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November 18, 2005

20 Years Of Windows Releases

Take a trip down memory lane with Windows' best and worst moments.

Page 1 of 7

"  The Making Of Windows 1.0

"  20 Years Of Windows Releases

"  Windows Timeline

"  The Future Of Windows


Over the course of Windows' venerable 20-year history, Microsoft has released more than 15 major versions of the operating system. Each version was more complex than the last, added more features, and provoked more controversy.

Here's a rundown of those releases, from the inauspicious debut of Windows 1.0 to the contentious introduction of XP -- and some totally biased ratings of how useful (or useless) that version of Windows was.

Windows 1.0
The 1985 debut of the Windows operating system was lackluster at best. More a novelty than anything else, Windows 1.0 was not actually a complete operating system. Instead, it was an extension of MS-DOS. There were no real Windows applications to speak of, so it possessed limited usefulness for business users. Still, it was a start.
Rating (out of 10): 4

Windows 1.0, courtesy of the Microsoft Archives. Click image to enlarge.

Windows 2.0
In 1987, Microsoft made good on some of Windows' potential. Still DOS-based, DOS-looking, and DOS-functional, this OS at least resembled a GUI, with a few icons and moveable, overlapping windows. Excel and Word for Windows debuted with the OS, but many critics mark Aldus' decision to port its desktop publishing app to Windows -- the first non-Microsoft Windows application -- in 1987 as the turning point for Windows' popularity.

Windows 2.03, courtesy of . Click image to enlarge.

The first version of Win 2.0 used a real-memory mode that limited the OS to a maximum of 1MB of memory. Later versions added a Protected Mode, which allowed access to a whopping 16MB of memory.
Rating: 6

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Page 2: Getting Better: Win 3.0, 3.1, And 3.11

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