Tag Archives: Microsoft Windows

Delete Restoration Data and proceed to System boot menu

By Techy

How to Delete Restoration Data and proceed to System boot menu in Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1?

When the PC or Laptop is a resume from hibernation, fails to complete a resume. When you restart, the Windows Resume Loader appears. The following steps can be followed to get the PC again in working condition.

Menu during Starting Windows 7
  1. When you restart your Computer after a failed Resume from hibernation, this window appears.
  2. If you have any unsaved documents, select the option “Continue with system resume”. Use the arrow keys to select the option and then click Enter.
  3. If it fails to boot to Windows, Turn the computer OFF and then ON.
  4. The Windows Resume Loader will appear again.
  5. Now, Select the Delete restoration data and proceed to system boot menu with the help of arrow keys and then click Enter.
  6. Now, Windows will start normally. Unfortunately, any unsaved documents will not be recovered.

Perbedaan Sleep dan Hibernate pada Windows 7

by hanya_lewat

Tidak banyak yang tahu bahwa ada fitur Sleep dan Hibernate pada Windows 7. Sleep memiliki arti tidur dalam bahasa Indonesia. Demikian pula dengan hibernate, artinya tidur panjang. Lantas, apa perbedaan keduanya?

Tentu ada perbedaan yang cukup mendasar diantara kedua fitur ini. Perbedaan ini melibatkan media penggunaan daya listrik, media penyimpanan data dan waktu pengaktifan kembali. Berikut adalah penjelasan detail mengenai masing-masing fitur.

Sleep Mode pada Windows 7

Sleep mode adalah fitur menghemat listrik yang digunakan jika ingin meninggalkan komputer dalam jangka waktu yang tidak terlalu lama. Ketika sebuah komputer memasuki Sleep mode, maka komputer anda akan berhenti memproses data. Data aktivitas komputer disimpan di dalam memori, untuk digunakan lagi jika anda membutuhkan.

Setelah itu komputer menurunkan penggunaan daya seminimal mungkin, hanya pada bagian kritis seperti memori dan prosesor saja. Itulah sebabnya pada saat dalam kondisi sleep, monitor anda akan gelap. Dalam kondisi ini, sebenarnya komputer anda masih “hidup”. Ini dapat dilihat pada beberapa komputer, indikator powernya masih menyala atau berkedip.

Hibernate Mode pada Windows 7

Hibernate mode adalah fitur penghemat listrik yang desain utamanya untuk laptop/notebook. Jika anda ingin menghidupkan komputer dengan posisi seperti saat anda mematikannya, hibernate adalah pilihannya. Ketika sebuah komputer memasuki mode sleep, maka data aktivitas komputer akan ditulis ke harddisk, bukan hanya di memori seperti sleep mode.

Setelah itu komputer akan benar-benar mematikan dirinya, sama persis seperti shutdown. Ini berarti tidak ada penggunaan daya listrik sama sekali. Untuk komputer PC, anda bebas untuk mematikan daya yang menghubungkan ke komputer anda. Hal ini dapat dilihat dari indikator power yang tidak menyala sama sekali.

Perbedaan Signifikan pada Sleep dan Hibernate

Perbedaan yang cukup signifikan diantara kedua fitur diatas adalah waktu yang dibutuhkan untuk membuat komputer bisa dipakai kembali. Sleep hanya membutuhkan 5-10 detik untuk komputer bisa bekerja kembali, sedangkan hibernate membutuhkan waktu yang lebih lama. Waktu yang dibutuhkan oleh hibernate sama seperti saat anda booting pertama kali.

Pada Windows 7, secara default yang aktif adalah sleep mode. Jadi ketika anda meninggalkan komputer dalam waktu tertentu (sekitar 15 menit), komputer anda akan memasuki sleep mode. Khusus pada notebook/laptop bisa berubah mode secara otomatis dari sleep ke hibernate, jika daya listrik baterai anda berada pada level kritis.

Kehilangan daya listrik pada saat komputer berada pada mode sleep dapat membuat data aktivitas hilang. Oleh karena itu ada fitur hybrid sleep, yakni paduan dari sleep dan hibernate. Fitur ini hanya ada di PC, ketika sleep digunakan, maka sebenarnya yang terjadi adalah hybrid sleep. Hal ini mengurangi kemungkinan kehilangan data aktivitas anda.

Artikel ini diterbitkan pada 20/08/2013 oleh Iwan Restiono

10 Useful Windows Commands You Should Know

by Chris Hoffman on August 1st, 2017

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There are some things you can only do from the command line—even in Windows. Some of these tools don’t have graphical equivalents, while others are just plain faster to use than their graphical interfaces.

If you’re into using PowerShell over Command Prompt, you should note that all the commands we’re covering in this article work just the same in either tool. And obviously, we can’t possibly cover all the useful commands that these tools offer. Instead, we’ll be focusing on commands that should be useful even if you’re not a command-line person.

ipconfig: Quickly Find Your IP Address


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You can find your IP address from the Control Panel, but it takes a few clicks to get there. The ipconfig command is a fast way of determining your computer’s IP address and other information, such as the address of its default gateway—useful if you want to know the IP address of your router’s web interface.

To use the command, just type ipconfig at the Command Prompt. You’ll see a list of all the network connections your computer is using. Look under “Wireless LAN adapter” if you’re connected to Wi-Fi or “Ethernet adapter” if you’re connected to a wired network. For even more details, you can use the ipconfig /all command.

ipconfig /flushdns: Flush Your DNS Resolver Cache


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If you change your DNS server, the effects won’t necessarily take place immediately. Windows uses a cache that remembers DNS responses it’s received, saving time when you access the same addresses again in the future. To ensure Windows is getting addresses from the new DNS servers instead of using old, cached entries, run the ipconfig /flushdns command after changing your DNS server.

ping and tracert: Troubleshoot Network Connection Issues


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If you’re experiencing issues connecting to a website or other network connection issues, Windows and other operating systems have some standard tools you can use to identify problems.

First, there’s the ping command. Type ping howtogeek.com (or whatever Internet server you want to test) and Windows will send packets to that address. You can use either a name or the actual IP address. The server at that IP address (in our case, the How-To Geek server) will respond and let you know it’s received them. You’ll be able to see if any packets didn’t make it to the destination—perhaps you’re experiencing packet loss—and how long it took to get the response—perhaps the network is saturated and packets are taking a while to reach their destinations.

The tracert command traces the route it takes for a packet to reach a destination and shows you information about each hop along that route. For example, if you run tracert howtogeek.com, you’ll see information about each node the packet interacts with on its way to reach our server. If you’re having issues connecting to a website, tracert can show you where the problem is occurring.

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For more information about using these commands—and other great tools for figuring out why your network or Internet connection is giving you problems—check out our introduction to troubleshooting Internet connection problems.

shutdown: Create Shutdown Shortcuts for Windows


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The shutdown command lets you shut down or restart Windows. Admittedly, it was more useful in Windows 8 (where the shut down button was harder to access), but still handy no matter what version of Windows you use. You can use the command to create your own shortcuts and place them on your Start menu, desktop, or even taskbar.

In Windows 8 and 10, you can even use a special switch to restart your computer into the advanced startup options menu. To use the command at the Command Prompt or when creating a shortcut, just type one of the following:

  • shutdown /s /t 0: Performs a regular shut down.
  • shutdown /r /t 0: Restart the computer.
  • shutdown /r /o: Restarts the computer into advanced options.

sfc /scannow: Scan System Files for Problems


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Windows includes a system file checker tool that scans all the Windows system files and looks for problems. If system files are missing or corrupted, the system file checker will repair them. This may fix problems with some Windows systems.

To use this tool, open a Command Prompt window as Administrator and run the sfc /scannow command.

telnet: Connect to Telnet Servers


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The telnet client isn’t installed by default. Instead, it’s one of the optional Windows features that you can install through the Control Panel. Once installed, you can use the telnet command to connect to telnet servers without installing any third-party software.

You should avoid using telnet if you can help it, but if you’re connected directly to a device and it requires that you use telnet to set something up—well, that’s what you have to do.

cipher: Permanently Delete and Overwrite a Directory


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The cipher command is mostly used for managing encryption, but it also has an option that will write garbage data to a drive, clearing its free space and ensuring no deleted file can be recovered. Deleted files normally stick around on disk unless you’re using a solid state drive. The cipher command effectively allows you to “wipe” a drive without installing any third-party tools.

To use the command, specify the drive you want to wipe like so:

cipher /w:C:\

Notice that there is no space between the switch ( /w: ) and the drive ( C:\ )

netstat -an: List Network Connections and Ports


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The netstat command is particularly useful, displaying all sorts of network statistics when used with its various options. One of the most interesting variants of netstat is netstat -an , which will display a list of all open network connections on their computer, along with the port they’re using and the foreign IP address they’re connected to.

nslookup: Find the IP Address Associated With a Domain


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When you type a domain name (say, into a browser address bar), your computer looks up the IP address associated with that domain name. You can use the nslookupcommand to find that information out for yourself. For example, you could type nslookup howtogeek.com at the Command Prompt to quickly find out our server’s assigned IP address.

You can also perform a reverse lookup by typing an IP address to find out the associated domain name.


This is not a comprehensive list of all the commands you might find useful, but we hope it’s given you some idea of the many powerful tools lurking under the surface. Have your own favorites we didn’t mention? Join in the discussion and let us know!


 

 

Microsoft Version Numbering

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Software Versioning

144px-VersionNumbers.svg

Software versioning is the process of assigning either unique version names or unique version numbers to unique states of computer software. Within a given version number category (major, minor), these numbers are generally assigned in increasing order and correspond to new developments in the software. At a fine-grained level, revision control is often used for keeping track of incrementally different versions of information, whether or not this information is computer software.

Modern computer software is often tracked using two different software versioning schemes—internal version number that may be incremented many times in a single day, such as a revision control number, and a released version that typically changes far less often, such as semantic versioning or a project code name.

