To run a computer and interact with other devices like keyboard, mouse, LAN card, Modem, Pen drive, printer, scanner we need an Operating System. Only with the help of the operating system, the computer can be able to understand our given instructions.
In simple words, without any operating system computer was unable to interact with users. The OS keeps data from every computer program in itself. With which the operating system only decides which time the program will use for which resources.
There are different types of OS available in the market but the most user-friendly of them is the Windows Operating system. Today a large amount of market share hold by Windows OS.
People of different ages find it very useful because it is easy to use. There are lots of services available in Windows by default and you can try these with no prior knowledge needed. Over the last 36 years, Windows’s been modified so beautifully and integrated all the latest technologies as per the need of a user.
So in this article, we explore the history of the window’s operating system.
How This was Started?
Two Childhood Friends Paul Allen and Bill Gates who are programmers and fond of technology and software are busy with their experiments. In 1974, the first personal computer kit (the Altair 8800) was launched by Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Gates and Allen contacted the president of MITS (Ed Roberts) and offered to develop the first microcomputer in the form of BASIC (originally developed by John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz) to extend the performance of the 8800.
After, this successful Development of Altair Basic they both joined MITS. But within a short period in 1979 Bill and Allen created a company initially Called “Micro-Soft”. Microsoft brought an existing Operating system from Seattle Computer Products (86-DOS), for $75,000 in 1981. The same year IBM launched its personal computer using Microsoft’s new operating system, MS-DOS 1.0.
They both invented this Disk Operating System. DOS primarily relied on a set of commands to interact with the computer, and at that time, was considered as a future-ready system that had its right use. On November 10, 1983, Microsoft formally announced a Graphical User interface (GUI) for its own OS MS-DOS called Microsoft Windows.
Initially, the new product was developed under the name Interface Manager, but before the official introduction in 1985, the marketing gurus convinced Bill Gates, that Windows is a more suitable name.
The main partner of Microsoft since 1981 was IBM when MS-DOS became the highly successful operating system, that came bundled with an IBM computer.
Early Days before Windows came!
In the year 1983, initially, bill gates approached IBM to launch a beta version of the operating system with no graphic user interface in it. DOS(Disk Operating System) OS that runs through commands, But at that time IBM was working with their OS called ‘Top View‘ so gates had to wait for some time. In the meantime, Apple launched two operating systems called Lisa and Macintosh with GUI (Graphic User Interface) built within it. Suddenly gates realize the importance of GUI and work on that for more than two years. After doing all the modifications and integration with DOS finally, Microsoft launched its first OS in the year 1985 in the name of Windows 1.0. If you want detailed info regarding OS then Check out the History.
The Journey From 1.0 to 10:
The journey of windows is quite fascinating because when it’s released in 1985 it’s not perfect and supports a very limited amount of function. But in these 36 years, windows evolve wonderfully and create one of the major brands in the operating system industry. They have fully developed their OS based on what customers want’s, and that’s the main reason for their huge success.
So lest discuss all versions of the windows one by one…
Windows 1.0 (1985):
The first version of window’s MS-DOS is called the Microsoft disk operating system which is a character-based operating system. First OS from Microsoft support input device like Mouse, Keyboard. By moving a mouse pointer, the user can navigate through the screen and click icons to carry out specific tasks.
The first OS supports 16-bit multitasking so a user can do multiple works at a time like doing a calculation and taking notes simultaneously. Most of the user is unfamiliar with a mouse so Microsoft builds a game for them called Reversi(visible in the screenshot) which help a user to practice the cursor of the mouse and familiar with the click function.
Microsoft introduced Windows 2.0 in the year 1987 and supports the Intel 286 (16 Bit) processor. This version added desktop icons, keyboard shortcuts, and improved graphics support.
Windows 2.0 was more reliable and faster than Windows 1, designed with improved screen layout control. The first time Microsoft introduced Microsoft Word and Excel for Windows and is used by many immediately.
The big innovation for Windows 2 was that windows could overlap each other, and it also introduced the ability to minimize or maximize windows instead of opening a window by clicking or zooming an icon.
The control panel, where various system settings and configuration options were collected together in one place, was introduced in Windows 2 and is still very much useful.
In the year 1990 Microsoft released their Windows 3.0 OS which is a much more improved version in terms of performance. This is the first OS that supports a dedicated hard drive and runs on Intel 386 processor.
The release of Microsoft’s SDK (Software Development Kit) with Windows 3.0 enables software developers to focus more on writing applications increases the development of new programs for both business and personal use.
It can run MS-DOS programs means we run programs from the command prompt window.
In 1992 Microsoft released version 3.1 with the features like true type fonts, rich multimedia support, object linking and embedding (OLE), application reboot capability.
This is the first time window’s version comes with a Program manager, file manager, and print manager. We run different programs outside the default ones with the help of a program manager which attracts many developers to develop applications for windows.
The introduction of virtual memory and 16 color support help the OS to run applications more smoothly and efficiently. We could run multiple programs with much-improved accuracy.
