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Microsoft
Microsoft
Windows is a group of several graphical operating system families, all of which are developed, marketed, and sold by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. Active Windows families include Windows NT
Windows NT
and Windows Embedded; these may encompass subfamilies, e.g. Windows Embedded
Windows Embedded
Compact (Windows CE) or Windows Server. Defunct Windows families include Windows 9x, Windows Mobile
Windows Mobile
and Windows Phone. Microsoft
Microsoft
introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985, as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS
MS-DOS
in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs).[3] Microsoft
Microsoft
Windows came to dominate the world's personal computer (PC) market with over 90% market share, overtaking Mac OS, which had been introduced in 1984. Apple came to see Windows as an unfair encroachment on their innovation in GUI development as implemented on products such as the Lisa and Macintosh
Macintosh
(eventually settled in court in Microsoft's favor in 1993). On PCs, Windows is still the most popular operating system. However, in 2014, Microsoft admitted losing the majority of the overall operating system market to Android,[4] because of the massive growth in sales of Android smartphones. In 2014, the number of Windows devices sold was less than 25% that of Android devices sold. This comparison however may not be fully relevant, as the two operating systems traditionally target different platforms. Still, numbers for server use of Windows (that are comparable to competitors) show one third market share, similar to for end user use. As of December 2017[update], the most recent version of Windows for PCs, tablets, smartphones and embedded devices is Windows 10. The most recent versions for server computers is Windows Server
Windows Server
2016. A specialized version of Windows runs on the Xbox One
Xbox One
video game console.[5]

Contents

1 Genealogy

1.1 By marketing role

2 Version history

2.1 Early versions 2.2 Windows 3.x 2.3 Windows 9x 2.4 Windows NT

2.4.1 Early versions 2.4.2 Windows XP 2.4.3 Windows Vista 2.4.4 Windows 7 2.4.5 Windows 8
Windows 8
and 8.1 2.4.6 Windows 10 2.4.7 Multilingual support 2.4.8 Platform support

2.5 Windows CE 2.6 Xbox
Xbox
OS

3 Version control system 4 Timeline of releases 5 Usage share and device sales

5.1 Usage share on servers

6 Security

6.1 File
File
permissions 6.2 Windows Defender 6.3 Third-party analysis

7 Alternative implementations 8 See also 9 References 10 External links

Genealogy By marketing role Microsoft, the developer of Windows, has registered several trademarks each of which denote a family of Windows operating systems that target a specific sector of the computing industry. As of 2014, the following Windows families are being actively developed:

Windows NT: Started as a family of operating system with Windows NT 3.1, an operating system for server computers and workstations. It now consists of three operating system subfamilies that are released almost at the same time and share the same kernel. It is almost impossible for someone unfamiliar with the subject to identify the members of this family by name because they do not adhere to any specific rule; e.g. Windows 7
Windows 7
and Windows 8.1
Windows 8.1
are members of this family but Windows 3.1
Windows 3.1
is not.

Windows: The operating system for mainstream personal computers, tablets and smartphones. The latest version is Windows 10. The main competitor of this family is macOS by Apple Inc.
Apple Inc.
for personal computers and Android for mobile devices (c.f. Usage share of operating systems § Market share by category). Windows Server: The operating system for server computers. The latest version is Windows Server
Windows Server
2016. Unlike its clients sibling, it has adopted a strong naming scheme. The main competitor of this family is Linux. (c.f. Usage share of operating systems
Usage share of operating systems
§ Market share by category) Windows PE: A lightweight version of its Windows sibling meant to operate as a live operating system, used for installing Windows on bare-metal computers (especially on many computers at once), recovery or troubleshooting purposes. The latest version is Windows PE
Windows PE
10.

Windows Embedded: Initially, Microsoft
Microsoft
developed Windows CE
Windows CE
as a general-purpose operating system for every device that was too resource-limited to be called a full-fledged computer. Eventually, however, Windows CE
Windows CE
was renamed Windows Embedded
Windows Embedded
Compact and was folded under Windows Compact trademark which also consists of Windows Embedded Industry, Windows Embedded
Windows Embedded
Professional, Windows Embedded Standard, Windows Embedded
Windows Embedded
Handheld and Windows Embedded Automotive.[6]

The following Windows families are no longer being developed:

Windows 9x: An operating system that targeted consumers market. Discontinued because of suboptimal performance. ( PC World
PC World
called its last version, Windows ME, one of the worst products of all times.)[7] Microsoft
Microsoft
now caters to the consumers market with Windows NT. Windows Mobile: The predecessor to Windows Phone, it was a mobile phone operating system. The first version was called Pocket PC 2000; the third version, Windows Mobile
Windows Mobile
2003 is the first version to adopt the Windows Mobile
Windows Mobile
trademark. The last version is Windows Mobile
Windows Mobile
6.5. Windows Phone: An operating system sold only to manufacturers of smartphones. The first version was Windows Phone
Windows Phone
7, followed by Windows Phone
Windows Phone
8, and the last version Windows Phone
Windows Phone
8.1. It was succeeded by Windows 10
Windows 10
Mobile.

