On the 20th of November, the Windows operating system officially turned 27, following the 1985 release of Windows 1.0. Since its first induction onto commercial computers Windows has evolved from a standard GUI system to a full-fledged, user-friendly graphical interface with support for almost all aspects of computer use. Microsoft has grown hugely since then, but not without bumps in their enterprise.

It all started with one man, Chase Bishop, who designed a model called "Interface Manager". When released, it was renamed to Microsoft Windows 1.0. It was the most standard and low-graphic user interface imagineable, but was revolutionary in a software world where operating systems such as Microsoft's own DOS ran in text-based shells.

This continued on into version 2.1 with added features and more applications on the interface. Multiple tasks to be run simultanously also became another step towards easier computing, especially when moving into Windows 3.0 and 3.1.




In 1995, Microsoft released Windows 95, a great leap in their software. It featured an all-new object-orientated user interface, as well as various new features. These included the extremely useful 'Plug and Play' feature that allowed Windows to automatically install drivers for detected hardware. Long file names, easier file browsing, an always available menu bar called the (now well-known) Start menu. It was much more stable than Windows 3.1.


After Windows 95, Microsoft brought out Windows 98, with another plathora of new features. This was followed by Windows 2000 and Windows ME(Millenium Edition), also built on Windows 98's platform with increased security and stability.

Then, in the late 2001 Microsoft released their initial version of Windows XP. This marked another huge leap forward for the OS, and in fact is still a very widely used version today, despite three releases having been brought out after it. Built on the Windows NT(which was a server-based business version of Windows) kernel, Windows XP has received a lot of praise for a lot of added features and stability fixes. These included an advanced Task Manager, 'Common Tasks' menu in explorer windows, the ability to lock toolbars, a newly designed Start Menu, tile and film strip views, Autoplay, and more.

After the success of Windows XP, Microsoft released various other smaller Service Packs and NT server versions of Windows, until they came to the next generation of Windows in the form of Windows Vista.
Codenamed Longhorn, this was to be a huge leap in the OS's history, featuring more improvements. These included 'Windows Aero', the transparent interface, a new and improved Windows Explorer, instant search, a 'sidebar' which allowed you to place gadgets on the desktop, and more.
Vista had a lot of negative criticism however, many of them relating to pricing, system requirements, the new UAC(User Account Control) system and various application compatibility issues.

Windows 7, released in 2009, was not a large upgrade to Vista, but instead focused on improving the compatibility of its core with other applications, and introduced a few new features such as Homegroup file sharing, improved boot performance and the Action centre. The interface also had a slight overhaul, but still looks familiar to Vista users.

And now, we are in 2012, the release of Windows 8 just passed, and we reminisce about the old versions that 'worked better'. Even with all its differences, it its still a very stable and secure operating system. The new interface is very off-putting to some, but the various new features it presents with, such as account management over the internet, and an appstore. When will we see Windows 9? We hope not soon, as the pricing and upgrading is fairly hard to keep up with, especially for small to medium businesses.

Through the years Microsoft has proven the ease of use and user-friendliness is a winner in the commercial market, and with their new expansions into the mobile market, they are sure to travel far in the operating system and software world for years to come.