The introduction of Hearts, Minesweeper, and Solitaire increase the importance of personal computers.
Windows NT (New Technology):
On July 27, 1993, Microsoft release new technology specially designed for server and high-end multitasking environments. It had 32-bit multiple processor support and was created for higher security and stability.
There are two versions of Windows NT: Windows NT Server, designed to act as a server in networks, and Windows NT Workstation for stand-alone or client workstations.
Due to its lack of hardware support and complexity developers are not interested to migrate their computers to NT, that’s why it creates a small impact on the market.
For the first time, Microsoft created an operating system that is run independently with the window’s kernel (A ‘kernel’ is an interface between the software and hardware, taking program demands and allocating them between the requisite hardware components, such as the CPU, RAM and Input/Output devices (keyboards, mice, printers, display, etc.) but still based on MS-DOS kernel.
A significant change in the user interfaces with the Start menu and taskbar which is very appealing for users. It introduced preemptive multitasking into the operating system which was a way to ensure that each application gets a fair portion of the CPU while it’s trying to run. Creates a stable system.
It also introduced the concept of “Plug and Play” to connect a peripheral and the operating system finds the appropriate drivers for it and makes it work. Supports different CD- ROM devices.
Windows 95 also introduced a 32-bit environment, the taskbar where all the opened apps are minimized, a start button for accessing the applications, Recycle bin where all the deleted data is stored. It allows us to write the name of the file with 255 characters along with mixed cases (upper and lower case both).
An Internet Explorer was also introduced with version 95 plus version (OSR2) later because of the increasing trends of internet surfing.
Other miscellaneous abilities added in Windows 95 are built-in dial-up networking for the Internet, improved multimedia capability, simpler installation of software and hardware, and improved networking and mobile computing service.
Released in June 1998, Windows 98 is the last version to be based on MS-DOS. It focuses on home and office-based PCs.
Windows 98 was built on Windows 95 and brought on IE(Internet Explorer) version 4, Outlook Express, Windows Address Book, Microsoft Chat, and NetShow Player, which was replaced by the windows media player later in 1999.
One of the biggest changes was the introduction of the Windows Driver Model for computer components and accessories – one driver to support all future versions of Windows.
Users could find all the information on the local computer as well as on the internet easily because of the internet connection sharing feature.
Other useful features integrated like improved power management system (Hibernate and standby added), network management where configure an internal or external network, USB management including USB hub and USB mice.
Windows 2000,(Win 2K):
On 17th February 2000, Microsoft released Windows 2000, which is an upgrade from NT 4.0 series. Although it included all the functionality from the 98 and NT like improved Internet explorer browser, Outlook express, run multiple programs simultaneously, able to access files over the internet, access printers, etc.
Microsoft released four versions of Windows 2000, which are Professional, Server, Advanced Server, and Datacenter Server edition.
Some features like NTFS (New Technology File System) 3.0, Microsoft Management Console (MMC), Encryption File System (EFS), Active Directory (AD) are introduced with Win2K edition.
The Automatic Update feature fully works with Win 2000, and also for the first time Microsoft integrate Hibernate function. In Hibernate the hardware of the computer remains in an inactive state to save power and resource.
There are also some new technologies integrated that help visually challenged people.
Windows ME(Millennium Edition):
In the short span of four months, another edition called windows me launched on June 19, 2000, with multimedia and networking enhancements for home users.
Windows ME introduced system restore and system file protection and auto-update features to create a stable and secure system. However, this edition was heavily criticized for its slow and buggy nature and not being able to create an impact in the market.
That’s why Microsoft replaced this one with their XP edition in the next year and solved all the issues.
Released in 2001 XP stands for Experience and undoubtedly it gives the users a new much-improved experience in terms of overall look and feel, Stability, Speed, and Usability. XP came in two versions Home and Enterprise editions which target both home and professional users.
It has the following features:
- The famous green start button and visually improved desktop is the main attraction for users. With the support of new visual styles and clear type technology, the appearance of XP is very pleasant.
- Most of the wireless NICs (Network Interface Card) are recognized automatically by XP. The system can automatically scan and detect the available WLAN networks and list the networks.
- Windows XP has introduced USB 2.0 supports for different devices like Bluetooth, USB video device classes, Windows Media Player, and imaging.
- The CD burning feature allows users to directly burn files to a compact disc through Windows Explorer.
- Device Driver Rollback features were introduced in Windows XP, which allows you to return to an earlier version of the device driver when a newly installed driver has a problem.
- Windows XP now has its Internet Connection Firewall included networking features in all network interfaces.
- The remote desktop feature where a user accesses the computer remotely with the help of the internet is introduced. Remote assistance feature also introduced which help a user to receive or give technical support remotely.
- Windows messenger and window’s outlook (mail client) make an entry into windows.
In 2006 Microsoft released window vista intending to give a visual treat to users by using transparent tiles, wallpaper, font, themes, and Animations. The first vista was released for business purposes and later in 2007 released for general customers.
