Windows Your Computer Software translation jobs
Home More Articles Join as a Member! Post Your Job - Free! All Translation Agencies


Become a member of at just $12 per month (paid per year)

See also: Comparison of Microsoft Windows versions

See also: List of Microsoft Windows components

Company / developer Microsoft Corporation
OS family MS-DOS/9x-based, Windows CE, Windows NT
Source model Closed source / Shared source
Stable release Windows Server 2008 [+/-]
Preview release Windows 7 Milestone 3 Build 6801 [+/-]
License MS-EULA
Working state Publicly released
Website windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of software operating systems and graphical user interfaces produced by Microsoft. Microsoft first introduced an operating environment named Windows in November 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs).[1] Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal computer market, overtaking Mac OS, which had been introduced previously. At the 2004 IDC Directions conference, it was stated that Windows had approximately 90% of the client operating system market.[2] The most recent client version of Windows is Windows Vista; the most recent server version is Windows Server 2008.



See also: List of Microsoft Windows versions

The term Windows collectively describes any or all of several generations of Microsoft (MS) operating system (OS) products. These products are generally categorized as follows:

The box art of Windows 1.0, the first version that Microsoft released to the public16-bit operating environments

The early versions of Windows were often thought of as just graphical user interfaces, mostly because they ran on top of MS-DOS and used it for file system services.[3] However, even the earliest 16-bit Windows versions already assumed many typical operating system functions, notably, having their own executable file format and providing their own device drivers (timer, graphics, printer, mouse, keyboard and sound) for applications. Unlike MS-DOS, Windows allowed users to execute multiple graphical applications at the same time, through cooperative multitasking. Finally, Windows implemented an elaborate, segment-based, software virtual memory scheme, which allowed it to run applications larger than available memory: code segments and resources were swapped in and thrown away when memory became scarce, and data segments moved in memory when a given application had relinquished processor control, typically waiting for user input. 16-bit Windows versions include Windows 1.0 (1985), Windows 2.0 (1987) and its close relatives, Windows/286-Windows/386.

Windows OS market share
Source Hitslink[4] Awio[5] XiTi[6] OneStat[7]
Date September 2008 September 2008 August 2008 Mar 2008
All versions 90.29%[8] - 93.61% 95.94%
Windows XP 68.67% 73.04% 71.22% 78.93%
Windows Vista 18.33% 12.30% 18.99% 13.24%
Windows 2000 1.89% 2.24% 1.56% 2.82%
Windows 98 0.34% 0.59% 0.35% 0.58%
Windows 2003 - 0.70% 0.82% -
Windows NT 0.80% - 0.04% -
Windows ME 0.19% 0.23% 0.15% 0.31%
Windows CE 0.06% - 0.04% -
Windows 95 0.01% - 0.01% -
Windows other - - 0.42% -

Hybrid 16/32-bit operating environments

Windows/386 introduced a 32-bit protected mode kernel and virtual machine monitor. For the duration of a Windows session, it created one or more virtual 8086 environments and provided device virtualization for the video card, keyboard, mouse, timer and interrupt controller inside each of them. The user-visible consequence was that it became possible to preemptively multitask multiple MS-DOS environments in separate windows, although graphical MS-DOS applications required full screen mode. Also, Windows applications were multi-tasked cooperatively inside one such virtual 8086 environment.

Windows 3.0 (1990) and Windows 3.1 (1992) improved the design, mostly because of virtual memory and loadable virtual device drivers (VxDs) which allowed them to share arbitrary devices between multitasked DOS windows. Also, Windows applications could now run in protected mode (when Windows was running in Standard or 386 Enhanced Mode), which gave them access to several megabytes of memory and removed the obligation to participate in the software virtual memory scheme. They still ran inside the same address space, where the segmented memory provided a degree of protection, and multi-tasked cooperatively. For Windows 3.0, Microsoft also rewrote critical operations from C into assembly, making this release faster and less memory-hungry than its predecessors.

Hybrid 16/32-bit operating systems

With the introduction of the 32-bit Windows for Workgroups 3.11, Windows was able to stop relying on DOS for file management. Leveraging this, Windows 95 introduced Long File Names, reducing the 8.3 filename DOS environment to the role of a boot loader. MS-DOS was now bundled with Windows; this notably made it (partially) aware of long file names when its utilities were run from within Windows. The most important novelty was the possibility of running 32-bit multi-threaded preemptively multitasked graphical programs. However, the necessity of keeping compatibility with 16-bit programs meant the GUI components were still 16-bit only and not fully reentrant, which resulted in reduced performance and stability.

There were three releases of Windows 95 (the first in 1995, then subsequent bug-fix versions in 1996 and 1997, only released to OEMs, which added extra features such as FAT32 and primitive USB support). Microsoft's next OS was Windows 98; there were two versions of this (the first in 1998 and the second, named "Windows 98 Second Edition", in 1999). In 2000, Microsoft released Windows Me (Me standing for Millennium Edition), which used the same core as Windows 98 but adopted some aspects of Windows 2000 and removed the option boot into DOS mode. It also added a new feature called System Restore, allowing the user to set the computer's settings back to an earlier date.

32-bit operating systems

The NT family of Windows systems was fashioned and marketed for higher reliability business use, and was unencumbered by any Microsoft DOS patrimony. The first release was Windows NT 3.1 (1993, numbered "3.1" to match the Windows version and to one-up OS/2 2.1, IBM's flagship OS co-developed by Microsoft and was Windows NT's main competitor at the time), which was followed by NT 3.5 (1994), NT 3.51 (1995), NT 4.0 (1996), and Windows 2000 (essentially NT 5.0). NT 4.0 was the first in this line to implement the "Windows 95" user interface (and the first to include Windows 95's built-in 32-bit runtimes). Microsoft then moved to combine their consumer and business operating systems. Windows XP, coming in both home and professional versions (and later niche market versions for tablet PCs and media centers), improved stability and backwards compatibility. Then, Windows Server 2003 brought Windows Server up to date with Windows XP. Since then, a new version, Windows Vista was released and Windows Server 2008, released on February 27, 2008, brings Windows Server up to date with Windows Vista.

Windows CE, Microsoft's offering in the mobile and embedded markets, is also a true 32-bit operating system that offers various services for all sub-operating workstations.

64-bit operating systems

Windows NT included support for several different platforms before the x86-based personal computer became dominant in the professional world. Versions of NT from 3.1 to 4.0 variously supported PowerPC, DEC Alpha and MIPS R4000, some of which were 64-bit processors, although the operating system treated them as 32-bit processors.

With the introduction of the Intel Itanium architecture, which is referred to as IA-64, Microsoft released new versions of Windows to support it. Itanium versions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 were released at the same time as their mainstream x86 (32-bit) counterparts. On April 25, 2005, Microsoft released Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and x64 versions of Windows Server 2003 to support the AMD64/Intel64 (or x64 in Microsoft terminology) architecture. Microsoft dropped support for the Itanium version of Windows XP in 2005. Windows Vista is the first end-user version of Windows that Microsoft has released simultaneously in 32-bit and x64 editions. Windows Vista does not support the Itanium architecture. The modern 64-bit Windows family comprises AMD64/Intel64 versions of Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008, in both Itanium and x64 editions.


The Windows family tree

The Windows family tree

The Windows family tree

Microsoft has taken two parallel routes in its operating systems. One route has been for the home user and the other has been for the professional IT user. The dual routes have generally led to home versions having greater multimedia support and less functionality in networking and security, and professional versions having inferior multimedia support and better networking and security.

