Windows Evolution

posted in Software |


Witness the evolution through time of the miracle that is Windows. See where it all began, from Windows 1.01 (1985) to Windows Server 2008 (2007). Enjoy!

Windows 1.01 (June 1985)

Windows 1.0 is a 16-bit graphical operating environment released on November 20, 1985. It was Microsoft’s first attempt to implement a multi-tasking graphical user interface-based operating environment on the PC platform.

Windows 2.03 (December 1987)

Windows 2.0 is a version of the Microsoft Windows graphical user interface-based operating environment that superseded Windows 1.0. Windows 2.0 was said to more closely match Microsoft’s pre-release publicity for Windows 1.0, than Windows 1.0 did.

Windows 2.1 (June 1988)

Windows 2.1x is a family of Microsoft Windows graphical user interface-based operating environments.
Less than a year after the release of Windows 2.0, Windows/286 2.1 and Windows/386 2.1 were released on May 27, 1988.

Windows 3.0 (May 1990)

Windows 3.0 is the third major release of Microsoft Windows, and came out on May 22, 1990. It became the first widely successful version of Windows and a powerful rival to Apple Macintosh and the Commodore Amiga on the GUI front. It was succeeded by Windows 3.1.

Windows 3.1 (April 1992)

Windows 3.1x is a graphical user interface and a part of the Microsoft Windows software family. Several editions were released between 1992 and 1994, succeeding Windows 3.0. This family of Windows can run in either Standard or 386 Enhanced memory modes. The exception is Windows for Workgroups 3.11, which can only officially run in 386 Enhanced mode

Windows for Workgroups 3.1 (October 1992)

Windows for Workgroups 3.1 (originally codenamed Kato), released in October 1992, features native networking support. Windows for Workgroups 3.1 is an extended version of Windows 3.1 which comes with SMB file sharing support via the NetBEUI and/or IPX network protocols, includes the Hearts card game, and introduced VSHARE.386, the Virtual Device Driver version of the SHARE.EXE Terminate and Stay Resident program.

Windows NT 3.1 (August 1993)

Windows NT 3.1 is the first release of Microsoft’s Windows NT line of server and business desktop operating systems, and was released to manufacturing on July 27, 1993. The version number was chosen to match the one of Windows 3.1, the then-latest GUI from Microsoft, on account of the similar visual appearance of the user interface. Two editions of NT 3.1 were made available, Windows NT 3.1 and Windows NT Advanced Server.

Windows for Workgroups 3.11 (November 1993)

Windows for Workgroups 3.11 (originally codenamed Snowball) was released in December 1993. It supported 32-bit file access, full 32-bit network redirectors, and the VCACHE.386 file cache, shared between them. The standard execution mode of the Windows kernel was discontinued in Windows for Workgroups 3.11.

Windows NT 3.5 (September 1994)

Windows NT 3.5 is the second release of the Microsoft Windows NT operating system. It was released on September 21, 1994.
One of the primary goals during Windows NT 3.5’s development was to increase the speed of the operating system; as a result, the project was given the codename “Daytona” in reference to the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.


Windows NT 3.51 (November 1994)

Windows NT 3.51 is the third release of Microsoft’s Windows NT line of operating systems. It was released on May 30, 1995, nine months after Windows NT 3.5. The release provided two notable feature improvements; firstly NT 3.51 was the first of a short-lived outing of Microsoft Windows on the PowerPC CPU architecture. The second most significant enhancement offered through the release was that it provided client/server support for interoperating with Windows 95, which was released three months after NT 3.51. Windows NT 4.0 became its successor a year later; Microsoft continued to support 3.51 until December 31, 2001.

Windows 95 (August 1995)

Windows 95 was a consumer-oriented graphical user interface-based operating system. It was released on August 24, 1995 by Microsoft, and was a significant progression from the company’s previous Windows products. During development it was referred to as Windows 4.0 or by the internal codename Chicago.

Windows NT 4.0 (September 1996)

Windows NT 4.0 is the fourth release of Microsoft’s Windows NT line of operating systems, released to manufacturing on July 29, 1996. It is a 32-bit Windows system available in both workstation and server editions with a graphical environment similar to that of Windows 95. The “NT” designation in the product’s title initially stood for “New Technology” according to Bill Gates, but now no longer has any specific meaning.

Windows 98 (June 1998)

Windows 98 (codenamed Memphis and formerly known as Windows 97) is a graphical operating system released on June 25, 1998 by Microsoft and the successor to Windows 95. Like its predecessor, it is a hybrid 16-bit/32-bit monolithic product based on MS-DOS.

