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Windows Versions

Versions, Release Dates and looks

ReadWindows 3.0 - 1990

No longer supported

ReadWindows 3.1 - 1992

ReadWindows 3.11 - 1993

No longer supported

ReadWindows 95  - 1995 Upgrade-Build A and
 OEM Full Version Build B

No longer supported

ReadWindows 98 - 1998 Upgrade and Full Version

ReadWindows 98 - 1999 Second Edition
 (Upgrade and Full Version

No longer supported

ReadWindows 2000 Pro - 2000
No longer supported
ReadWindows Millennium (Windows ME) - 2000

No longer supported

ReadWindows XP Home & Professional 2001
(XP SP2 was released in 2004)
 / Media center / 32 & 64 bit (More Below)
No longer supported
4-8-14 End of support for Windows XP
 No more security updates.
You may be able to upgrade to a newer version of Windows, if your hardware meets basic requirements.
ReadWindows Vista - 2007

Read Windows 7
 Went  on sale October 22nd, 2009 and delivered to manufactures at the end of July 2009.
Microsoft will continue to provide security fixes for Windows 7 for free until the end of extended support, which is January 14, 2020 -- unless Microsoft ends up extending that support date.

What's new over Vista - (Go here)

About Windows 7 here

‘Windows 8’

The Tiled Start Menu
Released for general availability on October 26, 2012


Go here for The best and worst Windows versions ever

Windows XP (or NT 5.1)

XP - The operating system core
(Windows XP first shipped in October of 2001)

Windows XP-Home & Pro Edition is a much more stable operating system than Windows 98 or Me could ever hope to be. The main thing that sets Windows XP apart from Windows 98/Me is the core of the new operating system, called the Kernel. The Kernel is based on advanced technology developed for Windows NT (and enhanced for Windows 2000) rather than on good old DOS, or the so-called Windows 9x Kernel. This fact alone gives the new home user oriented operating system much greater stability.

For example, the depletion of a small chunk of memory known as the system resource pool can seriously crash Windows 98 or Me. Since the size of the system resource pool is hard coded into the operating system Kernel, it can never change, no matter how much RAM you have in your Windows 98 or Me system.

In contrast, Windows NT / Windows 2000 and subsequently the Windows XP operating system, does not have any sort of limitation on the system resource pool. This equates to better performance and increased stability.

More on WindowsXP and Product-Activation: Click Here

Windows XP Pro x64 bit 

Windows XP Professional x64 as well as the server editions 2003 Standard x64, 2003 Enterprise x64 and 2003 Datacenter x64 are available.

Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition provide customers with "increased performance, reliability and security while providing the versatility to run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications, enabling them to move to 64-bit computing at their own pace," Microsoft said in a statement. According to the manufacturer, users will see performance improvements of up to 35 percent with native 64-bit applications, if compared to their 32-bit versions. 32-bit software running under Windows x64 are likely to see no speed increase. 

Microsoft advertises the 64-bit Windows platform as increased scalability and reliability, faster processing, the ability to handle larger amounts of data more efficiently, more security, handles more memory, and better manageability. Microsoft expects workstation users that run into 32-bit-lints today and enthusiasts to be first to make the switch to Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.
Requirements: Your system must support Intel's new 64-bit Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T)
Your hardware and software drivers must be 64bit. (most 32 bit software will be emulated)
More from Microsoft Here

Windows 8 and 8.1

No Windows 9

Windows 10 - Late Summer 2015

 Windows Vista Go Here

The best and worst Windows versions ever

By Ed Bott at ZDNet
Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications.
March 15th, 2007

The best and worst Windows versions ever

I’ve been writing about Windows pretty much full-time since the very early 1990s, so I have vivid memories of every version, some fond, some not so much.

This sort of exercise is fraught with intellectual land mines. For one thing, any opinion is going to be influenced by one’s personal preferences, experience, and technical competence. More importantly, any such rating has to be placed in historical context. Windows NT 4.0 was excellent in its day, but I can’t imagine trying to use it today to get any work done. And finally, I’m going to factor in improvement over time, conceding that any initial release might have performance, stability, and compatibility issues but that the real test is how quickly and thoroughly those issues are dealt with.