Contents
1 Schemes
1.1 Sequence-based identifiers
1.1.1 Change significance
1.1.2 Degree of compatibility
1.1.3 Designating development stage
1.1.4 Incrementing sequences
1.1.5 Separating sequences
1.1.6 Number of sequences
1.1.7 Using negative numbers
1.2 Date of release
1.3 Alphanumeric codes
1.4 TeX
1.5 Apple
1.6 Other schemes
2 Internal version numbers
3 Pre-release versions
4 Modifications to the numeric system
4.1 Odd-numbered versions for development releases
4.2 Apple
5 Political and cultural significance of version numbers
5.1 Version 1.0 as a milestone
5.2 To describe program history
5.3 Matching competitor’s numbers
5.4 Apple
6 Dropping the most significant element
6.1 Superstition
6.2 Geek culture
7 Overcoming perceived marketing difficulties
8 Significance in software engineering
9 Significance in technical support
10 Version numbers for files and documents
11 Version number ordering systems
12 Use in other media

Schemes


A variety of version numbering schemes have been created to keep track of different versions of a piece of software. The ubiquity of computers has also led to these schemes being used in contexts outside computing.

Sequence-based Identifiers

In sequence-based software versioning schemes, each software release is assigned a unique identifier that consists of one or more sequences of numbers or letters. This is the extent of the commonality; however, schemes vary widely in areas such as the quantity of sequences, the attribution of meaning to individual sequences, and the means of incrementing the sequences.

Change Significance

In some schemes, sequence-based identifiers are used to convey the significance of changes between releases: changes are classified by significance level, and the decision of which sequence to change between releases is based on the significance of the changes from the previous release, whereby the first sequence is changed for the most significant changes, and changes to sequences after the first represent changes of decreasing significance.

For instance, in a scheme that uses a four-sequence identifier, the first sequence may be incremented only when the code is completely rewritten, while a change to the user interface or the documentation may only warrant a change to the fourth sequence.

This practice permits users (or potential adopters) to evaluate how much real-world testing a given software release has undergone. If changes are made between, say, 1.3rc4 (a release candidate) and the production release of 1.3, then that release, which asserts that it has had a production-grade level of testing in the real world, in fact contains changes which have not necessarily been tested in the real world at all. This approach commonly permits the third level of numbering (“change”), but does not apply this level of rigor to changes in that number: 1.3.1, 1.3.2, 1.3.3, 1.3.4… 1.4.1, etc.

In principle, in subsequent releases, the major number is increased when there are significant jumps in functionality such as changing the framework which could cause incompatibility with interfacing systems, the minor number is incremented when only minor features or significant fixes have been added, and the revision number is incremented when minor bugs are fixed. A typical product might use the numbers 0.9 (for beta software), 0.9.1, 0.9.2, 0.9.3, 1.0, 1.0.1, 1.0.2, 1.1, 1.1.1, 2.0, 2.0.1, 2.0.2, 2.1, 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.2, etc. Developers may choose to jump multiple minor versions at a time to indicate significant features have been added, but are not enough to warrant incrementing a major version number; for example Internet Explorer 5 from 5.1 to 5.5, or Adobe Photoshop 5 to 5.5. This may be done to emphasize the value of the upgrade to the software user, or, as in Adobe’s case, to represent a release halfway between major versions (although levels of sequence based versioning are not limited to a single digit, as in Drupal version 7.12).

A different approach is to use the major and minor numbers, along with an alphanumeric string denoting the release type, e.g. “alpha”, “beta” or “release candidate”. A software release train using this approach might look like 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9 == 1.0b1, 1.0b2 (with some fixes), 1.0b3 (with more fixes) == 1.0rc1 (which, if it is stable enough) == 1.0. If 1.0rc1 turns out to have bugs which must be fixed, it turns into 1.0rc2, and so on. The important characteristic of this approach is that the first version of a given level (beta, RC, production) must be identical to the last version of the release below it: you cannot make any changes at all from the last beta to the first RC, or from the last RC to production. If you do, you must roll out another release at that lower level.[dubious – discuss]

However, since version numbers are human-generated, not computer-generated, there is nothing that prevents arbitrary changes that violate such guidelines: for example, the first sequence could be incremented between versions that differ by not even a single line of code, to give the (false) impression that very significant changes were made.

Other schemes impart meaning on individual sequences:

major.minor[.build[.revision]]

or

major.minor[.maintenance[.build]]

Again, in these examples, the definition of what constitutes a “major” as opposed to a “minor” change is entirely subjective and up to the author, as is what defines a “build”, or how a “revision” differs from a “minor” change.

Shared libraries in Solaris and Linux may use the current.revision.age format where

current: The most recent interface number that the library implements.
revision: The implementation number of the current interface.
age: The difference between the newest and oldest interfaces that the library implements.
A similar problem of relative change significance and versioning nomenclature exists in book publishing, where edition numbers or names can be chosen based on varying criteria.

In most proprietary software, the first released version of a software product has version 1.

Degree of Compatibility

Some projects use the major version number to indicate incompatible releases. Two examples are Apache APR and the FarCry CMS.

Semantic Versioning is a formal convention for specifying compatibility using a three-part version number: major version; minor version; and patch. The patch number is incremented for minor changes and bug fixes which do not change the software’s application programming interface (API). The minor version is incremented for releases which add new, but backward-compatible, API features, and the major version is incremented for API changes which are not backward-compatible. For example, software which relies on version 2.1.5 of an API is compatible with version 2.2.3, but not necessarily with 3.2.4.

Often programmers write new software to be backward compatible, i.e., the new software is designed to interact correctly with older versions of the software (using old protocols and file formats) and the most recent version (using the latest protocols and file formats). For example, IBM z/OS is designed to work properly with 3 consecutive major versions of the operating system running in the same sysplex. This enables people who run a high availability computer cluster to keep most of the computers up and running while one machine at a time is shut down, upgraded, and restored to service.

Often packet headers and file format include a version number – sometimes the same as the version number of the software that wrote it; other times a “protocol version number” independent of the software version number. The code to handle old deprecated protocols and file formats is often seen as cruft.

Designating development stage
Some schemes use a zero in the first sequence to designate alpha or beta status for releases that are not stable enough for general or practical deployment and are intended for testing or internal use only.

It can be used in the third position:

  • 0 for alpha (status)
  • 1 for beta (status)
  • 2 for release candidate
  • 3 for (final) release

For instance:

  • 1.2.0.1 instead of 1.2-a1
  • 1.2.1.2 instead of 1.2-b2 (beta with some bug fixes)
  • 1.2.2.3 instead of 1.2-rc3 (release candidate)
  • 1.2.3.0 instead of 1.2-r (commercial distribution)
  • 1.2.3.5 instead of 1.2-r5 (commercial distribution with many bug fixes)

Incrementing Sequences

There are two schools of thought regarding how numeric version numbers are incremented. Most free and open-source software packages, including MediaWiki, treat versions as a series of individual numbers, separated by periods, with a progression such as 1.7.0, 1.8.0, 1.8.1, 1.9.0, 1.10.0, 1.11.0, 1.11.1, 1.11.2, and so on. On the other hand, some software packages identify releases by decimal numbers: 1.7, 1.8, 1.81, 1.82, 1.9, etc. Decimal versions were common in the 1980s, for example with NetWare, DOS, and Microsoft Windows, but even in the 2000s have been for example used by Opera and Movable Type. In the decimal scheme, 1.81 is the minor version following 1.8, while maintenance releases (i.e. bug fixes only) may be denoted with an alphabetic suffix, such as 1.81a or 1.81b.

The standard GNU version numbering scheme is major.minor.revision, but emacs is a notable example using another scheme where the major number (1) was dropped and a user site revision was added which is always zero in original emacs packages but increased by distributors. Similarly, Debian package numbers are prefixed with an optional “epoch”, which is used to allow the versioning scheme to be changed.

Separating Sequences

When printed, the sequences may be separated with characters. The choice of characters and their usage varies by scheme. The following list shows hypothetical examples of separation schemes for the same release (the thirteenth third-level revision to the fourth second-level revision to the second first-level revision):

  • A scheme may use the same character between all sequences: 2.4.13, 2/4/13, 2-4-13
  • A scheme choice of which sequences to separate may be inconsistent, separating some sequences but not others: 2.413
  • A scheme’s choice of characters may be inconsistent within the same identifier: 2.4_13

When a period is used to separate sequences, it may or may not represent a decimal point, — see “Incrementing sequences” section for various interpretation styles.

Number of Sequences

There is sometimes a fourth, unpublished number which denotes the software build (as used by Microsoft). Adobe Flash is a notable case where a four-part version number is indicated publicly, as in 10.1.53.64. Some companies also include the build date. Version numbers may also include letters and other characters, such as Lotus 1-2-3 Release 1a.

Using Negative Numbers

Some projects use negative version numbers. One example is the SmartEiffel compiler which started from -1.0 and counted upwards to 0.0.

Date of Release

The Wine project formerly used a date versioning scheme, which uses the year followed by the month followed by the day of the release; for example, “Wine 20040505”. Ubuntu Linux uses a similar versioning scheme—Ubuntu 11.10, for example, was released October 2011. Some video games also use date as versioning, for example the arcade game Street Fighter EX. At startup it displays the version number as a date plus a region code, for example 961219 ASIA.

When using dates in versioning, for instance, file names, it is common to use the ISO 8601 scheme: YYYY-MM-DD, as this is easily string sorted to increasing/decreasing order. The hyphens are sometimes omitted.

Microsoft Office build numbers are an encoded date: the first two numbers is the number of months passed from the January of the year the project started (with each major Office release being a different project), and the last two numbers are the day of that month. So 3419 is the 19th day of the 34th month after the month of January of the year the project started.

Other examples that identify versions by year include Adobe Illustrator 88 and WordPerfect Office 2003. When a date is used to denote version, it is generally for marketing purposes, and an actual version number also exists. For example, Microsoft Windows 95 is internally versioned as MS-DOS 7.00 and Windows 4.00, Microsoft Windows 2000 Server is internally versioned as Windows NT 5.0 (“NT” being a reference to the original product name).

