TECH

Windows through the ages: the history of the world's most popular OS

Microsoft recently announced plans to strip the Windows interface to its basics -- flattening surfaces, removing reflections, and scaling back distractions. Here's a brief look at the Windows interface over its 27-year history -- and how it will look tomorrow. 

windows_1.png

Windows 1 (1985)

The first version of Windows was intended primarily to be used with the keyboard. A mouse was strictly optional and very few PCs at the time had one.

Microsoft

windows_3.png

Windows 3 (1990)

The first commercially successful version of Windows, Windows 3 was initially panned by critics for requiring the use of a mouse. We all know how that went.

Microsoft

windows_95.png

Windows 95 (1995)

Windows 95, released a few years later in August of 1995, included a substantially reinvented user experience with features like the Start menu, taskbar, Explorer, and the desktop.

Microsoft

windows_xp.png

Windows XP (2001) 

Windows XP was released to PC manufacturers on August 24, 2001, and represented another important evolution in the Windows user interface, including changes to the Start menu and program manager.

Microsoft

windows_vista.png

Windows Vista (2006)

In 2006, Windows Vista substantially changed the visual appearance of Windows with the introduction of "Aero," which brought highly-rendered glass, light sources, reflections, and other graphically complex textures in the title bars, taskbar, and other system surfaces.

Microsoft

windows_7.png

Windows 7 (2009)

Windows 7 was released in the fall of 2009 and introduced a totally revamped taskbar.

Microsoft

windows_8.png

Windows 8 (2012)

The new Windows 8 look and feel exudes "clean and crisp."

Microsoft

windows_metro.png

Windows 8: Metro (2012)

Metro represents a shift towards touch, emphasizing "live tiles" and apps instead of the classic desktop.

Microsoft

windows_phone.jpg

Windows Phone (2012)

New Windows phones, like the Nokia Lumia 800 (pictured) also feature Metro-style live tiles.

Reuters

Windows through the ages: the history of the world's most popular OS

Microsoft recently announced plans to strip the Windows interface to its basics -- flattening surfaces, removing reflections, and scaling back distractions. Here's a brief look at the Windows interface over its 27-year history -- and how it will look tomorrow. 

More From Our Sponsors