Microsoft Windows is a relatively old operating system, developed in the mid-1980s as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the increasing demand for computers with a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI).
Early Versions of Windows
The first version of the Windows operating system didn’t allow windows to overlap, and came with a set list of applications (including Calculator, Calendar, and Reversi, among others). The next version, Windows 2.0, greatly improved over this fledgling system by allowing for overlapping windows, better keyboard shortcuts, and expanded memory. At this time, Windows still wasn’t really regarded as a stand-alone operating system, but as an extension of MS-DOS for users who preferred to use a GUI for accessing applications. It wasn’t until the 1990s that Windows became more recognizable as the precursor to Windows Vista, Windows 7, and other modern forms of the operating system.
Today, Windows is a full-fledged operating system, with very few applications requiring users to understand how MS-DOS works. Application windows are still stackable, and several other features have been added to the operating system over the years to improve stability, security, and ease of use. There’s also a much greater variety of software available for use with Windows, with most computers already coming pre-installed with more Windows software than the earliest versions were capable of running. The System Restore function was introduced with Windows Millennium Edition, which allowed a computer’s settings to be rolled back to how they were at a previous backup point, for ease of maintenance. The NT family of Windows operating systems was also introduced for business use, which offered corporate environments more reliability with the NTFS-based Windows NT 3.1. Microsoft is already working on their operating system‘s next incarnation, Windows 8. While the details haven’t been released yet, it promises to be another easy-to-use addition to the Windows operating system family.