Windows 1.0: The very first version of Windows, Windows 1.0, was a basic interface that used “gadgets,” like the calendar and calculator, but it gained little popularity. Released in 1985, the system had basic functionality and introduced the first version of MS Paint and a primitive word processor.
Windows 2.0: Released in 1987, the next version of Windows wasn’t much better than the first. While it did introduce two current staples – Excel and Word – to users, this version came under fire when Macintosh sued Microsoft for mimicking the look and feel of their current operating system. The lawsuit was eventually dropped.
Windows 3.0: The third time’s the charm, they say, and that adage was proven with Windows’ third release. The introduction of virtual memory, improved graphics, and the ability to multitask helped propel Windows to sell 10 million copies. In fact, while it was released in 1990, Windows 3.0 wasn’t discontinued until 2001.
Windows 3.1: A pseudo-release for Microsoft, Windows 3.1 contained necessary fixes and improved font functionality. Meanwhile, Microsoft continued to develop a new release, Windows NT, hoping it could be released as a continuation of Windows 3.0 and 3.1. Unfortunately, issues with driver support and software meant that it was time for a new version altogether.
Windows 95: Marking the change from 16-bit to 32-bit, Windows 95 was designed for increased compatibility and ultimate user-friendliness. As it became clear that consumer computers would become the future, Windows 95 was offered on newer computers only because it lacked some backwards compatibility at first. Newer releases and patches later made the version easier to use on older machines, but by 1995, Microsoft had achieved a more widespread interest in home computers.
Windows 4.0: The follow-up to Windows 3.0, Windows 4.0 was released in 1996 with minor improvements and is not considered a major Windows release.
Windows 98: As consumer computers became more widespread, Windows 98 included improved hardware and hardware drivers, Internet Explorer, and eventually, Internet connection sharing. Released in 1998, with a new release in 1999, Microsoft 98 was the first release designed specifically for consumers, as opposed to the business or technology set.
Windows 2000: Windows 2000 made everyone’s lives easier by increasing the number of plug and play devices compatible with the operating system. Windows ME (Millennial Edition) was also released, offering the system recovery tool to help return a crashed computer to its last known operating settings.
Windows XP: The system designed for ease and stability, Windows XP was released in 2001, offering plenty of ease and functionality for laptop and desktop users. The operating system was designed to offer users help through a comprehensive help center, and it gave users the ability to consume a number of different types of media.
Windows Vista: Widely considered a flop in technology circles, Windows Vista was released in 2006. It had high system requirements and suffered issues with performance and security. The operating system also tended to drain laptop batteries. The version lasted only for three years, during which some users downgraded back to XP to avoid the pitfalls of Vista.
Windows 7: For this current release of Windows, Microsoft learned its mistakes with Vista and created an operating system with speed, stability and minimal system requirements. Microsoft ditched the gadget bar from Vista, replacing it with a cleaner feel. This version was released in 2009.
Introduction to Windows:
What is Windows?
• An operating system and Graphical User
Interface (GUI) created by Microsoft and found
on most computer systems (but not all!).
• Allows for easy “point and click” operations
between the user and the different files and
programs with which they wish to work.
• While there are many different versions of
Windows, the fundamentals are the same.
The “Desktop” is the general work area of your
computer. It gives you access to programs, folders and
documents that you use frequently.
• This area is customizable on your own computer,
though it is not something that can be changed on a
public computer at the library
• An icon is a symbol/picture that acts as a
button to open up a folder, document,
application or other object.
• All icons need to be double clicked in order to
Icons vs. Programs:
• You double click on the icon to execute the
• When inside of the program, you single click
on the commands or icons for that program.
(Examples: MS Office, Internet Explorer,
Firefox, Windows Media Player, etc.)
Different Types of Icons:
• Application Icons open up a
program (an executable file),
like Internet Explorer,
Microsoft Word, etc.
• Folder Icons store and
organize documents and
applications. Often you will
find folders within folders.
• Document icons represent a
specific file, like a word
document, picture, etc. These
files typically have an
association with the program
that is used to open them.
• The taskbar is what you see at the very
bottom of your screen.
• Contains the “Start” button, which allows
access to other Windows programs and
features that are not on the desktop
• System tray shows programs running in the
background, the clock, volume control, etc.
What about Windows?
• The “window” refers a program or document
or other object that is open
• You can have multiple windows open at once
and easily switch back and forth between
• You can move windows around, resize them or
have a particular window expand onto the
Types of Windows:
• Program Windows – Applications like Word,
• Document Windows – Open to a specific
document within the applicable program
• Folder Windows – A folder, like “My
Documents” that may contain other folders,
documents, programs, etc.
Parts of a Window:
• Title Bar – at the top of the window.
– Most contain these buttons
• On many windows you will see a menu bar,
which allows you to access features within
that particular program.
• Scroll bars often appear at the bottom and
even more often on the right hand side of a
window, if there is a lot of content.
• Cut, copy, and paste commands can be used with
to move text, graphics and other items from one
application to the next (Internet Explorer to
Microsoft Word, for instance).
• Copied or cut items are placed in temporary
storage (the Clipboard) and can be retrieved as
long as the computer is on or if the item hasn’t
been replaced by another that you select.
• An item on the Clipboard can be pasted multiple