The first version of Microsoft Windows, version 1.0, released in November 1985, lacked a degree of functionality and achieved little popularity, and was to compete with Apple's own operating system. Windows 1.0 is not a complete operating system; rather, it extends MS-DOS. Microsoft Windows version 2.0 was released in November, 1987 and was slightly more popular than its predecessor. Windows 2.03 (release date January 1988) had changed the OS from tiled windows to overlapping windows. The result of this change led to Apple Computer filing a suit against Microsoft alleging infringement on Apple's copyrights.[9][10]

A Windows for Workgroups 3.11 desktopMicrosoft Windows version 3.0, released in 1990, was the first Microsoft Windows version to achieve broad commercial success, selling 2 million copies in the first six months.[11][12] It featured improvements to the user interface and to multitasking capabilities. It received a facelift in Windows 3.1, made generally available on March 1, 1992. Windows 3.1 support ended on December 31, 2001.[13]

In July 1993, Microsoft released Windows NT based on a new kernel. NT was considered to be the professional OS and was the first Windows version to utilize preemptive multitasking. Windows NT would later be retooled to also function as a home operating system, with Windows XP.

On August 24, 1995, Microsoft released Windows 95, a new, and major, consumer version that made further changes to the user interface, and also used preemptive multitasking. Windows 95 was designed to replace not only Windows 3.1, but also Windows for Workgroups, and MS-DOS. It was also the first Windows operating system to use Plug and Play capabilities. The changes Windows 95 brought to the desktop were revolutionary, as opposed to evolutionary, such as those in Windows 98 and Windows Me. Mainstream support for Windows 95 ended on December 31, 2000 and extended support for Windows 95 ended on December 31, 2001.[14]

The next in the consumer line was Microsoft Windows 98 released on June 25, 1998. It was substantially criticized for its slowness and for its unreliability compared with Windows 95, but many of its basic problems were later rectified with the release of Windows 98 Second Edition in 1999. Mainstream support for Windows 98 ended on June 30, 2002 and extended support for Windows 98 ended on July 11, 2006.[15]

As part of its "professional" line, Microsoft released Windows 2000 in February 2000. The consumer version following Windows 98 was Windows Me (Windows Millennium Edition). Released in September 2000, Windows Me implemented a number of new technologies for Microsoft: most notably publicized was "Universal Plug and Play."

In October 2001, Microsoft released Windows XP, a version built on the Windows NT kernel that also retained the consumer-oriented usability of Windows 95 and its successors. This new version was widely praised in computer magazines.[16] It shipped in two distinct editions, "Home" and "Professional", the former lacking many of the superior security and networking features of the Professional edition. Additionally, the first "Media Center" edition was released in 2002,[17] with an emphasis on support for DVD and TV functionality including program recording and a remote control. Mainstream support for Windows XP will continue until April 14, 2009 and extended support will continue until April 8, 2014.[18]

In April 2003, Windows Server 2003 was introduced, replacing the Windows 2000 line of server products with a number of new features and a strong focus on security; this was followed in December 2005 by Windows Server 2003 R2.

On January 30, 2007 Microsoft released Windows Vista. It contains a number of new features, from a redesigned shell and user interface to significant technical changes, with a particular focus on security features. It is available in a number of different editions, and has been subject to some criticism.

Timeline of releases

Release date Product name Current Version / Build Notes Last IE
November 1985 Windows 1.01 1.01 Unsupported -
November 1987 Windows 2.03 2.03 Unsupported -
March 1989 Windows 2.11 2.11 Unsupported -
May 1990 Windows 3.0 3.0 Unsupported -
March 1992 Windows 3.1x 3.1 Unsupported 5
October 1992 Windows For Workgroups 3.1 3.1 Unsupported 5
July 1993 Windows NT 3.1 NT 3.1 Unsupported 5
December 1993 Windows For Workgroups 3.11 3.11 Unsupported 5
January 1994 Windows 3.2 (released in Simplified Chinese only) 3.2 Unsupported 5
September 1994 Windows NT 3.5 NT 3.5 Unsupported 5
May 1995 Windows NT 3.51 NT 3.51 Unsupported 5
August 1995 Windows 95 4.0.950 Unsupported 5.5
July 1996 Windows NT 4.0 NT 4.0.1381 Unsupported 6
June 1998 Windows 98 4.10.1998 Unsupported 6
May 1999 Windows 98 SE 4.10.2222 Unsupported 6
February 2000 Windows 2000 NT 5.0.2195 Extended Support until July 13, 2010[19] 6
September 2000 Windows Me 4.90.3000 Unsupported 6
October 2001 Windows XP NT 5.1.2600 Current for SP2 and SP3 (RTM and SP1 unsupported). 8
March 2003 Windows XP 64-bit Edition 2003 NT 5.2.3790 Unsupported 6
April 2003 Windows Server 2003 NT 5.2.3790 Current for SP1, R2, SP2 (RTM unsupported). 8
April 2005 Windows XP Professional x64 Edition NT 5.2.3790 Current 8
July 2006 Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs NT 5.1.2600 Current -
November 2006 (volume licensing)
January 2007 (retail)
Windows Vista NT 6.0.6001 Current. Version Changed to NT 6.0.6001 with SP1 (February 4 08) 8
July 2007 Windows Home Server NT 5.2.4500 Current 8
February 2008 Windows Server 2008 NT 6.0.6001 Current 8
2010 (planned) Windows 7 NT 6.1.6801 (M3 beta release) Future release 8
N/A Windows Strata[20] N/A Future release N/A


Worldwide Regional Directors Meeting Feb 1995

Security has been a hot topic with Windows for many years, and even Microsoft itself has been the victim of security breaches. Consumer versions of Windows were originally designed for ease-of-use on a single-user PC without a network connection, and did not have security features built in from the outset. Windows NT and its successors are designed for security (including on a network) and multi-user PCs, but are not designed with Internet security in mind as much since, when it was first developed in the early 1990s, Internet use was less prevalent. These design issues combined with flawed code (such as buffer overflows) and the popularity of Windows means that it is a frequent target of worm and virus writers. In June 2005, Bruce Schneier's Counterpane Internet Security reported that it had seen over 1,000 new viruses and worms in the previous six months.[21]

The Windows Security Center was introduced with Windows XP Service Pack 2

Microsoft releases security patches through its Windows Update service approximately once a month (usually the second Tuesday of the month), although critical updates are made available at shorter intervals when necessary.[22] In Windows 2000 (SP3 and later), Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, updates can be automatically downloaded and installed if the user selects to do so. As a result, Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, as well as Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003, were installed by users more quickly than it otherwise might have been.[23]

Windows Defender

Windows Defender

On January 6, 2005, Microsoft released a beta version of Microsoft AntiSpyware, based upon the previously released Giant AntiSpyware. On February 14, 2006, Microsoft AntiSpyware became Windows Defender with the release of beta 2. Windows Defender is a freeware program designed to protect against spyware and other unwanted software. Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 users who have genuine copies of Microsoft Windows can freely download the program from Microsoft's web site, and Windows Defender ships as part of Windows Vista.[24]

Third-party analysis

In an article based on a report by Symantec,[25] has described Microsoft Windows as having the "fewest number of patches and the shortest average patch development time of the five operating systems it monitored in the last six months of 2006."[26] And the number of vulnerabilities found in Windows has significantly increased— Windows: 12+, Red Hat + Fedora: 2, Mac OS X: 1, HP-UX: 2, Solaris: 1.

