Microsoft Windows Progression Timeline – The Rise of Windows

Since Microsoft first created Windows, the operating system and computing world has progressed further than we could have imagined over 20 years ago.

Here’s a nostalgic timeline of Microsoft’s operating systems.

Microsoft’s Operating Systems before Windows:

Xenix (Late 1970s) – Unix-based operating system by Microsoft and AT&T.
MS-DOS (Early 1980s) – The main precursor that Windows evolved from.

The Birth of Windows:

Windows 1.0 (1985)

Microsoft Windows 1.0
Microsoft’s first attempt at a GUI-based operating system.

Windows 2.0 (1987)

Microsoft Windows 2.0
Improved upon Windows 1.0 and was the first version of Windows to run Word and Excel.

Windows 3.0 (1990)

Microsoft Windows 3.0
Third major release and rival to Apple Macintosh and Commodore Amiga. Featured significantly revamped GUI. Was the last version of Windows to advertise 100% backwards compatibility with older Windows applications.

Windows 3.1 (1992)

Microsoft Windows 3.1
Introduced the TrueType font system, which made Windows a viable desktop publishing platform for the first time.

Windows NT 3.1 (1993)

Microsoft Windows NT 3.1

Microsoft Windows NT 3.5 (1994)

Microsoft Windows NT 3.5

Windows 95 (1995)

Microsoft Windows 95
Major commercial success. Integrated MS-DOS and Windows. Introduced many new features and an significantly improved GUI.

Windows 98 (1998)

Microsoft Windows 98
Codenamed Memphis during development, Windows 98 is the second major release in the 9x line featuring improvements to hardware support and web integration amongst other things.

Windows 2000 (2000)

Microsoft Windows 2000
Marketed as the most secure Windows version ever, Windows 2000 was a continuation of the Windows NT family of operating systems. It featured many improvements and new features like Internet Explorer 5.

Windows ME (2000)

Microsoft Windows ME
Targeted specifically at home users, Windows Millennium Edition was a highly criticised release for being buggy and unstable.

Windows XP (2001)

Microsoft Windows XP
Windows XP, “XP” being short for “eXPerience”, featured a new task-based GUI and visual effects were introduced.

Windows Vista (2007)

Microsoft Windows Vista
Codenamed “Longhorn” during development, Windows Vista featured many improvements and new features.

Windows 7 (2009)

Microsoft Windows 7
Windows 7 was built to be a more “focused”, “incremental” update to the Windows line. Windows 7 was pretty much presented as an improved and polished Windows Vista.

Windows 8 (2012)

Microsoft Windows 8
First operating system designed for use on desktops, laptops, and tablets.