Windows 98 Second Edition (May 1999)

Windows 98 Second Edition (SE) is an update to Windows 98, released on May 5, 1999. It includes fixes for many minor issues, improved USB support, and the replacement of Internet Explorer 4.0 with the significantly faster Internet Explorer 5. Also included is Internet Connection Sharing, which allows multiple computers on a LAN to share a single Internet connection through Network Address Translation. Other features in the update include Microsoft NetMeeting 3.0 and integrated support for DVD-ROM drives. However, it is not a free upgrade for Windows 98, but a stand-alone product. This can cause problems if programs specifically request Windows 98 SE, but the user only owns Windows 98.

Windows 2000 (February 2000)

Windows 2000 (also referred to as Win2K) is an interruptible, graphical and business-oriented operating system that was designed to work with either uniprocessor or symmetric multi-processor 32-bit Intel x86 computers. It is part of the Microsoft Windows NT line of operating systems and was released on February 17, 2000. It was succeeded by Windows XP in October 2001 and Windows Server 2003 in April 2003. Windows 2000 is classified as a hybrid kernel operating system.

Windows ME Millennium Edition (July 2000)


Windows Millennium Edition, or Windows Me, is a hybrid 16-bit/32-bit graphical operating system released on September 14, 2000 by Microsoft.


Windows XP (October 2001)

Windows XP is a line of proprietary operating systems developed by Microsoft for use on general-purpose computer systems, including home and business desktops, notebook computers, and media centers. The letters “XP” stand for eXPerience. Codenamed “Whistler”, after Whistler, British Columbia, as many Microsoft employees skied at the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort during its development, Windows XP is the successor to both Windows 2000 and Windows Me, and is the first consumer-oriented operating system produced by Microsoft to be built on the Windows NT kernel and architecture. Windows XP was first released on October 25, 2001, and over 400 million copies are in use, according to a January 2006 estimate by an IDC analyst. It is succeeded by Windows Vista, which was released to volume license customers on November 8, 2006, and worldwide to the general public on January 30, 2007.

Windows Server 2003 (April 2003)

Windows Server 2003 is a server operating system produced by Microsoft. Introduced on April 24, 2003 as the successor to Windows 2000 Server, it is considered by Microsoft to be the cornerstone of their Windows Server System line of business server products.
According to Microsoft, Windows Server 2003 is more scalable and delivers better performance than its predecessor, Windows 2000.

Windows XP Media Center Edition (October 2005)

Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) is a version of Windows XP designed to serve as a home-entertainment hub. The last version, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, was released on October 12, 2004.

Windows Vista (January 2007)

Windows Vista is a line of graphical operating systems used on personal computers, including home and business desktops, notebook computers, Tablet PCs, and media centers. Prior to its announcement on July 22, 2005, Windows Vista was known by its codename “Longhorn”. Development was completed on November 8, 2006; over the following three months it was released in stages to computer hardware and software manufacturers, business customers, and retail channels. On January 30, 2007, it was released worldwide to the general public, and was made available for purchase and downloading from Microsoft’s web site. The release of Windows Vista comes more than five years after the introduction of its predecessor, Windows XP, making it the longest time span between two releases of Microsoft Windows.


Windows Server 2008 (2007)

Windows Server 2008 is the name of the next server operating system from Microsoft. It is the successor to Windows Server 2003. It was known as codename Windows Server “Longhorn” until May 15, 2007, when Bill Gates announced its official title during his keynote address at WinHEC.
Windows Server 2008 is the server operating system containing many of the new client features from Windows Vista. This is a similar relationship to that between Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP.
Beta 1 was released on July 27, 2005. Beta 2 was announced and released on May 23, 2006 at WinHEC 2006, and Beta 3 was released publicly on April 25, 2007.


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There are currently 24 responses to “Windows Evolution”

  1. 1 On June 22nd, 2007, Alan Smith said:

    It seems that it has taken MS 22 years to catch up to the look of the Mac, and of late OS X. Notice, I did not say functionality. Vista still seems to be a resource hog and slow (you will have to either upgrade your computer significantly or buy a new one to run to Vista).

  2. 2 On June 22nd, 2007, admin said:

    XP was also looked at as a huge resource hog when it was released, and look where it’s now… Vista will definitely become popular.

  3. 3 On June 22nd, 2007, Tom B said:

    “XP was also looked at as a huge resource hog when it was released, and look where it’s now… Vista will definitely become popular.”