A study conducted by Kevin Mitnick and marketing communications firm Avantgarde in 2004 found that an unprotected and unpatched Windows XP system with Service Pack 1 lasted only 4 minutes on the Internet before it was compromised, and an unprotected and also unpatched Windows Server 2003 system was compromised after being connected to the internet for 8 hours.[27] However, it is important to note that this study does not apply to Windows XP systems running the Service Pack 2 update (released in late 2004), which vastly improved the security of Windows XP. The computer that was running Windows XP Service Pack 2 was not compromised. The AOL National Cyber Security Alliance Online Safety Study of October 2004 determined that 80% of Windows users were infected by at least one spyware/adware product.[28] Much documentation is available describing how to increase the security of Microsoft Windows products. Typical suggestions include deploying Microsoft Windows behind a hardware or software firewall, running anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and installing patches as they become available through Windows Update.

Windows Lifecycle Policy

Microsoft has stopped releasing updates and hotfixes for many old Windows operating systems, including all versions of Windows 9x and earlier versions of Windows NT. Windows versions prior to XP are no longer supported, with the exception of Windows 2000, which is currently in the Extended Support Period, that will end on July 13, 2010. Windows XP versions prior to SP2 are no longer supported either. Also, support for Windows XP 64-bit Edition ended after the release of the more recent Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. No new updates are created for unsupported versions of Windows.

Emulation software

Emulation allows the use of some Windows applications without using Microsoft Windows. These include:

  • Wine - a free and open source software implementation of the Windows API, allowing one to run many Windows applications on x86-based platforms, including Linux. Wine is technically not an emulator but a "compatibility layer";[29] while an emulator effectively 'pretends' to be a different CPU, Wine instead makes use of Windows-style APIs to 'simulate' the Windows environment directly.
    • CrossOver - A Wine package with licensed fonts. Its developers are regular contributors to Wine, and focus on Wine running officially supported applications.
    • Cedega - TransGaming Technologies' proprietary fork of Wine, designed specifically for running games written for Microsoft Windows under Linux.
    • Darwine - This project intends to port and develop Wine as well as other supporting tools that will allow Darwin and Mac OS X users to run Microsoft Windows applications, and to provide Win32 API compatibility at application source code level.
  • ReactOS - An open-source OS that is intended to run the same software as Windows, originally designed to imitate Windows NT 4.0, now aiming at Windows XP compatibility. It has been in the development stage since 1996.

License refunds

In 2006, a British man purchased a Dell Inspiron 640m laptop bundled with Microsoft Windows XP Home SP2 preinstalled, but did not accept Microsoft's End User License Agreement (EULA). In one week after his response, the customer received a "goodwill" refund of £ 47 (£55.23 including tax) from Dell for a no Windows option, as the copy of the system was an "unused product" according to the software license agreement. Dell had not asked for the installation medium to be returned and commented that although it doesn't have a Windows refund program, giving a refund in an individual case isn't forbidden either.[30][31][32]

In a civil suit Italian court rejected HP's argument that the licensing conditions had been set unilaterally by Microsoft and ruled HP to reimburse customer the amount of 90 for unused Windows XP bundled with a Compaq notebook. The court was of the opinion that HP had to know about the conditions, because they most likely constituted part of the agreement between them and Microsoft. It also found the fact that computers without an operating system are available on the market to be irrelevant. According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, a German Dell customer replaced the preinstalled Windows with Linux and had been credited the amount of 78 euros for operating system and a further unspecified Microsoft program.[33] A French court ruled Acer to refund the purchase price of preinstalled laptop software, of which was 135.20 euros for Windows XP Home.[34]

See also


Further reading:


  1. ^ "". Retrieved on 2007-04-22.
  2. ^ Operating System Market Share
  3. ^ » Windows Evolution » News
  4. ^ Net Applications OS versions market share for September 2008
  5. ^ W3Counter global web stats for September 2008
  6. ^ XiTiMonitor report, September 25, 2008
  7. ^ OneStat press release, April 1, 2008
  8. ^ Net Applications OS market share
  9. ^ The Apple vs. Microsoft GUI Lawsuit, 2006, Retrieved on 12 March 2008 
  10. ^ APPLE COMPUTER, INC. v. MICROSOFT CORP., 35 F.3d 1435 (9th Cir. 1994), Retrieved on 12 March 2008 
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ Please Verify your Location
  14. ^ Please Verify your Location
  15. ^ Please Verify your Location
  16. ^ Your top Windows XP questions answered! (Part One)
  17. ^ Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: A Look at Freestyle and Mira
  18. ^ Please Verify your Location
  19. ^ "Microsoft Support Lifecycle". Microsoft (May 4, 2005). Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
  20. ^ Windows Strata
  21. ^ Schneier, Bruce (June 15, 2005). "Crypto-Gram Newsletter". Counterpane Internet Security, Inc.. Retrieved on 2007-04-22.
  22. ^ Ryan Naraine (June 8, 2005). "Microsoft's Security Response Center: How Little Patches Are Made". eWeek. Retrieved on 2007-04-22.
  23. ^ John Foley (October 20, 2004). "Windows XP SP2 Distribution Surpasses 100 Million". InformationWeek. Retrieved on 2007-04-22.
  24. ^ "Windows Vista: Features". Retrieved on 2006-07-20.
  25. ^ "Symantec 11th Internet Security Threat Report, Trends for July–December 6".
  26. ^ Report Says Windows Gets The Fastest Repairs
  27. ^ Automated "Bots" Overtake PCs Without Firewalls Within 4 Minutes
  28. ^ Safety Study (PDF)
  29. ^ About Wine
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^

External links


Comparison of Microsoft Windows versions

Market Share for June 2008[1]
Total Windows - 89.89%
Windows XP - 71.20%
Windows Vista - 15.14%
Windows 2000 - 2.11%
Windows NT- 0.69%
Windows 98 - 0.43%
Windows Me - 0.25%
Windows CE - 0.06%
Windows 95 - 0.01%
Non-Windows - 10.11%

Microsoft Windows is the name of several families of proprietary software operating systems by Microsoft. Microsoft first introduced an operating environment named Windows in November 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUI).

Microsoft Windows is the name of several families of proprietary software operating systems by Microsoft. Microsoft first introduced an operating environment named Windows in November 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUI).


General information

Basic general information about Windows.

DOS-based (MS-DOS/9x-based)

