Remember When? A brief history of Microsoft Windows.

March 19, 2018
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In 1985, VH1 made its broadcasting debut. The Coca-Cola Company introduces New Coke. And for the first time ever Microsoft released Windows.

Since then there have been a number of releases and a lot of changes. Here is a brief history including some (but not all) of the highlights:

    • Windows 1 Development was led by the original, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and could be credited with taking the mouse mainstream! Does anyone remember the game Reversi? It was a game invented to help people learn how to use the mouse.
    • Windows 2 – The first appearance of Microsoft Word and Excel came with their ability to run on Windows 2.
    • Windows 3/3.1 – Windows 3 was the release with which Microsoft started gaining momentum.  It supported multi-tasking and contributed to world-wide productivity losses… by introducing Solitaire! With 3.1, it was the first version distributed on a CD-ROM and introduced TrueType fonts which made Windows a viable publishing platform.
    • Windows 95 – Hello Start button and Start menu! This was also the first time we were introduced to Internet Explorer.
    • Windows 98 – Now we are getting somewhere! This version included IE 4, Outlook Express, Windows Address Book, Microsoft chat and the Second Edition included Windows Media Player. USB support improved with this version and led to widespread adoption of USB hubs and mice.
    • Windows ME – Ok, not Microsoft's finest version of Windows.  It had bugs and installation issues, but it did introduce Autocomplete in Windows Explorer!
    • Windows 2000 – This version was very significant as it laid the foundation for XP and was the first version that wasn’t based on MS-DOS. We were introduced to automatic updates and it was the first version to support hibernation.
    • Windows XP – What a gem.  Was there anyone that didn’t love XP? Maybe that is why XP was the longest running version of the operating system. Introduced in October 2001, it brought enterprise and consumer operating systems together for the first time. Some estimates show that when it was discontinued it was still being used on 430 million PCs.
    • Windows Vista – The focus on this release was on transparent elements, aka “Vista glass”, search and security.  With an ambitious plan, much had to be abandoned which may have been the cause of some of this version's bugs. Bugs aside, gamers were happy with the inclusion of Microsoft’s DirectX 10 technology and security got a boost with Windows Defender which debuted in this version.
    • Windows 7 – Released in October of 2007, this version was successful in fixing the criticism received by Vista. This version was more stable, much easier to use and improved the overall speed. Many businesses finally upgraded from XP to Windows 7.
    • Windows 8/8.1  A free upgrade for Windows 8, this version introduced many controversial changes: why did you take away my Start menu? On the plus side, this version was the first time the O/S provided support for touch screens and replaced the transparent glass look and feel, with flat bold, beautiful colors and tiles.
    • Windows 10 – Welcome back Start Menu! Windows 10 has been well-received by many and in our experience has been a dream for both the end-user experience and overall management. What was significant about Windows 10 is it was also the last version of Windows to be traditionally released. Instead, "feature updates" are now released twice a year to introduce new capabilities.

And that leads us to today, with the twice a year feature releases comes a new way companies need to manage the planning, migration and management of Windows in their organizations: Windows as a Service. This has created a lot of questions and confusion around just how to make that happen, which is why we created a special guide we are calling 10 for 10.  It includes the answers to the top 10 Windows 10 questions.

Check it out and of course, let us know if you have questions that weren’t included in the guide – we’d be happy to help.

Get the Windows 10 Guide

 

Tags: Windows 10 Microsoft windows as a service

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