Evolution Of Windows Operating System

6 min readMar 21, 2020

Introduction about Operating Systems

Operating system does major roll between User and Computer Hardware. It provides an environment to user to do his activities without thinking about mechanisms which are running in computer hardware. Therefore we can define computer operating system is Software that manage computer hardware.

Different companies are making operating systems in nowadays and Microsoft is a major company through those companies. Microsoft introduced Windows operating system for IBM compatible computers in 1985. It is the first step of Windows operating system. Microsoft named their operating system as Windows by considered about it graphical block user interfaces.

Windows 1

Windows 1 was introduced by Microsoft on November 20 1985.It was a 16 bit operating system that need only less than 1 MB memory. This was a first operating system which was designed using graphical user interface. This Operating system designed for IBM compatible computers. As well as this OS designed to use mouse to do click,drag and drop, move and lots of activities.

Windows 2

Windows 2 was launched on December 9 1987. This OS also a 16 bit Operating System. This version mainly focused on Speed and Graphics of the OS. As well as this OS allowed the user to use key board shortcuts. There are new features 16-color VGA graphics, It allowed application windows to overlap each other and minimize and maximize windows. Also the first windows version of MS Word and MS Excel ran on Windows 2.0.

Windows 3

Windows 3 was launched on may 22 1990.It was a major upgrade of windows history. This version came out with lot of enhanced features including improved icons. This version supported 256 colors bringing a more modern and colorful interfaces. Also this version introduced the ability to run MS-DOS programms in windows. Windows introduced different managers to support to users for their tasks such as Program manager,File Manager,Control Panel and Print manager etc.

Also there was a major update of Windows 3 was known as Windows 3.1. This update released with native networking support feature.It helped to create intranet to connect multiple computers.Also this update introduced True Type fonts to use windows as publishing platform. Windows 3.1 was also the first Windows to be distributed on a CD-ROM.

As well as Windows 3.11 update came with 32 bit architecture.It also known as Windows NT.

Windows 95

After Windows 3.1 version Microsoft began to develop a new operating system that’s code name was Chicago. This operating system was introduced on August 24 1995. This version of windows introduced the first ever Start button and Start menu and task bar. It also introduced the concept of plug and play and built in internet support with dial up connections.

Windows 95 was a 32 bit operating system which provided enhanced multimedia facilities. But we can use this as 16 bit and 32 bit also. This version required at least 4 MB RAM and 55 MB Hard disk. It also come with first ever internet explorer web browser.

Windows 98

This was launched on June 25 1998. This version supports for reading DVD and USB drives. This edition was named as Memphis. This version has 32 bit edition and 16 bit edition. Microsoft produced new features with this edition such as Disk Cleanup, Windows Update, Multi monitor support and internet sharing etc.

This version needs 16 MB -24 MB Memory and 140 MB- 355 MB Storage space in Hard drive. Also it supported CD or DVD ROM. Microsoft introduced quick launch feature in this edition.

Windows 2000

Windows 2000 Professional version was designed with an intention to replace all the previous versions on all business desktops because of this edition was a business oriented operating system. This version was released on February 2000. Four windows versions came with this edition named as Professional, Server, Advanced Server, and Datacenter Server.

Also this edition introduced NTFS 3.0 Encrypting file system. The most notable improvement was this edition Plug and Play with full ACPI and Windows Driver Model support. Also this introduced layered windows that allow for transparency. This version needs 256 MB RAM memory and 5 GB Hard disk space for Server.

Windows XP

This edition of windows was launched on October 25 2001. This is a One of the best selling product in Microsoft history. This was built by using windows NT Kernel which was intended specifically for mainstream consumer use. Also It was the firs edition of Windows not to be based on MS-DOS. There were two main edition of windows XP named as Professional and Home. Windows XP had Both 32 bit And 64 bit versions.Also Microsoft introduced built in CD burning facility in this edition.

Windows XP came with new visual appearance with an increased use of alpha compositing effects, drop shadows and visual styles. The Start menu received its first major overhaul in XP, switching to a two-column layout with the ability to list, pin, and display frequently used applications, recently opened documents, and the traditional cascading “All Programs” menu. The task bar can now group windows opened by a single application into one task bar button, with a popup menu listing the individual windows. Also New networking features were also added, including Internet Connection Firewall. As well as Microsoft released three service packs as Windows XP Updates Such as Service Pack 1, Service Pack 2, Service Pack 3.

Windows XP was the longest running Microsoft operating system, seeing three major updates and support up until April 2014.

Windows Vista

This was launched on 30 January 2007. Vista updated the look and feel of Windows with more focus on transparent elements, search and security. Microsoft developed this edition under Longhorn code name. Also this edition was given highest security by improving it’s apps and permission under User account control.

This edition needed 1 GB RAM card memory and 40 GB Hard Disk capacity and 1 GHz Speed Processor to run smoothly. Also Microsoft introduced some new features for End Users with Windows Vista such as Windows Aero, Windows Shell, Windows search, Windows Defender etc. As well as Vista came with Microsoft DirectX 10 to boost PC Games.

Windows 7

Windows 7 was released on 22 October 2009. Microsoft named this edition as Balckcomb. Also it was a incremental upgrade to Windows Vista and it was build mainly for the wireless devices such as laptops which started to overtake the desktops. There were 6 editions of Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. This OS became popular among users because of it’s new features. It was faster, more stable and easier to use, becoming the operating system most users and business would upgrade to from Windows XP, forgoing Vista entirely. Also It had 32 bit and 64 bit versions. It needed 2 GB RAM memory for 64 bit version and 1 GB RAM for 32 bit version and 20 GB memory space in hard disk.

Windows 8

This was released on October 26 2012. This OS introduced major changes to operating system platform and user experience by introducing it’s tile type start menu and they design their start menu without start button. Its better to suit for mobile devises like tablets, windows phones, touch screen laptops etc. Microsoft introduced Windows store to download app for windows. Also there were 64 bit version and 32 bit version to select users considering their PC performance.

Also Microsoft introduced new features in this version such as tile type start menu, live apps, charms bar, remote desktop etc. Also Microsoft introduced faster startup through UEFI integration and the new “Hybrid Boot” mode. Windows 8 required 20 GB free hard disk space and 4 GB minimum RAM memory to run this OS.

After that Microsoft released a feature update of Windows 8 named as Windows 8.1. Microsoft again introduced their well known start button on that edition.

Windows 10

This is the latest Microsoft Windows version in the Operating System market. This was released on July 29 2015. The Windows 10 came with lots of new features such as support for universal apps, an expansion of the Metro-style apps, as well as user can transit mouse oriented interface and touch based interface, and this include their traditional start button. Windows 10 requires 32 GB free space of Hard disk and Minimum 4 GB RAM memory to run smoothly.

Also Microsoft designed this to compatible with both Touch and Mouse based devises. Windows 10 supports latest DirectX 12 technology.Microsoft improve the windows security with integrated Windows Defender Antivirus system and Multi factor authentication system for user login. Microsoft introduced Microsoft Edge Web Browser through Windows 10 it is faster than their previous Internet explorer web browser. Windows 10 is still developing by Microsoft.




Software Engineering Graduate at University Of Kelaniya | Software Engineer |Tech Enthusiasist