Alphanumeric codes

Examples:

Macromedia Flash MX

TeX

TeX has an idiosyncratic version numbering system. Since version 3, updates have been indicated by adding an extra digit at the end, so that the version number asymptotically approaches π; this is a form of unary numbering – the version number is the number of digits. The current version is 3.14159265. This is a reflection of the fact that TeX is now very stable, and only minor updates are anticipated. TeX developer Donald Knuth has stated that the “absolutely final change (to be made after my death)” will be to change the version number to π, at which point all remaining bugs will become permanent features.

In a similar way, the version number of METAFONT asymptotically approaches e.

Apple

Apple has a formalised version number structure based around the NumVersion struct, which specifies a one- or two-digit major version, a one-digit minor version, a one-digit “bug” (i.e. revision) version, a stage indicator (drawn from the set development/prealpha, alpha, beta and final/release), and a one-byte (i.e. having values in the range 0–255) pre-release version, which is only used at stages prior to final. In writing these version numbers as strings, the convention is to omit any parts after the minor version whose value are zero (with “final” being considered the zero stage), thus writing 1.0.2 (rather than 1.0.2b12), 1.0.2 (rather than 1.0.2f0), and 1.1 (rather than 1.1.0f0).

Other Schemes

Some software producers use different schemes to denote releases of their software. For example, the Microsoft Windows operating system was first labelled with standard version numbers for Windows 1.0 through Windows 3.11. After this Microsoft excluded the version number from the product name. For Windows 95 (version 4.0), Windows 98 (4.10) and Windows 2000 (5.0), year of the release was included in the product title. After Windows 2000, Microsoft created the Windows Server family which continued the year-based style with a difference: For minor releases, Microsoft suffixed “R2” to the title, e.g., Windows Server 2008 R2. This style had remained consistent to this date. The client versions of Windows however did not adopt a consistent style. First, they received names with arbitrary alphanumeric suffixes as with Windows ME (4.90), Windows XP (5.1) and Windows Vista (6.0). Then, once again Microsoft adopted incremental numbers in the title, but this time, they were not version numbers; the version numbers of Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 are respectively 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3. In Windows 10, the version number leaped to 10.0.

The Debian project uses a major/minor versioning scheme for releases of its operating system, but uses code names from the movie Toy Story during development to refer to stable, unstable and testing releases.

BLAG Linux and GNU features very large version numbers: major releases have numbers such as 50000 and 60000, while minor releases increase the number by 1 (e.g. 50001, 50002). Alpha and beta releases are given decimal version numbers slightly less than the major release number, such as 19999.00071 for alpha 1 of version 20000, and 29999.50000 for beta 2 of version 30000. Starting at 9001 in 2003, the most recent version as of 2011 is 140000.

Internal Version Numbers


Software may have an “internal” version number which differs from the version number shown in the product name (and which typically follows version numbering rules more consistently). Java SE 5.0, for example, has the internal version number of 1.5.0, and versions of Windows from NT 4 on have continued the standard numerical versions internally: Windows 2000 is NT 5.0, XP is Windows NT 5.1, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition are NT 5.2, Windows Server 2008 and Vista are NT 6.0, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 are NT 6.1, Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 are NT 6.2, and Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 are NT 6.3. Note, however, that Windows NT is only on its fourth major revision, as its first release was numbered 3.1 (to match the then-current Windows release number).

Pre-release Versions


In conjunction with the various versioning schemes listed above, a system for denoting pre-release versions is generally used, as the program makes its way through the stages of the software release life cycle.

Programs that are in an early stage are often called “alpha” software, after the first letter in the Greek alphabet. After they mature but are not yet ready for release, they may be called “beta” software, after the second letter in the Greek alphabet. Generally alpha software is tested by developers only, while beta software is distributed for community testing.

Some systems use numerical versions less than 1 (such as 0.9), to suggest their approach toward a final “1.0” release. This is a common convention in open source software. However, if the pre-release version is for an existing software package (e.g. version 2.5), then an “a” or “alpha” may be appended to the version number. So the alpha version of the 2.5 release might be identified as 2.5a or 2.5.a.

An alternative is to refer to pre-release versions as “release candidates”, so that software packages which are soon to be released as a particular version may carry that version tag followed by “rc-#”, indicating the number of the release candidate – and when the final version is released, the “rc” tag is removed.

Modifications to the Numeric System


This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Various modifications have been introduced to distinguish versions or sets of versions. A set of releases or versions having the same major or minor version number may be collectively referred to as .x, for example version 2.2.x to refer to versions 2.2, 2.2.1, 2.2.2, and all other versions in the 2.2 branch of that software.

Odd-numbered versions for development releases

Between the 1.0 and the 2.6.x series, the Linux kernel used odd minor version numbers to denote development releases and even minor version numbers to denote stable releases; see Linux kernel: Version numbering. For example, Linux 2.3 was a development family of the second major design of the Linux kernel, and Linux 2.4 was the stable release family that Linux 2.3 matured into. After the minor version number in the Linux kernel is the release number, in ascending order; for example, Linux 2.4.0 → Linux 2.4.22. Since the 2004 release of the 2.6 kernel, Linux no longer uses this system, and has a much shorter release cycle.

The same odd-even system is used by some other software with long release cycles, such as GNOME.

Apple

Apple had their own twist on this habit during the era of the classic Mac OS: although there were minor releases, they rarely went beyond 1, and when they did, they twice jumped straight to 5, suggesting a change of magnitude intermediate between a major and minor release (thus, 8.5 really means ‘eight and a half’, and 8.6 is ‘eight and a half point one’). The complete sequence of versions (neglecting revision releases) is 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 3.2 (skipping 3.1), 4.0, 4.1, 5.0, 5.1, 6.0, 7.0, 7.1, 7.5, 7.6, 8.0, 8.1, 8.5, 8.6, 9.0, 9.1, 9.2.

Mac OS X (since renamed macOS) departed from this trend, in large part because “X” (the Roman numeral for 10) is in the name of the product. As a result, all versions of OS X begin with the number 10. The first major release of OS X was given the version number 10.0, but the next major release was not 11.0. Instead, it was named version 10.1, followed by 10.2, 10.3, and so on for each subsequent major release.

In this system, the third number (instead of the second) denotes a minor release, and a fourth number (instead of the third) denotes bug-fix/revision releases. Because the first number is always 10, and because the subsequent numbers are not decimal, but integer values, the 11th major version of OS X is labeled “10.10” rather than “11.0”.

Political and Cultural Significance of Version Numbers


Version 1.0 as a Milestone

Proprietary software developers often start at version 1 for the first release of a program and increment the major version number with each significant update.

In contrast to this, the free-software community tends to use version 1.0 as a major milestone, indicating that the software is “complete”, that it has all major features, and is considered reliable enough for general release.

In this scheme, the version number slowly approaches 1.0 as more and more bugs are fixed in preparation for the 1.0 release. The developers of MAME do not intend to release a version 1.0 of their emulator program. The argument is that it will never be truly “finished” because there will always be more arcade games. Version 0.99 was simply followed by version 0.100 (minor version 100 > 99). In a similar fashion Xfire 1.99 was followed by 1.100. After 8 years of development, eMule reached version 0.50a.

To describe Program History

Winamp released an entirely different architecture for version 3 of the program. Due to lack of backward compatibility with plugins and other resources from the major version 2, a new version was issued that was compatible with both version 2 and 3. The new version was set to 5 (2+3), skipping version 4. A similar situation occurred with UnixWare 7, which was the combination of UnixWare 2 and OpenServer 5.

Matching Competitor’s Numbers

A practice in the software industry is to make major jumps in numeric major or minor version numbers for reasons which do not seem (to many members of the program’s audience) to merit the marketing version numbers.

This can be seen in many examples of product version numbering by Microsoft, America Online, Sun Solaris, Java Virtual Machine, SCO Unix, WordPerfect, the filePro DB/RAD programming package, which went from 2.0 to 3.0 to 4.0 to 4.1 to 4.5 to 4.8 to 5.0, and is about to go to 5.6, with no intervening release. A slightly different version can be seen in AOL’s PC client software, which tends to have only major releases (5.0, 6.0, 7.0, etc.). Likewise, Microsoft Access jumped from version 2.0 to version 7.0, to match the version number of Microsoft Word.

Microsoft has also been the target of ‘catch-up’ versioning, with the Netscape browsers skipping version 5 to 6, in line with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, but also because the Mozilla application suite inherited version 5 in its user agent string during pre-1.0 development and Netscape 6.x was built upon Mozilla’s code base.

Another example of keeping up with competitors is when Slackware Linux jumped from version 4 to version 7 in 1999.

Apple

Apple has a particular form of version number skipping, in that it has leveraged its use of the Roman numeral X in its marketing across multiple product lines. Both Quicktime and Final Cut Pro jumped from versions 7 directly to version 10. Like with Mac OS X, the products were not upgrades to previous versions, but brand new programs, branded as Quicktime X and Final Cut Pro X, but unlike Apple’s desktop operating systems, there were no major versions 8 or 9. As with OS X, however, minor releases are denoted using a third digit, rather than a second digit. Consequently, major releases for these programs also employ the second digit, as Apple does with OS X. In WWDC 2016, they announced that Mac OS X will now onwards be called macOS.

Dropping the most Significant Element


Sun’s Java has at times had a hybrid system, where the internal version number has always been 1.x but has been marketed by reference only to the x:

  • JDK 1.0.3
  • JDK 1.1.2 through 1.1.8
  • J2SE 1.2.0 (“Java 2”) through 1.4.2
  • Java 1.5.0, 1.6.0, 1.7.0, 1.8.0 (“Java 5, 6, 7, 8”)

Sun also dropped the first digit for Solaris, where Solaris 2.8 (or 2.9) is referred to as Solaris 8 (or 9) in marketing materials.

A similar jump took place with the Asterisk open-source PBX construction kit in the early 2010s, whose project leads announced that the current version 1.8.x would soon be followed by version 10.

This approach, panned by many because it breaks the semantic significance of the sections of the version number, has been adopted by an increasing number of vendors including Mozilla (for Firefox).

