Microsoft home windows is a collection of several graphical working gadget families, all of which can be evolved, advertised, and sold by way of Microsoft. every family caters to a certain sector of the computing enterprise. lively windows households include windows nt and windows embedded; those might also encompass subfamilies, e.g. home windows embedded compact (home windows ce) or home windows server. defunct home windows families encompass windows 9x, home windows cell and home windows telephone.
Microsoft brought an operating surroundings named windows on november 20, 1985, as a graphical working gadget shell for ms-dos in response to the developing interest in graphical person interfaces (guis). Microsoft home windows got here to dominate the arena’s non-public laptop (computer) marketplace with over ninety% marketplace proportion, overtaking mac os, which had been brought in 1984. apple came to peer home windows as an unfair encroachment on their innovation in gui development as implemented on products including the lisa and macintosh (finally settled in courtroom in microsoft’s desire in 1993). on computers, home windows remains the maximum famous running machine. however, in 2014, Microsoft admitted losing the majority of the general working machine marketplace to android, due to the big growth in sales of android smartphones. in 2014, the range of windows gadgets sold changed into much less than 25% that of android gadgets bought. this evaluation however may not be absolutely applicable, as the 2 working systems historically target distinctive structures. still, numbers for server use of home windows (that are corresponding to competition) display one third market share, just like that for cease person use.
As of october 2018, the maximum current model of home windows for pcs, tablets, smartphones and embedded gadgets is windows 10. the maximum recent variations for server computer systems is home windows server 2019. a specialised model of home windows runs at the Xbox one online game console.
By marketing role
Microsoft, the developer of home windows, has registered numerous emblems, each of which denote a circle of relatives of home windows operating structures that concentrate on a particular area of the computing industry. as of 2014, the following home windows families are being actively developed:
Windows nt: commenced as a circle of relatives of operating structures with home windows nt three.1, an running machine for server computers and workstations. it now includes three operating system subfamilies that are launched nearly at the identical time and proportion the identical kernel:
home windows: the running device for mainstream personal computer systems, drugs and smartphones. the state-of-the-art version is home windows 10. the principle competitor of this circle of relatives is macos by way of apple for personal computer systems and android for cellular devices (c.f. usage proportion of working systems § market proportion through class).
windows server: the operating system for server computers. the modern model is home windows server 2019. not like its patron sibling, it has followed a sturdy naming scheme. the primary competitor of this family is linux. (c.f. utilization proportion of working structures § marketplace share by means of class)
home windows PE: a lightweight model of its home windows sibling, meant to function as a live running gadget, used for installing windows on naked-metallic computers (particularly on many computers right away), healing or troubleshooting purposes. the contemporary version is windows PE 10.
Windows iot (formerly home windows embedded): to start with, Microsoft developed windows ce as a standard-cause running gadget for each device that turned into too aid-limited to be referred to as a complete-fledged laptop. finally, but, home windows ce become renamed home windows embedded compact and turned into folded underneath windows compact trademark which also consists of home windows embedded enterprise, home windows embedded professional, windows embedded fashionable, home windows embedded hand-held and windows embedded automotive. the subsequent home windows families are not being developed:
Gome windows 9x: an operating device that focused customers marketplace. discontinued because of suboptimal overall performance. (computer world called its last model, windows me, one of the worst merchandise of all time.) Microsoft now caters to the patron marketplace with windows nt.
home windows cell: the predecessor to home windows phone, it become a cell phone operating system. the first version become referred to as pocket laptop 2000; the third version, windows mobile 2003 is the first model to undertake the windows mobile trademark. the ultimate version is windows cellular 6.5.
home windows smartphone: an running gadget bought only to manufacturers of smartphones. the primary model turned into home windows smartphone 7, accompanied by means of home windows telephone eight, and the closing version windows telephone 8.1. it turned into succeeded by windows 10 mobile.
Foremost article: history of Microsoft home windows
see also: list of Microsoft windows versions
the time period home windows collectively describes all or any of several generations of Microsoft working device products. those products are usually categorised as follows:
The history of home windows dates again to 1981, when Microsoft started out work on a program referred to as “interface manager”. it turned into introduced in november 1983 (after the apple lisa, however earlier than the macintosh) under the name “home windows”, however home windows 1.zero changed into not released until november 1985. windows 1.0 become to compete with apple’s working device, however completed little recognition. windows 1.0 is not a whole working system; alternatively, it extends ms-dos. the shell of home windows 1.zero is a application known as the ms-dos executive. additives protected calculator, calendar, cardfile, clipboard viewer, clock, control panel, notepad, paint, reversi, terminal and write. windows 1.zero does no longer allow overlapping home windows. as an alternative all windows are tiled. only modal dialog packing containers might also seem over different windows. Microsoft bought as covered windows development libraries with the c development environment, which protected severa home windows samples. 
Windows 2.zero became released in december 1987, and turned into extra famous than its predecessor. it features several enhancements to the consumer interface and reminiscence management. home windows 2.03 modified the os from tiled windows to overlapping windows. the end result of this transformation brought about apple computer filing a fit in opposition to Microsoft alleging infringement on apple’s copyrights. home windows 2.0 additionally delivered more state-of-the-art keyboard shortcuts and could make use of increased memory.
