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A lot of people today are not aware of the evolution of Microsoft Windows. Today we have seamlessly moving, semi-transparent windows that glide across the screen with remarkable feel and sensitivity. However, this was not always the case. In this article I'd like to take you back to some of the original Microsoft Operating Systems and how they paved way for the computing world as we know it today. In the Beginning In the 1970's people used typewriters to create documents. Microcomputer's existed but nowhere did you see them in the workplace. In fact, very few people had even heard of them. However two talented men, Bill Gates and Paul Allen, set out to change all of that. In early 1975 Allen and Gates partnered up and created a small company called Microsoft. Shortly after in 1980, IBM contacted Allen and Gates to create a new operating system that would control the hardware side of a computer as well as offer an application layer for software programs. This operating system was later named MS-DOS. Though MS-DOS was effective it was hard for some users to use due to its long and sometimes cryptic commands. Windows 1.0, 2.0 & 3.0 Later in 1985 Microsoft releases Windows 1.0 which offers a graphical user interface (GUI) rather than the original DOS commands of its predecessor. Following that, Windows 2.0 hits the shelves. The upgrade took advantage of the new Intel 386 processors and its memory management capabilities. Microsoft would then go own to release Windows 3.0 which introduced new features like File Manager and Print Manager. It was also considerably faster and would go on to out sell all of its original versions. Windows NT Windows NT did not derive from its older siblings. Microsoft set out to design a new operating system from scratch. Their answer was Windows NT. Of the enhancements most notable is its ability to operate at 32 bit. Unlike the other 16 bit operating systems of the past, operating at 32 bit allowed engineers and scientist to take development to new lengths. Windows 95 In 1995 Microsoft released Windows 95 which went on to sell seven million copies in five weeks. Windows 95 was released at the dawn of the internet and hit the shelves ready. It boasted dial-up support for networking allowing users to access email and browse the World Wide Web. Windows

95 also included a new feature called Plug and Play which made installing hardware and software a breeze. This is also the time we are introduced to our beloved start menu and taskbar. Windows 98 Windows 98 was developed as an upgrade to Windows 95. It offered better performance and quick launch bar. It was also the first Windows operating system that offered support for DVD drives and USB devices. Windows 98 was the last operating system based of MS-DOS. Windows ME Designed for home use instead of business, Windows ME offered better media support as well as network enhancements making it easier for user setup. It also introduced the System Restore which allowed you to roll back your computer state to a previous time. Windows ME was also the last of the Windows 95 core code. All future versions of Windows would be based off of Windows NT. Windows 2000 In 2000, Microsoft set out to replace all earlier business computers with its new version, Windows 2000. Basically an enhanced Windows NT, Windows 2000 offered better support for USB, Firewire and other technologies. Windows XP Windows XP was a usability landmark for Microsoft. The menus became much more intuitive, and made navigation a synch. It offered the network wizard to assist with connection your home network. It also greatly improved on its media programs. Windows XP shipped in several different forms: Home Edition, Professional, 64-bit(the first 64-bit system from Microsoft), Media Center Edition and XP Tablet PC Edition. Windows Vista At this point security was largely a concern in the computing world. To answer the call Windows Vista was introduced with the strongest security system yet. User Account Controls are introduced to add an additional layer of security along with new disk encryption methods. The user interface also changed significantly with its start button makeover. Windows 7 By the time Windows 7 makes its debut the wireless world is booming. Laptop computers far out sell traditional desktops. With the reality of the mobile computer, Windows 7 adds the ability to configure multiple networks for home, work or public hot spots allowing users to manage security settings based on the network they are connected to. It also makes improvements from Windows Vista's user interface and media management tools.

About the Author Cory Clough is a web programmer and developer for many first class websites and has worked on several high profile projects. He enjoys playing guitar and the outdoors.

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The Evolution of Microsoft Windows