  Rele- ase date RTM Build Cur-
- sion
Sta- tus sup- port Cost Licen-se / Sour- ce model Code- name Ba- sed on (ker- nel) Ker- nel type Ope- ra- ting envi-ron-ments Edi- tions Pur- pose Short desc- rip- tion
Win-dows 1.0 11 /20/ 1985 ? 1.04 (8 April 1987) Un- sup- por-
$99 Clo-sed sour-ce/
Micro-soft EULA
  ? ? 16-bit   Des-ktop First ver- sion of Win-dows
Win-dows 2.x 12/ 9/ 1987 ? 2.11 (13 March 1989) Un- sup- por-
? Clo-sed sour-ce/
Micro-soft EULA
  ? ? 16-bit   Des-ktop  
Win-dows 3.0 5/ 22/ 1990 ? 3.00a (10/ 31/ 1990) Un- sup- por-
? Clo-sed sour-ce/
Micro-soft EULA
  ? ? Hyb- rid 16/32-bit   Des-ktop  
Win-dows 3.1x April 1992 ? 3.11 (De-cem- ber 1993) Un- sup- por-
? Clo-sed sour-ce/
Micro-soft EULA
3.1: Ja- nus; for Work- gro- ups: Kato, Spar- ta; 3.11: Snow-ball (LB) ? (OS or shell ?) ? Hyb- rid 16/32-bit (3.11: 32-bit) Win- dows for Work-groups 3.1, Win- dows for Work-groups 3.11, Win-dows 3.2 (simp- lified Chi-nese only) Des-ktop  
Win-dows 95 8/ 24/ 1995 950 OEM Ser- vice Rele- ase 2.5 (1997) Un- sup- por-
(12/ 31/ 2001)
? Clo-sed sour-ce/
Micro-soft EULA
Chi-cago MS-DOS 7.0, MS-DOS 7.1 (OSR 2.x) Mono- lithic kernel 32-bit Retail, OSR1, OSR2, OSR 2.1, OSR 2.5 Des-ktop Ver- sion num- ber: 4.00. 950
Win-dows Nash-ville (Win-dows 96) Can- ce- lled None N/A Can- cel-
N/A ? Nash-ville MS-DOS Mono- lithic kernel 32-bit ? Des-ktop Can- cel-led opera-ting sys-tem up-grade for Micro-soft Win-dows 95
Win-dows 98 6/ 25 /1998 1998 4.10. 2222A (23 April 1999) Un- sup- por-
(7/ 11/ 2006)
? Clo-sed sour-ce/
Micro-soft EULA
Mem-phis MS-DOS 7.1 Mono- lithic kernel 32-bit SE Des-ktop Ver- sion num- ber: 4.10. 1998 (Secu-rity Ver-sion 4.10. 1998 A)
Win-dows Me 6/ 19/ 2000 3000 4.90. 3000 (Sep-tem- ber 14, 2000) Un- sup- por-
(7/ 11 /2006)
? Clo-sed sour-ce/
Micro-soft EULA
Geo-rgia MS-DOS 8.0 Mono- lithic kernel 32-bit   Des-ktop Ver-sion num-ber: 4.90. 3000 (Secu-rity Ver-sion 4.90. 3000 A)

Windows Me is the last DOS-based version of Windows.

NT Kernel-based

  Rele-ase date RTM Build Cur- rent ver- sion Sta- tus sup- port Cost Licen-se / Sour- ce mo-del Code-name Ba-sed on (ker-nel) Ker- nel type Sup- por- ted archi-tec- tures Edi- tions Pur-pose
Win-dows NT 3.1 7/ 27/ 1993 528 3.10. 528 SP3
(11/10/ 1994)
Un- sup-por- ted
(12/ 31/ 2000)
? Closed source/
Micro-soft EULA
? NT 3.1 Hyb-rid ker- nel x86-32, DEC Alpha, MIPS Work-station (just called 'Win-dows NT'),
Advan-ced Server
Ser- ver
Win-dows NT 3.5 9/ 21/ 1994 807 3.50. 807 SP3
(6/21/ 1995)
Un- sup-por- ted
(12/ 31 /2000)
? Closed source/
Micro-soft EULA
Day-tona NT 3.5 Hyb-rid ker- nel x86-32, DEC Alpha, MIPS Work-station,
Ser- ver
Win-dows NT 3.51 5/ 30/ 1995 1057 3.51. 1057 SP5
(9/19/ 1996)
Un- sup-por- ted
(12/ 31/ 2001)
? Closed source/
Micro-soft EULA
? NT 3.51 Hyb-rid ker- nel x86-32, DEC Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC Work-station,
Ser- ver
Win-dows NT 4.0 7/ 29/ 1996 1381 SP6a
(11/30/ 1999)
Un- sup-por- ted
(12/ 31 /2004)
? Closed source/
Micro-soft EULA
(Shell Update Rele-ase)
NT 4.0 Hyb-rid ker- nel x86-32, DEC Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC Work-station,
Server Enter-prise Edition,
Termi-nal Server,
Win-dows 2000 2/ 17/ 2000 2195 5.0 SP4 Rollup 1 v2
(9/13/ 2005)
Ex- ten-ded Sup-port Period
(7/ 13/ 2010)
? Shared source/
Micro-soft EULA
? NT 5.0 Hyb-rid ker- nel x86-32, IA-64 Profes-sional,
Advan-ced Server,
Data-center Server
Ser- ver
Win-dows Nep- tune Can-ce- lled None N/A Can- cel- led ? ? Nep-tune NT 5.0 Hyb-rid ker- nel ? ? Desk-top
Win-dows XP 10/ 25/ 2001 2600 5.1. 2600 SP3
(4/21/ 2008)
Sup- por- ted Home $199,
Profes-sional $299
Shared source/
Micro-soft EULA
Whi-stler NT 5.1; NT 5.2
(64-bit 2003 and x64)
Hyb-rid ker- nel x86-32, IA-64, x86-64 Home,
Media Center,
Tablet PC,
Home N,
Profes-sional N,
Profes-sional x64
Win-dows Server 2003 4/ 24/ 2003 3790 2003 SP2
(3/13/ 2007)
Sup-por- ted Web Edition $379,
Small Busi-ness Server $450
Shared source/
Micro-soft EULA
Whi-stler Ser- ver, Win-dows .NET Ser- ver NT 5.2 Hyb-rid ker- nel x86-32, IA-64, x86-64 Stan-dard,
Sto- rage,
Small Busi-ness Server,
Com-pute Cluster
Net-work App-lia- nce,
Win-dows Funda-mentals for Legacy PCs 7/ 8/ 2006 2600 RTM
(7/8/ 2006)
Sup-por- ted ? Shared source/
Micro-soft EULA
Eiger, Monch NT 5.1 Hyb-rid ker- nel x86-32 (only one) Desk-top
Win-dows Vista 11/ 8/ 2006 6001 6.0 SP1
(1/30/ 2007)
Sup-por- ted Home $199-$239,
Busi-ness $278,
Ulti- mate $319
Closed source,
Shared source/
Micro-soft EULA
Long-horn NT 6.0 Hyb-rid ker- nel x86-32, x86-64 Starter,
Home Basic,
Home Pre-mium,
Ulti- mate
Win-dows Server 2008 2/ 27/ 2008 6001 6.0 SP1
(Feb-ruary 27, 2008)
? ? ? Long-horn Server NT 6.0 Hyb-rid ker- nel x86-32, IA-64, x86-64 web,
Ser- ver
Win-dows Home Server 6/ 16/ 2007 3790 5.2 ? ? ? Q, Quatt- ro NT 5.2 Hyb-rid ker- nel x86-32, x86-64 ? Ser- ver
Win-dows 7
Futu- re Ver-sion ? ? ? ? ? Black-comb,
NT 6.1 Hyb-rid ker- nel ? ? Desk-top


Windows CE (sometimes abbreviated WinCE) is a variation of Microsoft's Windows operating system for minimalistic computers and embedded systems. Windows CE is a distinctly different kernel, rather than a trimmed-down version of desktop Windows. It is supported on Intel x86 and compatibles, MIPS, ARM, and Hitachi SuperH processors.