Version history Main article: History of Microsoft
Microsoft
Windows See also: List of Microsoft
Microsoft
Windows versions The term Windows collectively describes any or all of several generations of Microsoft
Microsoft
operating system products. These products are generally categorized as follows: Early versions Main articles: Windows 1.0, Windows 2.0, and Windows 2.1x

Windows 1.0, the first version, released in 1985

The history of Windows dates back to 1981, when Microsoft
Microsoft
started work on a program called "Interface Manager". It was announced in November 1983 (after the Apple Lisa, but before the Macintosh) under the name "Windows", but Windows 1.0
Windows 1.0
was not released until November 1985.[8] Windows 1.0
Windows 1.0
was to compete with Apple's operating system, but achieved little popularity. Windows 1.0
Windows 1.0
is not a complete operating system; rather, it extends MS-DOS. The shell of Windows 1.0
Windows 1.0
is a program known as the MS-DOS
MS-DOS
Executive. Components included Calculator, Calendar, Cardfile, Clipboard viewer, Clock, Control Panel, Notepad, Paint, Reversi, Terminal and Write. Windows 1.0
Windows 1.0
does not allow overlapping windows. Instead all windows are tiled. Only modal dialog boxes may appear over other windows. Windows 2.0
Windows 2.0
was released in December 1987, and was more popular than its predecessor. It features several improvements to the user interface and memory management.[9] Windows 2.03 changed the OS from tiled windows to overlapping windows. The result of this change led to Apple Computer filing a suit against Microsoft
Microsoft
alleging infringement on Apple's copyrights.[10][11] Windows 2.0
Windows 2.0
also introduced more sophisticated keyboard shortcuts and could make use of expanded memory. Windows 2.1
Windows 2.1
was released in two different versions: Windows/286
Windows/286
and Windows/386. Windows/386
Windows/386
uses the virtual 8086 mode of the Intel 80386 to multitask several DOS
DOS
programs and the paged memory model to emulate expanded memory using available extended memory. Windows/286, in spite of its name, runs on both Intel 8086
Intel 8086
and Intel 80286 processors. It runs in real mode but can make use of the high memory area.[citation needed] In addition to full Windows-packages, there were runtime-only versions that shipped with early Windows software from third parties and made it possible to run their Windows software on MS-DOS
MS-DOS
and without the full Windows feature set. The early versions of Windows are often thought of as graphical shells, mostly because they ran on top of MS-DOS
MS-DOS
and use it for file system services.[12] However, even the earliest Windows versions already assumed many typical operating system functions; notably, having their own executable file format and providing their own device drivers (timer, graphics, printer, mouse, keyboard and sound). Unlike MS-DOS, Windows allowed users to execute multiple graphical applications at the same time, through cooperative multitasking. Windows implemented an elaborate, segment-based, software virtual memory scheme, which allows it to run applications larger than available memory: code segments and resources are swapped in and thrown away when memory became scarce; data segments moved in memory when a given application had relinquished processor control. Windows 3.x Main articles: Windows 3.0
Windows 3.0
and Windows 3.1x

