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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is Windows Operating System?
3.
Features of Windows Operating System
4.
Initial Release
5.
Various Versions of Windows Operating System
6.
Windows NT
7.
Windows XP
8.
Windows 8x
9.
Windows 10
10.
Latest Version - Windows 11
11.
Difference between Linux and Windows Operating System
12.
Frequently Asked Questions
12.1.
How many Windows operating systems are there?
12.2.
What are the uses of Windows?
12.3.
What is the latest Windows operating system?
12.4.
What Windows version is best?
13.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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Windows Operating System

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Introduction

Microsoft Windows, also known as Windows Operating System is a graphical Operating System developed by Microsoft Corporation. It is a Closed Source project, however it is possible to avail the Source code through Shared Source Initiative launched by Microsoft in May 2001. Windows OS is available in 110 languages and dominates the Personal Computing Market.

Operating System

In this blog, we will look into what is Windows Operating System and cover its major salient features. So let’s get started.

What is Windows Operating System?

The Windows Operating System is a family of proprietary graphical user interface-based operating systems developed and marketed by Microsoft Corporation. It provides a platform for running applications, managing hardware devices, and organizing files and data on personal computers and servers.

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Features of Windows Operating System

  • Graphical User Interface (GUI): Windows OS offers a user-friendly GUI, allowing users to interact with the system using graphical elements such as windows, icons, menus, and buttons.
  • Multitasking: Windows supports multitasking, enabling users to run multiple applications simultaneously, switching between them seamlessly.
  • File Management: Windows provides robust file management capabilities, including file organization, searching, copying, moving, and deletion.
  • Device Support: Windows supports a wide range of hardware devices, including printers, scanners, cameras, and external storage devices, through plug-and-play functionality.
  • Networking: Windows facilitates network connectivity, allowing users to access shared resources, browse the internet, and communicate with other devices on local and wide area networks.
  • Security: Windows includes built-in security features such as user account control, firewall, antivirus protection, and encryption to safeguard the system and user data from unauthorized access and malicious threats.
  • Compatibility: Windows ensures compatibility with a vast ecosystem of software applications, supporting legacy programs and providing backward compatibility with older versions of Windows.
  • Updates and Support: Windows receives regular updates and patches from Microsoft, addressing security vulnerabilities, improving performance, and introducing new features. Additionally, Microsoft offers technical support and assistance to users through various channels.

Initial Release

In response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces, Microsoft released Windows on November 20, 1985, as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS. The first version of Windows was just a graphical user interface (GUI) that served as an extension to Microsoft's existing Disc Operating System or MS-DOS. Based in part on licensed concepts from Apple Inc.'s Macintosh System Software, Windows allowed DOS users for the first time to visually navigate a virtual desktop, opening graphical "windows" displaying the contents of electronic folders and files with the click of a mouse button, rather than typing commands and directory paths at a text prompt. 

Microsoft Windows began to dominate the world's personal computer (PC) market with a market share of more than 90%, surpassing Mac OS, which was launched in 1984. Windows Operating System has launched its several versions since then, targeting different sectors of computing. We will take a look at important versions of the Windows Operating System since its launch.

Various Versions of Windows Operating System

Windows NT

Windows NT is the first Windows operating system based on a hybrid kernel. The initial version of the resulting operating system, Windows NT 3.1 (named to associate it with Windows 3.1), was released in July 1993, featuring desktop workstation and server versions. Windows NT 3.5 was introduced in September 1994, with a focus on performance enhancements and compatibility for Novell's NetWare, and was followed in May 1995 by Windows NT 3.51, which contained additional improvements and support for the PowerPC architecture. 

In June 1996, Microsoft introduced Windows NT 4.0, which brought the revamped interface of Windows 95 to the NT series. Microsoft introduced Windows 2000, the successor to NT 4.0, on February 17, 2000. The Windows NT name was eliminated at this stage to emphasize the Windows brand.

Windows XP

The next major version of Windows NT, Windows XP, was released on October 25, 2001. Microsoft unified its different Windows packages under a single banner with the 2001 release of Windows XP, offering multiple editions for consumers, enterprises, multimedia developers, and others. Windows XP replaced the long-used Windows 95 kernel (core software code) in favor of a more capable code base, a more user-friendly interface, and enhanced program and memory management

The very successful XP standard was followed in late 2006 by Windows Vista, which had a problematic launch and encountered significant market resistance, soon gaining a reputation for being a huge, slow, and resource-consuming system. In response to Vista's low adoption rate, Microsoft released Windows 7 in 2009, an operating system with a similar interface to Vista but a substantial speed gain.

Windows XP

Windows 8x

On October 26, 2012, Microsoft announced Windows 8, the successor to Windows 7. Windows 8 had many significant modifications, including the introduction of a user interface based on Microsoft's Metro design language, as well as optimizations for touch-based devices such as tablets and all-in-one PCs. 

The Start screen, which uses huge tiles that are more suitable for touch interactions and allow for the display of constantly updated information, is one of these innovations, as is a new class of programs developed particularly for usage on touch-based devices. The new Windows version required a minimum resolution of 1024x768 pixels, rendering netbooks with 800x600-pixel screens unsuitable.

Windows 8x

Windows 10

Microsoft launched Windows 10 as the successor to Windows 8.1 on September 30, 2014. It was published on July 29, 2015, and it fixes issues with the user interface that were first presented with Windows 8. The reintroduction of the Start Menu, a virtual desktop system, and the option to run Windows Store apps within Windows on the desktop rather than in full-screen mode are among the changes on PC. 

Microsoft announced the switch of their Windows source code repository from Perforce to Git in February 2017. This migration included 3.5 million individual files in a 300 GB repository. By May 2017, 90% of its engineering team was utilizing Git, resulting in approximately 8500 changes and 1760 Windows builds every day.

Windows 10

Latest Version - Windows 11

During a Livestream on June 24, 2021, Windows 11 was revealed as the successor to Windows 10. The new operating system was created to be more user-friendly and intelligible. On October 5, 2021, it was launched. As of today, some Windows 10 customers can get a free upgrade to Windows 11.

Latest Version - Windows 11

Read about the Batch Operating System and features of the operating system.

Difference between Linux and Windows Operating System

Feature Linux Windows
Kernel Linux kernel Windows NT kernel
Licensing Mostly open-source (GNU GPL) Proprietary (commercial licenses)
User Interface Mostly command-line interface Graphical User Interface (GUI)
File System Ext4, XFS, Btrfs, etc. NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, etc.
Software Installation Package managers (apt, yum, etc.) Installers (.exe, .msi files)
Application Support Varies widely Extensive third-party support
Hardware Compatibility Moderate Extensive
Customization Highly customizable Limited customization options
Security Less targeted by malware More susceptible to malware
Support and Community Strong open-source community Official support from Microsoft

Frequently Asked Questions

How many Windows operating systems are there?

Microsoft Windows has seen nine major versions since its first release in 1985.

What are the uses of Windows?

Windows is a graphical operating system developed by Microsoft. It allows users to view and store files, run the software, play games, watch videos, and provides a way to connect to the internet.

What is the latest Windows operating system?

Windows 11 is the latest release of Microsoft's flagship operating system and the successor to Windows 10.

What Windows version is best?

With Windows 7 support finally over as of January 2020, you should upgrade to Windows 10 if you are able—but it remains to be seen whether Microsoft will ever match the lean utilitarian nature of Windows 7 ever again.

Conclusion

In this blog, we learned about the major releases of the Windows Operating System. Windows Operating System continues to be the most dominant operating system in PCs. However, Microsoft admitted that it has lost the smartphone operating system market to Android.

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