The History of Windows

Windows is an operating system that runs on computers and laptops. It provides various features to facilitate security, desktop appearance configuration, and hardware management.

It is also designed with a familiar user interface, making it easy to learn and use even for new users. However, it can be vulnerable to malware attacks.

Windows 1.0

When Microsoft first announced Windows 1.0 at COMDEX in November 1983, it was intended to be an easy-to-use graphical environment for MS-DOS programs. Unlike Apple’s Mac OS and Visi On, it would allow multiple applications to run in tiled windows, but without overlapping them (a decision based on usability studies from Xerox PARC, where some of the Windows team had worked).

Microsoft compiled a pre-release version that they called the Premiere Edition and distributed it to key industry players in order to prove that the product wasn’t vaporware. This version of Windows was a DOS front-end and therefore required an MS-DOS application to call its API functions. It ran on systems that supported at least 256 KB of memory and two double-sided floppy drives.

Windows 1.1

Microsoft Windows 1.1 introduced features such as co-operative multitasking and tiled windows, and ran on top of MS-DOS. It supported IBM CGA, Hercules Monochrome, and VGA video cards, as well as the Intel 80286 processor in protected mode. The system imposed some limits on its borrowings from Apple’s Macintosh user interface, in compliance with a license agreement between Microsoft and Apple.

This version also included the new 32-bit API called Win32, which was intended to serve as a common foundation for both Windows NT and Chicago’s successor (codenamed Cairo). It was a huge boost to Windows’ popularity, as it marked the first time that a significant non-Microsoft application ran under it.

Windows 1.2

The version of Windows that came after 1.0. It grew more sophisticated, allowing users to point and click at computing “windows” that represented applications and commands.

Microsoft marketed this version as a way to run graphical versions of existing MS-DOS programs. It could run in real mode, limiting itself to the memory of a 286-compatible processor, or in protected mode on a 386 or higher-compatible processor.

In contrast to the more business-oriented OS/2, Windows 1.2 supported long file names and provided an extensive range of device drivers and applets compared to a bare-bones selection for OS/2. It also included a task manager with a detailed view of the operating system’s architecture.

Windows 3.1

The colorful Windows 3.1 fueled Microsoft’s dominance in the PC market and helped shift our cultural perception of computers to one that included them as an integral part of our lives. It also introduced multimedia capabilities that resonated with users and boosted the popularity of personal computing as we know it today.

In addition to the new graphical interface, this version introduced True Type fonts and OLE compound documents. It ran in protected mode, which required a 386 or higher CPU.

It also incorporated basic multi-media APIs that allowed for playback of MIDI and Wav audio files. It was the first version of Windows that a normal person, a muggle if you will, could really use.

Windows NT

Microsoft developed NT for PCs and servers that need advanced functions. It’s a multiprocessing and multiuser operating system that uses a microkernel. The kernel limits its tasks to scheduling and executing instructions on the CPU, which provides a great deal of inherent stability.

The system’s Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) translates the machine-specific parts of the OS into a common interface that the Executive services can use, which allows for extensive software compatibility. NT supports multiple API personalities like Windows, POSIX and OS/2 API to support a wide variety of applications.

Windows 2000

Windows 2000 is the last version of Microsoft’s operating system to support 4th generation Intel x86 processors. It includes a number of advanced startup options, such as Safe mode and Last Known Good Configuration, to help troubleshoot hardware problems that prevent a system from booting.

It also features improved plug-and-play support for USB devices and offers a more user-friendly Graphical User Interface. It also contains security systems, such as the Kerberos network authentication protocol and a file encryption feature.

However, it suffered from many security flaws, including the Code Red and Code Red II worms and the 2005 Blaster and Zotob worms. It was superseded by Windows XP.

Windows ME

Designed for home users, Windows ME introduced improved multimedia capabilities and better hardware support. It also offered improved system stability compared to its predecessor, Windows 98.

Unlike its predecessors, Windows ME allowed users to revert their systems back to a stable configuration after a problematic software installation. This feature, called System Restore, monitored changes to Windows system files and the registry, allowing users to easily revert to a previous stable state.

ME also introduced Personalized Menus and added Internet Games to the Windows OS. The operating system also made significant improvements to the USB and FireWire device support.