Windows 3.0, released in 1990

Windows 3.0, released in 1990, improved the design, mostly because of virtual memory and loadable virtual device drivers (VxDs) that allow Windows to share arbitrary devices between multi-tasked DOS applications.[citation needed] Windows 3.0
Windows 3.0
applications can run in protected mode, which gives them access to several megabytes of memory without the obligation to participate in the software virtual memory scheme. They run inside the same address space, where the segmented memory provides a degree of protection. Windows 3.0
Windows 3.0
also featured improvements to the user interface. Microsoft
Microsoft
rewrote critical operations from C into assembly. Windows 3.0
Windows 3.0
is the first Microsoft Windows version to achieve broad commercial success, selling 2 million copies in the first six months.[13][14] Windows 3.1, made generally available on March 1, 1992, featured a facelift. In August 1993, Windows for Workgroups, a special version with integrated peer-to-peer networking features and a version number of 3.11, was released. It was sold along Windows 3.1. Support for Windows 3.1
Windows 3.1
ended on December 31, 2001.[15] Windows 3.2, released 1994, is an updated version of the Chinese version of Windows 3.1.[16] The update was limited to this language version, as it fixed only issues related to the complex writing system of the Chinese language.[17] Windows 3.2 was generally sold by computer manufacturers with a ten-disk version of MS-DOS
MS-DOS
that also had Simplified Chinese characters in basic output and some translated utilities. Windows 9x Main article: Windows 9x The next major consumer-oriented release of Windows, Windows 95, was released on August 24, 1995. While still remaining MS-DOS-based, Windows 95
Windows 95
introduced support for native 32-bit
32-bit
applications, plug and play hardware, preemptive multitasking, long file names of up to 255 characters, and provided increased stability over its predecessors. Windows 95
Windows 95
also introduced a redesigned, object oriented user interface, replacing the previous Program Manager
Program Manager
with the Start menu, taskbar, and Windows Explorer
Windows Explorer
shell. Windows 95
Windows 95
was a major commercial success for Microsoft; Ina Fried of CNET
CNET
remarked that "by the time Windows 95
Windows 95
was finally ushered off the market in 2001, it had become a fixture on computer desktops around the world."[18] Microsoft published four OEM Service Releases (OSR) of Windows 95, each of which was roughly equivalent to a service pack. The first OSR of Windows 95 was also the first version of Windows to be bundled with Microsoft's web browser, Internet Explorer.[19] Mainstream support for Windows 95 ended on December 31, 2000, and extended support for Windows 95
Windows 95
ended on December 31, 2001.[20] Windows 95
Windows 95
was followed up with the release of Windows 98
Windows 98
on June 25, 1998, which introduced the Windows Driver Model, support for USB composite devices, support for ACPI, hibernation, and support for multi-monitor configurations. Windows 98
Windows 98
also included integration with Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer
4 through Active Desktop and other aspects of the Windows Desktop Update (a series of enhancements to the Explorer shell which were also made available for Windows 95). In May 1999, Microsoft
Microsoft
released Windows 98
Windows 98
Second Edition, an updated version of Windows 98. Windows 98
Windows 98
SE added Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer
5.0 and Windows Media Player 6.2 amongst other upgrades. Mainstream support for Windows 98
Windows 98
ended on June 30, 2002, and extended support for Windows 98 ended on July 11, 2006.[21] On September 14, 2000, Microsoft
Microsoft
released Windows ME
Windows ME
(Millennium Edition), the last DOS-based version of Windows. Windows ME incorporated visual interface enhancements from its Windows NT-based counterpart Windows 2000, had faster boot times than previous versions (which however, required the removal of the ability to access a real mode DOS
DOS
environment, removing compatibility with some older programs),[22] expanded multimedia functionality (including Windows Media Player 7, Windows Movie Maker, and the Windows Image Acquisition framework for retrieving images from scanners and digital cameras), additional system utilities such as System File
File
Protection and System Restore, and updated home networking tools.[23] However, Windows ME was faced with criticism for its speed and instability, along with hardware compatibility issues and its removal of real mode DOS support. PC World
PC World
considered Windows ME
Windows ME
to be one of the worst operating systems Microsoft
Microsoft
had ever released, and the 4th worst tech product of all time.[7] Windows NT Main article: Windows NT Early versions In November 1988, a new development team within Microsoft
Microsoft
(which included former Digital Equipment Corporation
Digital Equipment Corporation
developers Dave Cutler and Mark Lucovsky) began work on a revamped version of IBM
IBM
and Microsoft's OS/2
OS/2
operating system known as "NT OS/2". NT OS/2
OS/2
was intended to be a secure, multi-user operating system with POSIX compatibility and a modular, portable kernel with preemptive multitasking and support for multiple processor architectures. However, following the successful release of Windows 3.0, the NT development team decided to rework the project to use an extended 32-bit
32-bit
port of the Windows API known as Win32 instead of those of OS/2. Win32 maintained a similar structure to the Windows APIs (allowing existing Windows applications to easily be ported to the platform), but also supported the capabilities of the existing NT kernel. Following its approval by Microsoft's staff, development continued on what was now Windows NT, the first 32-bit
32-bit
version of Windows. However, IBM
IBM
objected to the changes, and ultimately continued OS/2
OS/2
development on its own.[24][25] The first release of the resulting operating system, Windows NT
Windows NT
3.1 (named to associate it with Windows 3.1) was released in July 1993, with versions for desktop workstations and servers. Windows NT
Windows NT
3.5 was released in September 1994, focusing on performance improvements and support for Novell's NetWare, and was followed up by Windows NT
Windows NT
3.51 in May 1995, which included additional improvements and support for the PowerPC
PowerPC
architecture. Windows NT
Windows NT
4.0 was released in June 1996, introducing the redesigned interface of Windows 95
Windows 95
to the NT series. On February 17, 2000, Microsoft
Microsoft
released Windows 2000, a successor to NT 4.0. The Windows NT
Windows NT
name was dropped at this point in order to put a greater focus on the Windows brand.[25] Windows XP Main article: Windows XP The next major version of Windows NT, Windows XP, was released on October 25, 2001. The introduction of Windows XP
Windows XP
aimed to unify the consumer-oriented Windows 9x
Windows 9x
series with the architecture introduced by Windows NT, a change which Microsoft
Microsoft
promised would provide better performance over its DOS-based predecessors. Windows XP
Windows XP
would also introduce a redesigned user interface (including an updated Start menu and a "task-oriented" Windows Explorer), streamlined multimedia and networking features, Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer
6, integration with Microsoft's .NET Passport services, modes to help provide compatibility with software designed for previous versions of Windows, and Remote Assistance functionality.[26] At retail, Windows XP
Windows XP
was now marketed in two main editions: the "Home" edition was targeted towards consumers, while the "Professional" edition was targeted towards business environments and power users, and included additional security and networking features. Home and Professional were later accompanied by the "Media Center" edition (designed for home theater PCs, with an emphasis on support for DVD
DVD
playback, TV tuner cards, DVR functionality, and remote controls), and the "Tablet PC" edition (designed for mobile devices meeting its specifications for a tablet computer, with support for stylus pen input and additional pen-enabled applications).[27][28][29] Mainstream support for Windows XP
Windows XP
ended on April 14, 2009. Extended support ended on April 8, 2014.[30] After Windows 2000, Microsoft
Microsoft
also changed its release schedules for server operating systems; the server counterpart of Windows XP, Windows Server
Windows Server
2003, was released in April 2003.[25] It was followed in December 2005, by Windows Server
Windows Server
2003 R2. Windows Vista Main article: Windows Vista After a lengthy development process, Windows Vista
