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Windows 1

At the time of this edit, the Microsoft Windows family of operating systems runs the vast majority of the world's
home computers. How did Windows rapidly become the dominant operating system for home use on the planet?

Microsoft Windows began as a GUI add-on to DOS. The early versions of Windows required DOS to be installed
first. The first version that did not require DOS to be pre-installed was Windows 95. Early on, Windows split into
two branches - the DOS-based branch and the NT based branch. Today, The DOS-based branch has been
discontinued due to bugs (errors in software), Lack of hardware support, and instability. All versions of Windows
since Windows NT 3.1 (these are Windows NT 3.1, NT 4.0, Windows 2000, XP and Vista) are NT based.


The CP/M Operating System, first written by Gary Kildall in PL/M, a language of his own invention, in 1975. It was
written for the Intel 8080 CPU, which was the power behind such legendary machines as the Altair 8800 and the
IMSAI 8080, one of which was used in the movie 'War Games'. The system was very popular among those early
computer users, and saw the introduction of many new devices, such as the 5 1/4" floppy disk drive and the hard disk
drive. In 1980, when IBM was building its first PC, they went to Gary Kindall, who didn't think the system would
take off. It might interest you to know that one or two years later, the CP/M-86 OS was released independently of
IBM, and cost about ten times what the then-new MS-DOS system did. Initially CP/M had many advanced features
that MS-DOS did not have. However, because Gary did not want break off from his licensed based distribution of
CP/M rather than accepting the OEM based distribution IBM wanted, Microsoft's MS-DOS was chosen to be the
choice on the IBM PC. In addition to this, many of CP/M's features, such as multi-level directories and hard drive
support, were not really thought of as needed.

DOS stands for Disk Operating System. A product called MSDOS was released by Microsoft in 1981 for the IBM
Personal Computer. It offered file system access to FAT partitions and had tools for editing, programing, and
management. Later versions would support a semi-graphical navigator, and the ability to mount remote shares.
MSDOS had an long-lasting effect on the computer world, a very scaled down version of MSDOS was present in
every Windows OS including the recent Windows vista (and the Windows NT Operating Systems, Windows 2000,
Windows Server 2003,and Windows XP).

(include OS/2 for Windows and explain source code overlap with Windows)

Microsoft was not the first company to investigate the use of a Graphical User Interface, or GUI, to control a
personal computer. That distinction belongs to the Xerox Corporation's Palo Alto Research Center (Xerox PARC).
Xerox demonstrated seven key ideas whose strategic importance were immediately apparrent to both Microsoft and
Apple, and critical to the success of both the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows:
1. The use of a windowing system to give a user common presentation and operation of differrent applications,
2. The concept and use of a mouse to navigate that system,
3. A clear demonstration that multitasking (running several applications at the same time) could actually be useful to
Windows 2

home and business users,

4. The demonstration of a laser printer, which significantly increased the potential for desktop publishing,
5. That a computer could potentially be used by an operator with little or no training,
6. That such an operator, once familiarized with the system, would be strongly opposed to moving back to a more
complicated environment,
7. That such a computer could be networked.
The impact of that final idea took a long time to be fully realized- Windows certainly did not embrace it, or even
support it, initially- but the whole package really was demonstrated that long ago.
Why Xerox wasn't able to capitalize on its own strokes of genius would be (and, indeed, is) another book, in and of

16-Bit Versions
(286/386/486; explain)

Windows 3.0 - 3.1

(stub) (explain use of 386 protected mode and why this was important; note that apps, and significantly, device
drivers, are still 16-bit)

Windows for Workgroups

(stress importance of being first version to really support networking; possibly compare Banyan Vines, Novell
Netware, etc.; also eval those for Predecessors section above)

32-Bit Versions

Windows NT
(stress independence from DOS and differrences from consumer Windows version: kernel, multitasking model
(preemptive instead of cooperative), driver model

Windows 95
The first 32-bit Operating System in the Windows Family outside of Windows NT. But still, it is easier to crash than
Windows NT (but harder to crash than Windows 3.1), and relative to Windows NT, not very stable. This project has
been abandoned years ago.

