You are on page 1of 24

OPERATING SYSTEM DEFINITION An operating system, or OS, is a software program that enables the computer hardware to communicate and

operate with the computer software. Without a computer operating system, a computer would be useless.

Operating system types As computers have progressed and developed so have the operating systems. Below is a basic list of the different operating systems and a few examples of operating systems that fall into each of the categories. Many computer operating systems will fall into more than one of the below categories.

GUI - Short for Graphical User Interface, a GUI Operating System contains graphics and icons and is commonly navigated by using a computer mouse. See the GUI definition for a complete definition. Below are some examples of GUI Operating Systems. Examples: Windows 98, Windows CE

Multi-user - A multi-user operating system allows for multiple users to use the same computer at the same time and different times. See the multi-user definition for a complete definition for a complete definition. Below are some examples of multi-user operating systems. Examples: Linux, Unix, Windows 2000

Multiprocessing - An operating system capable of supporting and utilizing more than one computer processor. Below are some examples of multiprocessing operating systems. Examples: Linux, Unix, Windows 2000

Multitasking - An operating system that is capable of allowing multiple software processes to run at the same time. Below are some examples of multitasking operating systems. Examples: Unix, Windows 2000

Multithreading - Operating systems that allow different parts of a software program to run concurrently. Operating systems that would fall into this category are: Examples: Linux, Unix, Windows 2000

HISTORY

Microsoft Windows is a family of operating systems for personal computers. In this article we look at the history of Microsoft operating systems from 1985 to present day.

Microsoft Windows is a family of operating systems for personal computers. Windows dominates the personal computer world, running, by some estimates, on more than 90 percent of all personal computers the remainder running Linux and Mac operating systems. Windows provides a graphical user interface (GUI), virtual memory management, multitasking, and support for many peripheral devices.

Microsoft Operating Systems for Personal Computers

The following details the history of Microsoft operating systems designed for personal computers (PCs).

MS-DOS (Microsoft disk operating system)

Originally developed by Microsoft for IBM, MS-DOS was the standard operating system for IBM-compatible personal computers. The initial versions of DOS were very simple and resembled another operating system called CP/M. Subsequent versions have become increasingly sophisticated as they incorporated features of minicomputer operating systems. Windows 1.0 2.0 (1985-1992)

Introduced in 1985, Microsoft Windows 1.0 was named due to the computing boxes, or "windows" that represented a fundamental aspect of the operating system. Instead of typing MSDOS commands, windows 1.0 allowed users to point and click to access the windows.

In 1987 Microsoft released Windows 2.0, which was designed for the designed for the Intel 286 processor. This version added desktop icons, keyboard shortcuts and improved graphics support. Windows 3.0 3.1 (19901994)

Microsoft released Windows 3.0 in May, 1900 offering better icons, performance and advanced graphics with 16 colors designed for Intel 386 processors. This version is the first release that provides the standard "look and feel" of Microsoft Windows for many years to come. Windows 3.0 included Program Manager, File Manager and Print Manager and games (Hearts, Minesweeper and Solitaire). Microsoft released Windows 3.1 in 1992.

Windows 95 (August 1995)

A major release of the Microsoft Windows operating system released in 1995. Windows 95 represents a significant advance over its precursor, Windows 3.1. In addition to sporting a new user interface, Windows 95 also includes a number of important internal improvements. Perhaps most important, it supports 32-bit applications, which means that applications written specifically for this operating system should run much faster.

Although Windows 95 can run older Windows and DOS applications, it has essentially removed DOS as the underlying platform. This has meant removal of many of the old DOS limitations, such as 640K of main memory and 8-character filenames. Other important features in this operating system are the ability to automatically detect and configure installed hardware (plug and play).

Windows 98 (June 1998)

Windows 98 offers support for a number of new technologies, including FAT32, AGP, MMX, USB, DVD, and ACPI. Its most visible feature, though, is the Active Desktop, which integrates the Web browser (Internet Explorer) with the operating system. From the user's point of view, there is no difference between accessing a document residing locally on the user's hard disk or on a Web server halfway around the world.

Windows ME - Millennium Edition (September 2000)

The Windows Millennium Edition, called "Windows Me" was an update to the Windows 98 core and included some features of the Windows 2000 operating system. This version also removed the "boot in DOS" option.