    I would say “widely used” rather than “popular, since most people do not use Windows by CHOICE.It is what they are offered in the workplace, and if they hope to rip-off a free copy of MS Office, it’s what they need to have at home as well.

    Vista looks prettier than XP, in my view, but it’s still a bit gaudy.

    For my part, I hope Mac 10.5 is as fast or faster than 10.4.x, but Apple has a pretty good track record on not releasing slower and slower OS’s. The exception was the transition from OS 7 (Motorola 68040) to 7.5.x (PowerPC). It took several YEARS to optimize code for PowerPC, then MOT and IBM deciding they didn’t really care about the chip business, and now we’re all on Intel, except a few guys in the server room with AMD.

    Any hope you could do a Mac or an “X11” evolution series?

  4. 4 On June 22nd, 2007, ovisebdan said:

    @Tom B

    the Mac Evolution will follow ;)

  5. 5 On July 20th, 2007, DQ links for July 20, 2007 said:

    […] Windows Evolution – Short history of Windows, from 1.01 (1985) to Vista (2007). Enjoy. […]

  6. 6 On July 20th, 2007, Frankie said:

    that was a real nice try at cut and paste for the google web site on the Internet explorer window in Windows for Workgroups 3.11 (November 1993), it made me laugh! Since google didn’t exist then and the Public Internet as we know it today didn’t exist either, because Al Gore hadn’t invented it as of yet. Although he and Clinton were in their freshman year at the whitehouse in 1993, and I believe it was a few years later he decided to invent the Internet, oh well, like i said, It made me laugh.
    Thanks keep up the history, it’s interesting.

  7. 7 On July 22nd, 2007, edwardo said:

    hey frankie though i agree upon the look of the google page, but the internet was around though,lol though it was used by less then ten % of the usa… but was around do you know where BSD games are? through TelNEt?

  8. 8 On July 25th, 2007, admin said:

    Крута та как!!! Аффтар жж0т!!

  9. 9 On July 25th, 2007, Alex said:


  10. 10 On July 25th, 2007, google said:

    2 Frankie July 20th, 2007 at 12:46 pm:

    could be a contemporary screen shot of an old machine taken out of grandma’s cellar…

  11. 11 On August 8th, 2007, Evolutia Windows « ovisebdan said:

    […] Evolutia Windows Am scris acum ceva timp un post pe Computer Hovel despre Evolutia Windows, ma gandeam ca poate va intereseaza subiectul. Cititi aici. […]

  12. 12 On December 24th, 2007, Marius said:

    Nice article. And very explicit.

  13. 13 On February 26th, 2008, Chris "Code Name Mepis" said:

    I wonder if there is a new OS by Microsoft is launching, Ive looked in Wikipedia and saw Vienna.
    And Office 2008, similar to 2007.

  14. 14 On February 27th, 2008, ovisebdan said:

    the next OS is code-named “7” and they’ve been working on it for some time now

  15. 15 On March 2nd, 2008, Cole said:

    Windows NT – New Technology = Windows OT – Windows Old Technology

  16. 16 On May 6th, 2008, admin said:

    nice, im wait new windows

  17. 17 On May 21st, 2008, AndreyK said:

    Спасибо автору за полезную информацию ;)

  18. 18 On June 9th, 2008, lpang said:

    Nice going.i cant wait for new windows

  19. 19 On September 6th, 2008, MS said:

    Windows is NO miracle. It’s more of a plague….

    Nice post, though.

  20. 20 On March 7th, 2009, DanielRemains said:

    What about Windows 7 ? :D

  21. 21 On March 14th, 2009, ovisebdan said:

    This post was written one year and 265 days ago.

  22. 22 On October 26th, 2009, Dregan said:

    Windows 7 was a big sucess compared to vista and xp even though Xp was still a little bit more sucessful than vista too..Vista was GARBAGE that’s why people are still runnig XP on they computers and laptops windows 7 is pretty much an update of windows Vista it’s like Windows 7 and Windows Xp put together…


  23. 23 On January 4th, 2011, ovisebdan » Evolutia Windows said:

    […] Am scris acum ceva timp un post pe Computer Hovel despre Evolutia Windows, ma gandeam ca poate va intereseaza subiectul. Il puteti citi aici. […]

  24. 24 On July 7th, 2012, Hami Noshai said:

    I like windows for workgroups 3.11 anyone know where to get virtual box image for it btw im running windows 8 and its as bad as vista

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