Windows Vista
was released on November 30, 2006, for volume licensing and January 30, 2007, for consumers. It contained a number of new features, from a redesigned shell and user interface to significant technical changes, with a particular focus on security features. It was available in a number of different editions, and has been subject to some criticism, such as drop of performance, longer boot time, criticism of new UAC, and stricter license agreement. Vista's server counterpart, Windows Server 2008 was released in early 2008. Windows 7 Main article: Windows 7 On July 22, 2009, Windows 7
Windows 7
and Windows Server
Windows Server
2008 R2 were released as RTM (release to manufacturing) while the former was released to the public 3 months later on October 22, 2009. Unlike its predecessor, Windows Vista, which introduced a large number of new features, Windows 7
Windows 7
was intended to be a more focused, incremental upgrade to the Windows line, with the goal of being compatible with applications and hardware with which Windows Vista
Windows Vista
was already compatible.[31] Windows 7
Windows 7
has multi-touch support, a redesigned Windows shell
Windows shell
with an updated taskbar, a home networking system called HomeGroup,[32] and performance improvements. Windows 8
Windows 8
and 8.1 Main articles: Windows 8
Windows 8
and Windows 8.1 Windows 8, the successor to Windows 7, was released generally on October 26, 2012. A number of significant changes were made on Windows 8, including the introduction of a user interface based around Microsoft's Metro design language with optimizations for touch-based devices such as tablets and all-in-one PCs. These changes include the Start screen, which uses large tiles that are more convenient for touch interactions and allow for the display of continually updated information, and a new class of apps which are designed primarily for use on touch-based devices. Other changes include increased integration with cloud services and other online platforms (such as social networks and Microsoft's own OneDrive
OneDrive
(formerly SkyDrive) and Xbox Live
Xbox Live
services), the Windows Store
Windows Store
service for software distribution, and a new variant known as Windows RT
Windows RT
for use on devices that utilize the ARM architecture.[33][34][35][36][37][38] An update to Windows 8, called Windows 8.1,[39] was released on October 17, 2013, and includes features such as new live tile sizes, deeper OneDrive
OneDrive
integration, and many other revisions. Windows 8
Windows 8
and Windows 8.1 has been subject to some criticism, such as removal of the Start menu. Windows 10 Main article: Windows 10 On September 30, 2014, Microsoft
Microsoft
announced Windows 10
Windows 10
as the successor to Windows 8.1. It was released on July 29, 2015, and addresses shortcomings in the user interface first introduced with Windows 8. Changes include the return of the Start Menu, a virtual desktop system, and the ability to run Windows Store
Windows Store
apps within windows on the desktop rather than in full-screen mode. Windows 10
Windows 10
is said to be available to update from qualified Windows 7
Windows 7
with SP1 and Windows 8.1 computers from the Get Windows 10
Windows 10
Application (for Windows 7, Windows 8.1) or Windows Update
Windows Update
(Windows 7).[40] On November 12, 2015, an update to Windows 10, version 1511, was released.[41] This update can be activated with a Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 product key as well as Windows 10
Windows 10
product keys.[42] Features include new icons and right-click context menus, default printer management, four times as many tiles allowed in the Start menu, Find My Device, and Edge updates.[42] In February 2017, Microsoft
Microsoft
announced the migration of its Windows source code repository from Perforce
Perforce
to Git. This migration involved 3.5 million separate files in a 300 gigabyte repository.[43] By May 2017, 90 percent of its engineering team now uses Git, in about 8500 commits and 1760 Windows builds per day.[43] Multilingual support Multilingual support is built into Windows. The language for both the keyboard and the interface can be changed through the Region and Language Control Panel. Components for all supported input languages, such as Input Method Editors, are automatically installed during Windows installation (in Windows XP
Windows XP
and earlier, files for East Asian languages, such as Chinese, and right-to-left scripts, such as Arabic, may need to be installed separately, also from the said Control Panel). Third-party IMEs may also be installed if a user feels that the provided one is insufficient for their needs. Interface languages for the operating system are free for download, but some languages are limited to certain editions of Windows. Language Interface Packs (LIPs) are redistributable and may be downloaded from Microsoft's Download Center and installed for any edition of Windows (XP or later) – they translate most, but not all, of the Windows interface, and require a certain base language (the language which Windows originally shipped with). This is used for most languages in emerging markets. Full Language Packs, which translates the complete operating system, are only available for specific editions of Windows (Ultimate and Enterprise editions of Windows Vista
Windows Vista
and 7, and all editions of Windows 8, 8.1 and RT except Single Language). They do not require a specific base language, and are commonly used for more popular languages such as French or Chinese. These languages cannot be downloaded through the Download Center, but available as optional updates through the Windows Update service (except Windows 8). The interface language of installed applications are not affected by changes in the Windows interface language. Availability of languages depends on the application developers themselves. Windows 8
Windows 8
and Windows Server
Windows Server
2012 introduces a new Language Control Panel where both the interface and input languages can be simultaneously changed, and language packs, regardless of type, can be downloaded from a central location. The PC Settings app in Windows 8.1 and Windows Server
Windows Server
2012 R2 also includes a counterpart settings page for this. Changing the interface language also changes the language of preinstalled Windows Store
Windows Store
apps (such as Mail, Maps and News) and certain other Microsoft-developed apps (such as Remote Desktop). The above limitations for language packs are however still in effect, except that full language packs can be installed for any edition except Single Language, which caters to emerging markets. Platform support Windows NT
Windows NT
included support for several different platforms before the x86-based personal computer became dominant in the professional world. Windows NT
Windows NT
4.0 and its predecessors supported PowerPC, DEC Alpha
DEC Alpha
and MIPS R4000. (Although some these platforms implement 64-bit computing, the operating system treated them as 32-bit.) However, Windows 2000, the successor of Windows NT
Windows NT
4.0, dropped support for all platforms except the third generation x86 (known as IA-32) or newer in 32-bit mode. The client line of Windows NT
Windows NT
family still runs on IA-32, although the Windows Server
Windows Server
line has ceased supporting this platform with the release of Windows Server
Windows Server
2008 R2. With the introduction of the Intel Itanium
Itanium
architecture (IA-64), Microsoft
Microsoft
released new versions of Windows to support it. Itanium versions of Windows XP
Windows XP
and Windows Server
Windows Server
2003 were released at the same time as their mainstream x86 counterparts. Windows XP
Windows XP
64-Bit Edition, released in 2005, is the last Windows client operating systems to support Itanium. Windows Server
Windows Server
line continues to support this platform until Windows Server
Windows Server
2012; Windows Server
Windows Server
2008 R2 is the last Windows operating system to support Itanium
Itanium
architecture. On April 25, 2005, Microsoft
Microsoft
released Windows XP
Windows XP
Professional x64 Edition and Windows Server
Windows Server
2003 x64 Editions to support the x86-64 (or simply x64), the eighth generation of x86 architecture. Windows Vista was the first client version of Windows NT
Windows NT
to be released simultaneously in IA-32 and x64 editions. x64 is still supported. An edition of Windows 8
Windows 8
known as Windows RT
Windows RT
was specifically created for computers with ARM architecture
ARM architecture
and while ARM is still used for Windows smartphones with Windows 10, tablets with Windows RT
Windows RT
will not be updated. Windows CE Main articles: Windows CE
Windows CE
and Windows Phone