Windows NT 31. - 4.0 (1993-1996)

A version of the Windows operating system. Windows NT (New Technology) is a 32-bit operating system that supports preemptive multitasking. There are actually two versions of Windows NT: Windows NT Server, designed to act as a server in networks, and Windows NT Workstation for stand-alone or client workstations.

Windows 2000 (February 2000)

Often abbreviated as "W2K," Windows 2000 is an operating system for business desktop and laptop systems to run software applications, connect to Internet and intranet sites, and access files, printers, and network resources. Microsoft released four versions of Windows 2000: Professional (for business desktop and laptop systems), Server (both a Web server and an office server), Advanced Server (for line-of-business applications) and Datacenter Server (for hightraffic computer networks).

Windows XP (October 2001)

Windows XP was first introduced in 2001. Along with a redesigned look and feel to the user interface, the new operating system is built on the Windows 2000 kernel, giving the user a more stable and reliable environment than previous versions of Windows. Windows XP comes in two versions, Home and Professional. Microsoft focused on mobility for both editions, including plug and play features for connecting to wireless networks. The operating system also utilizes the 802.11x wireless security standard. Windows XP is one of Microsoft's best-selling products.

Windows Vista (November 2006)

Windows Vista offered an advancement in reliability, security, ease of deployment, performance and manageability over Windows XP. New in this version was capabilities to detect hardware problems before they occur, security features to protect against the latest generation of threats, faster start-up time and low power consumption of the new sleep state. In many cases, Windows Vista is noticeably more responsive than Windows XP on identical hardware. Windows Vista simplifies and centralizes desktop configuration management, reducing the cost of keeping systems updated.

Windows 7 (October, 2009)

Windows 7 made its official debut to the public on October 22, 2009 as the latest in the 25-yearold line of Microsoft Windows operating systems and as the successor to Windows Vista (which itself had followed Windows XP). Windows 7 was released in conjunction with Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7's server counterpart. Enhancements and new features in Windows 7 include multi-touch support, Internet Explorer 8, improved performance and start-up time, Aero Snap, Aero Shake, support for virtual hard disks, a new and improved Windows Media Center, and improved security.

Windows 8 (Released 2012)

Windows 8 is a completely redesigned operating system that's been developed from the ground up with touchscreen use in mind as well as near-instant-on capabilities that enable a Windows 8

PC to load and start up in a matter of seconds rather than in minutes. Windows 8 will replace the more traditional Microsoft Windows OS look and feel with a new "Metro" design system interface that first debuted in the Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system. The Metro user interface primarily consists of a "Start screen" made up of "Live Tiles," which are links to applications and features that are dynamic and update in real time. Windows 8 supports both x86 PCs and ARM processors. Online media sites indicate that this version will be available in 2012, with October and Fall being the most often quoted time frame.

MICROSOFT OPERATING SYSTEMS FOR SERVERS AND MOBILE DEVICES

Aside from operating systems designed for use on personal computers (PCs) and laptops, Microsoft has also developed operating systems for services, handheld devices, and mobile phones.

Windows Server (March 2003)

Windows Server is a series of Microsoft server operating systems. Windows servers are more powerful versions of their desktop operating system counterparts and are designed to more efficiently handle corporate networking, Internet/intranet hosting, databases, enterprise-scale messaging and similar functions. The Windows Server name made its debut with the release of Windows Server 2003 and continues with the current release, Windows Server 2008 R2, which shares its codebase with Windows 7. Windows Server 2008 R2 debuted in October 2009.

Windows Home Server ( January 2007)

Announced in January 2007, Windows Home Server (WHS) is a "consumer server" designed to use with multiple computers connected in the home. Home Server allows you to share files such as digital photos and media files, and also allows you to automatically backup your home networked computers. Through Windows Media Connect, Windows Home Server lets you share any media located on your WHS with compatible devices.

Windows CE (November 2006)

A version of the Windows operating system designed for small devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) (or Handheld PCs in the Microsoft vernacular). The Windows CE graphical user interface (GUI) is very similar to Windows 95 so devices running Windows CE should be easy to operate for anyone familiar with Windows 95.