Home windows 2.1 changed into released in two one of a kind versions: home windows/286 and windows/386. home windows/386 makes use of the virtual 8086 mode of the intel 80386 to multitask several dos programs and the paged memory model to emulate improved memory the use of available prolonged memory. windows/286, notwithstanding its call, runs on each intel 8086 and intel 80286 processors. it runs in actual mode however can make use of the excessive memory area.
Similarly to full windows-packages, there have been runtime-only variations that shipped with early windows software from 0.33 events and made it feasible to run their home windows software program on ms-dos and with out the total windows feature set.
The early variations of windows are frequently notion of as graphical shells, often due to the fact they ran on top of ms-dos and use it for report system offerings. but, even the earliest home windows variations already assumed many usual running machine functions; substantially, having their very own executable report layout and supplying their personal tool drivers (timer, photos, printer, mouse, keyboard and sound). in contrast to ms-dos, home windows allowed customers to execute more than one graphical programs on the same time, through cooperative multitasking. home windows carried out an tricky, section-based, software program digital memory scheme, which permits it to run applications large than to be had memory: code segments and resources are swapped in and thrown away while memory became scarce; statistics segments moved in reminiscence when a given application had relinquished processor manage.
Windows 3.zero, launched in 1990, progressed the design, usually because of digital memory and loadable digital device drivers (vxds) that allow windows to share arbitrary devices among multi-tasked dos applications. windows 3.0 applications can run in covered mode, which offers them access to numerous megabytes of reminiscence without the obligation to take part inside the software digital memory scheme. they run in the identical cope with area, in which the segmented memory offers a degree of safety. windows three.0 also featured enhancements to the user interface. Microsoft rewrote essential operations from c into assembly. home windows three.zero is the primary Microsoft windows version to obtain extensive industrial fulfillment, promoting 2 million copies inside the first six months.
Windows 3.1, made usually to be had on march 1, 1992, featured a facelift. in august 1993, windows for workgroups, a special version with included peer-to-peer networking capabilities and a version quantity of 3.11, become released. it was offered alongside home windows three.1. assist for windows three.1 ended on december 31, 2001.
Home windows three.2, released 1994, is an up to date version of the chinese version of home windows three.1. the update turned into restrained to this language model, because it constant only troubles associated with the complicated writing system of the chinese language language. windows 3.2 became generally offered through laptop manufacturers with a ten-disk model of ms-dos that still had simplified chinese language characters in basic output and some translated utilities.
The subsequent essential patron-orientated launch of home windows, windows ninety five, became launched on august 24, 1995. whilst nevertheless ultimate ms-dos-primarily based, home windows 95 brought assist for native 32-bit packages, plug and play hardware, preemptive multitasking, long report names of as much as 255 characters, and provided improved balance over its predecessors. windows ninety five additionally delivered a redesigned, object orientated consumer interface, changing the previous application manager with the begin menu, taskbar, and windows explorer shell. home windows ninety five changed into a prime commercial success for Microsoft; ina fried of cnet remarked that “by the time home windows ninety five turned into in the end ushered off the marketplace in 2001, it had come to be a fixture on laptop desktops round the sector.” microsoft posted 4 oem carrier releases (osr) of windows ninety five, each of which turned into more or less equivalent to a service percent. the primary osr of home windows 95 turned into also the primary version of windows to be bundled with microsoft’s web browser, net explorer. mainstream help for windows 95 ended on december 31, 2000, and prolonged aid for windows 95 ended on december 31, 2001.
Windows ninety five changed into followed up with the release of windows ninety eight on june 25, 1998, which brought the home windows driver version, help for USB composite devices, help for acpi, hibernation, and help for multi-monitor configurations. windows ninety eight additionally covered integration with net explorer four through active laptop and different aspects of the windows laptop update (a chain of enhancements to the explorer shell which were additionally made available for home windows ninety five). in might also 1999, microsoft launched windows 98 2d edition, an up to date model of home windows ninety eight. home windows ninety eight se introduced internet explorer five.zero and windows media player 6.2 amongst different enhancements. mainstream guide for windows 98 ended on june 30, 2002, and extended guide for home windows 98 ended on July eleven, 2006.
On september 14, 2000, microsoft released windows me (millennium edition), the last dos-based totally version of windows. windows me included visual interface enhancements from its home windows nt-based totally counterpart home windows 2000, had quicker boot times than previous variations (which but, required the removal of the capability to get right of entry to a actual mode dos surroundings, doing away with compatibility with some older applications), multiplied multimedia functionality (consisting of windows media player 7, windows movie maker, and the home windows picture acquisition framework for retrieving snap shots from scanners and virtual cameras), additional gadget utilities consisting of gadget report protection and machine repair, and up to date domestic networking equipment. however, windows me turned into faced with complaint for its pace and instability, along with hardware compatibility troubles and its removal of actual mode dos support. pc global taken into consideration home windows me to be one of the worst running systems microsoft had ever launched, and the 4th worst tech made from all time.