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Dublin: 13°C Wednesday 10 August 2022

This is how drastically your Windows computer has changed over the years

It’s now safe to turn off your computer.

THINK BACK TO the early 1990s, and the computer you used in school or at work probably looks drastically different than the laptop you’re using today.

We’ve come a long way from the massive, chunky monitors.

And, as computers have become slimmer and more sleek, so has the software that goes along with it.

Here’s a look at how Windows has changed throughout the years:

Windows 1.0 (1985)

windows-10-1985 Source: Courtesy of the Microsoft Archives

Windows 1.0 was officially released in 1985, two years after Microsoft first announced the software. The company initially considered calling it Interface Manager, but instead called it Windows after the format in which programs were designed.

Windows 2.0 (1987-1990)

windows-20-1987-1990 Source: Courtesy of the Microsoft Archives

The second iteration of Windows launched in 1987, and introduced desktop icons, expanded memory, and the ability to overlap windows.

Windows 3.0 (1990)

windows-30-1990 Source: Courtesy of the Microsoft Archives

When Windows 3.0 debuted in 1990, it became the most widely used version of the software yet. Microsoft sold 10 million copies of Windows 3 in its first two weeks. With Windows 3.0, Microsoft significantly enhanced the software’s performance, improved app icons, and added 16 new colors to its graphics. You can also try it out online here.

Windows 95 (1995)

windows-95-1995 Source: Courtesy of the Microsoft Archives

Windows 95 was one of Microsoft’s most prominent software releases to date. The iconic Start button made its debut on Windows 95, as did Internet Explorer. Microsoft sold 7 million copies within its first five weeks of availability.

Windows 98 (1998)

windows-98-1998 Source: Courtesy of the Microsoft Archives

Windows 98 was released as the age of the internet was in full swing. Microsoft describes it as the first real software release for consumers. The ability to read DVDs and the Quick Launch menu were among Windows 98′s new features.

Windows ME (2000)

windows-me-2000 Source: Courtesy of the Microsoft Archives

With Windows ME, or Millennium Edition, Microsoft added new media-focused features such as Windows Movie Maker. It was also the first version of Windows to support System Restore, which allows you to reset your system’s preferences to before a certain date. Windows ME faced some harsh criticisms when it hit the market, however. PCWorld listed it in their list of the Worst Tech Products of All Time countdown, and ABC’s review criticized it for being difficult to install.

Windows XP (2001-2005)

windows-xp-2001-2005 Source: Courtesy of the Microsoft Archives

Windows XP was praised for its cleaner aesthetics and smooth performance. “You’ll hear few complaints about the operating system itself, especially when it’s compared with previous versions,” David Pogue wrote in The New York Times’ review back in 2001.

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“No matter what you think of Microsoft, using Windows XP on a new or very recent PC feels sure, swift and satisfying. And that’s a big deal.” Microsoft also says that it emphasized security with Windows XP.

Windows Vista (2006-2008)

windows-vista-2006-2008 Source: Courtesy of the Microsoft Archives

Windows Vista introduced a new design and some minor updates to existing Windows programs, but it was ultimately met with criticism. Many reviews concluded that there was no compelling reason to upgrade from XP.

Windows 7 (2009)


Windows 7 was received with praise when it launched in 2009. CNET called it “what Vista should have been.” It’s still used across corporate environments today.

Windows 8/8.1 (2012-present)

windows-881-2012-present Source: Courtesy of the Microsoft Archives

Windows 8 is Microsoft’s most recent version of Windows. Microsoft completely changed the user interface of Windows 8 from the traditional desktop to a tiled, touch-friendly design. The goal was to optimize the OS for tablets, but Windows 8 has seen lukewarm reception at best. The software has been criticized for its complicated interface and lack of a Start menu, which Microsoft is rumored to bring back with Windows 9.

- Lisa Eadicicco

Now read: These ten computer operating systems never made the grade >

More: Microsoft appoints Nadella as its new CEO >

Published with permission from:

Business Insider
Business Insider is a business site with strong financial, media and tech focus.

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