The latest current version of Windows CE, Windows Embedded
Windows Embedded
Compact 7, displaying a concept media player UI

Windows CE
Windows CE
(officially known as Windows Embedded
Windows Embedded
Compact), is an edition of Windows that runs on minimalistic computers, like satellite navigation systems and some mobile phones. Windows Embedded
Windows Embedded
Compact is based on its own dedicated kernel, dubbed Windows CE
Windows CE
kernel. Microsoft licenses Windows CE
Windows CE
to OEMs and device makers. The OEMs and device makers can modify and create their own user interfaces and experiences, while Windows CE
Windows CE
provides the technical foundation to do so. Windows CE
Windows CE
was used in the Dreamcast
Dreamcast
along with Sega's own proprietary OS for the console. Windows CE
Windows CE
was the core from which Windows Mobile was derived. Its successor, Windows Phone
Windows Phone
7, was based on components from both Windows CE
Windows CE
6.0 R3 and Windows CE
Windows CE
7.0. Windows Phone
Windows Phone
8 however, is based on the same NT-kernel as Windows 8. Windows Embedded
Windows Embedded
Compact is not to be confused with Windows XP Embedded or Windows NT
Windows NT
4.0 Embedded, modular editions of Windows based on Windows NT
Windows NT
kernel. Xbox
Xbox
OS Main articles: Xbox One system software
Xbox One system software
and Xbox
Xbox
360 system software Xbox
Xbox
OS is an unofficial name given to the version of Windows that runs on the Xbox
Xbox
One.[44] It is a more specific implementation with an emphasis on virtualization (using Hyper-V) as it is three operating systems running at once, consisting of the core operating system, a second implemented for games and a more Windows-like environment for applications.[45] Microsoft
Microsoft
updates Xbox
Xbox
One's OS every month, and these updates can be downloaded from the Xbox Live
Xbox Live
service to the Xbox and subsequently installed, or by using offline recovery images downloaded via a PC.[46] The Windows 10-based Core had replaced the Windows 8-based one in this update, and the new system is sometimes referred to as " Windows 10
Windows 10
on Xbox
Xbox
One" or "OneCore".[47][48] Xbox One's system also allows backward compatibility with Xbox
Xbox
360,[49] and the Xbox
Xbox
360's system is backwards compatible with the original Xbox.[50] Version control system In 2017 Microsoft
Microsoft
announced that it would start using Git, an open source version control system created by Linus Torvalds. Microsoft
Microsoft
has previously used a proprietary version control system called "Source Depot". Microsoft
Microsoft
began to integrate Git
Git
into Team Foundation Server in 2013, but Windows continued to rely to Source Depot. However, this decision came with some complexity. The Windows codebase is not especially well suited to the decentralized nature of Linux development that Git
Git
was originally created to manage. Each Git repository contains a complete history of all the files, which proved unworkable for Windows developers because cloning the repository takes several hours. Microsoft
Microsoft
has been working on a new project called the Git
Git
Virtual File
File
system (GVFS) to address these challenges.[51] Timeline of releases

Table of Windows versions

Legend: Old version Older version, still supported Latest version Latest preview version Future release

Product name Latest version General availability
General availability
date Codename Support until[52] Latest version of

Mainstream Extended IE DirectX Edge

Old version, no longer supported: Windows 1.0 1.01 November 20, 1985 Interface Manager December 31, 2001 N/A N/A N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows 2.0 2.03 December 9, 1987 N/A December 31, 2001 N/A N/A N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows 2.1 2.11 May 27, 1988 N/A December 31, 2001 N/A N/A N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows 3.0 3.0 May 22, 1990 N/A December 31, 2001 N/A N/A N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows 3.1 3.1 April 6, 1992 Janus December 31, 2001 5 N/A N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows For Workgroups 3.1 3.1 October 1992 Sparta, Winball December 31, 2001 5 N/A N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows NT
Windows NT
3.1 NT 3.1.528 July 27, 1993 N/A December 31, 2001 5 N/A N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows For Workgroups 3.11 3.11 August 11, 1993 Sparta, Winball December 31, 2001 5 N/A N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows 3.2 3.2 November 22, 1993 N/A December 31, 2001 5 N/A N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows NT
Windows NT
3.5 NT 3.5.807 September 21, 1994 Daytona December 31, 2001 5 N/A N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows NT
Windows NT
3.51 NT 3.51.1057 May 30, 1995 N/A December 31, 2001 5 N/A N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows 95 4.0.950 August 24, 1995 Chicago, 4.0 December 31, 2000 December 31, 2001 5.5 6.1 N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows NT
Windows NT
4.0 NT 4.0.1381 July 31, 1996 Cairo June 30, 2002 June 30, 2004 6 N/A N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows 98 4.10.1998 June 25, 1998 Memphis, 97, 4.1 June 30, 2002 July 11, 2006 6 6.1 N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows 98
Windows 98
SE 4.10.2222 May 5, 1999 N/A June 30, 2002 July 11, 2006 6 6.1 N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows 2000 NT 5.0.2195 February 17, 2000 N/A June 30, 2005 July 13, 2010 6 N/A N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows ME 4.90.3000 September 14, 2000 Millenium, 4.9 December 31, 2003 July 11, 2006 6 9.0c N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows XP NT 5.1.2600 October 25, 2001 Whistler April 14, 2009 April 8, 2014 8 9.0c N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows XP
Windows XP
64-bit Edition NT 5.2.3790 March 28, 2003 N/A April 14, 2009 April 8, 2014 6 9.0c N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows Server
Windows Server
2003 NT 5.2.3790 April 24, 2003 N/A July 13, 2010 July 14, 2015 8 9.0c N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows XP
Windows XP
Professional x64 Edition NT 5.2.3790 April 25, 2005 N/A April 14, 2009 April 8, 2014 8 9.0c N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs NT 5.1.2600 July 8, 2006 Eiger, Mönch April 14, 2009 April 8, 2014 8 9.0c N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows Vista NT 6.0.6002 January 30, 2007 Longhorn April 10, 2012 April 11, 2017 9 11 N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows Home Server NT 5.2.4500 November 4, 2007 Quattro January 8, 2013 8 9.0c N/A

