the OS itself.

Windows ME

Windows ME is the successor to Windows 98 and is a member of the Windows 9x family. It is intended for use in home environments and includes features that families find useful, such as System Restore and improved support for digital cameras and scanners.

Windows ME also includes new Internet games and supports UPnP devices, which can be controlled by the system. It also improves upon Microsoft’s existing software update service by tracking changes to system files and adding a more attractive user interface for checking for updates.

However, like its predecessors, it cripples the ability to start in DOS mode and suffers from many of the same hangers that plagued previous versions.

Windows 2000

Previously called Windows NT 5.0, Microsoft marketed Windows 2000 as a more evolved operating system. It features advanced startup options such as booting in Safe mode and using Last Known Good Configuration to troubleshoot hardware problems that prevent a computer from loading the Windows OS.

It also supports FAT32 file systems up to 32GB, a new Windows Driver Model, Internet Connection Sharing and Net Meeting. It includes the System File Checker to scan for and repair tampered operating system core files. It has improved support for assistive technology and different languages. It is the first version to support hardware independent hibernation.

Windows 8.1

Microsoft released Windows 8.1 in 2013. It is designed to work on touch-screen devices and provides enhancements to the Modern UI user interface. These include improved dividers between apps in the All Apps view, tighter OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) integration, Bing-powered unified search, and restoration of a Start button on the taskbar.

It is a free update to Windows 8 that can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store. It can be installed on standalone computers or in a virtual machine.

Users must have a Microsoft account to use the system; this allows for synchronisation of settings and applications across devices, as well as providing an integrated experience with online services such as OneDrive. Windows 8.1 also includes an overhauled version of the Task Manager which shows resource utilisation using a heat map.

Windows RT

Microsoft’s tablet version of Windows, first released with Windows 8 in 2012. It is designed to run on ARM processor-based devices.

Devices that run Windows RT come with a version of Microsoft Office Home and Student that runs in desktop mode, with overlapping and resizable windows. It does not include the full version of Outlook, and is licensed for personal use only.

Microsoft stopped producing Surface RT tablets in 2015, and all future devices are Intel-based. However, the company launched a spiritual successor in 2017, called Windows 10 S, which is designed to only run apps from the Microsoft Store.