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What is Windows?


Windows is a graphical operating system developed by Microsoft. It allows users to view and store files, run the software, play games, watch videos, and provides a way to connect to the internet. It was released for both home computing and professional works.

Microsoft introduced the first version as 1.0

It was released for both home computing and professional functions of Windows on 10 November 1983. Later, it was released on many versions of Windows as well as the current version, Windows 10.

In 1993, the first business-oriented version of Windows was released, which is known as Windows NT 3.1. Then it introduced the next versions, Windows 3.5, 4/0, and Windows 2000. When the XP Windows was released by Microsoft in 2001, the company designed its various versions for a personal and business environment. It was designed based on standard x86 hardware, like Intel and AMD processor. Accordingly, it can run on different brands of hardware, such as HP, Dell, and Sony computers, including home-built PCs.

Editions of Windows

Microsoft has produced several editions of Windows, starting with Windows XP. These versions have the same core operating system, but some versions included advance features with an additional cost. There are two most common editions of Windows:

  • Windows Home
  • Windows Professional

Windows Home

Windows Home is basic edition of Windows. It offers all the fundamental functions of Windows, such as browsing the web, connecting to the Internet, playing video games, using office software, watching videos. Furthermore, it is less expensive and comes pre-installed with many new computers.

Windows Professional

Windows Professional is also known as Window Pro or win Pro. It is an enhanced edition of Windows, which is beneficial for power users and small to medium-size businesses. It contains all features of Windows Home as well as the following:

  • Remote Desktop: Windows Professional editions allow users to create a remote desktop connection. It provides users the option to connect with another computer remotely, including share the control of its mouse, keyboard, and view display. It is mainly accessed with the help of port 3389. Additionally, we can also use the TeamViewer or VNC application to create a remote desktop connection.
  • Trusted Boot: It provides security as encrypting to the boot loader and protects the computer from rootkits (Collection of software tools that allow users to enter another computer through an unauthorized way known as rootkits).
  • Bitlocker: It allows users to encrypt a storage drive by using AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) algorithm. This feature is present in Windows 7, and Windows Vista (Only ultimate and Enterprise versions), including Windows Server 2008.

Business laptops or computers mainly use the Bitlocker feature to protect their data on the computer. As if your computer has been stolen, it is very difficult to break the Bitlocker password. It can be unlocked by entering the correct password only. Furthermore, if you forget your Bitlocker password, it cannot be retrieved.

  • Windows Sandbox: A sandbox is located on a computer, network, or an online service enables users to experiment or test computer security without interrupting the system.
  • Hyper-V: It stands for a hypervisor, and developed by Microsoft Corporation on 26 June 2008. It is also called Windows Server Virtualization. Hyper-V is used for virtualization of x86-64 servers, running virtual machines and third party software like VirtualBox.
  • Group policy management: An admin can specify group policies in an organization to manage different Windows users.
  • It provides support for the systems that have more than 128 GB of RAM.
  • Furthermore, it also offers more Windows update installation options as well as flexible scheduling and postponement around 34 days.

Why is Microsoft Windows called Windows?

When Microsoft Windows was not introduced, all of the Microsoft users were used MS-DOS operating system. Microsoft gave one word to most of its products; it required a new Word that can represent its new GUI operating system. Microsoft decided to call it Windows because it has the ability to perform several tasks and run applications simultaneously.

Another reason behind calling it Windows was that you could not trademark a common name like Windows. Its official name was Microsoft Windows, the first version 1.0 of Windows was introduced in 1995.

History of Microsoft Windows

Since 1983, Microsoft is producing Windows. The founder of Microsoft 'Bill Gates' announced for Microsoft Windows on 10 November 1983 and released the first version of Windows in 1985. The following table contains history of Windows from edition 1 to 10.