OK, with that out of the way … All ratings are on a scale of
1 to 10, 10 being best.

Windows 3.x: 8+
It was miraculous in its day. After years of using DOS and a variety of clunky task-switching programs like DesqView I was thrilled to have a GUI and a real memory manager. From a tinkerer’s point of view it was pure gold (Brian Livingston’s original Windows 3.1 Secrets was roughly 1200 pages.) Windows for Workgroups 3.11 introduced TCP/IP support, and even included a network card (I think I still have the little Microsoft-logo’ed screwdriver that came with it). With Norton Desktop for Windows or PC Tools, you could have a shell that foreshadowed the full-blown GUI of Windows 95.

Windows NT 3.x: 3
It’s difficult to read the system requirements for the first NT versions today and then remember how expensive memory upgrades were. At PC Computing, we had NT on a system or two in the labs. Everyone thought it was cool and represented the future, but the lack of compatible software and hardware meant we couldn’t use it to get the job done day in and day out on the hardware we used.

Windows 95: 5
The potential was awesome. It was 32 bits! (Well, sort of.) DOS was dead! (Uh, kinda.) The reality was frustrating. Living through the evolution of Plug and Play was no fun, and the perennial problem of 64K system resource heaps meant that it had to be rebooted way more often than it should have. Two service releases got rid of some problems, and a steady stream of 32–bit applications made for fun. But if you ever had to install a network adapter or sound card you could kiss your weekend goodbye.

Windows NT 4.0: 8
Ah, a solid kernel and the Windows 95 shell. This one was my preferred computing environment on the desktop from the day it was released in August 1996, exactly one year after the Windows 95 launch.

Windows 98: 6+
This was what Windows 95 should have been, and the Second Edition was better still. NT was still a better choice for work, but I could use Windows 98 at home and install it on my Dad’s PC and be reasonably confident it would work. Most 16–bit programs had ridden off into the sunset by this time (although there were noteworthy exceptions like Quicken 98, which was still available in 16– and 32–bit versions).

Windows Me: 1
The worst Windows version ever, and doomed from the start. It was announced as the end of its line, it had to contend with Y2K fears, and it was buggier than a Fourth of July picnic on a Mississippi riverboat. The only feature that saved it from a zero is System Restore, which worked often enough to be useful if not dependable.

Windows 2000: 9
For its time, it was nearly perfect, and when businesses had to upgrade their hardware or be pitched into Y2K hell, it was the ideal choice. Tons of application support and good solid drivers. It’s no wonder some businesses still stick with it seven years later.

Windows XP: 6 to 8
Why two ratings? One for businesses, one for consumers. If you were running Windows 2000 already, you might have looked at the interface (“Fisher-Price” was the most common description) and said, “Huh?” But for consumers who were used to the crashes and mysterious lockups that were par for the course with the 16/32–bit hybrid 95/98/Me line, well … it was a giant leap forward in stability and reliability.

Windows XP Service Pack 2: 8+
As Jim Allchin told Mary Jo Foley, this could easily have been a separate Windows release instead of just a service pack. Microsoft really underestimated the security challenges that it would confront with Windows XP, and the improvements in SP2 really did make a difference. For businesses, it offers much better administrative tools and deployment options than Windows 2000. And after a few years the interface wasn’t so bad after all (and if you really hated it you could make it look just like Windows 2000).

Windows Vista: 5 to 8 - So Far
I was tempted to punt and put in a question mark, because this sort of rating won’t really be valid until two or three more years pass. But in two years of beta-testing I think I’ve seen enough to make some preliminary judgments. The 5 is for businesses, the 8 is for enthusiasts. Vista is a solid platform with plenty of rough edges (UAC, anyone?) and its ecosystem needs another few months at least to catch up with it. At this point in its development its much like Windows 95 in its early days. Businesses are wise to take their time. Digital media enthusiasts have a lot to love. And if Microsoft is smart they’ll release a feature-rich update – not just a service pack - every fall.

Window 7 -  Great OS. Fast & Stable

Windows 8 - We will see - Fast Yes - Stable...?

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