Windows 98
(stress changes in driver model; USB support; GUI changes)

Windows 98 SE
Windows 98 SE (Second Edition) included DVD support)

Windows 2000
This version of Microsoft Windows preceded Windows XP. Its core functionality is very similar, but it lacks some of
the features later added to XP. Many continue to use 2000 instead of XP, because they believe the extra XP features
are unnecessary and cause the computer to run slower. Windows 2000 is the final NT-based system without
Windows 3

Windows Me

Windows Millennium Edition was meant to bring an end to the 95/DOS

line of OS's, although it still contains DOS 8.00. It sported new features in
the multimedia area, such as Windows Movie Maker 1.0 and Windows
Media Player 7. It also had other important new features such as System
Restore. Most of the new features were continued into Windows XP
making XP what it is. Windows Me is the final DOS-based system without
DOS 8.00

Windows XP
Windows XP was originally released in year 2001. It included improved graphics, and a more user-friendly
environment. Windows XP was built on the core of Windows 2000 but adds greater stability for most desktop users
plus a fancier grapical user interface. Although the goal of perfect security continues to elude the OS, Service Pack 2
(SP2) improves matters over the original release and rolls up enhancements added between release and mid-2004.

64-Bit Versions
There is currently support for the 64-bit Intel Itanium processor in Windows Server 2003 Enterprise and Datacenter
editions, supporting up to 64 Itanium CPUs in the later. Windows Server 2003 SP1 adds x64 support. Note: Source
update under this version will be suffixed by "IA64", there is the difference from the usual Intel/AMD architecture of
"x64" bit sources.
Note also that there are computers based on the 64-bit IBM Power chips that are used in the G5 Macintosh
computers that are running the Windows NT kernel. These "Macs running Windows" are used for game
development on the future generation Xbox that will use IBM Power CPUs.
(explain existing 64-bit CPUs- AMD, Intel, etc.)

Windows Vista
This version of Microsoft Windows, released on January 2007, is the latest major upgrade for the Windows
operating system.
Until the product name was revealed in July 2005, Windows Vista was known as 'Codename Longhorn'.
It includes major changes graphically. Translucency and other visual effects are highly used. Also, applications are
now switching over to the .NET framework. (Add something more about core like avalon, and GUI)

Windows Server 2008 Systems

With this introduction of Microsoft Windows Servers, released on October 2008, it contains the same code base as
Vista (Windows6.0). Its significant change and added feature set is enabling the virtualization of Microsoft Windows
Server Systems. The support from 32-bit Windows 2000, Windows 2003, 2003 R2 and Windows 2008 itself, plus
the associated existing 64-bit version will expect to become the enabler of any enterprise system, large, medium or
small to harness the use and simplicity of virtuialized Windows systems (including some flavors of Linuxes) to meet
everyday needs of computing.
Windows 4

Design Goals
(UI similarity; consistent experience; ease of use; hardware abstraction; compatibility; etc. should this be above the
versions list? is it more useful for strategy context for the version descriptions that follow, so that the evolution
becomes apparrent, or down here as a summary of modern goals?)

This chapter will explain how to install Windows. Since installation is fairly similar between versions- with
important, and sometimes subtle, differences- we will example how to install Windows XP, Home Edition, and then
review the differences for other versions. This chapter explains only the basics; once you're up and running, check
out the Configuration chapter to personalize your system.
Make sure that whatever you are installing, that you have a copy of the files you need stored in a safe place, even if
it's on a separate partition. You're generally better off wiping the partition with your old operating system so as to
remove all the incompatible files, viruses, spyware and general clutter/temp files that all computers accrue over their

Installing Windows XP, Home Edition

Depends if you install from booting a CD or from running the setup program from another version of Windows. It's
better to boot from the disk, this way you can alter your partitions before you install whereas otherwise you may find
yourself being forced to install it over an old copy.