Superstition

  • The Office 2007 release of Microsoft Office has an internal version number of 12. The next version Office 2010 has an internal version of 14, due to superstitions surrounding the number 13.
  • Roxio Toast went from version 12 to version 14, likely in an effort to skip the superstitions surrounding the number 13.
  • Corel’s WordPerfect Office, version 13 is marketed as “X3” (Roman number 10 and “3”). The procedure has continued into the next version, X4. The same has happened with Corel’s Graphic Suite (i.e. CorelDRAW, Corel Photo-Paint) as well as its video editing software “Video Studio”.
  • Sybase skipped major versions 13 and 14 in its Adaptive Server Enterprise relational database product, moving from 12.5 to 15.0.
    ABBYY Lingvo Dictionary uses numbering 12, x3 (14), x5 (15).

Geek Culture

  • The SUSE Linux distribution started at version 4.2, to reference 42, “the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything” mentioned in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.
  • A Slackware Linux distribution was versioned 13.37, referencing leet.
  • Finnix skipped from version 93.0 to 100, partly to fulfill the assertion, “There Will Be No Finnix ’95”, a reference to Windows 95.
  • The Tagged Image File Format specification has used 42 as internal version number since its inception, its designers not expecting to alter it anymore during their (or its) lifetime since it would conflict with its development directives.

Overcoming perceived Marketing Difficulties


In the mid-1990s, the rapidly growing CMMS, Maximo, moved from Maximo Series 3 directly to Series 5, skipping Series 4 due to that number’s perceived marketing difficulties in the Chinese market, where the number 4 is associated with “death” (see tetraphobia). This did not, however, stop Maximo Series 5 version 4.0 being released. (It should be noted the “Series” versioning has since been dropped, effectively resetting version numbers after Series 5 version 1.0’s release.)

Significance in Software Engineering


Version numbers are used in practical terms by the consumer, or client, to identify or compare their copy of the software product against another copy, such as the newest version released by the developer. For the programmer or company, versioning is often used on a revision-by-revision basis, where individual parts of the software are compared and contrasted with newer or older revisions of those same parts, often in a collaborative version control system.

In the 21st century, more programmers started to use a formalised version policy, such as the Semantic Versioning policy. The purpose of such policies is to make it easier for other programmers to know when code changes are likely to break things they have written. Such policies are especially important for software libraries and frameworks, but may also be very useful to follow for command-line applications (which may be called from other applications) and indeed any other applications (which may be scripted and/or extended by third parties).

Versioning is also a required practice to enable many schemes of patching and upgrading software, especially to automatically decide what and where to upgrade to.

Significance in Technical Support


Version numbers allow people providing support to ascertain exactly which code a user is running, so that they can rule out bugs that have already been fixed as a cause of an issue, and the like. This is especially important when a program has a substantial user community, especially when that community is large enough that the people providing technical support are not the people who wrote the code. The semantic meaning of version.revision.change style numbering is also important to information technology staff, who often use it to determine how much attention and research they need to pay to a new release before deploying it in their facility. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the changes, the larger the chances that something might break (although examining the Changelog, if any, may reveal only superficial or irrelevant changes). This is one reason for some of the distaste expressed in the “drop the major release” approach taken by Asterisk et alia: now, staff must (or at least should) do a full regression test for every update.

Version Numbers for Files and Documents


Some computer file systems, such as the OpenVMS Filesystem, also keep versions for files.

Versioning amongst documents is relatively similar to the routine used with computers and software engineering, where with each small change in the structure, contents, or conditions, the version number is incremented by 1, or a smaller or larger value, again depending on the personal preference of the author and the size or importance of changes made.

Version Number Ordering Systems


Version numbers very quickly evolve from simple integers (1, 2, …) to rational numbers (2.08, 2.09, 2.10) and then to non-numeric “numbers” such as 4:3.4.3-2. These complex version numbers are therefore better treated as character strings. Operating systems that include package management facilities (such as all non-trivial Linux or BSD distributions) will use a distribution-specific algorithm for comparing version numbers of different software packages. For example, the ordering algorithms of Red Hat and derived distributions differ to those of the Debian-like distributions.

As an example of surprising version number ordering implementation behavior, in Debian, leading zeroes are ignored in chunks, so that 5.0005 and 5.5 are considered as equal, and 5.5<5.0006. This can confuse users; string-matching tools may fail to find a given version number; and this can cause subtle bugs in package management if the programmers use string-indexed data structures such as version-number indexed hash tables.

In order to ease sorting, some software packages will represent each component of the major.minor.release scheme with a fixed width. Perl represents its version numbers as a floating-point number, for example, Perl’s 5.8.7 release can also be represented as 5.008007. This allows a theoretical version of 5.8.10 to be represented as 5.008010. Other software packages will pack each segment into a fixed bit width, for example, on Windows, version number 6.3.9600.16384 would be represented as hexadecimal 0x0006000325804000. The floating-point scheme will break down if any segment of the version number exceeds 999; a packed-binary scheme employing 16 bits apiece after 65535.

Use in Other Media


Software-style version numbers can be found in other media.

In some cases, the use is a direct analogy (for example: Jackass 2.5, a version of Jackass Number Two with additional special features; the second album by Garbage, titled Version 2.0; or Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, where the rules were revised from the third edition, but not so much as to be considered the fourth).

More often it’s used to play on an association with high technology, and doesn’t literally indicate a ‘version’ (e.g., Tron 2.0, a video game followup to the film Tron, or the television series The IT Crowd, which refers to the second season as Version 2.0). A particularly notable usage is Web 2.0, referring to websites from the early 2000s that emphasized user-generated content, usability and interoperability.

Brief History of Microsoft Windows

Don’t be surprised if I say that 9 out of 10 computers run some version of the Windows operating system, today. However, no one could have predicted this outcome when the whole journey started with MS-DOS and a vision to have every computer on a desktop. Below, you will find a chronology of events that take you through highlights from the first 25 years of Windows, more preferably – A History of Windows.

Windows-Founders-400x276

History of Windows

In 1975, Gates and Allen formed a partnership called Microsoft. Like most start-ups, Microsoft began small, but had a huge vision—a computer on every desktop and in every home. During the next years, Microsoft began to change the ways we work.

In June 1980, Gates and Allen hired Gates’ former Harvard classmate Steve Ballmer to help run the company.

IBM approached Microsoft about a project code-named “Chess.” In response, Microsoft focused on a new operating system—the software that manages, or runs, the computer hardware and also serves to bridge the gap between the computer hardware and programs, such as a word processor. It’s the foundation on which computer programs can run. They named their new operating system “MS-DOS.”

When the IBM PC running MS-DOS shipped in 1981, it introduced a whole new language to the general public.

Microsoft worked on the first version of a new operating system. Interface Manager was the code name and was considered as the final name, but Windows prevailed because it best described the boxes or computing “windows” that were fundamental to the new system. Windows was announced in 1983, but it took a while to develop. Skeptics called it “vaporware.”

On November 20, 1985, two years after the initial announcement, Microsoft shipped Windows 1.0.

History of Windows

MS-DOS

Windows 1.0 required a minimum of 256 kilobytes (KB), two double-sided floppy disk drives, and a graphics adapter card. A hard disk and 512 KB memory was recommended for running multiple programs or when using DOS 3.0 or higher. It was originally developed by Microsoft for IBM-compatible personal computers. Although the first version of OS from Microsoft, MS-DOS was little-used or preferred alternative to Apple’s Macintosh. Despite witnessing little success, Microsoft continued to offer support for MS-DOS till the development of Windows XP.

MS-DOS

MS DOS

Q: Ever wondered, what MS-DOS stood for?

Microsoft Disk Operating System

Windows 1.0 – 2.0 (1985-1992)

Instead of typing MS-DOS commands, Windows 1.0 allowed users to point and click to access the windows.

In 1987 Microsoft released Windows 2.0, which was designed for the designed for the Intel 286 processor. This version added desktop icons, keyboard shortcuts and improved graphics support.

Q: Why was Windows OS named so?

Microsoft Windows 1.0 was named so since the computing boxes, or Windows design represented a fundamental aspect of the operating system.

Windows 3.0 – 3.1 (1990–1994)

Microsoft released Windows 3.0 in May, 1900 offering better icons, performance and advanced graphics with 16 colors designed for Intel 386 processors. Its popularity grew by manifolds following the release of SDK that helped software developers focus more on writing and less on writing device drivers. With Windows 3.0 Microsoft completely rewrote the application development environment. The OS included Program Manager, File Manager and Print Manager and games, remember Solitare, a complete time waster??

Q: What does SDK stands for?

SDK refers to a set of tools that allows for the creation of applications for certain software.

Windows 95 (August 1995)

A major release of the Microsoft Windows operating system that caused Apple’s Market share to decline or shrink was Windows 95. Windows 95 as the name suggests was released in 1995 represented a significant advance over its precursor, Windows 3.1. By the way, this was also the time when the first version of Microsoft’s proprietary browser – Internet Explorer 1 was rolled out in August 1995 to catch up the Internet wave.

Windows-95-400x254

Windows 95

Windows 98 (June 1998)

Described as an operating system that “Works Better & Plays Better, ‘Windows 98’ offered support for a number of new technologies, including FAT32, AGP, MMX, USB, DVD, and ACPI. Also, it was the first OS to include a tool called Windows Update. The tool alerted the customers when software updates became available for their computers.

Q: Which was the last version based on MS-DOS application?

Windows 98 indeed, was the last version based on MS?DOS.

Windows ME – Millennium Edition (September 2000)

The Windows Millennium Edition, referrd as “Windows Me” was an update to the Windows 98 core that included some features of the Windows 2000 operating system. The version had the “boot in DOS” option removed but included other enhancements like Windows Media player and Movie Maker for basic video editing.

Q: System Restore, a feature that rolled your PC software configuration back to to a date or time before a problem occurred first appeared in which version of Windows?

