1. Windows 2000 (February 2000)
Often abbreviated as “W2K,” Windows 2000 is an operating system for business desktop and laptop systems to run software applications, connect to Internet and
intranet sites, and access files, printers, and network resources. Microsoft released four versions of Windows 2000: Professional (for business desktop and
laptop systems), Server (both a Web server and an office server), Advanced Server (for line-of-business applications) and Datacenter Server (for high-traffic
2. Windows XP (October 2001)
Windows XP was first introduced in 2001. Along with a redesigned look and feel to the user interface, the new operating system is built on the Windows 2000
kernel, giving the user a more stable and reliable environment than previous versions of Windows. Windows XP comes in two versions, Home and Professional.
Microsoft focused on mobility for both editions, including plug and play features for connecting to wireless networks. The operating system also utilizes the
802.11x wireless security standard. Windows XP is one of Microsoft’s best-selling products.
3. Windows Vista (November 2006)
Windows Vista offered an advancement in reliability, security, ease of deployment, performance and manageability over Windows XP. New in this version was
capabilities to detect hardware problems before they occur, security features to protect against the latest generation of threats, faster start-up time and
low power consumption of the new sleep state. In many cases, Windows Vista is noticeably more responsive than Windows XP on identical hardware. Windows Vista
simplifies and centralizes desktop configuration management, reducing the cost of keeping systems updated.
4. Windows 7 (October, 2009)
Windows 7 made its official debut to the public on October 22, 2009 as the latest in the 25-year-old line of Microsoft Windows operating systems and as the
successor to Windows Vista (which itself had followed Windows XP). Windows 7 was released in conjunction with Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7’s server
counterpart. Enhancements and new features in Windows 7 include multi-touch support, Internet Explorer 8, improved performance and start-up time, Aero Snap,
Aero Shake, support for virtual hard disks, a new and improved Windows Media Center, and improved security.
5. Windows 8 (Codename, Expected Release 2012)
Windows 8 is a completely redesigned operating system that’s been developed from the ground up with touchscreen use in mind as well as near-instant-on
capabilities that enable a Windows 8 PC to load and start up in a matter of seconds rather than in minutes. Windows 8 will replace the more traditional
Microsoft Windows OS look and feel with a new “Metro” design system interface that first debuted in the Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system. The Metro
user interface primarily consists of a “Start screen” made up of “Live Tiles,” which are links to applications and features that are dynamic and update in
real time. Windows 8 supports both x86 PCs and ARM processors. Online media sites indicate that this version will be available in 2012, with October and
Fall being the most often quoted time frame.