Windows Mobile (April 2000)

A mobile operating system for smartphones and mobile devices from Microsoft based on the Windows CE kernel and designed to look and operate similar to desktop versions of Microsoft Windows. Windows Mobile has largely been supplanted by Windows Phone 7, although Microsoft did release, in 2011, Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5, a mobile OS compatible with Windows Mobile 6.5 that's designed for enterprise mobile and handheld computing devices.

Windows Phone (November 2010)

A mobile operating system for smartphones and mobile devices that serves as the successor to Microsoft's initial mobile OS platform system, Windows Mobile. Unlike Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7 (also referred to as WinPhone7) is targeted more to the consumer market than the enterprise market, and it replaces the more traditional Microsoft Windows OS look and feel with a new "Metro" design system user interface. Windows Phone 7 features a multi-tab Internet Explorer Mobile Web browser that uses a rendering engine based on Internet Explorer 9 as well Microsoft Office Mobile, a version of Microsoft Office thats tailored for mobile devices.

EARLY VERSIONS
Windows 1.0, Windows 2.0, and Windows 2.1x

Windows 1.0, the first version, released in 1985


The history of Windows dates back to September 1981, when Chase Bishop, a computer scientist, designed the first model of an electronic device and project "Interface Manager" was started. It was announced in November 1983 (after the Apple Lisa, but before the Macintosh) under the name "Windows", but Windows 1.0 was not released until November 1985.Windows 1.0 lacked a degree of functionality, 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 MSDOS. The shell of Windows 1.0 was a program known as the MS-DOS Executive. Other supplied programs were Calculator, Calendar, Cardfile, Clipboard viewer, Clock, Control Panel, Notepad, Paint, Reversi, Terminal, and Write. Windows 1.0 did not allow overlapping windows. Instead all windows were tiled. Only dialog boxes could appear over other windows.

Microsoft Windows version 2.0 was released in December 1987, featured several improvements to the user interface and memory management. and was slightly more popular than its predecessor. Windows 2.03 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. Windows 2.0 also introduced more sophisticated keyboard shortcuts and could make use of expanded memory.

Windows 2.1 was released in two different versions: Windows/386 employed the 386 virtual 8086 mode to multitask several DOS programs, and the paged memory model to emulate expanded memory using available extended memory. Windows/286 (which, despite its name, would run on the 8086) still ran in real mode, but could make use of the high memory area.

In addition to full Windows-packages, there were runtime only versions that shipped with early Windows software from third parties and made it possible to run their Windows software under MS-DOS and without the full Windows feature set.

The early versions of Windows were often thought of as simply graphical user interfaces, mostly because they ran on top of MS-DOS and used it for file system services. 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. 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.

WINDOWS 3.0 AND 3.1 Windows 3.0, released in 1990

Windows 3.0, released in 1990, improved the design, mostly because of virtual memory and loadable virtual device drivers (VxDs) that allowed them to share arbitrary devices between multitasked DOS windows.[citation needed] 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. Windows 3.0 also featured improvements to the user interface. Microsoft also rewrote critical operations from C into assembly. Windows 3.0 was the first Microsoft Windows version to achieve broad commercial success, selling 2 million copies in the first six months.

Windows received a facelift in Windows 3.1, made generally available on March 1, 1992. In August 1993, a special version with integrated peer-to-peer networking was released with version number 3.11. It was sold in parallel with the basic version as Windows for Workgroups. Windows 3.1 support ended on December 31, 2001.

WINDOWS 9X
Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows ME

WINDOWS 95, RELEASED IN AUGUST 1995

Windows 95 was released on August 24, 1995, featuring a new object oriented user interface, support for long file names of up to 255 characters, the ability to automatically detect and configure installed hardware (plug and play) and preemptive multitasking. Windows 95 was designed to replace not only Windows 3.1, but also Windows for Workgroups, and MS-DOS. It could natively run 32-bit applications, and featured several technological improvements that increased its stability over Windows 3.1. The changes Windows 95 brought to the desktop were revolutionary, as opposed to evolutionary, such as those in Windows 98 and Windows ME.

