Software

About the History of the Windows Operating System


The first computers used programming cards and sophisticated output devices to communicate with the operators. Thus getting information into a machine and out of it was instead a tedious affair most of the time. The breakthrough came with the Disc Operating System that was invented by Paul Allen and Bill Gates.

DOS primarily relied on a set of commands to interact with the computer, and at that time, was considered as a future-ready system that had its right use.

Matters took a different turn when the computer was no longer seen as something the geeks used all the time, and it soon became a home utility device.

Thus the search was on to have a user-friendly set of operations that did not need the advanced knowledge that most computer users needed. It is in pursuit of this easy to use interface that brought about the Windows operating system as we know it today.

The First Days of the Windows Operating System

“The term Windows as coined after the use of card-like features to separate the various sections of the computer hard disk.”

It resembled the shape of windows, and the early programmers used a style that was reminiscent of opening out and shutting the Windows of homes to have the user interface working. Thus was born the Windows Operating System.

With the Windows operating system, there came about what was called the Graphic User Interface. The GUI differed from the earlier methods of interacting with the computer in that it did away with a lot of sophisticated hardware.

At the same time, it introduced the element of graphics on a monitor to control and have the machines working. People were more adept at remembering pictures and graphics than a set of bland commands which was being used till then.

The Various Releases of the Windows System

The first version of windows was released in 1985 as Windows 1.0. From then on, Microsoft would release a new version of Windows every three years on the average.

This would better the performance of the operating system as it keeps up with the advances in hardware that was taking place simultaneously.

Currently, the latest of the Windows releases are running on Windows 10 and uses a 64-bit processor to achieve top performance.

It would be pertinent to give a rundown of the various Windows Operating Systems versions with their salient features that were built into them.

Windows 1.0-2.0: Released in the year 1985 and Windows 1.0 started the trend of the new set of operating systems. But it must be said that the system was mostly a user interface with the backdrop MS-DOS doing the processing and computing work.

At this juncture, the phenomenon of the world wide web hadn’t been born. Thus the networking of computers was much of a rarity.What existed as connected networks were the LANs of the times, which shared the primary memory and no more.

With the release of Windows 2.0 in 1987, Microsoft introduced desktop icons and short cut keys, thus simplifying a complex set of operations till then. The version 2.0 was designed for the 286 processor and would operate on the 16-bit processor.

Windows 3.0-3.1: Windows 3.0 was designed for the 386 sets of processors and introduced much-improved graphics over the earlier releases.

What is significant as far as color schemes go was the use of a much richer set of colors to represent the graphics. This version of Windows released in 1990 had the File Manager, Program Manager, Print Manager, and for the first time games.

“The release of Windows 3.1 was a debugged version of Windows 3.0 and came out in the year 1992.”

Windows 95: Released in August of 1995, Windows 95 was designed for the 32-bit operating environment and was a significant jump over the existing product of the times.

There were a lot of improvements in the system architecture, and it was a new experience that awaited the windows user of the times.

This release did away with the underlying DOS systems, and thus it became possible for people to be released from the constraints of things like the eight-character file names. There were also limited plug and play features as well.

Windows 98: For the first time, windows released an integrated Internet Explorer with the operating system. Also introduced was a lot of features that were not to be seen earlier, like FAT 32, USB, DVD, etc. The built-in internet explorer enabled the user to access a file on the internet with the same ease as accessing a file stored on the computer.

Windows ME: The Windows ME version did not exactly create ripples in the computing markets. What it is remembered for is its removal of the option to have the system boot in from the DOS.

Windows XP: It could be said that Windows XP would be the best selling operating system of all times under the windows banner.

The operating release was based on the Windows 2000 kernel and produced outstanding graphic features for the times.

For the first time, Microsoft brought out the release in two versions, the home version and the professional one. This is one windows release that probably ran the most continued support from Microsoft.

Windows Vista: Although the Vista did not achieve high commercial success, it was always benchmarked against the highly successful Windows XP. Few people found the advantage of upgrading from a system that performed so well, which is primarily the reason that Windows Vista dies a quiet death.

Windows 7: There were some notable graphical improvements with this version of the Windows operating system. Internet Explorer 8 was released with Windows 7, and that introduced absolute freedom with surfing on
the web.

Windows 8: Windows 8 was started from the ground upwards and involved the complete redesign of the operating system. It had an inbuilt anti-virus program, and the architecture enabled a fast boot and start-up too. The system included the metro display that took off from the windows mobile phone operating system. There were live tiles that make navigation of the system faster and more convenient.

Windows 10: On July 29, 2015 the Windows 10 release took off from where Windows 8 left off. There were further refinements and better user experience as a whole. It also included the new Microsoft Edge internet
browser.

Final thoughts, The Windows Operating System has had a checkered past. Some of the releases were instant hits, whereas there were the laggards that did not captivate the markets. What is worth noting is the ever-increasing speeds of the processors and the higher demands on computing power. That the Widows system has been able to play to great strengths speaks volumes for the developers.


You can find me sailing the Bering Strait with my beautiful ship Nonsense where I update Windows Maximizer with geeky, boring posts about troubleshooting nerdy technical issues. Au revoir, amigos!