11 May 2015
Microsoft Windows – brief history of Operating System.
Microsoft announced the end of Windows era Windows 10 is the last OS from Microsoft.
Microsoft Windows (or simply Windows) is a metafamily of graphical operating systems developed, marketed, and sold by Microsoft. (From Wikipedia)
A history of Windows needs to begin with what preceded it: DOS. DOS, later known as MS-DOS, was Microsoft’s first operating system and until Windows ME the foundation of what Windows ran on.
The birth of MS-DOS began in 1981 when Microsoft met with IBM to discuss making an operating system for its upcoming personal computer.
At that time the complexity of creating an entire operating system was beyond Microsoft’s resources, but that didn’t stop Bill Gates: he bought the full rights to DOS from a small firm based in Washington called Seattle Computer Products for $50,000.
DOS (Disk Operating System) was the first widely-installed operating system for personal computers.
Bill Gates retained the rights to market a Microsoft version, called MS-DOS.
Windows 1 – 1983 (1985)
Windows 1 was presented in 1983 by Bill Gates.
Although Windows 1.0 came to market only in September of 1985.
The first Microsoft Windows operating system was really an application that ran on top of the MS-DOS operating system. Today, Windows operating systems continue to support DOS (or a DOS-like user interface) for special purposes by emulating the operating system.
Windows shipped with several simple programs, such as MS DOS file management, Paint, Windows Writer, Notepad, Calculator, and a calendar, card file, and clock.
While Windows was praised for helping change the paradigm of how people interact with computers, this first version of the world’s most important operating system largely stood in the shadow of Macintosh. Apple, however felt threatened and sued Microsoft in 1988 for copyright infringement, claiming that Microsoft copied the “look and feel” of its operating system.
Windows 2.0 - 1987
Microsoft followed up with Windows 2.0, released in November 1987. Windows 2.0 included support for the then cutting edge 286 (and later 386) processor. Windows 2.0 also included an upgraded GUI and support for keyboard shortcuts.
Windows 3.0 and 3.1 - 1990
In 1990 Microsoft announced the follow-up to Windows 2.0, called Windows 3.0. Shortly after came Windows 3.1.
Windows 3.0 and 3.1 utilized new versions of Intel’s (NASDAQ: INTC) 286 and 386 processors, increasing the operating system’s speed and utilization of memory. It also included updates to the Windows interface, introducing Program Manager and File Manager as well as a redesigned Control Panel.
Windows NT - 1993
In the summer of 1993, Microsoft releases Windows NT. The NT stood for New Technology.
Though the Windows NT GUI looked very similar to that of Windows 3.1, it was a complete rewrite of Windows starting at the Kernel. Windows NT was a 32-bit operating system, intended to be used for high-end engineering and scientific platforms.
Windows 95 - 1995
The release of Windows 95 was a significant progression from the company's previous Windows products.
It was the first Windows for the internet era, with Internet Explorer built right in.
Windows 95 integrated Microsoft's formerly separate MS-DOS and Windows products. It featured significant improvements over its predecessor, Windows 3.1, especially in the graphical user interface (GUI). Also "plug-n-play" features greatly simplified usage of peripherals.
Major changes were made at lower levels of the operating system - 16-bit architecture was replaced by multitasking 32-bit architecture.
Windows 98 - 1998
Three years after the launch of Windows 95 came Windows 98.
Windows 98 is a continuation of the Windows 95 product. The major change is an insanely heavy focus on web integration. The help system, many applications, and even the desktop are redesigned to make use of Internet Explorer. Windows 98 runs on top of the same "MS-DOS 7.1" with FAT32 support as Windows 95 OSR2, and it includes support for USB 1.x.
Windows 2000 - 1999
Windows 2000 was the successor to Windows NT 4.0. Windows 2000 was designed specifically for mobile and desktop machines running in businesses.
Microsoft marketed Windows 2000 as the most secure Windows version ever at the time; although it became the target of a number of high-profile virus attacks such as Code Red and Nimda. For ten years after its release, it continued to receive patches for security vulnerabilities literally every month.
Windows 2000 supported by Microsoft until July 2010.
Windows ME - 2000
Microsoft released Windows ME in September of 2000.
Windows ME was the successor to Windows 98 SE and was targeted specifically at home PC users. It included Internet Explorer 5.5, Windows Media Player 7, and the new Windows Movie Maker software.
Windows ME had a short life - just about a year. The OS was often criticized for being buggy, slow and unstable. Windows ME, along with Windows 2000, were soon replaced by the NT-based Windows XP
Windows XP - 2001
Windows XP was probably the most popular OS from Microsoft ever. Windows XP came in two editions: Home and Professional. Windows XP was the first version of Windows to use the Windows NT kernel, making it the most stable version of Windows to date.