Older version, yet still supported: Windows Server
Windows Server
2008 NT 6.0.6002 February 27, 2008 Longhorn Server January 13, 2015 January 14, 2020 9 11 N/A

Older version, yet still supported: Windows 7 NT 6.1.7601 October 22, 2009 Blackcomb, Vienna January 13, 2015 January 14, 2020 11 11 N/A

Older version, yet still supported: Windows Server
Windows Server
2008 R2 NT 6.1.7601 October 22, 2009 N/A January 13, 2015 January 14, 2020 11 11 N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows Home Server
Windows Home Server
2011 NT 6.1.8400 April 6, 2011 Vail April 12, 2016 9 11 N/A

Older version, yet still supported: Windows Server
Windows Server
2012 NT 6.2.9200 September 4, 2012 N/A October 9, 2018 October 10, 2023 10 11.1 N/A

Old version, no longer supported: Windows 8 NT 6.2.9200 October 26, 2012 N/A January 12, 2016 10 11.1 N/A

Older version, yet still supported: Windows 8.1 NT 6.3.9600 October 17, 2013 Blue January 9, 2018 January 10, 2023 11 11.2 N/A

Older version, yet still supported: Windows Server
Windows Server
2012 R2 NT 6.3.9600 October 18, 2013 Server Blue October 9, 2018 October 10, 2023 11 11.2 N/A

Current stable version: Windows 10 NT 10.0.14393 July 29, 2015 Threshold, Redstone October 13, 2020 October 14, 2025 11 12 25

Current stable version: Windows Server
Windows Server
2016 NT 10.0.14393 October 12, 2016 N/A January 11, 2022 January 12, 2027 11 12 25

Windows timeline: Bar chart

view talk edit

The Windows family tree

Usage share and device sales Main article: Usage share of operating systems

This box:

view talk edit

Market share overview According to Net Applications[53][54] and StatCounter[55][56] data from February 2018