Windows ME – Millennium Edition

Windows NT 3.1 – 4.0 (1993-1996)

A version of the Windows OS with 32-bit supported for preemptive multitasking. Two versions of Windows NT:

  1. Windows NT Server – Designed to act as a server in networks
  2. Windows NT – Workstation for stand-alone or client workstations

Windows 2000 (February 2000)

W2K (abbreviated form) was an operating system for business desktop and laptop systems to run software applications, connect to Internet and intranet sites, and access files, printers, and network resources. Windows 2000 4 versions released by Microsoft

  1. Professional (for business desktop and laptop systems)
  2. Server (both a Web server and an office server)
  3. Advanced Server (for line-of-business applications)
  4. Datacenter Server (for high-traffic computer networks)

Windows XP (October 2001)

This version of the OS was built on Windows 2000 Kernel and was introduced in 2001 along with a redesigned look and feel. It was made available to public in 2 versions

  1. Windows Xp Home
  2. Windows XP Professional

Microsoft focused on mobility for both editions, including plug and play features for connecting to wireless networks was introduced in this version of Windows and it proved to one of Microsoft’s best-selling products. Its use started declining with more Windows 7 deployments.

Windows-XP-400x240

Windows XP

Windows Vista (November 2006)

A marketing flop! People expected too much from its WOW factor. Windows Vista released in November 2006 was widely criticized for performance related issues.

Windows 7 (October, 2009)

Windows 7 made its official debut on October 22, 2009. The OS included enhancements in the form of fast start-up time, Aero Snap, Aero Shake, support for virtual hard disks, a new and improved Windows Media Center, and better security features.

Windows-7-400x261

Windows 7

Windows 8

Bill Gates’ vision of the future computing was Touch and voice replacing mouse and keyboard. We already have the touch with Windows 8, a completely redesigned OS built from the ground up.

windows-8-1-400x150

Windows 8.1 logo

The OS replaces the more traditional Microsoft Windows OS look and feel with a new “Modern Interface” consisting of flat tiles that first debuted in the Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system.

 

History of Microsoft Windows

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the history of Microsoft’s graphical operating system. If you are looking for just a list of all versions made, see List of Microsoft Windows versions.

On November 10, 1983, Microsoft announced Windows, a graphical user interface (GUI) for MS-DOS and a competitor to the Macintosh operating system. The product line eventually changed from a mere GUI for DOS into a fully complete, modern operating system over two lines of development, each with their own separate codebase.

The first versions of Windows (1.0 through to 3.11) were actually just programs run from MS-DOS which then took over the screen and launched an application called Program Manager; later on, Windows 95, though still being based on MS-DOS, was its own operating system, using a 16-bit DOS-based kernel and a 32-bit user space. Windows 95 introduced many staple features that remain in current versions of Windows today, including the Start menu, the taskbar, and Windows Explorer (renamed File Explorer in Windows 8). In 1997, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 4 which included the (at the time) controversial Windows Desktop Update, which aimed to integrate Internet Explorer and the web into the user interface and also brought many new features into Windows, such as the ability to display JPEG images as the desktop wallpaper and single window navigation in Windows Explorer, all of which still exist in Windows today. In 1998, Microsoft released Windows 98, which also included the Windows Desktop Update and Internet Explorer 4 by default. The inclusion of Internet Explorer 4 and the Desktop Update led to an infamous anti-trust case. Windows 98 also included plug and play, which allowed devices to simply work when plugged in instead of requiring a system reboot, and USB support out of the box, which was previously only available in specially updated versions of Windows 95 which were only shipped to OEMs and not available to the general public. Windows ME, the last DOS-based version of Windows, was aimed at consumers and released in 2000. It introduced the Help and Support Center, System Restore, and updated user-friendly versions of the Disk Defragmenter and other system tools.

In 1993, Microsoft released Windows NT 3.1, the first version of the newly developed Windows NT operating system. It was not based on DOS and, as a result, was a fully 32-bit operating system, unlike the hybrid 16-bit kernel, 32-bit applications model used in Windows 95, 98 and Me. At the same time, it introduced NTFS, a file system designed to replace the inferior File Allocation Table (FAT) which was used by DOS and the DOS-based Windows operating systems. In 1996, Windows NT 4.0 was released, which included a fully 32-bit version of Windows Explorer written specifically for it, making the operating system work just like Windows 95. Windows NT was originally designed to be used on high-end systems and servers, however with the release of Windows 2000 (codenamed NT 5.0), many consumer-oriented features from Windows 95 and Windows 98 were included, such as the Windows Desktop Update, Internet Explorer 5, USB support and Windows Media Player. These consumer-oriented features were continued and further extended in Windows XP, which introduced a new theme called Luna, a more user-friendly interface, updated versions of Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer, and extended features from Windows Me, such as the Help and Support Center and System Restore, all while retaining the robustness and stability of Windows 2000’s kernel. Windows Vista focused on securing the Windows operating system against computer viruses and other malicious software by introducing features such as User Account Control, while also including many consumer features such as Windows Aero, updated versions of the standard games (Solitaire, etc.) to show off the 3D capabilities of Vista, Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Mail to replace Outlook Express. Despite this, Windows Vista was critically panned for its poor performance on older hardware and its at-the-time high system requirements. Windows 7, as such, was focused on simplifying Windows Vista. Despite technically having higher system requirements, reviewers noted that it ran better than Windows Vista did. Windows 7 also removed many extra features, such as Windows Movie Maker, Windows Photo Gallery and Windows Mail, instead requiring users download a separate Windows Live Essentials to gain those features and other online services. Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, a free upgrade for Windows 8, introduced many controversial features, such as the removal of the Start menu and the introduction of the Start Screen, the removal of the Aero glass interface in favor of a flat, colored interface as well as the introduction of “Metro” apps (later renamed Universal Windows Platform apps) and the Charms Bar user interface element, all of which were criticized.

The current version of Windows, Windows 10, reintroduced the Start menu, while retaining the Universal Platform apps, but instead allowing them to run in a window instead of always in full screen. Windows 10 was very well received, with many reviewers stating that Windows 10 is what Windows 8 should have been. Windows 10 also marks the last version of Windows to be traditionally released. For the future, Microsoft will no longer release new versions of Windows and instead introduce major updates to the operating system that add new features, so far 3 of which have been released (see Windows 10 section below).

Contents
1 Windows 1.x
2 Windows 2.x
3 Windows 3.0
4 OS/2
5 Windows 3.1x
6 Windows NT 3.x
7 Windows 95
8 Windows NT 4.0
9 Windows 98
10 Windows 2000
11 Windows ME
12 Windows XP and Server 2003
12.1 Windows Server 2003
12.2 Windows XP x64 and Server 2003 x64 Editions
12.3 Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs
12.4 Windows Home Server
13 Windows Vista and Server 2008
13.1 Windows Server 2008
14 Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2
14.1 Windows Thin PC
15 Windows Home Server 2011
16 Windows 8 and Server 2012
17 Windows 10 and Server 2016
17.1 Windows Server 2016

Windows 1.x


The first independent version of Microsoft Windows, version 1.0, released on November 20, 1985, achieved little popularity. The project was briefly codenamed “Interface Manager” before the windowing system was developed – contrary to popular belief that it was the original name for Windows and Rowland Hanson, the head of marketing at Microsoft, convinced the company that the name Windows would be more appealing to customers.

Windows 1.0 was not a complete operating system, but rather an “operating environment” that extended MS-DOS, and shared the latter’s inherent flaws and problems.

The first version of Microsoft Windows included a simple graphics painting program called Windows Paint; Windows Write, a simple word processor; an appointment calendar; a card-filer; a notepad; a clock; a control panel; a computer terminal; Clipboard; and RAM driver. It also included the MS-DOS Executive and a game called Reversi.

Microsoft had worked with Apple Computer to develop applications for Apple’s new Macintosh computer, which featured a graphical user interface. As part of the related business negotiations, Microsoft had licensed certain aspects of the Macintosh user interface from Apple; in later litigation, a district court summarized these aspects as “screen displays”. In the development of Windows 1.0, Microsoft intentionally limited its borrowing of certain GUI elements from the Macintosh user interface, to comply with its license. For example, windows were only displayed “tiled” on the screen; that is, they could not overlap or overlie one another.

Windows 2.x


Microsoft Windows version 2 came out on December 9, 1987, and proved slightly more popular than its predecessor. Much of the popularity for Windows 2.0 came by way 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, executing Windows for the duration of their activity, and closing down Windows upon exit.

Microsoft Windows received a major boost around this time when Aldus PageMaker appeared in a Windows version, having previously run only on Macintosh. Some computer historians[who?] date this, the first appearance of a significant and non-Microsoft application for Windows, as the start of the success of Windows.

Versions 2.0x used the real-mode memory model, which confined it to a maximum of 1 megabyte of memory. In such a configuration, it could run under another multitasker like DESQview, which used the 286 protected mode.

Later, two new versions were released: Windows/286 2.1 and Windows/386 2.1. Like prior versions of Windows, Windows/286 2.1 used the real-mode memory model, but was the first version to support the High Memory Area. Windows/386 2.1 had a protected mode kernel with LIM-standard EMS emulation. All Windows and DOS-based applications at the time were real mode, running over the protected mode kernel by using the virtual 8086 mode, which was new with the 80386 processor.

Version 2.03, and later 3.0, faced challenges from Apple over its overlapping windows and other features Apple charged mimicked the ostensibly copyrighted “look and feel” of its operating system and “embodie and generated a copy of the Macintosh” in its OS. Judge William Schwarzer dropped all but 10 of Apple’s 189 claims of copyright infringement, and ruled that most of the remaining 10 were over uncopyrightable ideas.

Windows 3.0


Windows 3.0, released in May 1990, improved capabilities given to native applications. It also allowed users to better multitask older MS-DOS based software compared to Windows/386, thanks to the introduction of virtual memory.

