Tag Archives: Windows

Evolution of Windows Interfaces from 1.01 to 8

Windows 1.01 (1985, November 20)

Windows 1.01 bootscreen

Windows 1.01 interface

Windows 1.01 – 16-bit OS that cost less than 1MB in overall is Microsoft’s very first operating system that allows multi tasking with graphical user interface on PC platform that runs on MS-DOS 5.0.

Windows 2.03 (1987, December 9)

Windows 2.03 boot screen

Windows 2.03 interface

Taking advantage of the speed of Intel 286/386 processor at that time, Windows 2.03 is a replacement for Windows 1.x. It also starts the era where users are able to overlap windows, customize screens, etc. Still the entire operating system cost no more than 2.5Mb.

Windows 3.0 (1990, May 22)

Windows 3.0 boot screen

Windows 3.0 interface

In 1990 Windows started to look like a real operating system – or at least like the one we know today, with its windows, menus and icons. We already had NotePad, Calculator and Paintbrush (Paint) and all the apps were stored in the so called Program Manager.

Windows 3.1 (1992, August)

Windows 3.1 boot screen

Windows 3.1 interface

The interface in Windows 3.1 didn’t change that much from the previous version, except for better program icons.

Windows NT 3.1 (1993, August)

Windows NT 3.1 boot screen

Windows NT 3.1 interface

The first Windows New Technology (NT) introduced. It maintains consistency with the Windows 3.1, a well-established home and business operating system at the time, the new Windows NT operating system began with version 3.1. Unlike Windows 3.1, however, Windows NT 3.1 was a 32-bit operating system.

Windows 3.11 (1993, August)

Windows 3.11 boot screen

Windows 3.11 interface

Windows for Workgroups 3.11 – added peer-to-peer workgroup and domain networking support.

Windows 95 (1995, August 24)

Windows 95 boot screen

Windows 95 interface

The 1995 version of the operating system introduced the basic structure of the familiar Windows interface we’ve all used since. The Start menu button debuted. At the time, it was such a foreign concept that Microsoft had to design moving.

Windows NT 4.0 (1996, July 29)

Windows NT 4.0 boot screen

Windows NT 4.0 interface

Windows NT 4.0 didn’t bring any significant changes to the interface, nor did it replace the background with even more boring colors. In fact, it looks exactly the same as Windows 95.

Windows 98 (1998, June 25)

Windows 98 boot screen

Windows 98 interface

The most important change in Windows 98 regarding the previous version is the Quick Launch bar, which enables you to run programs without having to browse the Start menu or look for them on the desktop. Talking about the Start Menu, this feature was improved as well with support for right click and the ability to move items around.

Windows 2000 (2000, February 17)

Windows 2000 boot screen

Windows 2000 interface

The interface in Windows 2000 doesn’t feature any outstanding improvements, though the background color changes from greenish blue to a more navy blue.

Windows Me (2000, June 19)

Windows Me boot screen

Windows Me interface

Windows Me is that one operating system that everyone tries to leave behind – even those who created it. To be honest, it didn’t have any important new features, but it did include some really annoying characteristics we’d better not mention here.

Windows XP (2001, October 25)

Windows XP boot screen

Windows XP interface

Windows XP brings the solid foundation of Windows 2000 to the PC desktop, enhancing reliability, security, and performance. With a fresh visual design, Windows XP Professional includes features for business and advanced home computing, including remote desktop support, an encrypting file system, and system restore and advanced networking features

Windows Vista (2007, January 30)

Windows Vista boot screen

Windows Vista interface

In 2006 Microsoft thought that we would probably be tired of the blue taskbar, and released a new Windows version with a black taskbar and a rounded Start button. Other important features in Windows Vista were transparency effects, a collection of mostly useless gadgets and the ability to manage apps and windows in a 3D environment.

Windows 7 (2009, October 22)

Windows 7 boot screen

Windows 7 interface

Windows 7 didn’t represent a radical UI update from Vista, but Microsoft nonetheless made some notable changes. The sidebar was removed, the Aero Flip 3D button disappeared (although the functionality remained through shortcut keys) and the Show Desktop icon became a small strip to the right of the taskbar. The taskbar saw the biggest changes, with the Quick Launch shortcut killed off in favor of the ability to "pin" applications to the taskbar for quick access. This meant that the old-style Start menu contained programs you used less often. These taskbar pins also got "Jump Lists." Right-clicking an icon on the taskbar offered a list of shortcuts, dependent on the software — for example, recently viewed websites, popular songs in Media Player or recently edited documents. Windows 7 is notable for integrating multi-touch support into the base OS. Although not operable entirely via touch — the Windows UI has always been designed around the mouse and keyboard after all — when paired with a touchscreen, Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate all boast multi-touch functionality.

Windows 8 (2012, October 26)

Windows 8 boot screen

Windows 8 interface

Windows 8 – new "Metro" interface offers a tile-based Start screen similar to that of the Windows Phone OS. The customizable Start screen’s tiles, which link to apps and desktop programs, will offer live, animated, constantly updated info, so you can quickly glance at your inbox, latest tweets, weather info, traffic data, sports scores, etc. Access the vertical toolbar by swiping or mousing over the right edge of the screen. Swiping the bottom edge pulls up a menu bar, while swiping the left side lets you switch between active apps and your desktop.