Evolution of Windows – From DOS to Windows 10: Part 1

A lot of us are currently running Windows 10 on our PCs. Since it was released in 2015, Windows 10 has proved a good OS for not just PCs but IoT devices, tablets, and even phones despite the death of Windows 10 Mobile last month. We all should be running Windows 10 at the moment because of Windows 7’s end of life last month, or you should install Linux instead if you want a secure OS for free or your old PC is incapable of running Windows 10. However, Windows wasn’t always the metro-style OS it is now. Back in 1985, Windows 1.0 was released and it looked very different from Windows 10. It ran on top of MS-DOS, which was Microsoft’s CLI-based operating system which is known for its retro gaming support.

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Windows 1.0, released in 1985

Windows 1.0 ran on top of DOS and acted as a DOS application but also an extension. If you attempted to run a Windows-only game in DOS it would not work, but running Windows and then running the game would work. It acted as a compatibility layer for DOS.

Windows 1.0 was followed by 2.0, which was very similar to its predecessor but added overlapping windows and 16-bit VGA graphics. Apple took Microsoft to court, accusing them of stealing the ‘look and feel’ of Mac OS, but Apple lost the case. However, Windows 2.0 did not change much and the first version of Windows to include major noticeable changes would be 3.0.

Windows 3.0 revamped the user interface and introduced icons for programs, which Windows 2.0 and 1.0 did not have and instead just had the file names. A solitare program was also added as well as an improved paintbrush program. Windows 3.1 was later released as an upgrade, adding True Type font support and coloured screen savers, and a new startup screen.

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Windows 3.0 had significant GUI improvements over 2.0

Next came Windows 95. Windows 95 is well known not only for being nostalgic but for significantly changing Windows. It introduced dial-up internet, the start menu, and was the first version of Windows to not be ran as an application on top of MS-DOS. It was its own OS. As 32-bit computers were introduced, Windows 95 added support for 32-bit applications. The right click menu, which brought up a menu of options when right click is pressed such as copy, cut, and paste was introduced as well.

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Windows 95 introduced the taskbar and start menu

One year later came Windows NT 4.0. NT 4 was aimed more at businesses rather than home use. It had Internet Explorer preloaded with it but most other changes were aimed at server and business use.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post. In part 2 of the Windows evolution trilogy I will be looking at Windows 98 up until 7, a big leap in Windows history.

Yesterday 13 years ago, Microsoft released Windows Vista

On the 30th January 2007, Microsoft released Windows Vista. This version of Windows included a major overhaul to the system UI but also was very buggy which is why Windows 7 was released two years later which was much more stable. Windows Vista was NOT a free upgrade, unlike Windows 10 which was free for Windows 7 and 8 users for a year.

Windows Vista was the most buggy version of Windows since Windows ME. Windows ME and 2000 were released to celebrate the new millennium, explaining Windows 2000’s name, but Windows 2000 was aimed more at the workplace whilst Windows ME was aimed more at home users. Windows 2000 was a great version of Windows and very stable, whilst Windows ME… not so much.

Windows Vista support ended almost three years ago, meaning Vista users will not receive any security updates, leaving it open to potential vulnerabilities. Google Chrome dropped support for it too alongside Windows XP. Windows 7 support has recently came to an end too, so it’s recommended to upgrade to Windows 10 or buy a new PC with the OS preinstalled if you’re still running the old OS.