  Rele-ase date Cur-rent ver-sion Status sup-port License /Source model Code-name Based on (kernel) Kernel type Editi-ons Pur-pose Short descrip- tion
Windows CE 1.0 Novem-ber 1996       Pega-sus, Alder CE 1.0     Embed-ded first release of Micro-soft's Win-dows CE line for mini-ma- listic compu-ters and embed- ded sys-tems
Windows CE 2.0 Novem-ber 1997       Merc-ury, Apollo CE 2.0   2.1, 2.11 Embed-ded  
Windows CE 3.0 April 2000   Unsup-ported
(10/9/ 2007)
Shared source/ Micro-soft EULA Cedar, Galileo, Rapier, Merlin, Stinger CE 3.0 Embed-ded kernel   Embed-ded  
Pocket PC 2002           CE 3.0        
Windows CE 4.0 7 January 2002       Talis-ker CE 4.0   4.1, 4.2 Embed-ded  
Windows Mobile 2003 23 June 2003       Ozone CE 4.20        
Windows CE 5.0 9 July 2004 5.0 (9 July 2004) Sup-ported Shared source/ Micro-soft EULA Macallan CE 5.0 Embed-ded kernel   Embed-ded  
Windows Mobile 5.0 9-12 May 2005       Magneto CE 5.0        
Windows Embedded CE 6.0 1 Novem-ber 2006     Shared source/ Micro-soft EULA Yama-zaki CE 6.0 Hybrid kernel      
Windows Mobile 6.0 12 February 2007       Cros-sbow CE 5.2        
Windows Mobile 7.0 (Windows Mobile 2008) not rele-ased (forth-coming)       Photon CE 6.0       major update to the plat-form, mer-ging Smart-phone and Pocket PC; expec-ted in 2009

Technical information

DOS-based (MS-DOS/9x-based)

  Ker-nel Ker-nel type Opera-ting enviro-nme-nts Integ-rated fire-wall SMP sup-port Mul-tiple archi-tec-ture sup-port USB Sup-port UDMA Sup-port Long File-name Sup-port Lines of code Pack-age man-age-ment Up- date man-age-ment APIs Safe Mode
Win-dows 1.0 ? ? 16-bit No   No No   No       Win16 No
Win-dows 2.0 ? ? 16-bit No    No No   No       Win16 No
Win-dows 3.0 ? ? Hybrid 16/32-bit No   No No   No       Win16 No
Win-dows 3.1x ? (OS or shell?) ? Hybrid 16/32-bit (3.11: 32-bit) No   No No   No       Win16 No
Win-dows 95 MS-DOS 7.0, MS-DOS 7.1 (Win 95B) Mono- lithic ker-nel 32-bit No   No Yes (only OEM Ser-vice Rele-ase 2.1 or hig-her) Yes (only OEM Ser-vice Rele-ase 2 or hig-her) Yes     Win-dows Update (if IE 5 is instal-led) Win16, Win32 Yes
Win-dows Nash-ville (Win-dows 96) MS-DOS Mono- lithic ker-nel 32-bit ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Win16, Win32 ?
Win-dows 98 MS-DOS 7.1 Mono- lithic ker-nel 32-bit No   No Yes Yes Yes     Win-dows Update Win16, Win32 Yes
Win-dows Me MS-DOS 8.0 Mono- lithic ker-nel 32-bit No   No Yes Yes Yes     Win-dows Update Win16, Win32 Yes

NT Kernel-based

  Ker- nel Ker- nel type Ope-ra- ting env-iron-me-nts Inte-gra- ted fire-wall SMP sup-port Mult- iple archi-tec- ture sup- port USB Sup-port UD
MA Sup-port
Long File Name Sup- port Pack-age man-age-ment Up-date man- age-ment APIs Sa-fe Mo-de Data Exe-cu-tion Pre-ven-tion
Win-dows NT 3.1 NT 3.1 Hyb-rid ker- nel 32-bit No   Yes No   Yes (NTFS Volu-mes only)     Win32, OS/2, POSIX No No
Win-dows NT- 3.5 NT 3.5 Hyb-rid ker- nell 32-bit No   Yes No   Yes (Ex- cept on CDFS volu-mes)     Win32, OS/2, POSIX No No
Win-dows NT 3.51 NT 3.51 Hyb-rid ker- nel 32-bit No   Yes No   Yes (Ex- cept on CDFS volu-mes)     Win32, OS/2, POSIX No No
Win-dows NT 4.0 NT 4.0 Hyb-rid ker- nel 32-bit No Yes Yes No   Yes   Win-dows Up-date (if Inte-net Explo- rer 5 or later is instal-led) Win32, OS/2, POSIX No No
Win-dows 2000 NT 5.0 Hyb-rid ker- nel 32-bit No Yes Yes (IA64/ Itani- um in Advan ced Server and Data center Ser- ver) Yes (USB 2.0 with up- date or SP4) [2]   Yes   Win-dows Up-date Win32, OS/2, POSIX Yes No
Win-dows Ne-ptune NT 5.0 Hyb-rid ker- nel 32-bit ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Win-dows XP NT 5.1. 2600; NT 5.2. 3790 Hyb-rid ker- nel 32-bit/ 64-bit Yes Yes (Pro- fes-sional Edi- tion only) Yes (IA64/ Itani- um, x86, x86 -64) Yes (USB 2.0 with up date or SP1+) [3] Yes Yes MSI, cus- tom instal-lers Win-dows Up-date Win32, .NET Yes Yes (in SP2)
Win-dows Ser- ver 2003 NT 5.2. 3790 Hyb-rid ker- nel 32-bit/ 64-bit Yes Yes Yes Yes (USB 2.0) [4] Yes Yes MSI, cus- tom instal-lers Win-dows Up-date Win32 Yes Yes (in SP1)
Win-dows Funda-men- tals for Lega-cy PCs NT 5.1. 2600 Hyb-rid ker- nel 32-bit Yes   No     Yes     Win32    


NT 6.0. 6000 ; NT 6.0. 6001 (SP1) Hyb-rid ker- nel 32-bit/ 64-bit Yes Yes Yes (x86, x86 -64) Yes (USB 2.0) Yes Yes MSI, cus- tom instal-lers Win-dows Up-date Win32, .NET, POSIX (only En- ter-prise and Ulti- mate) Yes Yes
Win-dows Ser- ver 2008 NT 6.0. 6001 Hyb-rid ker- nel 32-bit/ 64-bit Yes Yes Yes (IA64/ Itani um, x86, x86 -64) Yes Yes Yes   Win-dows Up-date Win32 Yes Yes
Win-dows Home Ser- ver NT 5.2 Hyb-rid ker- nel 32-bit           Yes     Win32    
Win-dows 7 NT 6.1 Hyb-rid ker- nel 32-bit/ 64-bit                      

Supported file systems

Various versions of Windows support various file systems, including: FAT16, FAT32, HPFS, ISO 9660, NTFS, or UDF.

DOS-based (MS-DOS/9x-based)

Windows 95 Yes Yes (OSR2 or above) Network Drive Yes Network Drive ?
Windows 98 Yes Yes Network Drive Yes Network Drive ?
Windows Me Yes Yes Network Drive Yes Network Drive ?

NT Kernel-based

Windows NT 3.1, 3.5, 3.51 Yes No Yes ? Yes ?
Windows NT 4.0 Yes No No ? Yes ?
Windows 2000 Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Windows XP Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Windows Server 2003 Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Windows Vista Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes

Hardware requirements

Minimum/recommended system requirements (for x86 processors)

9x Kernel-based

  CPU RAM Free disk space Video adapter and monitor Drivers Devices
Windows 95 386 33 MHz 4MB 55MB      
Windows 98 486 66 MHz 16MB 300MB      
Windows Me (Millennium Edition) Pentium 150 MHz 32MB 400MB      

NT Kernel-based

  CPU RAM Free disk space Video adapter and monitor Drivers Devices
Windows NT Workstation 3.51 386, 25 MHz 8 MB 90 MB      
Windows NT 4.0 Workstation 486, 33 MHz 12 MB 110 MB      
Windows 2000 Professional Pentium, 133 MHz 32 MB 650 MB      
Windows XP Pentium MMX, 233 MHz/ 300 MHz or higher 64 MB / 128 MB RAM or higher 1.5 GB / 1.5 GB or higher Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher resolution CD-ROM or DVD-ROM Keyboard and mouse
Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs Pentium, 133 MHz 64 MB 500 MB      
Windows Vista Pentium III, 800 MHz 512 MB/1 GB or higher recommended 15 GB (may be installed with as few as 7GB) Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher resolution DVD-ROM  