Vista comes with six editions:
- Starter (only available in developing countries)
- Home Basic
- Home Premium
- Enterprise (only available to large businesses and enterprises)
- Ultimate (combines both Home Premium and Enterprise)
All editions (except the Starter edition) were available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The biggest advantage of the 64-bit version was breaking the 4-gigabyte memory barrier, which 32-bit computers cannot fully access.
Some unique features of Vista are……
- Graphically its give window’s a modern look like the old start button replaced with around one and the window’s Aero theme introduced with changing wallpaper feature made window’s very interactive.
- Windows Mail was the built-in email client which replaced outlook express. It helps users to get rid of unwanted messages with a mail filtering option.
- There are instant search features in Windows Vista that let you find files more quickly than the previous version.
- Windows Defender was introduced in Vista. This helps you with security on your PC.
- BitLocker DRIVE ENCRYPTION: It is a security feature introduced in Windows Vista. It helps to encrypt your disk drives and their contents. This prevents unauthorized access to the disk contents.
- Windows Gadgets: It is a widget that runs on your desktop sidebar and was introduced in Windows Vista like A clock, a calendar, a rotating photo display, notes.
- Windows Vista added Tablet PC support for Business, Enterprise, Ultimate, and Home Premium Editions.
In 2009 Windows 7 came with more focus on touchscreen and laptop users because of the increasing trends. Win7 was very similar to Vista but with plenty of refinements like Windows Touch is introduced. Enable users to open folders and files, browse the web and flip through videos and photos without the need for a mouse or touchpad.
It was faster, more stable, and easier to use, becoming the operating system most users and businesses would upgrade to from Windows XP, forgoing Vista entirely.
Windows 7 shipped with six editions like…
- Starter (available worldwide)
- Home Basic
- Home Premium
- Enterprise (available to volume-license business customers only)
Some features of win 7 :
- According to Microsoft, if the devices support multi-touch then Windows 7 will be able to produce a touch effect on the screen. Also, Windows 7 introduce native supports for different types of sensors some of them are: accelerometer sensors, GPS sensors, ambient light sensors.
- Windows 7 boots much faster than the previous version. Also, installation times of Windows 7 are fast and the installation process may be complete in around 30 minutes.
- Homegroup is a new simple networking feature of Windows 7 which provides connects computers on your home network to share images, music videos, documents, and printers.
- Powershell 1. x can be downloaded in earlier Windows versions like Vista. But Powershell 2.0 comes within Windows 7, which is more flexible and powerful than 1. x
- Sticky Notes features are introduced in Windows 7.
- Support for virtual hard disk, better multi-core processor performance, and kernel.
- Improved touch and handwriting recognition.
Windows 8 :
Windows 8 was released on August 1, 2012.it is based on the Metro design language. Metro is a touchscreen-compatible tablet interface that also permits access to the traditional desktop. It can be used with touchscreen devices and also traditional PC input devices and displays.
Windows 8 is available in the following editions:
- Windows 8
- Windows 8 Pro
- Windows 8 Enterprise
- Windows RT
It also launched for Desktop, Tablet, and phone users separately and supports all the new screen and aspect ratios. The important features of win 8 are…..
- There is no Start button, a Start screen can be revealed by clicking (or touching) the bottom left corner of the screen. There are multiple tiles available for every application.
- Windows Store is integrated where any user can purchase or download apps.
- Windows defender feature remodels with much stronger security.
- Internet Explorer 10 version, window’s explorer all are available.
- Integration of Skydrive, Xbox online services from Microsoft.
- Faster startup and shutdown through UEFI(Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) integration.
Windows 10 :
In 2014 Microsoft introduced Windows 10 but only in the form of free upgrades for 7, 8, 8.1 users. Many users complain about Windows 8 so Microsoft adds the old start button and functionalities of win 7 and combined them all. With a clean look and fast, stable, and secure OS 10 gain its popularity over the last few years.
Comes with three editions like…
- Windows 10 Home
- Windows 10 Mobile
- Windows 10 Pro
Top ten features of Windows 10…
- Remodeling Start Menu.
- Cortana is an intelligent personal assistant.
- Microsoft Edge Browser is the first chromium-based browser by Microsoft.
- Action Center where all the notifications and shortcut keys, to do tasks are displayed.
- Tablet Mode helps the user easily swap their system from desktop to tablet.
- Xbox app gives users a personalized experience in Xbox gaming.
- Improved Multitasking possible with multiple virtual desktops open at a time.
- The Windows Universal app features easy navigation between your conversations, along with media options like photos, voice recording, and GIF pictures.
- Windows Hello is a more personal, more secure way to get instant access to your Windows 10 devices using fingerprint, facial recognition, or a secure PIN.
- The wifi-Direct feature allows for device-to-device communication, linking devices together without a nearby centralized network.
- Introduction of Your Phone app used to connect Android or iOS devices to Windows 10 devices.
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