Version History
Windows 1.0 Microsoft introduced Windows with its first version 1.0. It was released on 20 November 1985, and at the beginning, it was sold for $100.00. Additionally, it was the first effort by Microsoft to produce a graphical user interface in 16-bit.
Windows 2.0 The second version, Windows 2.0, was produced by Microsoft on 9 December 1987 as well as it also introduced the Window 386 on the same day. Initially, the price was the same $100.00 for both of the Windows in the market.
It came with new features such as it was able to overlap each other, and it also introduced the new way to maximize and minimize the window, instead of using 'zooming' and 'iconizing' respectively.
Furthermore, it also included the control panel feature where several system settings and configuration options are available in one place. Even Microsoft Word and Excel were also used for the first time on Windows 2.  
Windows 286 It was released in June 1988, and at the beginning, its price was $100.00. 
Windows 3.0 It was the first Windows that needed a hard drive. It was launched by Microsoft on 22 May 1990. Its full version was sold for $149.95, and the updated version was $79.95. Additionally, the multimedia supported Windows 3 was introduced in October 1991.
Windows version 3.0 gained more success, and it became a challenge for Apple's Macintosh and the Commodore Amiga GUI as it was provided pre-installed on computers by PC compatible manufacturers as well as Zenith Data Systems.
It was also able to run the MS-DOS program in Windows that allowed multitasking in legacy programs as well as supported 256 colors, which made the interface more colorful and advanced.
Windows 3.1 It was launched in April 1992, when it was in development its code name was Sparta. It was the commonly used operating system for the PC graphical user interface. In the first two months after its release, more than one million copies were sold. It made the Windows usable publishing platform for the first time by introducing the TrueType fonts. Minesweeper was also used for the first time on the Windows 3.1.
It was needed only 1MB of RAM to run, and it allowed users to control the MS-DOS programs with the help of a mouse for the first time. Furthermore, it was also the first operating system to be distributed on a CD-ROM.
Some other generations of version 3.1 are as follows:
  • In 1992, the Windows for Workgroups 3.1 was launched.
  • Microsoft introduced Windows NT 3.1 on 27 July 1993.
  • An updated version of Windows 3.1, Windows 3.11, was introduced on 31 December 1993.
  • In February 1994, the Windows for Workgroups 3.11 was launched.
  • On 21 September 1994, the Windows NT 5 was introduced.
  • The next version Windows NT 3.51, was introduced on 30 May 1995.
Windows 95 As the name specifies, Windows 95 was launched on 24 August 1995, and within four days of its release, more than one million copies were sold. It introduced the Start button and Start menu features for the first time, including important features such as a 32-bit environment, multitasking, and taskbar. Furthermore, MS-DOS still played a vital role in Windows 95, with the help of some programs and elements.
Internet Explorer was also used on the Windows 95 for the first time, but it could not be installed by default, it needed the Windows 95 plus pack for it. Later, Windows 95 improved and included the IE browser by default.
Windows 95 Service Pack It was introduced on 24 February 1996.
Windows NT 4.0 On 29 July 1996, Windows NT 4.0 was launched.
Windows CE
  • The first version 0 of Windows CE was introduced in November 1996.
  • The Second version 0 of Windows CE was launched in November 1997.
  • The next version 1 of Windows CE was released in July 1998.
  • The third version, 3.0 of Windows CE, was introduced in 1999.
Windows 98 It was developed on Windows 95, and introduced in June 1998. It was released, including Internet Explorer 4, Windows Address Book, Outlook Express, Microsoft Chat, and NetShow Player.
The second version of Windows 98 was introduced on 5 May 1999, in this version the NetShow Player was replaced by Windows Media Player 6.2. It was also brought with the address bar and back/forward navigation buttons in Windows Explorer, and more other features.
Windows 98 came with the new feature Windows Driver model for computer components and accessories, which offered support to all future editions of Windows. Furthermore, it was improved USB support including USB mice and USB hubs.
Windows 2000 On 17 February 2000, it was launched.
Windows ME It was invented in September 2000, and it was the last operating system, which was based on MS-DOS and in the Windows 9x line. According to the enterprise market, it was considered consumer-aimed Windows with the Windows 2000. It was also provided some useful features for consumers as well as more automated system recovery tools.
Additionally, an Internet Explorer, Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Media Player 7 were used on Windows ME for the first time.
Windows 2000 It was introduced on 17 February 2000. Basically, it was based on Microsoft business-oriented system Windows NT, and later it provided the base for the Windows XP. Furthermore, the automatic updating feature made their appearance for the first time on Windows 2000, and it was the first operating system to support hibernation.
Windows XP Windows XP was considered the best edition of Windows; it was introduced on 25 October 2001. It followed Windows ME and provided consumer-friendly elements. The 64-bit version of Windows XP was introduced on 28 March 2003. Furthermore, Its Professional x64 version was introduced on 24 April 2005.
The start button and taskbar were replaced by including the green Start button, blue task bar, and vista wallpaper, as well as several shadows and more visual effects.
It also brought some important features, such as ClearType, which helps to read content on LCD screens, autoplay from CDs and other media, different automated update, and recovery tools.
Additionally, It was used for the longest time, and even when it was discontinued, it was used at an estimated 430 m PC.
Windows Vista It was introduced by Microsoft In January 2007. It was brought the better look and feel user interface and included transparent elements, security, and search. When it was in the development phase, its code name was "Longhorn." Windows Media Player 11 and Internet Explorer 7 were made their appearance for the first time on Windows Vista, included Windows Defender, an anti-spyware program. It was also provided some useful features such as Windows DVD Maker, speech recognition, and Photo Gallery. Furthermore, it was the first operating system to be distributed on DVD.
Windows Server 2008 On 27 February 2008, Microsoft introduced Windows Server 2008.
Windows 7 It was introduced on 22 October 2009 to overcome all problems that were faced by Windows Vista. It was released with user-friendly features and less dialogue box overload. It was more stable, faster, and easy to use as compared to release other previous versions. Additionally, the handwriting recognition feature was used for the first time on Windows 7.
As IE was the default browser in Microsoft Windows, the antitrust investigations used Microsoft in Europe for making it a default browser. Consequently, it had to provide the users the option to choose and install the browser on the first boot.
Windows Server 2012 On 4 September 2012, Microsoft was released Windows Server 2012.
Windows 8 It was introduced by Microsoft on 26 October 2012. It was released with new features, such as a fast operating system, support for the USB 3.0 devices, and Web store. The Web store is a place where you can download different types of Windows applications; its full-screen mode was run for the first time on Windows 8.
Windows 8.1 It was launched by Microsoft on 17 October 2013. It was re-launched the Start button, which was able to display the Start screen from the desktop view of Windows 8.1. Furthermore, it provided a way to select boot directly into the desktop.
Windows 10 On 29 July 2015, Microsoft introduced Windows 10. It was released with some new features such as switching between a keyboard and mouse mode and a tablet mode, which was beneficial for the users who use computers like surface Pro 3 with a detachable keyboard. It was designed for all Windows platforms across several devices, as well as Windows tablets and Phones, including common applications.