Security features

NT Kernel-based

  Resource access control Subsystem isolation mechanisms Integrated firewall Encrypted file systems
Windows 2000 ACLs     Yes (NTFS Only)
Windows XP ACLs Win32 WindowStation, Desktop, Job objects Windows Firewall, TCP/IP Filtering, IPSec Yes (NTFS Only)
Windows 2003 ACLs, Privileges, RBAC Win32 WindowStation, Desktop, Job objects Windows Firewall, TCP/IP Filtering, IPSec Yes


Version Shell Theme Internet Explorer Web server Windows Media Player
Windows 1.0 MS-DOS executive   No    
Windows 2.0 MS-DOS executive   No    
Windows 3.0 Program Manager   No    
Windows 3.1x Program Manager   No    
Windows 95 Windows Explorer   2.0 in OSR1, 3.0 in OSR2 and OSR2.1, 4.0 in OSR2.5    
Windows NT 4.0 Windows Explorer   2.0    
Windows 98 Windows Explorer   4.0 PWS  
Windows 98 SE Windows Explorer   5.0 PWS  
Windows 2000 Windows Explorer   5.01 IIS 5.0 6.4
Windows Me Windows Explorer   5.5   7.0
Windows XP Windows Explorer Luna 6.0 IIS 5.1 8 (9 in SP2)
Windows Server 2003 Windows Explorer Luna 6.0 IIS 6.0 9 (10 in SP1)
Windows Vista Windows Explorer Aero 7.0 IIS 7 11
Windows Server 2008 Windows Explorer Aero 7.0 IIS 7  


  1. ^ Operating System Market Share, June 2008, courtesy of Net Applications, a marketing company which obtains its data from the Alexa Toolbar or related products. Because people who install these products on their computers are not always aware that the product reports web browsing habits back to the marketers at Alexa some security software considers the Alexa Toolbar spyware and removes it. Both the automated removal-as-spyware and the self-selecting nature of those who install software that reports on personal web browsing habits raises questions as to whether the resulting data represents a unbiased statistical sample of Internet users.
  2. ^ USB 2.0 Support in Windows 2000: Updated to USB 2.0 with Service Pack 4 (SP4)
  3. ^ USB 2.0 Support in Windows XP: High Speed at Last
  4. ^ USB 2.0 and Windows Operating Systems

See also

Other Microsoft operating systems

  • Xenix - licensed version of Unix; sold to SCO in '90s
  • OS/2 - developed jointly with IBM
  • DOS
    • MS-DOS - developed jointly with IBM, versions 1.0–6.22
    • MSX-DOS - developed by MS Japan for the MSX 8-bit computer
  • Cairo (operating system) - a cancelled "true object-oriented OS" planned after Windows NT
  • Singularity - Microsoft Research project started in 2003 to build a highly-dependable operating system in which the kernel, device driver, and applications are all written in managed code
  • WinPE - lightweight version of Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 or Windows Vista that is used for the deployment of workstations and servers by large corporations

Windows clones, emulators, etc

  • Freedows OS - Windows clone
  • TinyKRNL - open source kernel based on Windows's NT design
  • ReactOS - project to develop an operating system that is binary-compatible with application software and device drivers for Microsoft Windows NT version 5.x
  • E/OS - Linux distribution which allow to execute programs that were originally written Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, BeOS, OS/2, DOS, and Linux
  • Wine (software) - compatibility layer which allows to execute programs that were originally written for Microsoft Windows

Further reading

External links





List of Microsoft Windows components

The following is a list of Microsoft Windows components.


Configuration and maintenance

Component Description Introduced
Control Panel
Control Panel Allows users to view and manipulate basic system settings and controls, such as adding hardware, adding and removing software, controlling user accounts, changing accessibility options, and so on. Windows 1.0
Device Manager Allows the user to display and control the hardware attached to the computer, and control what device drivers are used. Windows 95
Windows Mobility Center Centralizes the most relevant information related to mobile computing. Windows Vista
Windows Security Center Centralizes and reports on the status of anti-virus, Automatic Updates, Windows Firewall, and other security-related components of the operating system. Windows XP SP2
Administrative Tools
Microsoft Management Console Provides system administrators and advanced users with a flexible interface through which they may configure and monitor the system. Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack
Windows System Assessment Tool A built-in benchmarking tool that analyzes the different subsystems (graphics, memory, etc), and uses the results to allow for comparison to other Windows Vista systems, and for software optimizations. It rates the computer's performance using the Windows Experience Index. Windows Vista
System Restore Allows for the rolling back of system files, registry keys, installed programs, etc., to a previous state in the event of a system failure. Windows Me
Windows Recovery Environment Helps diagnose and recover from serious errors which may be preventing Windows from booting successfully, or restore the computer to a previous state using System Restore or a backup image. Windows Vista
Windows Disk Defragmenter Rearranges files stored on a hard disk to occupy contiguous storage locations in order to optimize computer performance. Windows 95, Windows 2000
Event Viewer Lets administrators and users view the event logs on a local or remote machine. Windows NT 3.1
Reliability and Performance Monitor Lets administrators view current system reliability and performance trends over time. Windows Vista
Logical Disk Manager A logical volume manager developed by Microsoft in conjunction with Veritas Software. Windows NT 4.0 (as a separate Tool) 2000 (integrated in the Management Console)
Registry Editor Edits the Windows registry. Windows 3.1
Task Scheduler Allows users to script tasks for running during scheduled intervals Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95
Software installation and deployment
Windows Update An online service which provides critical updates, service packs, device drivers, and other updates. A variation called Microsoft Update also provides software updates for several Microsoft products. Windows 98
Windows Installer A packaging format and engine for the installation, maintenance, and removal of software. Includes a GUI framework, automatic generation of the uninstallation sequence and deployment capabilities for corporate networks. Windows 2000
ClickOnce Technology for deploying .NET Framework-based software via web pages, with automatic update capabilities. Intended for per-user only applications. .NET Framework 2.0

User interface

Component Description Introduced
Windows Shell The most visible and recognizable aspect of Microsoft Windows. The shell is the container inside of which the entire graphical user interface is presented, including the taskbar, the desktop, Windows Explorer, as well as many of the dialog boxes and interface controls. In Windows Vista, a new compositing glass-like user interface called Windows Aero has been shown. Windows 1.0
Windows Explorer Provides an interface for accessing the file systems, launching applications, and performing common tasks such as viewing and printing pictures. Windows 95
Windows Search Starting with Windows Vista, search is a tightly shell-integrated component of Windows. A downloadable Windows Desktop Search software is available for Windows XP and older versions. Windows Vista, downloadable for older versions
Special Folders Folders which are presented to the user through an interface as an abstract concept, instead of an absolute path. This makes it possible for an application to locate where certain kinds of files can be found, regardless of what version or language of operating system is being used. See also, Windows Shell namespace. Windows 95
Start menu Serves as the central launching point for applications. It provides a customizable, nested list of programs for the user to launch, as well as a list of most recently opened documents, a way to find files and get help, and access to the system settings.

By default, the Start Button is visible at all times in the lower left-hand corner of the screen.

Windows 95
Taskbar The application desktop bar which is used to launch and monitor applications. Windows 95
Windows Sidebar A new panel on the side of the screen to place gadgets. Windows Vista
File associations Used to open a file with the correct program. File associations can be uniquely assigned to specific actions, known as verbs. Windows 3.0

Applications and utilities

Component Description Introduced Screenshot
Windows Easy Transfer File transfering. Windows Vista Applications and utilities
Windows Calendar Calendaring and task tracking application. Windows Vista Applications and utilities
Windows Contacts Keeps a single list of contacts that can be shared by multiple programs. Windows Vista Applications and utilities
Calculator A calculation application. Windows 1.0 Applications and utilities
Character Map Utility to view and search characters in a font, copy them to the clipboard and view their Windows Alt keycodes and Unicode names Windows 3.1 Applications and utilities
Paint A simple graphics painting program. Windows 1.0 Applications and utilities
Notepad A simple text editor. Windows 1.0  
Narrator A screen reader utility that reads dialog boxes and window controls in a number of the more basic applications for Windows. Windows 2000  
Sound Recorder A simple audio recording program that can record from a microphone or headset, and save the results in WAVE format and Windows Media Audio format in some Windows versions. Windows 3.1 Applications and utilities
Command Prompt A text-based shell (command line interpreter) that provides a command line interface to the operating system. MS-DOS 1.0 Applications and utilities
WordPad A simple word processor that is more advanced than Notepad. It has facilities to format and print text, but lacks intermediate features such as a spell checker and thesaurus. Windows 95 Applications and utilities
Private Character Editor Utility to create private use characters as defined under Unicode and various East Asian encoding schemes. Windows 3.1+ East Asian editions  
Remote Desktop Connection A client implementation of the Remote Desktop Protocol; allows a user to securely connect to a computer running Terminal Services (Remote Desktop on Windows XP and Server 2003) and interact with a full desktop environment on that machine, including support for remoting of printers, audio, and drives. Windows XP, downloadable for previous Windows versions  
Remote Assistance Allows a user to temporarily take over a remote computer over a network or the internet to offer help with and resolve issues. Windows XP  
Internet Explorer A graphical web browser and FTP client.

See also: IE1, IE2, IE3, IE4,IE5, IE6, IE7, Features, History, Removal, Browser Helper Objects

Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95 Applications and utilities
Windows Mail An e-mail and news client. Windows Vista, Outlook Express was introduced in Windows 98 Applications and utilities
Windows Fax and Scan An integrated faxing and image scanning application. Windows Vista, older faxing and scanning applications were present in previous Windows versions Applications and utilities
Windows Media Player A digital media player and media library application that is used for playing audio, playing video and viewing images. In addition to being a media player, Windows Media Player includes the ability to rip music from, and copy music to compact discs, synchronize content with a digital audio player (MP3 player) or other mobile devices, and let users purchase or rent music from a number of online music stores. Windows Me, downloadable for previous Windows versions Applications and utilities
Windows Photo Gallery A photo management application. Lets users organize their digital photo collection in its Gallery view, by adding titles, rating, captions, and custom metadata tags to photos. Photos can be edited for exposure, color correction, resizing, cropping, red-eye reduction, etc. and also allows printing photos via the Photo Printing Wizard. Windows Vista Applications and utilities
Windows Movie Maker A video editing software that is intended for use in editing home movies. Source footage can be split into clips, and the final movie created by combining multiple clips along with effects such as transitions, titles/credits, separate audio track, timeline narration etc. Windows Me Applications and utilities
Windows DVD Maker A DVD movie encoding and authoring software. Windows Vista Applications and utilities
Windows Journal A notetaking application that allows for the creation of handwritten notes. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, Vista Applications and utilities
Windows Media Center Designed to serve as a home-entertainment hub, to be viewed from a distance up to 3 meters (~10 feet) and controlled by specially designed remote controls. Lets users browse and view pictures, videos, and music from local hard drives, optical drives, and network locations, along with viewing, recording and deferred-playing live TV. Features an interactive TV guide with scheduled recording capabilities. Can also be used for visualization of other information (like sports scores) within the interface. Windows XP Media Center Edition Applications and utilities
Windows Meeting Space A peer-to-peer collaboration program which lets multiple users start collaboration sessions. Supports desktop sharing , distribution and collaborative editing of documents, and passing notes to other participants. Windows Vista Applications and utilities
Windows Task Manager Provides information about computer performance and displays details about running applications, processes, network activity, logged-in users, and system services. Windows 3.0 Applications and utilities
Disk Cleanup A utility for compacting rarely used files and removing files that are no longer required. Windows 98 Applications and utilities
Shadow Copy A graphical front end for the Shadow Copy service that lets users choose from multiple versions of a file. The shadow copy service creates multiple copies of a file as they are changed over time, so that users can revert to previous versions. Windows Vista. Windows Server 2003 included Previous Versions support only for client computers. Applications and utilities
Snipping Tool A screen-capture tool that allows for taking screen shots (called snips). Experience Pack for Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 Applications and utilities

Windows Server components

Component Acronym Description Supported by
Windows Server domain A logical group of computers that share a central directory and user database. All Windows NT-based versions
Active Directory AD A set of technologies introduced with Windows 2000 that allows administrators to assign enterprise-wide policies, deploy programs to many computers, and apply critical updates to an entire organization. Active Directory stores information and settings relating to an organization in a central, organized, accessible database. Networks can vary from a small installation with a few objects, to global-scale directories with millions of objects.
   Related topics: Active Directory Service Interfaces, Flexible single master operation, IntelliMirror, Active Directory Application Mode
Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003
Domain controller DC, PDC, BDC A server that responds to security authentication requests (logging in, checking permissions, etc.) within a Windows Server domain. Prior to Windows 2000, a domain controller was either a Primary Domain Controller (PDC), of which there could only be one with this role; or a Backup Domain Controller (BDC). In Windows 2000 and later the concept of primary and secondary domain controllers were eliminated, partially to emphasize the multi-master replication technology available in Windows. All Windows NT-based versions
Group Policy GP, GPO Provides centralized management of user and computer settings in an Active Directory environment. Group policy can control a target object's registry, NTFS security, audit and security policy, software installation, logon/logoff scripts, folder redirection, and Internet Explorer settings. Policy settings are stored in Group Policy Objects (GPOs), and may be linked to one or more sites, domains or organizational units.
   Related topics: Administrative Templates
Windows 2000 and later
Internet Information Services IIS Web server Windows NT family

File systems

Component Acronym Description Supported by
File Allocation Table FAT, FAT12, FAT16 The original file systems used with MS-DOS. The standard file systems used with Windows 1.0 through Windows 95. All versions
FAT32 FAT32 Extensions to FAT supporting larger disk sizes. The standard file system for Windows 98 and Me. Windows 95 OSR2, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista
NTFS NTFS Standard file system of Windows NT; supports security via access control lists, as well as file system journaling and file-system metadata. Windows 2000 added support for reparse points (making NTFS junction points and Single instance storage possible), Hard links, file compression, and Sparse files. Encryption of data is provided by Encrypting File System. Symbolic links and transactioning of file operations via Transactional NTFS are features new to Windows Vista. Windows 95 also supports reading NTFS partitions, over a network. Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista
ISO 9660 ISO 9660 ("CDFS") The predominant file system for CD-ROM and DVD-ROM media. Windows includes support for Joliet extensions and the ISO 9660:1999 standard. ISO 9660:1999 is supported since Windows XP. MS-DOS and Windows 9x via extensions, such as MSCDEX.EXE (Microsoft CDROM Extension), natively in Windows NT
Universal Disk Format UDF A file system for storing files on optical media. It is an implementation of the ISO/IEC 13346 standard (also known as ECMA-167). It is considered to be a replacement of ISO 9660. Successive versions of Windows have supported newer versions of UDF. Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista
HPFS HPFS High-Performance File system, used on OS/2 computers. Read and write capability in Windows 95 (where it also listed network computer NTFS-formatted drives as "HPFS", even though it had no direct NTFS capabilities). HPFS write support was dropped in Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 98, and dropped altogether shortly before the release of Windows 2000. Windows 95 (Read/write), Windows 98, Windows NT (read), 3.1/3.51 (read/write/boot)

Core components

Component Acronym Description
Windows kernel (Windows NT)
Ntoskrnl.exe The Windows kernel image. Provides the kernel and executive layers of the kernel architecture, and is responsible for services such as hardware virtualization, process and memory management, etc.
hal.dll HAL Provides and handles the interaction between software and hardware via the Hardware Abstraction Layer.
Core processes (Windows NT)
System idle process SIP A counter which measures how much idle capacity the CPU has at any given time. The process runs in the background and monitors processing bandwidth, occupied memory and the Windows virtual paging file.
Session Manager Subsystem SMSS Performs several critical boot-time operations, such as the creation of environment variables, starting CSRSS, and performing file-copy operations that were queued up from before the system was booted (pending file rename operations). During system operation, it handles Windows File Protection and the creation of logon sessions via Winlogon.
Client/Server Runtime Subsystem CSRSS User-mode side of the Win32 subsystem. Provides the capability for applications to use the Windows API.
Local Security Authority Subsystem Service LSASS Responsible for enforcing the security policy on the system. Verifies users logging on to the computer and creates security tokens.
Winlogon   Responsible for handling the secure attention key, loading the user profile on logon, and optionally locking the computer when a screensaver is running. On Windows NT systems prior to Windows Vista, Winlogon is also responsible for loading GINA libraries which are responsible collecting logon credentials from the user.
Svchost.exe   A generic host process name for services that run from dynamic-link libraries (DLLs). Several Svchost processes are typically present on a Windows machine, each running in a different security context, depending on what privileges the contained services require.
Windows on Windows and WOW64 WoW An abstraction layer that allows legacy code to operate on more modern versions of Windows; typically this means running 16-bit Windows applications on 32-bit Windows, and 32-bit applications on 64-bit Windows.
Virtual DOS machine NTVDM Allows MS-DOS programs to run on Intel 80386 or higher computers when there is already another operating system running and controlling the hardware. Introduced in Windows 2.1; not available in any 64-bit edition of Windows.
System startup (Windows NT)
NTLDR, IA64ldr, Winload   The boot loader; performs basic system initialization options such as loading the hardware abstraction layer and boot-time device drivers, prior to passing control to the Windows kernel. In versions prior to Vista, NTLDR and IA64ldr also display menus to the user if multiple operating systems are defined in boot.ini, or if F8 is pressed.
Recovery Console   Provides the means for administrators to perform a limited range of tasks using a command line interface, primarily to aid in recovering from situations where Windows does not boot successfully.   Used during the boot process to detect basic hardware components that may be required during the boot process.
Windows Boot Manager   In Windows Vista and later operating systems, displays boot menus to the user if multiple operating systems are configured in the system's Boot Configuration Data.
Graphical subsystem
Graphics Device Interface GDI/GDI+ The kernel graphics component for representing graphical objects and transmitting them to output devices such as monitors and printers.
Desktop Window Manager DWM The compositing manager introduced in Windows Vista that handles compositing and manages special effects on screen objects in a graphical user interface.


This list is not all-inclusive (see also: Windows Services).

Display name Service name Description Introduced
Alerter service Alerter Sends administrative alerts over the network to client computers, administrators and users. Windows NT
Application Layer Gateway service ALG Provides support for plugins that allow network protocols to pass through Windows Firewall and work behind Internet Connection Sharing. Windows 2000
Application Management AppMgmt Processes requests to enumerate, install, and remove applications that are installed on the computer or deployed through an organization’s network. Windows 2000
Background Intelligent Transfer Service BITS Transfers files between machines using idle network bandwidth. Used by Windows Update, Windows Server Update Services, and Systems Management Server to deliver software updates to clients, as well as by Windows Messenger. Windows XP
Distributed Transaction Coordinator MSDTC Allows transactional components to be configured through COM+ by coordinating transactions that are distributed across multiple computers and/or resource managers, such as databases, message queues, file systems, and other transaction–based resource managers.[1] Windows 2000 and later NT-based
Event Log EventLog Stores and retrieves events that can be viewed in the event viewer. Part of services.exe.[2] Windows NT
Indexing Service CISVC Indexes contents and properties of files on local and remote computers; provides rapid access to files through flexible querying language.[3] Windows 2000 and later NT-based
Network Location Awareness NLA Manages network configurations and information, and notifies applications of changes. Windows XP
NT LM Security Support Provider NTLMSSP Uses the NTLM MS-CHAP protocol to encapsulate and negotiate options in order to provide signed and sealed communication. Deprecated now in favor of Kerberos authentication. Windows NT
Print Spooler Spooler Manages printer devices and moves files into memory for printing. Windows 95, Windows NT
System Event Notification SENS Monitors system events, such as network, power, logon, logoff, terminal services session connection and disconnection, and delivers these to applications and other system components.[4] Windows 2000 and later NT-based
Security Account Manager SamSs Manages user account security information. Windows NT family
Task Scheduler Schedule Lets users setup and schedule automated tasks. Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95
TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper LmHosts Enables support for NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NetBT) service and NetBIOS name resolution. Windows NT family
Windows Audio AudioSrv Manages audio devices for Windows-based programs. Controls all audio functions. Windows XP
Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) STISvc Handles scanner and camera inputs. Windows Me
Windows Time W32Time Synchronizes the system time with external time servers. Windows NT family
Wireless Zero Configuration WZCSvc Configures and manages 802.11 wireless adapters. Windows XP, Server 2003 only
Messenger service Messenger Allows users to send pop-up messages to other computers over the network. Windows NT family
MSRPC RPCSs Provides Remote Procedure Call(RPC) technique via remotely accessible Named Pipes. Windows NT family
Volume Shadow Copy Service VSS Create multiple versions of files that change. Windows XP, ability to store persistent snapshots in Windows Server 2003
Windows Firewall/ Internet Connection Sharing SharedAccess   Windows XP



Scripting and command-line


.NET Framework


Deprecated components and programs


Miscellaneous (to be categorized)

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Distributed Transaction Coordinator (MSDTC)". Microsoft. Retrieved on 2008-06-27.
  2. ^ "Event Log". Microsoft. Retrieved on 2008-06-27.
  3. ^ "What is Indexing Service?". Microsoft. Retrieved on 2008-06-27.
  4. ^ "System Event Notifcation Service". The Elder Geek. Retrieved on 2008-06-27.

Published - October 2008

Information from Wikipedia is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Submit your article!

Read more articles - free!

Read sense of life articles!

E-mail this article to your colleague!

Need more translation jobs? Click here!

Translation agencies are welcome to register here - Free!

Freelance translators are welcome to register here - Free!

Free Newsletter

Subscribe to our free newsletter to receive news from us:

Recommend This Article
Read More Articles
Search Article Index
Read Sense of Life Articles
Submit Your Article
Obtain Translation Jobs
Visit Language Job Board
Post Your Translation Job!
Register Translation Agency
Submit Your Resume
Find Freelance Translators
Buy Database of Translators
Buy Database of Agencies
Obtain Blacklisted Agencies
Advertise Here
Use Free Translators
Use Free Dictionaries
Use Free Glossaries
Use Free Software
Vote in Polls for Translators
Read Testimonials
Read More Testimonials
Read Even More Testimonials
Read Yet More Testimonials
And More Testimonials!
Admire God's Creations

christianity portal
translation jobs


Copyright © 2003-2024 by
Legal Disclaimer
Site Map