Desktop OS Net Applications StatCounter

Old version, no longer supported: Windows XP 4.70% 2.64%

Old version, no longer supported: Windows Vista 0.35% 0.51%

Older version, yet still supported: Windows 7 41.61% 34.33%

Old version, no longer supported: Windows 8 1.26% 2.05%

Older version, yet still supported: Windows 8.1 5.66% 7.03%

Current stable version: Windows 10 34.06% 35.93%

All listed versions 87.64% 82.55%

Mobile OS Net Applications StatCounter

Old version, no longer supported: Windows Phone
Windows Phone
8 0.02% 0.58%

Old version, no longer supported: Windows Phone
Windows Phone
8.1 0.02%

Current stable version: Windows 10
Windows 10
Mobile 0.11%

All listed versions 0.15% 0.58%

According to Net Applications, that tracks use based on web use, Windows is the most-used operating system family for personal computers as of July 2017 with close to 90% usage share.[57] When including both personal computers of all kinds, e.g. mobile devices, in July 2017, according to StatCounter, that also tracks use based on web use, Windows OSes accounted for 35.24% of usage share, compared to highest ranked Android at 41.24%, 13.22% for iOS, and 4.64% for macOS.[58][59] The below 50% usage share of Windows, also applies to developed countries, such as the US (where desktop, with Windows the largest part of, is down to 46.18%[60]), the UK and Ireland. These numbers are easiest (monthly numbers) to find that track real use, but they may not mirror installed base or sales numbers (in recent years) of devices. They are consistent with server numbers in next section. In terms of the number of devices shipped with the operating system installed, on smartphones, Windows Phone
Windows Phone
was the third-most-shipped OS (2.6%) after Android (82.8%) and iOS (13.9%) in the second quarter of 2015 according to IDC.[61] Across both PCs and mobile devices, in 2014, Windows OSes were the second-most-shipped (333 million devices, or 14%) after Android (1.2 billion, 49%) and ahead of iOS and macOS combined (263 million, 11%).[62] Use of the latest version Windows 10
Windows 10
has exceeded Windows 7
Windows 7
globally since early 2018.[63] In most developed countries, such as Japan, Australia and the US, Windows 10
Windows 10
already was the most popular version since early 2017.[64] Usage share on servers Usage share of Windows on servers – those running a web servers that is (there are also other kinds of servers) – is at 33.6%.[65] Security Consumer versions of Windows were originally designed for ease-of-use on a single-user PC without a network connection, and did not have security features built in from the outset.[66] However, Windows NT and its successors are designed for security (including on a network) and multi-user PCs, but were not initially designed with Internet security in mind as much, since, when it was first developed in the early 1990s, Internet use was less prevalent.[67] These design issues combined with programming errors (e.g. buffer overflows) and the popularity of Windows means that it is a frequent target of computer worm and virus writers. In June 2005, Bruce Schneier's Counterpane Internet Security reported that it had seen over 1,000 new viruses and worms in the previous six months.[68] In 2005, Kaspersky Lab
Kaspersky Lab
found around 11,000 malicious programs—viruses, Trojans, back-doors, and exploits written for Windows.[69] Microsoft
Microsoft
releases security patches through its Windows Update
Windows Update
service approximately once a month (usually the second Tuesday of the month), although critical updates are made available at shorter intervals when necessary.[70] In versions of Windows after and including Windows 2000 SP3 and Windows XP, updates can be automatically downloaded and installed if the user selects to do so. As a result, Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, as well as Service Pack 1 for Windows Server
Windows Server
2003, were installed by users more quickly than it otherwise might have been.[71] While the Windows 9x
Windows 9x
series offered the option of having profiles for multiple users, they had no concept of access privileges, and did not allow concurrent access; and so were not true multi-user operating systems. In addition, they implemented only partial memory protection. They were accordingly widely criticised for lack of security. The Windows NT
Windows NT
series of operating systems, by contrast, are true multi-user, and implement absolute memory protection. However, a lot of the advantages of being a true multi-user operating system were nullified by the fact that, prior to Windows Vista, the first user account created during the setup process was an administrator account, which was also the default for new accounts. Though Windows XP
Windows XP
did have limited accounts, the majority of home users did not change to an account type with fewer rights – partially due to the number of programs which unnecessarily required administrator rights – and so most home users ran as administrator all the time. Windows Vista
Windows Vista
changes this[72] by introducing a privilege elevation system called User Account Control. When logging in as a standard user, a logon session is created and a token containing only the most basic privileges is assigned. In this way, the new logon session is incapable of making changes that would affect the entire system. When logging in as a user in the Administrators group, two separate tokens are assigned. The first token contains all privileges typically awarded to an administrator, and the second is a restricted token similar to what a standard user would receive. User applications, including the Windows shell, are then started with the restricted token, resulting in a reduced privilege environment even under an Administrator account. When an application requests higher privileges or "Run as administrator" is clicked, UAC will prompt for confirmation and, if consent is given (including administrator credentials if the account requesting the elevation is not a member of the administrators group), start the process using the unrestricted token.[73] File
File
permissions All Windows versions from Windows NT
Windows NT
3 have been based on a file system permission system referred to as AGDLP (Accounts, Global, Local, Permissions) in which file permissions are applied to the file/folder in the form of a 'local group' which then has other 'global groups' as members. These global groups then hold other groups or users depending on different Windows versions used. This system varies from other vendor products such as Linux
Linux
and NetWare due to the 'static' allocation of permission being applied directory to the file or folder. However using this process of AGLP/AGDLP/AGUDLP allows a small number of static permissions to be applied and allows for easy changes to the account groups without reapplying the file permissions on the files and folders. Windows Defender On January 6, 2005, Microsoft
Microsoft
released a Beta version
Beta version
of Microsoft AntiSpyware, based upon the previously released Giant AntiSpyware. On February 14, 2006, Microsoft
Microsoft
Anti Spyware
Spyware
became Windows Defender
Windows Defender
with the release of Beta 2. Windows Defender
Windows Defender
is a freeware program designed to protect against spyware and other unwanted software. Windows XP
Windows XP
and Windows Server
Windows Server
2003 users who have genuine copies of Microsoft
Microsoft
Windows can freely download the program from Microsoft's web site, and Windows Defender ships as part of Windows Vista
Windows Vista
and 7.[74] In Windows 8, Windows Defender
Windows Defender
and Microsoft
Microsoft
Security Essentials have been combined into a single program, named Windows Defender. It is based on Microsoft
Microsoft
Security Essentials, borrowing its features and user interface. Although it is enabled by default, it can be turned off to use another anti-virus solution.[75] Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool and the optional Microsoft
Microsoft
Safety Scanner are two other free security products offered by Microsoft. In the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft
Microsoft
introduced the Limited Periodic Scanning feature, which allows Windows Defender
Windows Defender
to scan, detect, and remove any threats that third-party anti-virus software missed. The Advanced Threat Protection service is introduced for enterprise users. The new service uses cloud service to detect and take actions on advanced network attacks. Third-party analysis In an article based on a report by Symantec,[76] internetnews.com has described Microsoft
Microsoft
Windows as having the "fewest number of patches and the shortest average patch development time of the five operating systems it monitored in the last six months of 2006."[77] A study conducted by Kevin Mitnick
Kevin Mitnick
and marketing communications firm Avantgarde in 2004, found that an unprotected and unpatched Windows XP system with Service Pack 1 lasted only four minutes on the Internet before it was compromised, and an unprotected and also unpatched Windows Server
Windows Server
2003 system was compromised after being connected to the internet for 8 hours.[78] The computer that was running Windows XP Service Pack 2 was not compromised. The AOL
AOL
National Cyber Security Alliance Online Safety Study of October 2004, determined that 80% of Windows users were infected by at least one spyware/adware product.[citation needed] Much documentation is available describing how to increase the security of Microsoft
Microsoft
Windows products. Typical suggestions include deploying Microsoft
Microsoft
Windows behind a hardware or software firewall, running anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and installing patches as they become available through Windows Update.[79] Alternative implementations Owing to the operating system's popularity, a number of applications have been released that aim to provide compatibility with Windows applications, either as a compatibility layer for another operating system, or as a standalone system that can run software written for Windows out of the box. These include:

Wine – a free and open-source implementation of the Windows API, allowing one to run many Windows applications on x86-based platforms, including UNIX, Linux
Linux
and macOS. Wine developers refer to it as a "compatibility layer"[80] and use Windows-style APIs to emulate Windows environment.

CrossOver – a Wine package with licensed fonts. Its developers are regular contributors to Wine, and focus on Wine running officially supported applications. Cedega – a proprietary fork of Wine by TransGaming Technologies, designed specifically for running Microsoft
Microsoft
Windows games on Linux. A version of Cedega known as Cider allows Windows games to run on macOS. Since Wine was licensed under the LGPL, Cedega has been unable to port the improvements made to Wine to their proprietary codebase. Cedega ceased its service in February 2011. Darwine – a port of Wine for macOS and Darwin. Operates by running Wine on QEMU. Linux
Linux
Unified Kernel – a set of patches to the Linux
Linux
kernel allowing many Windows executable files in Linux
Linux
(using Wine DLLs); and some Windows drivers to be used.

