The most popular operating system in the world is not the same as it used to be upon its first release. The operating system in question is, of course, Microsoft Windows. Ever since its initial release and into the first year of its existence, Windows was already the most popular system in the world. How is that possible?

Microsoft did some good and bad things during the time period, to ensure that their operating system is the most sold and used in the world. Here is everything you need to know about Microsoft Windows.

The First Windows

Released in 1985, the first Windows was actually a project that started in 1981 as a program called the Interface Manager. As it was upon release, actually, it was a graphical representation of MS-DOS, an extension of the executable, rather than a new operating system. It featured several new programs upon installation, such as Control Panel, the game Reversi, Clipboard Viewer, Cardfile, Calculator, Calendar, Notepad, Paint, Terminal and Write. Not that many programs were included at the start, but with a graphical interface, ease of use and compatibility with DOS programs, processor agnosticity, Windows was already a step ahead.

The 2.0 version in 1987 brought overlapping windows instead of tiled windows, making organization and desktop management easier. It was much more popular than the first iteration. 

Windows 3.0 was released in 1990 and brought more management to virtual memory and software management.

Windows NT and 9X

The next major release of Windows was Windows NT, NT standing for New Technology. It was actually called Windows NT 3.1, and was released in 1992. It marked a change in the Windows lifecycle.

New operating systems were released during the 90s, both of which were very popular, but did not belong to the NT family and were quickly deprecated, named Windows 95 and 98. Both had major improvements, such as the ability to use plug and play devices, AHCI, Universal Serial Bus drivers or USB for those who are too new to know. 

Windows 95 was also the first windows to include a legendary browser, the Internet Explorer.

The 90s ended with the absolute mess that was Windows ME or millennium edition, which was by most people considered to be the worst version of Windows. 

Windows XP

This was a game-changer for most people. Everyone who lived through the 2000s and owned a PC went through the familiar login screen and wallpaper of Windows XP, released in 2001. It was so good that everyone forgot about Windows ME. Windows XP basically united the 9x series and NT, which it essentially did.

XP brought more improvements, such as the Windows Explorer and the ability to use older software through compatibility mode. With that, Microsoft released a server edition of the XP.

Windows Vista and 7

Vista was a heavily criticized system for being far too slow and bad at managing resources, and it was released in 2006. 7 was a much better system, more optimized, and a heavy favorite of most people until Windows 10 was released.

7 was released in 2009 and it was a great upgrade to Vista, aiming to maximize performance and compatibility.

Windows 8, 10 and 11

Windows 8 was released in 2012 and was abysmally criticized, mostly because it was so different. There was no start menu and there was an addition of various features for touchscreen applications. 

Windows 10 was released in 2014 and did most things a lot better than Windows 8, because it had the start menu back! Windows 11 was released in 2021 and the launch was choppy at best.

Windows is the most popular operating system on the PC, to this day still used by most consumers worldwide.