The various flavours of Windows through history: Consumer & Enterprise

In many ways, the history of Microsoft’s Windows OS is the history of the personal computer market. The operating system has developed dramatically in usability, functionality, and security since Windows 1.0, a graphical user interface for MS-DOS, was launched in 1985. Today, MS Windows has many flavours catering to every type of user.

The recently renewed Windows versions have resulted in the ecosystem becoming a formidable three-pronged solution for use in an enterprise solution. What we mean by that is that Windows, with Satya Nadella at the helm, seem to be moving in synchronization. The enterprise side of Microsoft’s product line-up (software sold to big businesses and not off the shelf) has been re-organized to work together. The Windows Server, System Center and Azure teams will now collaborate to expand Microsoft’s presence in the enterprise solutions domain.  If you don’t understand what these products are, we will get to it towards the end of this article.

Windows FAQs

1. Who invented Windows and why is it called Windows?
Bill Gates and Paul Allen developed Microsoft Windows in 1983. Windows 1.0 was released for use on November 20, 1985. In the early 1980s Microsoft worked on the first version of a new operating system. Interface Manager is the code name and was considered as the final name, but “Windows” prevailed because it best describes the boxes or computing “windows” that are fundamental to the new system. Basically, it was named “Windows” because the user was able to change between screens, similar to how they would look out a different window.

2. When Did Windows Come to the Mac?
Bootcamp is most commonly used to run windows on MAC. The first version launched in 2006 which was after the release of Windows XP.

3. How Many Versions of Windows Are There? How many MS flavours exist?

4. What kind of special software do enterprises or businesses need from Microsoft?

For young readers here, servers are computers that don’t have a lot of graphical interfaces. They are used by big companies to control other computers connected to them. For example, when you enter your password into Facebook, an authentication server verifies its authenticity from an extensive database. This massive database is stored in a database server. When you use an email client to send mail, a mail server is put to use.

In short, it is a vast network of non-graphical computers that control and provide data to your computer. Now, these servers need operating software, which is provided by Microsoft Windows (among others), and used by enterprises.

Another type of service required by these businesses is VDI. Virtual Desktop Infrastructures. VDIs essentially basically allows a user to control a computer via another computer. So if you are at home, and you left some important file on your work PC, you can access the work computer from home using a VDI and mail it to your home computer.

Services like these require special software. Since the general populace doesn’t need these types of software, they are sold/licensed to large businesses or enterprises.

5. How Many Computers Run Windows? 

In 2011 1.25 billion computers were running Windows. Today Microsoft accounts for 91% OS share of all computers worldwide.

A quick history of Microsoft Windows consumer versions

Microsoft has successfully released operating software designed to encompass usability (with enhanced graphics), functionality and security.

For example, Windows 2.0, released in 1987, allowed program windows to overlap each other for easier multitasking. While Windows 3.1 (1992) brought Truetype font support, making the operating system more suitable for office work. The more recent enhancements include the tablet-friendly features introduced with Windows 8 in 2012, Cortana with Windows 10, and a “creators update” to the Windows 10 that is scheduled to be released soon. They also tried hard to reinvent IE with Edge, but let’s not go there.

The infographic below consists of every single Windows OS ever released with some of their vital statistics and defining features.

Windows versions


How is Windows a powerful solution for enterprises?

While the infographic above demonstrates the value of Windows for the general consumer market, its reach is far greater. Windows has, with the passing of years, successively introduced many new features to bolster its usefulness to the enterprise further.

The three comprehensive Windows-based solutions that are so appealing to businesses are as follows:

  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Microsoft & Citrix VDI

Windows 10: a game-changer in enterprise security

While keeping intuitive user experience, Windows 10 has brought significant security enhancements over its predecessors, and that makes it the best of all previous Windows versions.

For example, multi-factor authentication keeps information safe in case the user’s device is lost or stolen, while biometrics can be utilized for more secure login. This user experience is maintained across a wide range of devices, including desktop and mobile devices, thus removing tricky learning curves that could hamper your corporate operations.

Windows 10 also allows businesses to choose the rate at which they innovate. How does it do that? You can choose the price that fits your customers’ needs as well as yours. Functions like locking down business-critical environments and making sure that segmented user bases are well-supplied with updates are possible. While simultaneously, you can even improve your IT management’s cost-efficiency. In short, increased control and regular updates.

The arrival of Windows Server 2016

In addition to that, there is the release of Windows Server 2016 to general availability.

This is “a cloud-ready OS” that “inherently enables hybrid cloud”, as declared in a blog post on Microsoft’s website.

The hybrid cloud that Microsoft enables with Windows Server 2016 can connect businesses across cloud environments, but also provide a consistent user experience where the resource’s location does not lead that experience to differ between IT professionals, developers, and end-users.

This consistency also allows businesses to draw upon the right cloud resources when they need them. Furthermore, it allows developers to build applications and services that can be quickly deployed in different locations based on corporate rules and technical needs.

A promising new collaboration between Microsoft and Citrix

In August, Microsoft revealed that it would “gradually wind down the delivery of Azure RemoteApp.”

The Azure RemoteApp is “a modern alternative to traditional VDI” (Virtual Desktop Infrastructures). However, while many businesses had opted for VDI, solutions in this area could be expensive to use correctly. Therefore, it was not always convenient to consume high-quality media and collaboration content from a VDI deployment in particular. Microsoft has announced that it is partnering with Citrix, a company that provides server, application and desktop virtualization (VDI), networking, software as a service, and cloud computing technologies, to develop an alternative service to RemoteApp – and it “might give us the best of both worlds.”

What worlds?

It could enable businesses to both access their desktops from anywhere and, on other occasions, take their desktops with them to ensure that they can reach their data and apps from anywhere.

If this article sheds any light on the Windows flavours, both commercial and enterprise, don’t forget to share it with your colleagues using the social media buttons at the bottom of this article.

This article was slightly altered from the original to suit the needs of our readers. For more on Windows 10 and other tools that could streamline your business, subscribe to the RedPixie blog.


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