Windows XP was appreciated by users for increased performance (especially in comparison to Windows ME), a more intuitive user interface, improved hardware support, and its expanded multimedia capabilities.
Windows XP eventually proved to be popular and widely used. It is estimated that at least 400 million copies of Windows XP were sold globally within its first five years after it was released. And more than one billion copies were sold by April 2014.
Windows XP remained popular even after the release of newer versions, particularly due to the poorly received release of its successor Windows Vista.
Windows Vista - 2007
Released in January 2007, Windows Vista was “was just not executed well” according to former CEO Steve Ballmer.
However many complained that the OS itself was unstable. It was prone to crashing, as many complained, and occasionally compatibility issues sprung up. To the disappointment of many, one of the key features that Microsoft hyped for the release of the OS, an update to the file system called WinFS, never made it into the operating system. People just preferred Windows XP and didn’t see any reasons to upgrade.
Windows 7 - 2009
Windows 7 was released in October 2009. It is considered to be one of Microsoft’s best operating systems to date. Although Windows XP held on to its large market share for much longer, Windows 7 was the fastest selling OS for the company with 240 million licenses sold.
It was reasonably fast, more stable and easier to use, comparing to Windows Vista, although quite a lot of people and businesses still preferred Windows XP.
Windows 8 - 2011
The end of Steve Ballmer…
Windows 8 introduced major changes to the operating system's platform and user interface to improve its user experience on tablets. The changes included a touch-optimized Windows shell based on Microsoft's "Metro" design language, the Start screen (which displays programs and dynamically updated content on a grid of tiles), a new platform for developing apps with an emphasis on touchscreen input, integration with online services.
Windows 8 abandoning the Start button altogether in favor of a touch-centric UI called “Metro”.
The new OS proved to be a disaster for Microsoft. While on the PC platform Windows 8 was fast, stable and secure — the people didn’t like new interface.
Users wanted the start button back; the Metro UI didn’t interest many.
The new user interface of the operating system was widely criticized for being potentially confusing and difficult to learn (especially when used with a keyboard and mouse instead of a touchscreen).
In addition, there wasn’t a compelling reason for many to upgrade. Windows 7 was good enough. Only 15% of users by February 2015 moved to Windows 8/8.1.
On mobile devices Windows 8 failed even worse, unable to compete with Android and iOS.
On October 17, 2013, Microsoft released Windows 8.1. It improved some aspects of Windows 8 that were criticized by users and added some new features to operating system.
In the end, the debacle of Windows 8 cost Steve Ballmer his job. Ballmer announced he was stepping down in August 2013 and in February 2014 the company named Satya Nadella as CEO.
Windows 10 – 2014/2015
Windows 10 was presented in April 2014 at the Build Conference, it is scheduled to be released in the middle of 2015.
Windows 10 was announced by Microsoft to be the best version of Windows yet.
Windows 10's user interface is an evolution of Windows 8/8.1. To improve the experience for keyboard and mouse users, Windows 10 adds a new revision of the desktop start menu and a virtual desktop system. It allows Windows Store apps to run within windows on the desktop as well as in full-screen mode.
Windows 10 introduces new technologies and system components such us DirectX 12 and new frameworks for biometric authentication.
Windows 11 +
Microsoft says that Windows 10 will be its final release of the iconic operating system that's installed on over 90% of computers.
"Right now we're releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we're all still working on Windows 10," said Jerry Nixon, Microsoft's developer evangelist, at the Ignite tech conference.
So what will be the next?
Instead of releasing an entirely new and different version of its desktop OS every few years, Microsoft will use Windows 10 OS as base. Windows 10 will launch in late July, coming via a simple Windows update that can be installed over the top of Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Under this new strategy, Microsoft will deliver regular improvements to Windows through software updates.
There will be smaller, incremental updates to add new features and improve the OS like Windows Update on steroids.
Microsoft Windows long time dominated the world's personal computer market with over 90% market share, overtaking their main rival Mac OS. But since 2012 it sells less than Android, which became the most popular operating system in 2014. So in 2014 the number of Windows sales was less than 25% of Android devices sold.
|Windows 95 presentation by Bill Gates|
|Windows 98 screen during OS load|
|Jerry Nixon, Microsoft's developer|
|Windows OS logos – From Windows 1.0 ..|
|Old PC running Windows 1.0|
|Bill Gates happy, announcing MS Windows 1.0|
|From Windows 1.0 to Windows 8|
|Program Manager, File Manager, Accessories in Windows NT 3.11|