ReactOS
ReactOS
– an open-source OS intended to run the same software as Windows, originally designed to simulate Windows NT
Windows NT
4.0, now aiming at Windows 7
Windows 7
compatibility. It has been in the development stage since 1996. Linspire
Linspire
– formerly LindowsOS, a commercial Linux
Linux
distribution initially created with the goal of running major Windows software. Changed its name to Linspire
Linspire
after Microsoft
Microsoft
v. Lindows. Discontinued in favor of Xandros
Xandros
Desktop, that was also later discontinued. Freedows OS – an open-source attempt at creating a Windows clone for x86 platforms, intended to be released under the GNU
GNU
General Public License. Started in 1996, by Reece K. Sellin, the project was never completed, getting only to the stage of design discussions which featured a number of novel concepts until it was suspended in 2002.[81][82][83]

See also

Microsoft
Microsoft
portal

Architecture of Windows NT Wintel De facto standard Dominant design

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Checker System Information System Policy Editor System Restore Task Manager Windows Error Reporting Windows Ink Windows Installer PowerShell Windows Update

Windows Insider

WinRE WMI

Apps

Alarms & Clock Calculator Calendar Camera Character Map Cortana Edge Fax and Scan Feedback Hub Get Help Groove Music Magnifier Mail Messaging Maps Media Player Movies & TV Mobility Center Money News Narrator Notepad OneDrive OneNote Paint Paint 3D People Phone Companion Photos Quick Assist Snipping Tool Speech Recognition Skype Sports Sticky Notes View 3D Store Tips Voice Recorder Wallet Weather Windows To Go Windows Story Remix WordPad Xbox

Shell

Action Center Aero AutoPlay AutoRun ClearType Explorer Search

Indexing Service IFilter Saved search Namespace Special
Special
folder

Start menu Taskbar Task View Windows Spotlight Windows XP
Windows XP
visual styles

Services

Service Control Manager BITS CLFS Multimedia
Multimedia
Class Scheduler Shadow Copy Task Scheduler Error Reporting Wireless Zero Configuration

File
File
systems

CDFS DFS exFAT IFS FAT NTFS

Hard link Junction point Mount Point Reparse point Symbolic link TxF EFS

ReFS UDF

Server

Domains Active Directory DNS Group Policy Roaming user profiles Folder redirection Distributed Transaction Coordinator MSMQ Windows Media Services Rights Management Services IIS Remote Desktop Services WSUS SharePoint Network Access Protection PWS DFS Replication Remote Differential Compression Print Services for UNIX Remote Installation Services Windows Deployment Services System Resource Manager Hyper-V Server Core

Architecture

Architecture of Windows NT Startup process

NT Vista

CSRSS Desktop Window
Window
Manager Portable Executable

EXE DLL

Enhanced Write Filter Graphics Device Interface hal.dll I/O request packet Imaging Format Kernel Transaction Manager Library files Logical Disk Manager LSASS MinWin NTLDR Ntoskrnl.exe Object Manager Open XML Paper Specification Registry Resource Protection Security Account Manager Server Message Block Shadow Copy SMSS System Idle Process USER WHEA Win32 console Winlogon WinUSB

Security

Security and Maintenance BitLocker Data Execution Prevention Family Safety Kernel Patch Protection Mandatory Integrity Control Protected Media Path User Account Control User Interface Privilege Isolation Windows Defender Windows Firewall

Compatibility

COMMAND.COM Virtual DOS
DOS
machine Windows on Windows WoW64 Windows Subsystem for Linux

API

Active Scripting

WSH VBScript JScript

COM

ActiveX ActiveX
ActiveX
Document COM Structured storage DCOM OLE OLE Automation Transaction Server

DirectX .NET Framework Universal Windows Platform Windows Mixed Reality Windows Runtime WinUSB

Games

Solitaire Collection

Discontinued

Games

3D Pinball Chess Titans FreeCell Hearts InkBall Hold 'Em Purble Place Reversi Spider Solitaire Solitaire Tinker

Apps

ActiveMovie Anytime Upgrade Address Book Backup and Restore Cardfile CardSpace Contacts Desktop Gadgets Diagnostics DriveSpace DVD
DVD
Maker Easy Transfer Fax File
File
Manager Food & Drink Help and Support Center Health & Fitness HyperTerminal Internet Explorer Journal Media Center Meeting Space Messaging Messenger Mobile Device Center Movie Maker MSN
MSN
Dial-up NetMeeting NTBackup Outlook Express Travel Photo Gallery Photo Viewer Program Manager Steps Recorder WinHelp Write

Others

ScanDisk File
File
Protection Media Control Interface Next-Generation Secure Computing Base POSIX subsystem Interix Video for Windows Windows SideShow Windows Services for UNIX Windows System Assessment Tool WinFS

Spun off to Microsoft
Microsoft
Store

DVD
DVD
Player Hover! Mahjong Minesweeper

v t e

Operating systems

General

Advocacy Comparison Forensic engineering History Hobbyist development List Timeline Usage share

Kernel

Architectures

Exokernel Hybrid Microkernel Monolithic Rump kernel Unikernel

Components

Device driver Loadable kernel module Microkernel User space

Process management

Concepts

Context switch Interrupt IPC Process Process control block Real-time Thread Time-sharing

Scheduling algorithms

Computer multitasking Fixed-priority preemptive Multilevel feedback queue Preemptive Round-robin Shortest job next

Memory management
Memory management
and resource protection

Bus error General protection fault Memory protection Paging Protection ring Segmentation fault Virtual memory

Storage access and file systems

Boot loader Defragmentation Device file File
File
attribute Inode Journal Partition Virtual file system Virtual tape library

List

AmigaOS Android BeOS BSD Chrome OS CP/M DOS GNU Haiku illumos IncludeOS iOS Linux Macintosh

Classic Mac OS macOS

MINIX MorphOS MUSIC/SP Nemesis NeXTSTEP NOS OpenVMS ORVYL OS/2 OSv Pick QNX ReactOS RISC OS RSTS/E RSX-11 RT-11 Solaris TOPS-10/TOPS-20 TPF tvOS Unix Visi On VM/CMS VS/9 watchOS webOS Windows Xinu z/OS

Miscellaneous concepts

API Computer network HAL Live CD Live USB OS shell

CLI GUI TUI VUI

PXE

Authority control

GND: 4192183-5 BNF:

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