There were several OEM Service Releases (OSR) of Windows 95, each of which was roughly equivalent to a service pack. Mainstream support for Windows 95 ended on December 31, 2000 and extended support for Windows 95 ended on December 31, 2001.

Next in the consumer line was Microsoft Windows 98 released on June 25, 1998. It was followed with the release of Windows 98 Second Edition (often shortened to Windows 98 SE) in May 1999. Mainstream support for Windows 98 ended on June 30, 2002 and extended support for Windows 98 ended on July 11, 2006.

In February 2000, Windows 2000 (in the NT family) was released, followed by Windows ME in September 2000 (Me standing for Millennium Edition).

The consumer version following Windows 98 was Windows ME (Windows Millennium Edition). Released in September 2000, Windows ME updated the core from Windows 98, but adopted some aspects of Windows 2000 and removed the "boot in DOS mode" option. Windows ME implemented a number of new technologies for Microsoft: most notably publicized was "Universal Plug and Play". It also added a new feature called System Restore, allowing the user to set the computer's settings back to an earlier date.

Windows ME is often confused with Windows 2000 (because of its name.) Windows ME was heavily criticized due to slowness, freezes and hardware problems and has been said to be one of the worst operating systems Microsoft ever released.

WINDOWS NT FAMILY

In July 1993, Microsoft released Windows NT based on a new kernel. The NT family of Windows systems was fashioned and marketed for higher reliability business use, considered to be the professional OS. The first release was Windows NT 3.1 (1993), numbered "3.1" to match the consumer Windows version, which was followed by Windows NT 3.5 (1994), Windows NT 3.51 (1995), Windows NT 4.0 (1996) and Windows 2000 (2000). Windows NT was the first Windows version to utilize preemptive multitasking.[citation needed] Windows 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 released Windows 2000 as part of the NT line in February 2000. During 2004 part of the source code for Windows 2000 was leaked onto the Internet. Windows 2000 is the last NTbased Windows release that does not include Microsoft Product Activation. After Windows 2000, the Windows NT family was split into two lines: A client line, including Windows XP and its successors, consists of operating systems produced for installation on client computers, such as workstations, home computers, laptops, tablet computers and media centers. A Windows Server line, including Windows Server 2003 and it successors, consists of operating systems produced for server computers. Later, a third line for embedded systems was added with the introduction of Windows Embedded.

WINDOWS XP, VISTA AND 7

Microsoft moved to combine their consumer and business operating systems with Windows XP that was released on October 25, 2001. Windows XP is built on the Windows NT kernel, retooled to also function as a home operating system. This new version was widely praised in computer magazines.

XP 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, with an emphasis on support for DVD and TV functionality including program recording and a remote control. A niche market versions for tablet PCs was also released. Mainstream support for Windows XP ended on April 14, 2009. Extended support will continue until April 8, 2014.

After Windows 2000, they diverged release schedules for server operating systems. 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.

After a lengthy development process, Windows Vista was released on November 30, 2006 for volume licensing and January 30, 2007 for consumers. 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. Vista's server counterpart, Windows Server 2008 was released in early 2008.

On July 22, 2009, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 were released as RTM (release to manufacturing) while the former was released to the public 3 months later on October 22, 2009. Unlike its predecessor, Windows Vista, which introduced a large number of new features, Windows 7 was intended to be a more focused, incremental upgrade to the Windows line, with the goal of being compatible with applications and hardware with which Windows Vista was already compatible.[16] Windows 7 has multi-touch support, a redesigned Windows shell with a new taskbar, referred to as the Superbar, a home networking system called HomeGroup,[17] and performance improvements.

WINDOWS 8

Windows 8, the successor to Windows 7, was released to the market on 26 October 2012. Windows 8 has been designed to be used on both tablets and the conventional PC. The Microsoft Surface tablet was released alongside Windows 8, as a competitor to the Apple iPad and Android tablets. Microsoft Surface is available in two editions, Surface with Windows RT and Surface with Windows 8 Pro, aimed at designers and other work-based users. The Surface RT will run a limited version of Windows 8, and will not run many classic Windows desktop applications, as users can download new applications from the Windows App Store. However, the Surface Pro, to be released on February 9, 2013, will have a full desktop operating system capable of running all classic desktop applications. See Microsoft Surface for more information. Windows 8 was released to manufacturing on 1 August 2012, with a build of 6.2.9200. It is available for purchase in two versions, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.