Differences for Windows XP Professional

Adds greater networking and enterprise features. If you have a network, this is the version you need..

Differences for Windows MCE base-2004-2005

(stub) (not that many people will actually ever see these screens but that only makes it more important that this
information be listed somewhere)

(place chapter intro here)

Basic Configuration
(how to set the machine name, time, etc.; NOT networking)

Appearance and Environment

(display settings and properties; wallpaper; themes; etc.)

The workgroup is usually set up when the operating system is first installed. This choice can be edited from the
network wizard later on. Once a computer has a network (basically before it's first boot) it can trade files with other
computers on that network.
(basic Workgroup and Domain configuration; NOT connection sharing, firewall stuff, etc.; that goes into Advanced
Windows 5

(needs to be below networking because this should explain network printers; explain how to add a printer; how to
change the default printer; how to change the printing defaults; when to choose PCL vs. PS when printer offers both;
parallel vs. USB vs serial vs. network; explain FAX send can be a printing device, etc.)

Both Windows XP and Windows Vista include options for those with difficulty reading or using a
computer(Color-blind etc). They are found under: Start->All Programs->Accessories->Accessibility.
(handicapped access; explain Magnifier, text-to-speech, voice recognition, etc., including a -brief- discussion of
third-party options)

Electronic Mail

Outlook Express
By default, Microsoft Windows includes Outlook Express to allow access to electronic mail.
For further details, please see the Outlook Express User's Manual. For details about the full version of Outlook,
available with Microsoft Office, please see the Outlook User's Manual.
Note: for Windows Vista, there's Windows mail instead of Outlook Express

Mozilla Thunderbird
A rather more secure e-mail program than Outlook Express and works almost exactly the same.
Further details:

Using Windows
Windows comes with a variety of software including Paint(A basic image editing program), Notepad(A simple text
editor) and in later versions: Word, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express or Windows Mail and so on. A great variety
of freeware, shareware and commercial packages are available.

A screenshot of the entire monitor, complete with taskbar, can be copied to the system clipboard by pressing the
Print screen key. Alternatively, pressing Alt + Print screen will copy just the active window to the
clipboard. One can then paste the clipboard into a program such as MS Paint or Paint.NET to save it as an image file
(for posting online, for instance), or paste it directly into a document. If saving as an image file, it is best to use a
format which uses lossless compression (e.g. PNG) or no compression (e.g. BMP). Use a format which supports
24-bit color if the screenshot contains many colors.

Optimizing Performance
Some people say that the various "tweaks" one can apply to the system never improve the performance significantly,
certainly not enough to justify the hours and hours that some people spend experimentally tweaking.
The problem is that the effects of many tweaks are a bit iffy. There are some programs that work and some tweaks
that, while they have an effect, are not something that you are likely to notice. Generally the Internet Speed tweaks
and XPLite programs are worth using. Beyond that though, don't bother. If things like the appearance settings and
NTFS Last Access Stamp tweaks noticeably improve your speed then you would be better off running either
Win98SE or Linux, conversely they all have some effect and removing unneeded features does help.
Some people say that many "tweaks" are well worth doing.
Windows 6

There are lots of things you can do to improve performance. Defragment the disk, turn off services you don't need -
Google for a list - restart Firefox regularly (if you use it) since it's a memory hog... Ways to increase performance
include:defragmenting the hard , disabling unneeded visual effects, upgrading the amount of RAM on your
computer, and using various utilities and programs available for download or purchase.

General Tips
Several programs work for almost all Windows versions.
X-setup [1] Excellent tweaking program, comes well recommended.
DH TuneXP [2] Free tweaker program, has useful tweaks.
SG TCP/IP Optimizer [3] Use this for fast internet tweaking. cFos Homepage (English) [4] Get the packet shaping
software from here.
XpLite [5] Very useful in removing parts of Windows 2000 and Xp systems.
Nlite [6] Fulfills the same function as XpLite but instead works on a windows XP CD image which is then
transformed into a bootable CD. This program is freeware and more versatile than XpLite.