Features of Windows

Microsoft Windows includes a lot of features to help users. Some of its excellent features are as follows:

  1. Control Panel: Windows provides a Control Panel feature that includes many tools to configure and manage the resources on their computer. For example, users can change settings for audio, video, printers, mouse, keyboard, network connections, date and time, power saving options, user accounts, installed applications, etc.
  2. Cortana: Windows 10 introduced a feature named Cortana, which is able to accept voice commands. It can perform various tasks such as it can answers your questions, search data on your computer, online purchases, set reminders, and appointments, etc. Furthermore, it acts like other voice-activated services such as Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri, including one more benefit of searching the information on your computer. To open the Cortana in Windows 10, press Window key + S.
  3. File Explorer: It is also known as Windows Explorer, which displays your files and folders on the computer. It allows users to browse the data on the hard drive, SSD and other inserted removable disks like pen drives and CDs, and you can manage the content according to the requirements such as delete, rename, search, and transfer the data.
  4. Internet browser: As the internet browser is very important to search for anything, view pages, online shopping, play games, watch videos, etc. Windows come with a pre-installed internet browser. in Windows 10, the Edge internet browser is the default browser. Furthermore, Internet Explorer was the default browser in Microsoft Windows from the Windows edition 95 to 8.1 version.
  5. Microsoft Paint: Since November 1985, Microsoft Windows comes with pre-installed Microsoft Paint. It is a simple software to create, view, and edit an image. It offers several tools to draw an image, crop, resize, and save an image with a different file extension.
  6. Taskbar: Windows comes with a taskbar that displays currently opened programs, it also allows users to access any specific programs. Additionally, it includes the notification area on the right side that shows date and time, battery, network, volume, and other background running applications.
  7. Start menu: Microsoft Windows contains a start menu to the left side of the taskbar. It displays programs and utilities that are installed on the computer. It can be simply opened by clicking on the Start menu button or pressing the start key on the keyboard.
  8. Task Manager: Windows includes the task manager feature that provides detail of the running applications or programs on the computer. You can also check how much of the system resources, such as RAM, CPU, disk I/O, are being used by each of the applications.
  9. Disk Cleanup: It is used to free up disk space with the help of deleting temporary or unnecessary files. It also helps to enhance the performance of the computer, and boost storage space to download the programs and documents. To open Disk Cleanup, follow the below steps:
    • Open the File Explorer by pressing Window + E.
    • Then, right-click on any disk drive and select Properties option from the drop-down list.
    • Now, click on the Disk Cleanup.


Difference between Linux and Windows OS

Below is a table to describe the major factors about Linux and Windows operating systems:

Topic Windows Linux
Command Line Windows allows users to use the command line, but not as a Linux command line. To open the command line, click on the Run dialog box and type CMD in the run search bar and press Enter key. Although the Linux command-line offers more features for administration and daily tasks, it does not offer much to end-users.
Reliability Windows has improved its reliability in the past few years, but still it is less reliable as compared to Linux. Linux is more reliable and secure then Windows OS. It mainly focuses on system security, process management, and up-time.
Usability Windows is easier to use as it provides a simple user interface. But its installation process can take more time. Although Linux has the ability to perform complex tasks easier, its installation process is complicated.
Security Microsoft has enhanced the security features in Windows over recent years. As it has a huge user base, mostly for new computer users, it can be easily targeted for malicious coders. Furthermore, among all of the operating systems, Microsoft Windows can be part of developing malware and viruses. Linux is a more secure operating system as compared to Microsoft Windows. Even attackers found difficulty in breaking the security with the help of Linux.
Support It provides users the online and integrated help systems, as well as a large number of informative books, are available to provide help for people at all skill levels. A wide number of books are available to offer help about Linux, including online support.
Updates Regular Windows update makes users frustrated by alerting the Windows update for inconvenient times. Additionally, it takes more time to get an update. Linux provides users full control over updates. They can update it accordingly, and it takes less time to get an update as well as without any reboot the system.
Licensing Microsoft Windows with license does not allow to modify the software (don't have access to the source code). It can be installed only on the systems with a Windows license key. Linux operating system with a license offers users the benefit to re-use the source code on any number of systems. It is also allowed the users to modify the software and sell its modified version.

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