Windows 3.0’s user interface finally resembled a serious competitor to the user interface of the Macintosh computer. PCs had improved graphics by this time, due to VGA video cards, and the protected/enhanced mode allowed Windows applications to use more memory in a more painless manner than their DOS counterparts could. Windows 3.0 could run in real, standard, or 386 enhanced modes, and was compatible with any Intel processor from the 8086/8088 up to the 80286 and 80386. This was the first version to run Windows programs in protected mode, although the 386 enhanced mode kernel was an enhanced version of the protected mode kernel in Windows/386.

Windows 3.0 received two updates. A few months after introduction, Windows 3.0a was released as a maintenance release, resolving bugs and improving stability. A “multimedia” version, Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions 1.0, was released in October 1991. This was bundled with “multimedia upgrade kits”, comprising a CD-ROM drive and a sound card, such as the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Pro. This version was the precursor to the multimedia features available in Windows 3.1 (first released in April 1992) and later, and was part of Microsoft’s specification for the Multimedia PC.

The features listed above and growing market support from application software developers made Windows 3.0 wildly successful, selling around 10 million copies in the two years before the release of version 3.1. Windows 3.0 became a major source of income for Microsoft, and led the company to revise some of its earlier plans. Support was discontinued on December 31, 2001.

OS/2


600px-Os2logo.svg

OS/2 logo

During the mid to late 1980s, Microsoft and IBM had cooperatively been developing OS/2 as a successor to DOS. OS/2 would take full advantage of the aforementioned protected mode of the Intel 80286 processor and up to 16 MB of memory. OS/2 1.0, released in 1987, supported swapping and multitasking and allowed running of DOS executables.

A GUI, called the Presentation Manager (PM), was not available with OS/2 until version 1.1, released in 1988. Its API was incompatible with Windows. Version 1.2, released in 1989, introduced a new file system, HPFS, to replace the FAT file system.

By the early 1990s, conflicts developed in the Microsoft/IBM relationship. They cooperated with each other in developing their PC operating systems, and had access to each other’s code. Microsoft wanted to further develop Windows, while IBM desired for future work to be based on OS/2. In an attempt to resolve this tension, IBM and Microsoft agreed that IBM would develop OS/2 2.0, to replace OS/2 1.3 and Windows 3.0, while Microsoft would develop a new operating system, OS/2 3.0, to later succeed OS/2 2.0.

This agreement soon fell apart however, and the Microsoft/IBM relationship was terminated. IBM continued to develop OS/2, while Microsoft changed the name of its (as yet unreleased) OS/2 3.0 to Windows NT. Both retained the rights to use OS/2 and Windows technology developed up to the termination of the agreement; Windows NT, however, was to be written anew, mostly independently (see below).

After an interim 1.3 version to fix up many remaining problems with the 1.x series, IBM released OS/2 version 2.0 in 1992. This was a major improvement: it featured a new, object-oriented GUI, the Workplace Shell (WPS), that included a desktop and was considered by many to be OS/2’s best feature. Microsoft would later imitate much of it in Windows 95. Version 2.0 also provided a full 32-bit API, offered smooth multitasking and could take advantage of the 4 gigabytes of address space provided by the Intel 80386. Still, much of the system had 16-bit code internally which required, among other things, device drivers to be 16-bit code also. This was one of the reasons for the chronic shortage of OS/2 drivers for the latest devices. Version 2.0 could also run DOS and Windows 3.0 programs, since IBM had retained the right to use the DOS and Windows code as a result of the breakup.

Windows 3.1x


In response to the impending release of OS/2 2.0, Microsoft developed Windows 3.1 (first released in April 1992), which included several improvements to Windows 3.0, such as display of TrueType scalable fonts (developed jointly with Apple), improved disk performance in 386 Enhanced Mode, multimedia support, and bugfixes. It also removed Real Mode, and only ran on an 80286 or better processor. Later Microsoft also released Windows 3.11, a touch-up to Windows 3.1 which included all of the patches and updates that followed the release of Windows 3.1 in 1992.

In 1992 and 1993, Microsoft released Windows for Workgroups (WfW), which was available both as an add-on for existing Windows 3.1 installations and in a version that included the base Windows environment and the networking extensions all in one package. Windows for Workgroups included improved network drivers and protocol stacks, and support for peer-to-peer networking. There were two versions of Windows for Workgroups, WfW 3.1 and WfW 3.11. Unlike prior versions, Windows for Workgroups 3.11 ran in 386 Enhanced Mode only, and needed at least an 80386SX processor. One optional download for WfW was the “Wolverine” TCP/IP protocol stack, which allowed for easy access to the Internet through corporate networks.

All these versions continued version 3.0’s impressive sales pace. Even though the 3.1x series still lacked most of the important features of OS/2, such as long file names, a desktop, or protection of the system against misbehaving applications, Microsoft quickly took over the OS and GUI markets for the IBM PC. The Windows API became the de facto standard for consumer software.

Windows NT 3.x


Main articles: Windows NT, Windows NT 3.1, Windows NT 3.5, and Windows NT 3.51
Meanwhile, Microsoft continued to develop Windows NT. The main architect of the system was Dave Cutler, one of the chief architects of VMS at Digital Equipment Corporation (later acquired by Compaq, now part of Hewlett-Packard). Microsoft hired him in October 1988 to create a successor to OS/2, but Cutler created a completely new system instead. Cutler had been developing a follow-on to VMS at DEC called Mica, and when DEC dropped the project he brought the expertise and around 20 engineers with him to Microsoft. DEC also believed he brought Mica’s code to Microsoft and sued. Microsoft eventually paid US$150 million and agreed to support DEC’s Alpha CPU chip in NT.

Windows NT Workstation (Microsoft marketing wanted Windows NT to appear to be a continuation of Windows 3.1) arrived in Beta form to developers at the July 1992 Professional Developers Conference in San Francisco. Microsoft announced at the conference its intentions to develop a successor to both Windows NT and Windows 3.1’s replacement (Windows 95, codenamed Chicago), which would unify the two into one operating system. This successor was codenamed Cairo. In hindsight, Cairo was a much more difficult project than Microsoft had anticipated and, as a result, NT and Chicago would not be unified until Windows XP—albeit Windows 2000, oriented to business, had already unified most of the system’s bolts and gears, it was XP that was sold to home consumers like Windows 95 and came to be viewed as the final unified OS. Parts of Cairo have still not made it into Windows as of 2017 – most notably, the WinFS file system, which was the much touted Object File System of Cairo. Microsoft announced that they have discontinued the separate release of WinFS for Windows XP and Windows Vista and will gradually incorporate the technologies developed for WinFS in other products and technologies, notably Microsoft SQL Server.

Driver support was lacking due to the increased programming difficulty in dealing with NT’s superior hardware abstraction model. This problem plagued the NT line all the way through Windows 2000. Programmers complained that it was too hard to write drivers for NT, and hardware developers were not going to go through the trouble of developing drivers for a small segment of the market. Additionally, although allowing for good performance and fuller exploitation of system resources, it was also resource-intensive on limited hardware, and thus was only suitable for larger, more expensive machines.

However, these same features made Windows NT perfect for the LAN server market (which in 1993 was experiencing a rapid boom, as office networking was becoming common). NT also had advanced network connectivity options and NTFS, an efficient file system. Windows NT version 3.51 was Microsoft’s entry into this field, and took away market share from Novell (the dominant player) in the following years.

One of Microsoft’s biggest advances initially developed for Windows NT was a new 32-bit API, to replace the legacy 16-bit Windows API. This API was called Win32, and from then on Microsoft referred to the older 16-bit API as Win16. The Win32 API had three levels implementations: the complete one for Windows NT, a subset for Chicago (originally called Win32c) missing features primarily of interest to enterprise customers (at the time) such as security and Unicode support, and a more limited subset called Win32s which could be used on Windows 3.1 systems. Thus Microsoft sought to ensure some degree of compatibility between the Chicago design and Windows NT, even though the two systems had radically different internal architectures. Windows NT was the first Windows operating system based on a hybrid kernel.

As released, Windows NT 3.x went through three versions (3.1, 3.5, and 3.51); changes were primarily internal and reflected back end changes. The 3.5 release added support for new types of hardware and improved performance and data reliability; the 3.51 release was primarily to update the Win32 APIs to be compatible with software being written for the Win32c APIs in what became Windows 95.

Windows 95


After Windows 3.11, Microsoft began to develop a new consumer oriented version of the operating system codenamed Chicago. Chicago was designed to have support for 32-bit preemptive multitasking like OS/2 and Windows NT, although a 16-bit kernel would remain for the sake of backward compatibility. The Win32 API first introduced with Windows NT was adopted as the standard 32-bit programming interface, with Win16 compatibility being preserved through a technique known as “thunking”. A new object oriented GUI was not originally planned as part of the release, although elements of the Cairo user interface were borrowed and added as other aspects of the release (notably Plug and Play) slipped.

Microsoft did not change all of the Windows code to 32-bit; parts of it remained 16-bit (albeit not directly using real mode) for reasons of compatibility, performance, and development time. Additionally it was necessary to carry over design decisions from earlier versions of Windows for reasons of backwards compatibility, even if these design decisions no longer matched a more modern computing environment. These factors eventually began to impact the operating system’s efficiency and stability.

Microsoft marketing adopted Windows 95 as the product name for Chicago when it was released on August 24, 1995. Microsoft had a double gain from its release: first, it made it impossible for consumers to run Windows 95 on a cheaper, non-Microsoft DOS; secondly, although traces of DOS were never completely removed from the system and MS DOS 7 would be loaded briefly as a part of the booting process, Windows 95 applications ran solely in 386 enhanced mode, with a flat 32-bit address space and virtual memory. These features make it possible for Win32 applications to address up to 2 gigabytes of virtual RAM (with another 2 GB reserved for the operating system), and in theory prevented them from inadvertently corrupting the memory space of other Win32 applications. In this respect the functionality of Windows 95 moved closer to Windows NT, although Windows 95/98/ME did not support more than 512 megabytes of physical RAM without obscure system tweaks.

IBM continued to market OS/2, producing later versions in OS/2 3.0 and 4.0 (also called Warp). Responding to complaints about OS/2 2.0’s high demands on computer hardware, version 3.0 was significantly optimized both for speed and size. Before Windows 95 was released, OS/2 Warp 3.0 was even shipped preinstalled with several large German hardware vendor chains. However, with the release of Windows 95, OS/2 began to lose market share.