Processor Scheduling
When using Windows 2000 and XP there is an option to retry your operating system allocates processing power to
programs. this is governed by registry entry called Win32PrioritySeparation and the values for this are allocated as
Start with zero and add numbers as follows
The ratio of foreground to background priority
3:1, add 2.
2:1, add 1.
1:1, add 0.
Length of the quanta
Variable lengths: add 4.
Fixed lengths: add 8.
Te intervals between switching quanta.
Shorter: add 32.
Longer: add 16.
By default it is set to "2" which is equal to "38", setting it to backround processeses sets it to "24". Note that this
value is in decimal. Personally I use a value of "36" for the best all-around benefit. This value allows all programs to
work seamlessly even at 100% processor usage; mind you this is on a P4 so your mileage may vary.

Internet Speed
Generally optimizing an Internet connection involves tweaking the MTU (maximum transmission unit)and the
receive window. The MTU controls how much data is in every download packet, larger settings improve efficiency
by reducing overhead and require fewer acknowledgment packets. The receive window sets how much data is to be
received before needing to send an acknowledgment packet, this setting does not need to be a multiple of the MTU
and should be as large as reasonably possible.
It would also be worth the time to set up a packet scheduler. Generally doing heavy uploading and downloading at
the same time would slow down your connection, with a a packet scheduler this is less of an issue. Additionally,
some packet schedulers like cFosSpeed allow for prioritizing specific programs like games over more bandwidth
intensive but less interactive applications like FTP clients.
Windows 7

Trimming the OS
Litepc creates software to trim operating systems. Removing unused parts of the OS is beneficial in several ways. It
reduces the amount of disk space that the OS takes up, removes possible security issues and results in less of a RAM
hit. XPLite allows for currently installed operating system to be altered while NLite (as previously mentioned) does
the same to a CD image. XPLite leaves corrupted registry entries and is less versatile than Nlite.

Side Note
On a final note it is important to know what any changes actually do, besides "provides speed boost" and how they
affect your computer. I have had many incidents where the accruation of "tweaks" served to slow the computer
down. Don't rely on being able to undo them with the program.

Windows CE
Consumer edition of windows. Used with consumer electronics. Most notably used with the revolutionary Sega
Dreamcast video game console. Windows CE is also used on many Pocket PCs and Smart Phones. The newest ist
Windows CE 6.0, released in 2007.

Windows XP / 2000 / Server 2003

Beforehand it should be noted that 2000 is often acknowledged to provide better performance with real world use
(Several programs running at the same time). It lacks some of the features of XP including the themes but is
essentially the same and uses the same drivers.
There are some tweaks that do not require specialized software.
Control Panel>System Advanced>Performance Settings>
Disabling features will reduce the overhead on any action and some users can notice significant performance benefits
from deselecting everything. Font smoothing, especially if using ClearType, will depend heavily on the graphics
card, disabling it may have a significant effect.

Paging File
There are plenty of recommendations on this, the one that makes the most sense is to set the minimum to cover
normal system use like 256 or 512 MB which will not require it to change in size while in general use but to set the
maximum much higher to cover contingencies. The default will work fine in most cases, note that setting the
minimum higher will result in paging file fragmentation, which is very hard to fix and if succeeded, will give a speed
hit. An avarage user might be able to download and use PageDefrag [7] (from Microsoft TechNet [8] website under
Sysinternals [9]) to defragment paging file on Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Server 2003.

