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We look at the history of Windows OS from to present day. The Windows operating system Windows OS for desktop PCs is more formally called Microsoft Windows and is actually a family of operating systems for personal computers. Windows has traditionally dominated the personal computer world, running, by some estimates, more than 75 percent of all personal computers.

Beginning in the early s, Windows dominance has lessened with the growth of the Linux and Mac operating systems. Windows provides a graphical user interface GUI , virtual memory management, multitasking, and support for many peripheral devices. In addition to Windows operating systems for personal computers, Microsoft also offers operating systems for servers and mobile devices.

Windows is also the foundation for the Microsoft Office productivity suite. Subsequent versions have become increasingly sophisticated as they incorporated features of minicomputer operating systems.

Source: GUIdebook Gallery. Introduced in , Microsoft Windows 1. In Microsoft released Windows 2. This version added desktop icons, keyboard shortcuts and improved graphics support. Windows 3. Microsoft released Windows 3. Windows NT New Technology was a bit operating system that supported preemptive multitasking.

Windows 95 was a major upgrade to the Windows operating system. This OS was a significant advancement over its precursor, Windows 3. In addition to sporting a new user interface, Windows 95 also included a number of important internal improvements. Perhaps most important, it supported bit applications, which meant that applications written specifically for this operating system would run much faster.

This resulted in the removal of many of the old DOS limitations, such as K of main memory and 8-character filenames. Other important features in this operating system were the ability to automatically detect and configure installed hardware Plug-and-Play. Its most visible feature, though, was the Active Desktop, which integrated the Web browser Internet Explorer with the operating system. Microsoft released four versions of Windows Professional for business desktop and laptop systems ; Server both a Web server and an office server ; Advanced Server for line-of-business applications ; and Datacenter Server for high-traffic computer networks.

Windows XP was released in Along with a redesigned look and feel to the user interface, the new operating system was built on the Windows kernel, giving the user a more stable and reliable environment than previous versions of Windows.

Windows XP came in two versions, Home and Professional. Microsoft focused on mobility for both editions and including plug-and-play features for connecting to wireless networks.

The operating system also utilized the Windows Vista offered an advancement in reliability, security, ease of deployment, performance and manageability over Windows XP. New in this version were capabilities to detect hardware problems before they occurred, security features to protect against the latest generation of threats, a faster start-up time, and low power consumption when placed in the new sleep state.

Windows Vista simplified and centralized desktop configuration management, which reduced the cost of keeping systems updated. Source: Lifewire. Enhancements and new features in Windows 7 included multi-touch support, Internet Explorer 8, improved performance, faster start-up time, Aero Snap, Aero Shake, support for virtual hard disks, a new and improved Windows Media Center, and improved security.

Source: Ars Technica. Source: Microsoft. Windows 10 was the successor to Windows 8. Windows 10 featured fast start-up and resume, built-in security, and the return of the Start Menu in an expanded form. Any qualified device such as tablets, PCs, smartphones and Xbox consoles was able to upgrade to Windows 10, including those with pirated copies of Windows. Source: PCMag. Though Microsoft claimed Windows 10 would be the last version of Windows ever, Windows 11 came with a new visual design, updated apps, touchscreen optimizations, and multitasking features.

Microsoft also claims Windows 11 is the most secure release yet. Existing Windows 10 users will be able to upgrade to Windows 11 for free as long as their PC meets the system requirements. Aside from operating systems designed for use on personal computers PCs and laptops, Microsoft has also developed operating systems for servers, handheld devices, and mobile phones.

Windows Server is a series of Microsoft server operating systems. The Windows Server name made its debut with the release of Windows Server and continues with the current release, Windows Server A version of the Windows operating system was designed for small devices such as personal digital assistants PDAs or Handheld PCs in the Microsoft vernacular. Home Server allowed users to share files such as digital photos and media files, and also automatically backed up home networked computers.

The mobile operating system for smartphones and mobile devices from Microsoft was based on the Windows CE kernel and designed to look and operate similar to desktop versions of Microsoft Windows. Unlike Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7 was targeted more to the consumer market than the enterprise market.

Its successors included Windows Phone 8 and Windows 10 Mobile. Microsoft announced the end of life for Windows Phone on January 14, Webopedia is an online information technology and computer science resource for IT professionals, students, and educators. Webopedia focuses on connecting researchers with IT resources that are most helpful for them.

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Windows 10 alternatives: Best free, open source operating systems | Computerworld.How to Get Windows 11 or Windows 10 for Free (or Under $20) | Tom’s Hardware

 
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