The First Versions of Windows

The development of operating systems with a graphical user interface started in the 1980s, which was when Microsoft decided to give MS-DOS a graphical user interface. Microsoft created a graphical program for this purpose called Windows. At first, Windows was not a separate operating system, but instead a graphical application that used MS-DOS as operating system. 

Windows 1.0 was the first version and came in 1983, though the first versions of Windows (1.0 and 2.0) were not a success. The reason for this was that there was little software for Windows, while the existing software was unstable and simple. It was not until Windows 3.0 and then Windows 3.1 that Windows became widely taken into use.

The operating systems Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows Millennium were quite similar, so they were therefore called Windows 9x.

Windows 95 

Windows 95 was a major improvement from earlier versions of Windows, central to this being an enhanced usability and better networking capabilities. The new features in Windows 95 were multitasking and the automatic detection and configuration of equipment (Plug and Play). 

Windows 98 

Windows 98 was an upgrade and improvement of Windows 95, as Microsoft wanted to implement the Internet in Windows at this time. As a result, Windows 98 contained Internet Explorer and other programs for the Internet. 

Windows Millennium 

Windows Millennium was the last release in the series based on the Windows 9x platform, and was aimed at the domestic market with a focus on multimedia. 

Windows NT 

Computers acquired more and more memory, a higher processor speed and more disk space. MS-DOS could not handle a lot of memory, and could not run multiple applications simultaneously, so there was a need for a new operating system. This led to the developing of Windows NT, in which NT stands for New Technology. Microsoft released the first version of Windows NT in 1993 and called it Windows NT 3.1, because it came at the time when Windows 3.1 was in use. Windows NT 3.1 had the same appearance and user interface as Windows 3.1, but they were completely different operating systems.

Windows NT 4.0 came in 1996, with the two basic versions of Windows NT 4.0 being: 

• Windows NT Server 

• Windows NT Workstation 

Windows NT 4.0 Server was a network operating system designed to be used on servers in local networks. Windows NT 4.0 Workstation was designed for use on both home computers and workstations, but was primarily used by companies as workstations in local networks. 

Windows NT 4.0 was an advanced 32-bit operating system designed to be secure, stable and flexible, thus making it possible to use multiple processors on the same computer. Windows NT 4.0 could utilize a large memory and large hard drives, which meant that the operating system was well scalable. Windows NT introduced users as a part of the system’s security model, so in order to use a workstation in a modern Windows system you must be a registered user. One can define multiple users on a workstation, and each user has certain rights to files and to access system resources in general.


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