Windows: History, Versions & Facts

Learn all about Windows: its history, versions, interesting facts and more. Get an overview of the entire Windows OS and find out which version is right for you

Windows is the most widely used operating system in the world, powering over 1.5 billion devices worldwide. Developed by Microsoft, Windows has evolved over the years to become a highly sophisticated and user-friendly platform for personal computing.


Windows was first introduced in 1985 as a graphical user interface (GUI) for MS-DOS, a popular operating system at the time. The first version of Windows was Windows 1.0, which had a limited set of features and was not widely adopted.

Windows 2.0 was released in 1987, followed by Windows 3.0 in 1990, which introduced the iconic start menu and support for 256 colors. Windows 95, released in 1995, was a major milestone in the history of Windows. It introduced a new user interface, including the taskbar and the start button, and also brought support for plug-and-play hardware.

Since then, Microsoft has released many versions of Windows, including Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10. Windows 10 is the latest version of Windows, which was released in 2015 and continues to receive updates to this day.

Version Table:

Version Release Date Notable Features
Windows 1.0 November 20, 1985 GUI for MS-DOS
Windows 2.0 December 9, 1987 Improved GUI, support for expanded memory
Windows 3.0 May 22, 1990 Start menu, support for 256 colors
Windows 95 August 24, 1995 Taskbar, start button, plug-and-play hardware support
Windows 98 June 25, 1998 Internet Explorer 4.0, support for USB
Windows 2000 February 17, 2000 Active Directory, improved stability
Windows ME September 14, 2000 Media player, system restore
Windows XP October 25, 2001 User interface overhaul, improved performance
Windows Vista January 30, 2007 Aero interface, enhanced security
Windows 7 October 22, 2009 Improved taskbar, jump lists, touch support
Windows 8 October 26, 2012 Start screen, touch-centric interface
Windows 10 July 29, 2015 Continuum mode, Cortana, virtual desktops

Interesting Facts:

  • The name “Windows” was chosen because the operating system featured windows that could be resized and moved around the screen.
  • Windows 95 was the first version of Windows to include the iconic start button.
  • Windows XP was the most widely used version of Windows, with over 400 million copies sold.
  • Windows 8 was the first version of Windows to support touch input.
  • Windows 10 is the first version of Windows to receive continuous updates, rather than periodic major releases.

In conclusion, Windows has come a long way since its inception in 1985. Over the years, Microsoft has continued to innovate and improve the platform, making it more user-friendly and powerful with each new release. With its widespread adoption and continuous updates, Windows will continue to play a vital role in the world of personal computing for many years to come.