For the first time since Windows 95, the Start button is no longer available on the taskbar. It has been replaced with the Start screen and can be triggered by clicking the bottom-left corner of the screen and by clicking Start in the Charms or by pressing the Windows key on the keyboard. However, there are many third-party solutions such as Stardock Start8 and Classic Shell, that do bring back the Windows 7 style start menu. See List of Start Menu replacements for Windows 8 for more information.

Platform support

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. However, Microsoft dropped support from the aforementioned in Windows 2000, which only supported the third generation x86 (known as IA-32) or newer in 32-bit mode. IA-32 is still supported in the client line of Window NT family, although the Windows Server line has ceased IA-32 support with the release of Windows Server 2008 R2.

With the introduction of the Intel Itanium architecture (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 counterparts. Microsoft dropped support for the Itanium version of Windows XP in 2005 and ceased to support it in all subsequent client operating system but continued to support it in Windows Server line until Windows Server 2012. Windows Server 2008 R2 was the last Windows operating system to support Itanium architecture.

On April 25, 2005, Microsoft released Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions to support the x86-64 (or simply x64), the eighth generation of x86 architecture. Windows Vista was the first client version of Windows NT to be released simultaneously in IA-32 and x64 editions. x64 is still supported.

After twelve years, Microsoft once again added support for non-x86 CPU architecture to Windows NT family: An edition of Windows 8 known as Windows RT is specifically created for computers with ARM architecture.

CRITICISM OF MICROSOFT WINDOWS


The various versions of Microsoft's desktop operating system, Windows, have received many criticisms since Microsoft's inception.

Criticisms that apply to several or all versions of Windows

Patch time

Google engineer Tavis Ormandy has criticized Microsoft for taking too long to fix (patch) a reported security vulnerability in the Windows Virtual DOS Machine (VDM), which was

patched 7 months after being reported to Microsoft by Mr. Ormandy.[1] Marc Maiffret, chief hacking officer for security research firm eEye Digital Security criticized Microsoft for knowing about a vulnerability for 200 days before providing a patch.[

Digital rights management

Right after the release of Windows Vista, computer scientist Peter Gutmann criticised the digital rights management (DRM) that had been included in Microsoft Windows to allow content providers to place restrictions on certain types of multimedia playback. He collected the criticism in a write-up he released in which he stated that: The DRM could inadvertently disable functionality. A "hardware functionality scan" requirement could potentially shut out open source hardware. The hardware architecture made unified drivers impossible. Some drivers were buggy. If one driver was found to be leaking content, Microsoft could remotely shut that driver down for all computers that used it, leading to denial of service (DoS attack) problems. The DRM decreased system reliability and increased hardware costs. Software makers had to license unnecessary third-party intellectual property, increasing the costs for their drivers. The DRM consumed too much CPU and device resources.

The analysis drew responses from Microsoft,[4] where Microsoft states some of the criticized DRM features were already present in Windows XP, and thus proven not to be a problem for

customers and that these features would only be activated when required by the content being played. Other responses came from George Ou of ZDNet[5][6] and Ed Bott of ZDNet.[7] Ed Bott also published a three-part rebuttal[8][9][10] of Peter Gutmann's claims in which he details a number of factual errors in the analysis and criticizes Gutmann's reliance on questionable sources (personal blog postings, friends' anecdotal evidence, Google searches) for his analysis paper and that Gutmann never tested his theories himself.

For Windows 7, allegations were also made about draconian DRM which spurred a debate and criticism at the tech discussion site slashdot.org. As with the claims about the overreaching Vista DRM, independent tech writers quickly dismissed the claims as faulty analysis. The actual problem which spurred the criticism turned out to be an unrelated problem experienced by a single user who tried to circumvent Adobe Creative Suite copy protection mechanisms by changing files. When it failed to work the user concluded that it had to be the draconian DRM of Windows.