Cluster Size
This represents the cluster size on a partition, generally bigger means less fragmentation as files expand and slighly
higher disk speed as less data is spent on overhead, conversely it wastes space as each file takes up a minimum of
one cluster. The default seems to do fine. Altering the cluster size on the partition with the Master Boot Record may
cause problems. Also, the default cluster size (4KB on NTFS / Windows XP) allows the computer to transfer data
without using extra buffering.
Windows 8

Services.msc / Msconfig
Really there is no reason why anyone should bother with this section. Unless disabling security flaws removing
services causes no end of interesting errors and will free up around 7-12MB.
One benefit to using services.msc to msconfig is that services can be set to manual. However most services will not
properly start up, I recommend to use Run>msconfig after identifying what services are necessary to disable them,
they can also be restored to Windows default by clicking select all.
Services that are critical or that are needed and may not start otherwise should be set to Automatic while the oher
Automatic services should be set to Manual. This will theoretically cause them to only start when needed (again, it
should be noted that this is almost never true). Note that some services are set to disabled by default on Windows
Server 2003, these are Windows Xp features that are generally not needed by a server, if they are required they must
first be enabled at services.msc.


Hardware>Hard Disk This must be enabled on Windows 2000 as it is disabled by default. If your system is capable
of UDMA/66, enable it, if the system is not capable then rebooting will untick the box.

System>File system>Windows Prefetching
Windows prefetcher will monitor an application's startup sequence and Windows boot. After three application
startups or three Windows boot ups, it creates a .PF file in the Windows Prefetch folder for the application or the
associated boot item. This file is referenced anytime the application is launched but only when it is launched and
NOT before. Windows uses the information in the applications's .PF file to optimally load the necessary files
associated with the application loading into memory. Such as DLL A before B etc... Windows also uses this file
when the defragmenter is run to layout all necessary files that the application uses to startup in sequence on the
harddrive to further improve application load time. The same things happen during boot up but only in relation to
files used for the boot process. Applications that are not loaded on startup are NOT precached or preloaded into
Memory during boot. They are not precached at any time. This is NOT a cache and the .PF files should NOT be
deleted or "cleaned". Manually deleting .PF Files does nothing but force Windows to recreate the .PF file if it is
missing the next time the associated application is launched. This is a waste of time. Simply leave the .PF files and
the Prefetch folder alone. Windows will automatically clean it as necessary in relation to uninstalled applications.
Prefetching is NOT Caching, it is a new feature of Windows that improves application load and boot time
performance automatically.

File System
System>File system>Windows NT/2K/XP Options>Windows File System Options
These are generally useless features, note that disabling the last access time stamp can cause windows cleanup to
have interesting ideas on what is useless data. Disabling the creation of short file names may cause issues in some
programs as well as pretty much all programs written for dos. Conversely you are unlikely to use those programs and
it will help when dealing with folders that have many files that start the same.
Windows 9

Unloading dll files instantly can cause system instability, conversely extra ram is always a good thing. Instability
will only occur in very rare circumstances however if you start the same programs over and over this could be
beneficial. This depends on how much ram you have though leaving it as it is may be the best choice.
Disabling paging will force the computer to keep more of the system in RAM. This will also prevent the computer
from entering sleep mode. Windows will NEVER page the core kernel & drivers (that would cause a crash) ,
however it is willing to page a part of it's systems. This setting causes more of the system to not be paged, probably
won't help your game speed but if you run RAM heavy programs it will prove beneficial. Theory being that the
programs will page but not the Windows core which should do less of a performance hit.

Just one setting, may improve performance, may do nothing.
Set the bottom box to "Balance"
It would be a good idea to stop Cacheman starting with Windows which you can do from the Options bar; it's worth
noting here that "RAM Recovery" is generally agreed to be completely worthless, don't use it.

Other Links
Optimize Xp [10] Wonderful site, also includes links to tweaking myths.

