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30 years of Windows, condensed into a single infographic

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 9:03PM EST
Microsoft Windows History Infographic

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Windows is no longer the dominant force it was in the 1990s but it’s still by far the most widely used desktop operating system in the world, and that’s not nothing. To celebrate the launch of Windows 10 on Wednesday, MicrosoftTraining.Net has put together a terrific infographic that shows us Windows’ long evolution over the past 30 years.

DON’T MISS: Windows 10: The 5 most important tips for newbies

Source: MicrosoftTraining

In the beginning, there was Windows 1… and it was ugly. For many of us, Windows didn’t really start to become a household name until 1990 when Microsoft released Windows 3, which had a GUI akin to the one that Apple had introduced with its Macintosh line of computers. And from there, Windows was off and running.

Windows 95 was a massive hit that at the time generated levels of hype that were almost on par with iPhone launches. This was where we got the first Start menu and task bar, both of which became iconic Windows features. From that point on, the look of Windows stayed more or less the same… until Windows 8.

Ah, Windows 8. The polarizing platform that upset many longtime users, particularly those users who used a keyboard and mouse as their primary means of interacting with their PCs. Why did we need to boot up to that Metro screen when we were primarily desktop users? Why was there no Start menu, even in the desktop mode? Why did the Charms menu never seem to work the way it was supposed to? Only Steven Sinofsky knows for certain.

Thankfully, Windows 8.1 and (especially) Windows 10 have fixed these issues and have made Windows both a modern OS that is also familiar enough to longtime fans. At any rate, this has been a fascinating trip down memory lane that has made us feel a lot older than we really should.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.


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