Integration of Internet Explorer into Windows

Windows is criticised for having the Internet Explorer web browser integrated into the Windows Shell from Windows 98 onwards. Previously Internet Explorer was shipped as a separate application. One problem was that since the Explorer can not be easily replaced with a product of another vendor, this undermines consumer choice. This issue precipitated concerns that Microsoft engages in monopolistic practices and resulted in the United States v. Microsoft court case, which was eventually settled out of court.

Another issue with the integration was that security vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer also create security vulnerabilities in Windows, which could allow an attacker to exploit Windows with remote code execution.

FEATURES OF WINDOWS 7 1. The Taskbar reloaded: Windows 7's version of the Taskbar is less cluttered than Vista's, and it handles both running and non-running apps with equal aplomb.

2. Slicker, quicker Taskbar Previews: Now they show you all of an application's open windows, all at once.

3. The convenience of Jump Lists: These context-sensitive Taskbar menus let you start accomplishing things in applications before you even open them.

4. A System Tray you can love: New controls prevent the System Tray from overflowing with unwanted apps and distracting you with unhelpful, irrelevant messages.

5. A more media-savvy Windows Media Player: Love Apple's iTunes Store but hate iTunes? New file-format support enables Windows Media Player 12 to play back unprotected audio and video from Apple's online store. Windows Media Player 12 in Windows 7 can play back unprotected audio and video files from Apple's iTunes Store.

6. Alerts via Action Center: Windows 7's version of Vista's Security Center queues up system messages so that you can respond to them on your schedule--not when Windows feels like interrupting you.

7. User Account Control that you control: If you're okay with this security feature's raison d'tre but can't stand the rapid-fire prompts in Vista, take heart: You can tune Windows 7's versions to make them less paranoid and intrusive.

8. Library privileges: You can bundle folders from locations all across your hard drive into Libraries designed to provide one-click access from the left pane of Windows Explorer to related files.

Windows 7's Libraries feature lets you designate folders with related content for quick access, regardless of their physical location on your hard drive.

9. Reasonable hardware requirements: Historically, new versions of Windows have gobbled up twice the amount of CPU power and RAM that their predecessors did. But Windows 7 runs a bit better than Vista on the same system; it's even tolerable on a netbook.

10. The potential of touch: Windows 7's support for multitouch input doesn't change anything overnight--but it does lay necessary groundwork for third-party developers to build their own software. If they build killer touch apps, Windows 7 deserves some of the credit.

VERSIONS OF WINDOWS 7 Despite pleas from users to stop the confusion and craft one version of Windows 7, Microsoft is continuing down the path it followed with XP and Vista releasing multiple versions or SKUs (stock-keeping units) of Windows 7.

Six Windows 7 versions, to be precise exist. But most users only need to decide between two versions. Microsoft has said that 80 percent of users will be deploying Windows 7 Home Premium (consumers) or Windows 7 Professional (small businesses, remote workers). This is where Microsoft will put most of its marketing muscle.

Here's a look at the features of each of the six Windows flavors and who might want them. Microsoft has not yet announced pricing for Windows 7.

Windows 7 Starter

This is the bare-bones, 32-bit only version of Windows 7 intended for users in developing countries, to serve the most basic computing needs.

Starter is designed for lightweight, portable netbooks, though Microsoft claims any of its versions will be able to run on netbooks. Windows Starter 7 will not have the Aero Glass graphical user interface that is included in all other versions of Windows 7 (except Windows 7 Home Basic) and can only run three applications at a time. It will include the revamped taskbar and jump lists, Windows Media Player, the file-sharing feature Home Group (you can participate in a Home Group but cannot create one) and other basic features such as Action Center and Backup and Restore. Starter will not be available in retail stores, and will only be offered pre-installed on new PCs by Microsoft OEMs.

Windows 7 Home Basic

Home Basic sits somewhere between Starter and Home Premium. It has all the features of Windows 7 Starter and will also only be available through OEM partners in developing countries. Also like Starter, it will not include the Aero Glass GUI. Some of the features Home Basic has over Starter: the ability to run more than three applications at once; a 64-bit version; thumbnail previews from the taskbar; and Mobility Center, which allows you to manage the various networks that you connect to with your laptop. Based on what Microsoft has announced about Home Basic (which is not very much), it shares the same features as Windows 7 Home Premium except there are no Aero Glass GUI features and other UI tweaks such as Aero Snap, Aero Peek and multi-touch. This version will not will not legally be available for sale in the United States.

