Over decades, Windows operating systems have been part of our society. The evolving technology of these operating systems is evidence of the progress we’ve made as humans, but these technological advances also often times serve a function to get us ready for what’s next. Windows operating systems have not simply been created by us, they have helped evolve the very world around us.
Windows 1, the first Windows operating system, was released back in 1985 and could be used with command-line input. However, this operating system did require a mouse for specific activities; the mouse was a very new concept in 1985. An example of a function that required a mouse was a game called “Reversi”, a game that was actually designed to get users acclimated to using a mouse. The option to use a mouse was an alternative to command-line data input that eventually completely replaced the command-line input method (Iwanski, 2015).
A couple of years after the release of Windows 1, Windows 2 was released with some key improvements. Windows 2 focused heavily on ease of window use. This was the first Windows operating system that allowed multiple windows to overlap each other, where users could click on the window they wanted to see, and where the size of these windows could be adjusted. Windows 2 also introduced the control panel which is still in use to this day. A few years later, Windows 3 was launched; this was the first operating system to challenge any Macintosh operating system products. This operating system included a more colorful and detailed graphical user interface and introduced the Solitaire game on computers (Gibbs, 2014).
Skipping ahead to Windows 95, released in 1995, this operating system introduced the first ever start button and menu. This became the organizational core of Windows’ user interface for the next many years. Even the start button and menu were taken away in Windows 8, they were put back in in Windows 8.1 (Gibbs, 2014). Some other very important things that Windows 95 brought to the table was the first platform for Internet Explorer and the ability to highlight text. The ability to highlight text changed data input as we know it; it gave us a much faster way of copying, deleting, or moving bulk portions of text (Iwanski, 2015).
After Windows 95 came Windows 98, which brought many new internet functions with it including Outlook Express and Microsoft Chat. Windows 98 made internet browsing more user-friendly and for the first time strongly supported USB input. Shortly after Windows 98 came Windows ME, which was a notoriously buggy operating system but did introduce some important things such as automated recovery tools and autocomplete. Windows 2000 was basically a revised and more functional version of Windows ME. Windows XP, one of the more popular Windows operating systems, was released in 2001 and brought a much more updated and modern look along with many new functions such as CD burning. While Windows XP was a popular system, it did illuminate the security issues that plagues personal computers (Gibbs, 2014).
After Windows XP, Windows Vista was released in 2007 and while making an attempt to introduce some new and exciting user interface features struggled with bugs and failed updates. Windows 7 came a couple years after Windows Vista, and was considered to be “what Vista was supposed to be” (Gibbs, 2014). Windows 7 updated the look and the functionality of windows and tabs, increasing user-friendliness and efficiency. In 2012, Windows 8 made its debut as the first ever Windows operating system that could support touch screen functionality. Windows 8 was significantly faster than previous Windows operating systems, but the exclusion of the start button and menu was too much for many users. On top of that, Windows 8 was plagued with issues due to release deadlines. Windows 8.1 brought back the start menu and button about a year later. Finally, Windows 10 has brought back a balance of touch screen and traditional computer user-friendliness as well as keeping the popular start button and menu. Windows 10 is intended to bring all devices running on Windows together, allowing for better syncing and information sharing between devices. This is unprecedented in Windows operating systems (Iwanski, 2015).
All of these changes not only enhance our daily lives and the way we play, it streamlines operations for businesses and helps business owners and career people to maximize their time and energy. The development of Windows operating systems has not only changed the way we work and play, it has also incrementally prepared us for what is next in modern technology.
- Gibbs, S. (2014). From Windows 1 to Windows 10: 29 Years of Windows Evolution. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/02/from-windows-1-to-windows-10-29-years-of-windows-evolution
- Iwanski, M. (2015). Evolution of User Interface in Microsoft Windows Operating Systems. Centria University of Applied Sciences. Retrieved from: https://www.theseus.fi