Other Platforms

Windows CE

Ancient times
Microsoft was trying to enter the PDA market years before the release of the first Windows-powered hadhelds. First
development initiatives happened as early as 1990. When Apple's Newton MessagePad emerged, Microsoft decided
to begin development of the new OS.
The WinPad project would be a revolution in the user inteface design. With the touchscreen and handwriting
recognition support, the project promised brand-new user experience. However, the mobile devices' hardware was
not ready for such an operating system at that moment. The main fault of the developers was possibly the attempt to
use portions of the existing kernel modules' code. The project was closed in 1994.
At the same time, Microsoft worked on the Pulsar project. The concept of a multipurpose wire- and keyboardless
device featuring unique architecture was too pathbreaking, and Microsoft discarded this idea as well.
(to be continued...)
(...and PocketPC... and Handheld PC... and so on... make some sense of this mess for the reader! this of all things is
clear as MUD even to developers!)
And on 9th march 2006, MS has unveiled their UMPC..
Windows 10

Windows XP Embedded



Microsoft's Development Cycle

(explain how a new version of Windows is conceptualized, designed, timelined, developed, put in beta, and released)

The Windows Version Lifecycle

When a version is released, it is soon discovered that there are thousands of bugs (errors) and miscellaneous
problems, especially security issues. This leads to a large stream of patches being released which sometimes get
condensed into a service pack. As the program ages and newer systems are released the support will be discontinued
so as to force users to upgrade.
More info here:
(explain how a Windows version is serviced- Service Packs, Windows Update, etc- and finally obsoleted; explain
how support options change and eventually evaporate)

The Future

Windows Vienna
See Wikipedia article Windows 7.

Appendix: Key combinations

Ctrl+Alt+Delete - performs a soft reset
Left arrow, right arrow - Move cursor backward or forward one character
Ctrl + left arrow, right arrow - Move cursor backward or forward one word
Home, End - Move cursor to start or end of line
Up, down arrow - Scroll up and down stored (command) buffer
Page up, down - Places oldest or most recent (command) in command line
Insert - Toggle between insert and over-type modes. (square cursor denotes over-type mode)
Esc - Delete current line
F1 - Repeat text typed in preceding line character by character
F3 - Repeat text typed in preceding line (complete)
F5 - Cycle through entire current (command) buffer
F7 - Display all entries in current (command) buffer with line numbers
Alt+F7 - Delete all entries in current (command) buffer
Windows 11

F8 - As F5, If preceded by entry of character string, will load latest buffer line with corresponding characters (from
start of buffer entry line)
F9+Buffer line number - Displays relevant buffer line; normally F7 first to show lines with numbers
Ctrl+C - Close down most applications and return to prompt


All versions
• ALT+F4 closes most programs
• Win+M Minimize most programs

Versions Before Windows 95

• CTRL+ALT+DELETE brought up a blue screen
• CTRL+C - Copies the selected text or images
• CTRL+X - Cuts the selected text or images
• CTRL+V - Pastes the previously copied or cut material

[1] http:/ / www. x-setup. net/
[2] http:/ / www. majorgeeks. com/ download. php?det=4194
[3] http:/ / www. speedguide. net/ downloads. php
[4] http:/ / www. cfos. de/ index2_e. htm
[5] http:/ / www. litepc. com
[6] http:/ / nuhi. msfn. org/
[7] http:/ / www. microsoft. com/ technet/ sysinternals/ Utilities/ PageDefrag. mspx
[8] http:/ / technet. microsoft. com
[9] http:/ / www. microsoft. com/ technet/ sysinternals/ default. mspx
[10] http:/ / mywebpages. comcast. net/ SupportCD/ OptimizeXP. html
Article Sources and Contributors 12

Article Sources and Contributors

Windows  Source:  Contributors: Adrignola, Az1568, Breakpoint, Darklama, DavidCary, Derbeth, Hagindaz, Herbythyme, Jackster, James
Johnson, Jhinder, Johnclow, Lobster, Metiscus, Mike.lifeguard, Mwtoews, Peteturtle, Pggwee, Rastilin, Robert Horning, Roni00, Sonamunda chaks, Techman224, Tigru, Whiteknight, Xp54321,
Yuhong, Zondor, 98 anonymous edits

Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors

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Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
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