Windows 7 Home Premium

Windows 7 Home Premium has all the features of Starter and Home Basic and then some. This is the mainstream retail version that nearly all consumers will be using. Windows 7 Home Premium will be available worldwide to Microsoft OEMs and sold in retail stores loaded on new PCs. A step up from Windows Home Basic, Home Premium includes the Aero Glass GUI and new Windows navigation features such as Aero Glass, Aero Background, Windows Touch, Home

Group creation, Media Center, DVD playback and creation, premium games and Mobility Center.

Windows 7 Professional

Also available worldwide, to OEMs and in retail, Windows 7 Professional has the features of Home Premium, but with added networking and data protection features for small businesses and those who frequently work at home. Microsoft may have a hard time convincing customers that Home Premium isn't good enough for a small business - considering it is bound to be less expensive than Professional - but if it succeeds it will be by marketing Professional features such as Domain Join to connect to business networks, Encrypting File System for data protection and Location Aware Printing to better connect to printers at work and home.

Windows 7 Enterprise

Windows 7 Enterprise is only available to businesses through volume licensing. It includes all the features of Windows 7 Professional plus more security and networking features. Businesses covered by Microsoft's Software Assurance will get Windows 7 Enterprise at no additional charge. Features that differentiate Enterprise from Professional are: BitLocker (encrypts data on internal and external drives); DirectAccess (connectivity to a corporate network without VPN); AppLocker (prevents unauthorized software from running); and BranchCache (speeds up the accessing of large remote files at branch offices). Windows 7 Enterprise is designed for the corporate world and will only be used by large businesses. It will not be available at retail or by OEMs for pre-installation on a new PC.

Windows 7 Ultimate

Ultimate, the supersize version of Windows, includes all the features of all the other versions. Think of it as Windows 7 Enterprise for consumers.

Ultimate is the most expensive version, so it's doubtful that many people will use it other than the occasional super-user who wants every possible feature. Microsoft is not likely to heavily promote Windows 7 Ultimate. Most regular users do not need all the security and networking features and there doesn't appear to be much in Ultimate for businesses that isn't already in Windows 7 Enterprise

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

Among the advantages to be considered typical of Windows 7 on other systems are:

Greater synchronization between the user and the computer, thanks to support multitouch screen and voice recognition tool. It will take up less memory, both the new kernel as the OS itself.

Processors support a variety of platforms: 32 and 64 bits. It is an open operating system, will be accessible to any market or use depending on the needs of the user (home, education, commerce). Save energy and does not require so much hardware support or integration of many components.

Hardware development companies can boost trade in its products, a living example is the company that Dell will release Windows 7 next to the touch screen as here will be an operating system that supports it.

Disadvantage of WINDOWS 7

At present the disadvantages that can be seen on this upcoming operating system are:

Little information about it, it is still in beta development stage and can not recognize all of the features and benefits. In the event that it becomes necessary to purchase a touch screen and infrastructure maintenance would be more expensive hardware.

Will not support or compatibility with existing drivers and devices.

It would be a total innovation, have characteristics of other operating systems, such as the micro-kernel that is already part of Mac OS Tiger and took also part of the same graphical interface.

Bring economic disadvantages if there are no updates to Windows XP or Vista since it would imply the renewal of the operating system installed on most computers in business.

REFRENCES 1. ^ Mike Nash (October 14, 2008). "Why 7?". The Windows Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved February 1, 2011. 2. ^ "Announcing Availability of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1". Microsoft. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 3. ^ Thadani, Rahul (September 6, 2010). "Windows 7 System Requirements". Buzzle. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 4. ^ Microsoft. "Windows 7 Lifecycle Policy". Microsoft. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 5. ^ Ricciuti, Mike (July 20, 2007). "Next version of Windows: Call it 7". CNET News. 6. ^ a b Brandon LeBlanc. "Windows 7 Has Been Released to Manufacturing". 7. ^ name="bott20090511">"Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Timelines Shared at Computex". Microsoft. June 3, 2009. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 8. ^ Nash, Mike (October 28, 2008). "Windows 7 Unveiled Today at PDC 2008". Windows Team Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved