Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Windows
Company / developerMicrosoft
OS familyWindows NT
Working stateActive
Source modelClosed source
Initial release (1985-11-20) November 20, 1985 (age 34)
Latest stable release10.0.16299.15 / October 17, 2017 (2017-10-17)
Kernel typeHybrid
LicenseProprietary software

Microsoft Windows is an operating system for computers made by the United States based company Microsoft. Windows is used by almost 90% of desktop and laptop computers.


The first version of Windows, Windows 1.0, came out on November 20, 1985. Since then, new versions of Windows go on sale every three years. The newest version, Windows 10, came out July 29, 2015. Most new personal computers come with Windows 10. However, some older or cheaper personal computers may come with Windows 8.1 or Windows 7.

Windows makes it easier to run programs (applications) than MS-DOS did. DOS, required typed commands to make the computer do something. DOS required correct syntax of each command. Making mistakes caused the computer to usually give an error message and do nothing.


Users control their Windows computer by its graphical user interface (or GUI for short). It only needs a keyboard or a mouse to work. In later versions, a touch screen works as well. However, using both a keyboard and a mouse makes many tasks easier. By clicking a few buttons on the screen, Windows helps keep your files safe, and easier to change and move. Versions of Windows after 2005 make it even easier for some users with disabilities because these versions have touch screens. Because of the touch screen, Windows comes on some mobile devices. Tablet computers and smartphones such as Microsoft Surface and Microsoft Lumia use Windows.


The following programs are included with Windows:

  • WordPad – to write simple documents, typically using words/text.
  • Windows Photo Viewer – to look at pictures.
  • Microsoft Paint – to make simple drawings or change pictures.
  • Microsoft Edge web browser – to use the Internet to look at web pages and download files.
  • Windows DVD Player to watch videos.
  • Windows Groove to play and listen to music

Windows has several kinds of applications/programs available. Popular applications include games, word processors (to write words) or additional programs like Adobe Flash Player (to watch some videos and play many games on internet sites). Adding new applications to Windows is called "installing". Applications can be bought/purchased on a CD or DVD. Applications can also be downloaded from the Internet.  Some internet applications can be downloaded for free, and others can be bought using the internet.


Release date Product name Notes Last IE
May 22, 1990 Windows Unsupported (help for problems no longer given by Microsoft) 5.x
July 27, 1993 Windows NT Unsupported 5.x
August 24, 1995 Windows 9x Unsupported 6
November 17, 1996 Windows CE Unsupported 6
February 17, 2000 Windows 2000 Unsupported[1] 6
September 14, 2000 Windows Me Unsupported 6
October 25, 2001 Windows XP Unsupported 8
November 30, 2006 (volume licensing)
January 30, 2007 (retail)
Windows Vista Unsupported

Version Changed to NT 6.0.6001 with SP1 (4 February 2008)

July 2007 Windows Home Server 20xx Supported (Microsoft will help fix problems for this kind of Windows, including problems that make your computer less safe) 8
February 2008 Windows Server 2008 Supported 9
October 22, 2009 Windows 7 Supported 11
October 26, 2012 Windows 8.x Supported 11
August 26, 2012 Windows RT 8.x Supported 11
September 4, 2012 Windows Server 2012 Supported
July 29, 2015 Windows 10 Supported 11 or Edge


Many users complain that Windows creates problems for them. Some users complain that Windows made their computers slower when they changed from DOS. Many people also complain about problems that make their computer less safe to use, even though Microsoft tries to fix these problems. Many computer viruses are created to infect computers running Windows since it is such a popular operating system. Windows was the most popular operating system until recently (today mobile operating systems such as Android are more popular).


  1. "Microsoft Support Lifecycle". Microsoft. May 4, 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-25.

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