Microsoft Windows

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Microsoft Windows
Windows 11 logo.svg
DeveloperMicrosoft
OS familyWindows NT
Working stateActive
Source modelClosed source
Initial release (1985-11-20) November 20, 1985 (age 36)
Latest release10.0.19043.1081 / June 21, 2021 (2021-06-21)
Kernel typeHybrid
LicenseProprietary software
Official websitewindows.microsoft.com

Microsoft Windows is an operating system for computers made by the United States-based company Microsoft. Windows is used by almost 90% of desktop and laptop computers.

History[change | change source]

The first version of Windows, Windows 1.0, came out on November 20, 1985. The newest version, Windows 11, came out October 5, 2021. Most personal computers made after 2015 come with Windows 10. However, some older or cheaper personal computers may come with Windows 8.1 or Windows 7.

Windows makes it easier to run programs (applications) than MS-DOS did. DOS required typed commands to make the computer do something. DOS required correct syntax of each command. Making mistakes caused the computer to usually give an error message and do nothing.

Design[change | change source]

Users control their Windows computer by its graphical user interface (or GUI for short). It only needs a keyboard or a mouse to work. In later versions, a touch screen works as well. However, using both a keyboard and a mouse makes many tasks easier. By clicking a few buttons on the screen, Windows helps keep your files safe, and easier to change and move. Versions of Windows after 2005 make it even easier for some users with disabilities because these versions have touch screens. For use of a touch screen, some mobile devices come with Windows. Tablet computers and smartphones such as Microsoft Surface and Microsoft Lumia use Windows.

Programs[change | change source]

The following programs are included with Windows:

  • WordPad – to write simple documents, typically using words/text.
  • Windows Photo Viewer – to look at pictures.
  • Microsoft Paint – to make simple drawings or change pictures.
  • Microsoft Edge web browser – to use the Internet to look at web pages and download files.
  • Windows DVD Player to watch videos.
  • Windows Groove to play and listen to music

Windows has several kinds of applications/programs available. Popular applications include games, word processors (to write words) or additional programs like Adobe Flash Player (to watch some videos and play many games on internet sites). Adding new applications to Windows is called "installing". Applications can be bought/purchased on a CD or DVD. Applications can also be downloaded from the Internet.  Some internet applications can be downloaded for free, and others can be bought using the internet.

Versions[change | change source]

Release date Product name Notes Last IE
November 20, 1985 Windows 1.0 Unsupported since December 31, 2001 (help for problems no longer given by Microsoft)
December 9, 1987 Windows 2.x Unsupported since December 31, 2001
May 22, 1990 Windows 3.x Unsupported since December 31, 2001
July 27, 1993 Windows NT Unsupported since December 31, 2001 5.x
August 24, 1995 Windows 9x Unsupported (Windows 95 mainstream support ended on December 31, 2000 and extended support ended on December 31, 2001, for Windows 98 mainstream support ended on June 30, 2002, mainstream support for Windows ME ended on December 31, 2003 and extended support for both operating systems ended on July 11, 2006) 6
November 17, 1996 Windows CE Windows CE 6.0: Mainstream support ended on April 9, 2013; Unsupported as of April 10, 2018

Windows Embedded Compact 7: Mainstream support ended on April 12, 2016; Unsupported as of April 13, 2021

Windows 8 Embedded Compact 2013: Mainstream support ended on October 9, 2018; Supported until October 10, 2023

6-7
February 17, 2000 Windows 2000 Mainstream support ended on June 30, 2005;

Unsupported as of July, 13, 2010[1]

6
September 14, 2000 Windows ME Mainstream support ended on December 31, 2003;

Unsupported as of July 11, 2006

6
October 25, 2001 Windows XP Mainstream support ended on April 14, 2009;

Unsupported as of April 8, 2014

8
April 24, 2003 Windows Server 2003 Mainstream support ended on July 13, 2010;

Unsupported as of July 14, 2015

8
November 30, 2006 (volume licensing)
January 30, 2007 (retail)
Windows Vista Mainstream support ended on April 10, 2012;

Unsupported as of April 11, 2017 Version Changed to NT 6.0.6001 with SP1 (4 February 2008)

9
July 2007 Windows Home Server 20xx Unsupported (Microsoft will help fix problems for this kind of Windows, including problems that make your computer less safe) 8
February 2008 Windows Server 2008 Mainstream support ended on January 13, 2015;

Unsupported since January 14, 2020

9 or Edge
July 2009 Windows Server 2008 R2 Mainstream support ended on January 13, 2015;

Unsupported since January 14, 2020

10-11 or Edge
October 22, 2009 Windows 7 Mainstream support ended on January 13, 2015;

Unsupported since January 14, 2020 for home users. Volume licensing customers can purchase extended security updates (ESU) until January 10, 2023.

11 or Edge
October 26, 2012 Windows 8.x All editions except Windows Embedded 8 Standard:

Mainstream support ended on January 9, 2018; Supported until January 10, 2023. Updates to apps using the Windows Store until July 1, 2023. Windows Embedded 8 Standard: Mainstream support support ended on July 10, 2018; extended support until July 11, 2023.

11 or Edge
August 26, 2012 Windows RT Mainstream support ended on January 9, 2018;

Supported until January 10, 2023

11 or Edge
October 17, 2013 Windows 8.1 All editions except Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry:

Mainstream support ended on January 9, 2018; Supported until January 10, 2023. Updates to apps using the Windows Store until July 1, 2023. Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry: Mainstream support ended on July 10, 2018; extended support until July 11, 2023.

11 or Edge
September 4, 2012 Windows Server 2012 Mainstream support ended on October 9, 2018;

Supported until October 10, 2023

11 or Edge
November 25, 2013 Windows Server 2012 R2 Mainstream support ended on October 9, 2018;

Supported until October 10, 2023

11 or Edge
July 29, 2015 Windows 10 Mainstream support ended on October 13, 2020;

Supported until October 14, 2025

11 or Edge
October 12, 2016 Windows Server 2016 Mainstream support already ended on January 11, 2022;

Supported until January 12, 2027

11 or Edge
October 2, 2018 Windows Server 2019 Mainstream support until January 9, 2024;

Supported until January 9, 2029

11 or Edge
October 5, 2021 Windows 11 All editions except Windows 11 IoT Enterprise and Windows 11 IoT Enterprise for ARM:

Mainstream support until January 12, 2027; Supported until January 13, 2032.

Windows 11 IoT Enterprise and Windows 11 IoT Enterprise for ARM: Mainstream support until October 8, 2024; Supported support until December 31, 2031.

Edge
August 18, 2021 Windows Server 2022 Mainstream support until October 13, 2026;

Supported until October 14, 2031

Edge

Criticism[change | change source]

Many users complain that Windows creates problems for them. Some users complain that Windows made their computers slower when they changed from DOS. Many people also complain about problems that make their computer less safe to use, even though Microsoft tries to fix these problems. Many computer viruses are created to infect computers running Windows since it is such a popular operating system. Windows was the most popular operating system until recently (today mobile operating systems such as Android are more popular).

References[change | change source]

  1. "Microsoft Support Lifecycle". Microsoft. May 4, 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-25.

Other websites[change | change source]