The first version of Windows introduced a graphical user interface (GUI) and multitasking to the desktop. Command prompts were replaced by Windows on a virtual desktop. Included in this first version were the utilities like a clipboard, clock, calculator, Windows Write and Paint.
This version allowed the Windows to appear on top of one another. The software also included shortcuts on the desktop and keyboard shortcuts. The software handled two different Intel processors, and allowed multiple DOS applications to run at the same time.
This version of Windows had a 3D look, and the architecture could address more memory. Later Windows 3.1 added screen-savers, support for TrueType fonts and networking features. Visual Basic 1.0 is born.
Windows NT was the first 32-bit version of Windows. The operating system could run programs simultaneously with up to 2GB of virtual memory apiece. There was also greater stability, preventing individual software processes from crashing the whole Windows system.
Windows 95 added the Start button, the Task-bar and the Microsoft Network. Internet Explorer was released a month later.
Windows 98 made it easier to update drivers and download system patches. Microsoft later introduced Windows 98 Second Edition, which included newer versions of the software and tools.
The software was called "NT 5.0", and promised a speed boost. It was quickly replaced with Windows XP after just one year.
Windows XP was a radical revamp to the look and feel of Windows. It was extremely popular, due to its stability and features. It was also popular due to the long delay and problems with Vista. Windows XP, despite its age, is still used by a quarter of all Web visitors.
Vista was badly conceived and rushed. Instead of concentrating on modernising the internals of Windows, Microsoft decided to revamp many features as well. The result was an operating system that took forever to arrive, was badly tuned, error prone, had hardware and software compatibility issues and missing drivers. As well, it had restrictive software security.
This Version of Windows proved remarkably stable, and had minimal problems. Windows 7 was available in both a 32-bit and a 64-bit version. Installation and Set-up were relatively pain free. The boot process was faster and the system required fewer resources to run. The UAC was completely under user control.
Windows 8 caters for PCs, Tablets, and Smart-phones. The new Metro style screen generated a large amount of negative comment. Fortunately there are many software add-ons that provided a Start Menu and Desktop mode just like Windows 7. Office 2013 has a flat, grey and uninspired interface with tabs in CAPITALS – so utterly rejected by Visual Studio developers.
This update includes user interface tweaks and some operating system changes. There is now the option to boot straight to the desktop, as well as the return of the Start button to launch applications.
Windows 10 requires massive updates, but is particularly stable. The big news – the colourful Start Menu is back. Windows XP programs must be run in compatibility mode.