Windows 1.0

Microsoft first began developing Windows in September 1981 under the name Interface Manager. It used a graphical user interface (GUI) from their own operating system MS-DOS. It used pull-down menus and dialogs, such as used on the Xerox Star. In 1985 Microsoft Windows 1.0 was released to compete with the Apple Lisa, GEM from Digital Research, DESQ from Quarterdeck, the Amiga Workbench , GEOS/GeoWorks Ensemble, IBM OS/2, NeXTstep and DeskMate from Tandy. Windows 1.0 was not very popular and it was limited because of legal restraints from Apple. eg. no trash can. This and other restraints were later removed. Windows 1.0 package, included: MS-DOS Executive, Calendar, Cardfile, Notepad, Terminal, Calculator, Clock, Reversi, Control Panel, PIF (Program Information File) Editor, Print Spooler, Clipboard, RAMDrive, Windows Write, and Windows Paint.

Windows 2.0
In the autumn of 1987, Windows 2 was released and it was much more successful than the first Windows. Much of the popularity for Windows 2.0 came because of its inclusion as a "run-time version" with Microsoft's new graphical applications, Excel and Word for Windows.  They could be run from MS-DOS, using/executing Windows for the duration of the program, and then closing down Windows when it was exited. Windows 386 was released later that year and it allowed multiple programs to be run under MS-DOS. Windows 2.0 was then renamed Windows 286 to create consistency.

Windows 3.0 and 3.1
Released in 1990 Windows 3.0 was the first really popular version of Windows and it provided a complete redesign of the Windows environment. It sold over 10 million copies and independent software companies began to develop software for it. In 1992 Windows 3.1 was released and it provided improvements on 3.0.

Windows 95
In August of 1995 Windows 95 was released, a 32-bit system, an upgrade from the previous version that was only 16-bit. It introduced a new user interface including the "Start" button, which quickly became a PC icon.

Windows NT
Microsoft Windows NT 1.0 was originally OS/2 3.0. While IBM released OS/2 2.0 Microsoft released an improved version of it under the name of Windows NT. Microsoft's marketing was so effective most people were unaware of the connection. Windows NT was developed for networking and Dave Cutler, one of the chief architects of VMS at Digital Equipment Corporation (now part of Compaq), was hired to develop NT into a more capable operating system.

Windows CE
Windows CE was an operating system developed for handheld PC units with version 1.0 being released in November 1996. Windows CE 2.0 was released in early 1998 and 3.0 in June, 2000.
Windows CE 2.0.

Windows 98
Microsoft Windows 98 was released in June of 1998. It included Integrated Web Browsing allowed you to browse your local files the way you browse the internet. New Hardware support supported the latest technology such as DVD, Firewire, USB, and AGP.

Windows 2000
Windows 2000 was released on February 17 2000. It was the new name given Windows NT 5.0, and it like Windows 98 integrated Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 into its operating system allowing for Integrated Web Browsing. It provided a platform for internet, intranet, and extranet.

Windows ME
On Thursday Sep. 14, 2000 Microsoft released Windows Me, short for Millennium Edition. It was aimed at the home user. Its operating system included some enhanced multimedia features. eg. an automated video editor and improved Internet plumbing. Although many users thought that it was too much like the previous versions on Windows i.e. Windows 98.

Windows XP: Home and Professional Editions
Microsoft officially launched Windows XP on October 25th, 2001. Windows XP comes in two versions: Home and Professional. Windows XP is another complete redesign of Windows for consumers. It contains an improved and easier to use interface, as well as a customable colour schemes/skins. It contains the 32-bit kernel and driver set from Windows NT and Windows 2000. It includes many new features that no previous version of Windows contained. Although old DOS and Windows programs still run under it, and may even run better.