In 1981, while employed by Apple, Steve Balmer and Bill Gates began development on a project dubbed, “Interface Manager”. In 1983 it was announced but wasn’t officially released as Windows. 1.0 until 1985. This version did not support overlapping windows as the patent for this was owned by Apple. Therefore Microsoft had to settle for the ’tiling’ of windows instead.
Then in 1987 Windows 2.0 was released and sequentially thereafter, later versions of 2.1 and 2.2 came to market fixing “minor” bugs.
1990 saw Windows 3.0 released. This release was written in assembly unlike it’s predecessors that were written in C. Assembly is far less memory hungry than C and therefore the OS experienced a good speed increase.
In 1992 we got to see Windows 3.1 and with it, Windows NT 3.11 for workgroups. This was our first glimpse at Microsoft using a 32bit file access. Windows NT proved to be a surprisingly solid release and quickly became popular with network admins. To be honest I still believe this was one of the most solid releases of any Windows OS to this day.
Windows 95. In 1995 this hugely popular release hit shelves world-wide via one of the largest media events the computer industry has ever seen.
Running 32bit applications natively, Windows 95 also support long file names (255 characters). Speed and stability were key focuses of Microsoft for this release over Windows 3.1 series.
Then came 1998. The year Windows 98 came out. This version saw a great improvement in the form of a service pack called Windows SE (second edition). Marketed as a new OS but reality showed us that it was just a great service pack for Windows 98.
The year was 2000, when the world was talking about how the world was going to end and then Windows 2000 was released. Windows 2000 was a massive improvement on the NT kernel and proved to be a huge success for Microsoft due to its stability, security and networking ability. Windows 2000 will always remain my personal favorite of all the Windows releases.
ME (Millenium Edition) is the least known of the Windows line of operating systems. Probably because it didn’t have a very long shelf life before the release of the reigning champion of OSs, Windows XP. I say this because even after the 2006 release of Windows Vista, this operating system was still the most preferred OS in the world and ultimately was the demise of Vista. I believe Vista is the ‘black sheep’ of the Windows line of OSs. Just like the Xbox 360 is in the gaming industry!
Throughout 2007 and 2008 we saw releases of Windows Server to carry on the NT legacy for networking enthusiasts.
2009. Here we finally get to see a REAL operating system from Microsoft. One that would take us back to the days of XP. A solid, refined, secure and user friendly OS that could actually….wait for it….compete with OS X by Apple. Although it still playing catch up with Mac but hey…give’em credit they are trying!