It is probably impossible to choose one specific reason why OS/2 failed to gain much market share. While OS/2 continued to run Windows 3.1 applications, it lacked support for anything but the Win32s subset of Win32 API (see above). Unlike with Windows 3.1, IBM did not have access to the source code for Windows 95 and was unwilling to commit the time and resources to emulate the moving target of the Win32 API. IBM later introduced OS/2 into the United States v. Microsoft case, blaming unfair marketing tactics on Microsoft’s part.

Microsoft went on to release five different versions of Windows 95:

  • Windows 95 – original release
  • Windows 95 A – included Windows 95 OSR1 slipstreamed into the installation.
  • Windows 95 B – (OSR2) included several major enhancements, Internet Explorer (IE) 3.0 and full FAT32 file system support.
  • Windows 95 B USB – (OSR2.1) included basic USB support.
  • Windows 95 C – (OSR2.5) included all the above features, plus IE 4.0. This was the last 95 version produced.

OSR2, OSR2.1, and OSR2.5 were not released to the general public; rather, they were available only to OEMs that would preload the OS onto computers. Some companies sold new hard drives with OSR2 preinstalled (officially justifying this as needed due to the hard drive’s capacity).

The first Microsoft Plus! add-on pack was sold for Windows 95.

Windows NT 4.0


Windows NT 4.0 was the successor of 3.51 (1995) and 3.5 (1994). Microsoft released Windows NT 4.0 to manufacturing in July 1996, one year after the release of Windows 95. Major new features included the new Explorer shell from Windows 95, scalability and feature improvements to the core architecture, kernel, USER32, COM and MSRPC.

Windows NT 4.0 came in four versions:

  • Windows NT 4.0 Workstation
  • Windows NT 4.0 Server
  • Windows NT 4.0 Server, Enterprise Edition (includes support for 8-way SMP and clustering)
  • Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server

Windows 98


Windows98

Windows 98 desktop

On June 25, 1998, Microsoft released Windows 98 (codenamed Memphis). It included new hardware drivers and the FAT32 file system which supports disk partitions that are larger than 2 GB (first introduced in Windows 95 OSR2). USB support in Windows 98 is marketed as a vast improvement over Windows 95. The release continued the controversial inclusion of the Internet Explorer browser with the operating system that started with Windows 95 OEM Service Release 1. The action eventually led to the filing of the United States v. Microsoft case, dealing with the question of whether Microsoft was introducing unfair practices into the market in an effort to eliminate competition from other companies such as Netscape.

In 1999, Microsoft released Windows 98 Second Edition, an interim release. One of the more notable new features was the addition of Internet Connection Sharing, a form of network address translation, allowing several machines on a LAN (Local Area Network) to share a single Internet connection. Hardware support through device drivers was increased and this version shipped with Internet Explorer 5. Many minor problems that existed in the first edition were fixed making it, according to many, the most stable release of the Windows 9x family.

Windows 2000


Microsoft released Windows 2000 on February 17, 2000. It has the version number Windows NT 5.0. Windows 2000 has had four official service packs. It was successfully deployed both on the server and the workstation markets. Amongst Windows 2000’s most significant new features was Active Directory, a near-complete replacement of the NT 4.0 Windows Server domain model, which built on industry-standard technologies like DNS, LDAP, and Kerberos to connect machines to one another. Terminal Services, previously only available as a separate edition of NT 4, was expanded to all server versions. A number of features from Windows 98 were incorporated also, such as an improved Device Manager, Windows Media Player, and a revised DirectX that made it possible for the first time for many modern games to work on the NT kernel. Windows 2000 is also the last NT-kernel Windows operating system to lack product activation.

While Windows 2000 upgrades were available for Windows 95 and Windows 98, it was not intended for home users.

Windows 2000 was available in four editions:

  • Windows 2000 Professional
  • Windows 2000 Server
  • Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Windows 2000 Datacenter Server

Windows ME


WindowsME

Windows ME Desktop

In September 2000, Microsoft released a successor to Windows 98 called Windows ME, short for “Millennium Edition”. It was the last DOS-based operating system from Microsoft. Windows ME introduced a new multimedia-editing application called Windows Movie Maker, came standard with Internet Explorer 5.5 and Windows Media Player 7, and debuted the first version of System Restore – a recovery utility that enables the operating system to revert system files back to a prior date and time. System Restore was a notable feature that would continue to thrive in later versions of Windows, including XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

Windows ME was conceived as a quick one-year project that served as a stopgap release between Windows 98 and Windows XP. Many of the new features were available from the Windows Update site as updates for older Windows versions (System Restore and Windows Movie Maker were exceptions). Windows ME was criticized for stability issues, as well as for lacking real mode DOS support, to the point of being referred to as the “Mistake Edition” or “Many Errors.” Windows ME was the last operating system to be based on the Windows 9x (monolithic) kernel and MS-DOS.

Windows XP and Server 2003


Windows_XP_SP3

Windows XP Desktop

On October 25, 2001, Microsoft released Windows XP (codenamed “Whistler”). The merging of the Windows NT/2000 and Windows 95/98/Me lines was finally achieved with Windows XP. Windows XP uses the Windows NT 5.1 kernel, marking the entrance of the Windows NT core to the consumer market, to replace the aging 16/32-bit branch. The initial release met with considerable criticism, particularly in the area of security, leading to the release of three major Service Packs. Windows XP SP1 was released in September 2002, SP2 came out in August 2004 and SP3 came out in April 2008. Service Pack 2 provided significant improvements and encouraged widespread adoption of XP among both home and business users. Windows XP lasted longer as Microsoft’s flagship operating system than any other version of Windows, from October 25, 2001 to January 30, 2007 when it was succeeded by Windows Vista.

Windows XP is available in a number of versions:

  • Windows XP Home Edition, for home desktops and laptops – lacked features such as joining Active Directory Domain, Remote Desktop Server and Internet Information Services Server.
    • Windows XP Home Edition N, as above, but without a default installation of Windows Media Player, as mandated by a European Union ruling
  • Windows XP Professional, for business and power users contained all features in Home Edition.
    • Windows XP Professional N, as above, but without a default installation of Windows Media Player, as mandated by a European Union ruling
  • Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE), released in October 2002 for desktops and notebooks with an emphasis on home entertainment. Contained all features offered in Windows XP Professional and the Windows Media Center. Subsequent versions are the same but have an updated Windows Media Center.
    • Windows XP Media Center Edition 2003
    • Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004
    • Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, released on October 12, 2004. Included Windows XP Service Pack 2, the Royale Windows Theme and joining a Windows Active Directory Domain is disabled. The Aquarium, Da Vinci, Nature and Space themes are retained from Windows XP Plus!
  • Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, for tablet PCs
    • Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005
  • Windows XP Embedded, for embedded systems
  • Windows XP Starter Edition, for new computer users in developing countries
  • Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, released on April 25, 2005 for home and workstation systems utilizing 64-bit processors based on the x86-64 instruction set originally developed by AMD as AMD64; Intel calls their version Intel 64. Internally, XP x64 was a somewhat updated OS based on the Server 2003 code line.
  • Windows XP 64-bit Edition, is a version for Intel’s Itanium line of processors; maintains 32-bit compatibility solely through a software emulator. It is roughly analogous to Windows XP Professional in features. It was discontinued in September 2005 when the last vendor of Itanium workstations stopped shipping Itanium systems marketed as “Workstations”.

Windows Server 2003

Windows_Server_2003

Windows Server 2003 Desktop

On April 25, 2003 Microsoft launched Windows Server 2003, a notable update to Windows 2000 Server encompassing many new security features, a new “Manage Your Server” wizard that simplifies configuring a machine for specific roles, and improved performance. It has the version number NT 5.2. A few services not essential for server environments are disabled by default for stability reasons, most noticeable are the “Windows Audio” and “Themes” services; users have to enable them manually to get sound or the “Luna” look as per Windows XP. The hardware acceleration for display is also turned off by default, users have to turn the acceleration level up themselves if they trust the display card driver.

December 2005, Microsoft released Windows Server 2003 R2, which is actually Windows Server 2003 with SP1 (Service Pack 1) plus an add-on package. Among the new features are a number of management features for branch offices, file serving, printing and company-wide identity integration.

Windows Server 2003 is available in six editions:

  • Web Edition (32-bit)
  • Enterprise Edition (32 and 64-bit)
  • Datacenter Edition (32 and 64-bit)
  • Small Business Server (32-bit)
  • Storage Server (OEM channel only).

Windows Server 2003 R2, an update of Windows Server 2003, was released to manufacturing on December 6, 2005. It is distributed on two CDs, with one CD being the Windows Server 2003 SP1 CD. The other CD adds many optionally installable features for Windows Server 2003. The R2 update was released for all x86 and x64 versions, except Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition, which was not released for Itanium.

Windows XP x64 and Server 2003 x64 Editions

On April 25, 2005, Microsoft released Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and Windows Server 2003, x64 Editions in Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter SKUs. Windows XP Professional x64 Edition is an edition of Windows XP for x86-64 personal computers. It is designed to use the expanded 64-bit memory address space provided by the x86-64 architecture.

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition is based on the Windows Server 2003 codebase; with the server features removed and client features added. Both Windows Server 2003 x64 and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition use identical kernels.

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition is not to be confused with Windows XP 64-bit Edition, as the latter was designed for Intel Itanium processors. During the initial development phases, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition was named Windows XP 64-Bit Edition for 64-Bit Extended Systems.

Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs

Windows_Fundamentals_for_Legacy_PCs

Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs Desktop

In July 2005, Microsoft released a thin-client version of Windows XP Service Pack 2, called Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs (WinFLP). It is only available to Software Assurance customers. The aim of WinFLP is to give companies a viable upgrade option for older PCs that are running Windows 95, 98, and ME that will be supported with patches and updates for the next several years. Most user applications will typically be run on a remote machine using Terminal Services or Citrix.

