Visual history of Windows
- Windows 1.0 (1985) Where it all began: Windows 1.0 introduced a GUI, mouse support, and important apps.
- Windows 2.0 (1987) Windows 2.0 continued 16-bit computing with VGA graphics and the first versions of Word and Excel
- Windows 3.0 (1990) Windows 3.0 included a better UI with new Program and File managers. Minesweeper also arrived with the 3.1 update
- Windows NT 3.5 (1994) Windows NT 3.5 was the second release of NT, and it really marked Microsoft's push into business computing with important security and file sharing features.
- Windows 95 (1995) Windows 95 was one of the most significant updates to Windows. Microsoft moved to a 32-bit architecture and introduced the Start menu. A new era of apps emerged, and Internet Explorer arrived in an update to Windows 95.
- Windows 98 (1998) Windows 98 built on the success of Windows 95 by improving hardware support and performance. Microsoft was also focused on the web at its launch, and bundled apps and features like Active Desktop, Outlook Express, Frontpage Express, Microsoft Chat, and NetMeeting.
- Windows ME (2000) Windows ME focused on multimedia and home users, but it was unstable and buggy. Windows Movie Maker first appeared in ME, alongside improved versions of Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer.
- Windows 2000 (2000) Windows 2000 was designed for client and server computers within businesses. Based on Windows NT, it was designed to be secure with new file protection, a DLL cache, and hardware plug and play.
- Windows XP (2001) Windows XP really combined Microsoft's home and business efforts. Windows XP was designed for client and server computers within businesses. Based on Windows NT, it was designed to be secure with new file protection, a DLL cache, and hardware plug and play.
- Windows Vista (2007) Windows Vista was poorly received like ME. While Vista introduced a new Aero UI and improved security features, Microsoft took around six years to develop Windows Vista and it only worked well on new hardware. User account control was heavily criticized, and Windows Vista remains part of the bad cycle of Windows releases.
- Windows 7 (2009) Windows 7 arrived in 2009 to clean up the Vista mess. Microsoft did a good job of performance, while tweaking and improving the user interface and making user account control less annoying. Windows 7 is now one of the most popular versions of Windows.
- Windows 8 (2012) Windows 8 was a drastic redesign of the familiar Windows interface. Microsoft removed the Start menu and replace it with a fullscreen Start Screen. New “Metro-style” apps were designed to replace aging desktop apps, and Microsoft really focused on touch screens and tablet PCs. It was a little too drastic for most desktop users, and Microsoft had to rethink the future of Windows.
- Windows 10 (2015) Back to the Start: Windows 10 brings back the familiar Start menu, and introduces some new features like Cortana, Microsoft Edge, and the Xbox One streaming to PCs. It's more thoughtfully designed for hybrid laptops and tablets, and Microsoft has switched to a Windows as a service model to keep it regularly updated in the future.