Ever wondered why Microsoft named the latest Windows release as Windows 7? Microsoft considers Windows 7 as the seventh generation Windows OS. Following are the 6 previous generations of Windows Operating System,
1. Windows 1.0 – Microsoft released the first version of Windows in 1985 and it featured tiled windows. From the beginning Windows was designed as a multitasking system. It was more of a GUI for the underlying MS-DOS operating system. It is interesting to note that Microsoft supported this operating system for 16 years (till 2001)!
2. Windows 3.11 – The next major release of Windows was in 1993 named Windows for Workgroups 3.11. It included networking and truetype fonts. Within months of release it sold millions of copies and Microsoft was named as the “Most of innovative company in US” by Forbes.
3. Windows 95 – Released in 1995, Windows 95 cemented Microsoft’s position as the solid leader in operating systems business. Microsoft integrated MS-DOS into Windows effectively putting all other MS-DOS competitors out of business. Windows 95 also introduced Internet Explorer 1.0. For optimal use Windows 95 required 8MB of RAM. The basic UI elements introduced in Windows 95 remains even today in Windows 7.
4. Windows 2000 – Windows 2000 was released in 2000 and the primary market was business laptops and server machines. Windows 2000 includes NTFS 3.0 and introduced encrypted file system. Windows 2000 was marketed as the most secure operating system, but continues to receive security patches in short intervals. Windows 2000 is supported till July 2010.
5. Windows XP – Released in 2001, Windows XP is the most used operating system even as of 2009 with more than 60% of market share. It offered a fresh user interface and a number of performance and stability improvements. Windows XP is supported till 2014.
6. Windows Vista – Windows Vista was released in 2007 and was not adopted quickly due to its high system requirements. To get a decent performance it required 1GB of RAM (Windows XP required 128MB) probably due to the fact that its engine core components were rewritten (audio, display, networking etc.). However it does have over 20% of the OS market share as of 2009. Vista is also notorious for its high prices (Ultimate edition costs over $300 almost matching hardware price).
There are a number of other Windows releases which are not considered in the above 6 generations. These include Windows 2 and Windows 3, Windows 98, Windows NT and Windows Me.
And then in 2009, Microsoft launches Windows 7 as the seventh generation Windows operating system.