Windows Home Server

Windows Home Server (codenamed Q, Quattro) is a server product based on Windows Server 2003, designed for consumer use. The system was announced on January 7, 2007 by Russel Adolfo. Windows Home Server can be configured and monitored using a console program that can be installed on a client PC. Such features as Media Sharing, local and remote drive backup and file duplication are all listed as features. The release of Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 added support for Windows 7 to Windows Home Server.

Windows Vista and Server 2008


Windows_Vista

Windows Vista Desktop

Main articles: Windows Vista, Features new to Windows Vista, Development of Windows Vista, Criticisms of Windows Vista, and List of features removed in Windows Vista
Windows Vista was released on November 30, 2006 to business customers – consumer versions followed on January 30, 2007. Windows Vista intended to have enhanced security by introducing a new restricted user mode called User Account Control, replacing the “administrator-by-default” philosophy of Windows XP. Vista was the target of much criticism and negative press, and in general was not well regarded; this was seen as leading to the relatively swift release of Windows 7.

One major difference between Vista and earlier versions of Windows, Windows 95 and later, is that the original start button was replaced with the Windows icon in a circle (called the Start Orb). Vista also features new graphics features, the Windows Aero GUI, new applications (such as Windows Calendar, Windows DVD Maker and some new games including Chess, Mahjong, and Purble Place), Internet Explorer 7, Windows Media Player 11, and a large number of underlying architectural changes including Windows Powershell being shipped with the operating system, which many believed to have taken place in Windows 7’s architecture and later. Windows Vista has the version number NT 6.0. Since its release, Windows Vista has had two service packs.

Windows Vista ships in six editions:

  • Starter (only available in developing countries)
  • Home Basic
  • Home Premium
  • Business
  • Enterprise (only available to large business and enterprise)
  • Ultimate (combines both Home Premium and Enterprise)

All editions (except Starter edition) are currently available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The biggest advantage of the 64-bit version is breaking the 4 gigabyte memory barrier, which 32-bit computers cannot fully access.

Windows Server 2008

Windows Server 2008, released on February 27, 2008, was originally known as Windows Server Codename “Longhorn”. Windows Server 2008 builds on the technological and security advances first introduced with Windows Vista, and is significantly more modular than its predecessor, Windows Server 2003.

Windows Server 2008 ships in ten editions:

  • Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows HPC Server 2008
  • Windows Web Server 2008 (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows Storage Server 2008 (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows Small Business Server 2008 (64-bit only)
  • Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems
  • Windows Server 2008 Foundation Server

Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2


Windows_7

Windows 7 Desktop

Windows 7 was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009, and reached general retail availability on October 22, 2009. It was previously known by the codenames Blackcomb and Vienna. Windows 7 has the version number NT 6.1. Since its release, Windows 7 has had one service pack.

Some features of Windows 7 are faster booting, Device Stage, Windows PowerShell, less obtrusive User Account Control, multi-touch, and improved window management. Features included with Windows Vista and not in Windows 7 include the sidebar (although gadgets remain) and several programs that were removed in favor of downloading their Windows Live counterparts.

Windows 7 ships in six editions:

  • Starter (available worldwide)
  • Home Basic
  • Home Premium
  • Professional
  • Enterprise (available to volume-license business customers only)
  • Ultimate

In some countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland), there are other editions that lack some features such as Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center and Internet Explorer – these editions were called names such as “Windows 7 N.” Microsoft focuses on selling Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional. All editions, except the Starter edition, are available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Unlike the corresponding Vista editions, the Professional and Enterprise editions are supersets of the Home Premium edition.

At the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2008, Microsoft also announced Windows Server 2008 R2, as the server variant of Windows 7. Windows Server 2008 R2 ships in 64-bit versions (x64 and Itanium) only.

Windows Thin PC

In 2010, Microsoft released Windows Thin PC or WinTPC, which is a feature- and size-reduced locked-down version of Windows 7 expressly designed to turn older PCs into thin clients. WinTPC is available for software assurance customers and relies on cloud computing in a business network. Wireless operation is supported since WinTPC has full wireless stack integration, but wireless operation may not be as good as the operation on a wired connection.

Windows Home Server 2011


Windows Home Server 2011 code named ‘Vail’ was released on April 6, 2011. Windows Home Server 2011 is built on the Windows Server 2008 R2 code base and removed the Drive Extender drive pooling technology in the original Windows Home Server release. Windows Home Server 2011 is considered a “major release”. Its predecessor was built on Windows Server 2003. WHS 2011 only supports x86-64 hardware.

Microsoft decided to discontinue Windows Home Server 2011 on July 5, 2012 while including its features into Windows Server 2012 Essentials. Windows Home Server 2011 was supported until April 12, 2016.

Windows 8 and Server 2012


Windows_8.1_Start_screen

Screenshot of the Start screen on Windows 8.1 with Update 1

On October 26, 2012, Microsoft released Windows 8 to the public. One edition, Windows RT, runs on some system-on-a-chip devices with mobile 32-bit ARM (ARMv7) processors. Windows 8 features a redesigned user interface, designed to make it easier for touchscreen users to use Windows. The interface introduced an updated Start menu known as the Start screen, and a new full-screen application platform. The desktop interface is also present for running windowed applications, although Windows RT will not run any desktop applications not included in the system. On the Building Windows 8 blog, it was announced that a computer running Windows 8 can boot up much faster than Windows 7. New features also include USB 3.0 support, the Windows Store, the ability to run from USB drives with Windows To Go, and others. Windows 8 was given the kernel number NT 6.2, with its successor 8.1 receiving the kernel number 6.3. So far, neither has had any service packs yet, although many consider Windows 8.1 to be a service pack for Windows 8.

Windows 8 is available in the following editions:

  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8 Pro
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows RT

The first public preview of Windows Server 2012 and was also shown by Microsoft at the 2011 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference.

Windows 8 Release Preview and Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate were both released on May 31, 2012. Product development on Windows 8 was completed on August 1, 2012, and it was released to manufacturing the same day. Windows Server 2012 went on sale to the public on September 4, 2012. Windows 8 went on sale October 26, 2012.

Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 were released on October 17, 2013. Windows 8.1 is available as an update in the Windows store for Windows 8 users only and also available to download for clean installation. The update adds new options for resizing the live tiles on the Start screen.

Windows 10 and Server 2016


Windows_10_(version_1709)

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, with the desktop, the Start menu, and the notification center shown

Windows 10, codenamed Threshold, is the current release of the Microsoft Windows operating system. Unveiled on September 30, 2014, it was released on July 29, 2015. It was distributed without charge to Windows 7 and 8.1 users for one year after release. A number of new features like Cortana, the Microsoft Edge web browser, the ability to view Windows Store apps as a window instead of fullscreen, virtual desktops, revamped core apps, Continuum, and a unified Settings app were all features debuted in Windows 10. Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 will be the last major version of its series of operating systems to be released. Instead, Microsoft will release major updates to the operating system via download or in Windows Update, similar to the way updates are delivered in macOS.

So far, three major versions have been released, and one has been announced for release in 2017:

  • Version 1507, the original version of Windows 10, codenamed Threshold 1 and released in July 2015. Kernel version number: 10.0.10240.
  • Version 1511, announced as the November Update and codenamed Threshold 2. It was released in November 2015. This update added many visual tweaks, such as more consistent context menus and the ability to change the color of window titlebars. Windows 10 can now be activated with a product key for Windows 7 and later, thus simplifying the activation process and essentially making Windows 10 free for anyone who has Windows 7 or later, even after the free upgrade period ended. A “Find My Device” feature was added, allowing users to track their devices if they lose them, similar to the Find My iPhone service that Apple offers. Controversially, the Start menu now displays “featured apps”. A few tweaks were added to Microsoft Edge, including tab previews and the ability to sync the browser with other devices running Windows 10. Kernel version number: 10.0.10586.
  • Version 1607, announced as the Anniversary Update and codenamed Redstone 1. It is the first of 4 planned updates with the “Redstone” codename. Its version number, 1607, means that it was supposed to launch in July 2016, however it was delayed until August 2016. Tons of new features were included in the version, including more integration with Cortana, a dark theme, browser extension support for Microsoft Edge, click-to-play Flash by default, tab pinning, web notifications, swipe navigation in Edge, and the ability for Windows Hello to use a fingerprint sensor to sign into apps and websites, similar to Touch ID on the iPhone. Also added was Windows Ink, which improves digital inking in many apps, and the Windows Ink Workspace which lists pen-compatible apps, as well as quick shortcuts to a sticky notes app and a sketchpad. Microsoft, through their partnership with Canonical, integrated a full Ubuntu bash shell via the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Notable tweaks in this version of Windows 10 include the removal of the controversial password-sharing feature of Microsoft’s Wi-Fi Sense service, a slightly redesigned Start menu, Tablet Mode working more like Windows 8, overhauled emoji, improvements to the lock screen, calendar integration in the taskbar, and the Blue Screen of Death now showing a QR code which users can scan to quickly find out what caused the error. This version of Windows 10’s kernel version is 10.0.14393.
  • Version 1703, announced as the Creators Update and codenamed Redstone 2. Planned features for this update include a new Paint 3D application, which allows users to create and modify 3D models, integration with Microsoft’s HoloLens and other “mixed-reality” headsets produced by other manufacturers, Windows MyPeople, which allows users to manage contacts, Xbox game broadcasting, support for newly developed APIs such as WDDM 2.2, Dolby Atmos support, improvements to the Settings app, and more Edge and Cortana improvements. This version will also include tweaks to system apps, such as an address bar in the Registry Editor, Windows PowerShell being the default command line interface instead of the Command Prompt and the Windows Subsystem for Linux being upgraded to support Ubuntu 16.04. This version of Windows 10 was released on 11 April 2017 as a free update.

Windows Server 2016

Windows Server 2016 is a release of the Microsoft Windows Server operating system that was unveiled on September 30, 2014. Windows Server 2016 was officially released at Microsoft’s Ignite Conference, September 26–30, 2016.