Comparison of Microsoft Windows versions

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Desktop market share for January 2010[1]
Total Windows - 92.02%
Windows XP - 66.31%
Windows Vista - 17.39%
Windows 7 - 7.51%
Windows 2000 - 0.58%
Windows NT - 0.11%
Windows 98 - 0.08%
Windows CE - 0.06%
Windows Me - 0.05%
Non-Windows - 7.99%

Microsoft Windows is the name of several families of computer 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).

Contents

General information

Basic general information about Windows.

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

Name Release date RTM Build Current version Status support License/Source model Codename MS-DOS version Kernel type Architecture Editions Type Notes
Windows 1.0 1985-11-20 ? 1.04 (1987-04-08) Unsupported
(2001-12-31)
Closed source/
Microsoft EULA
? ? 16-bit Desktop First version of Windows
Windows 2.0 1987-12-09 ? 2.03 (1987-12-09) Unsupported
(2001-12-31)
Closed source/
Microsoft EULA
? ? 16-bit Desktop
Windows 2.1x 1988-05-27 ? 2.11 (1989-03-13) Unsupported
(2001-12-31)
Closed source/
Microsoft EULA
? ? 16-bit Desktop
Windows 3.0 1990-05-22 ? 3.00a
Multimedia Extensions
(1991-10-20)
Unsupported
(2001-12-31)
Closed source/
Microsoft EULA
? ? 16-bit Desktop
Windows 3.1x 1992-04-06 040 3.11 (1993-12-31) Unsupported
(2001-12-31)
Closed source/
Microsoft EULA
3.1: Janus; for Workgroups: Kato, Sparta; 3.11: Snowball (LB) ? (OS or shell?) ? 16-bit (partial 32-bit compatibility with Win32s) Windows for Workgroups 3.1, Windows for Workgroups 3.11, Windows 3.2 (simplified Chinese only) Desktop Version number: 3.1.040
Windows 95 1995-08-24 950 4.00.950C OSR2.5 (1997-11-26) Unsupported
(2001-12-31)
Closed source/
Microsoft EULA
Chicago MS-DOS 7.0, MS-DOS 7.1 (OSR2.x) Monolithic kernel Hybrid 16/32-bit Retail, OSR1, OSR2, OSR2.1, OSR2.5 Desktop Version number: 4.00.950
Windows 98 1998-06-25 1998 4.10.2222A (1999-04-23) Unsupported
(2006-07-11)
Closed source/
Microsoft EULA
Memphis MS-DOS 7.1 Monolithic kernel Hybrid 16/32-bit First edition, Second Edition Desktop Version number: 4.10.1998 (Security Version 4.10.1998A)
Windows Me 2000-06-19 3000 4.90.3000 (2000-09-14) Unsupported
(2006-07-11)
Closed source/
Microsoft EULA
"Millennium" MS-DOS 8.0 Monolithic kernel Hybrid 16/32-bit Desktop Version number: 4.90.3000 (Security Version 4.90.3000A)

NT Kernel-based

Name Release date RTM Build Current version Status support License/Source model Codename, working name Based on (kernel) Supported architectures Editions OS type
Windows NT 3.1 1993-07-27 528 3.10.528 SP3
(1994-11-10)
Unsupported
(2001-12-31)
Closed source/
Microsoft EULA
? NT 3.1 x86-32, DEC Alpha, MIPS Workstation,
Advanced Server
Workstation,
Server
Windows NT 3.5 1994-09-21 807 3.50.807 SP3
(1995-06-21)
Unsupported
(2001-12-31)
Closed source/
Microsoft EULA
Daytona NT 3.5 x86-32, DEC Alpha, MIPS Workstation,
Server
Workstation,
Server
Windows NT 3.51 1995-05-30 1057 3.51.1057 SP5
(1996-09-19)
Unsupported
(2001-12-31)
Closed source/
Microsoft EULA
? NT 3.51 x86-32, DEC Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC Workstation,
Server
Workstation,
Server
Windows NT 4.0 1996-08-24 1381 4.00.1381 SP6a
(1999-11-30)
Unsupported
(2004-12-31)
Closed source/
Microsoft EULA
Cairo
Hydra (Terminal Server)
NT 4.0 x86-32, DEC Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC Workstation,
Server,
Server Enterprise Edition,
Terminal Server,
Embedded
Workstation,
Server,
Embedded
Windows 2000 2000-02-17 2195 5.0 SP4 Rollup 1 v2
(2005-09-13)
Extended Support Period
(2010-07-13)
Shared source/
Microsoft EULA
Memphis NT, Whistler 2000 NT 5.0 x86-32, IA-64 Professional,
Server,
Advanced Server,
Datacenter Server
Desktop,
Workstation,
Server
Windows XP 2001-10-25 2600 5.1.2600 SP3
(2008-04-21)
Extended Support Period
2014-April
Shared source/
Microsoft EULA
Whistler NT 5.1; NT 5.2
(64-bit 2003 and x64)
x86-32, IA-64, x86-64 Starter Edition,
Home,
Professional,
Media Center,
Tablet PC,
Starter,
Embedded,
Home N,
Home K,
Home KN,
Professional N,
Professional K,
Professional KN,
Professional x64
Desktop,
Workstation,
Embedded
Windows Server 2003 2003-04-24 3790 5.2.3790 SP2
(2007-03-13)
Supported Shared source/
Microsoft EULA
Whistler Server, Windows .NET Server NT 5.2 x86-32, IA-64, x86-64 Standard,
Enterprise,
Datacenter,
Web,
Storage,
Small Business Server,
Compute Cluster
Server,
Network Appliance,
Embedded,
HPC
Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs 2006-07-08 2600 RTM
(2006-07-08)
Supported Shared source/
Microsoft EULA
Eiger, Monch NT 5.1 x86-32 Fundamentals for Legacy PCs Desktop
Windows Vista 2006-11-08 6000 (SP2: 6002) 6.0 SP2
(2008-02-04)
Supported Closed source,
Shared source/
Microsoft EULA
Longhorn NT 6.0 x86-32, x86-64 Starter,
Home Basic,Home Basic N,
Home Basic K,
Home Basic KN,
Home Premium,
Home Premium K,
Home Premium KN,
Business,
Business N,
Business K,
Business KN,
Enterprise,
Enterprise K,
Enterprise KN,
Ultimate,
Ultimate K,
Ultimate KN
Desktop,
Workstation
Windows Server 2008 2008-02-27 6001 6.0 SP2
(2008-02-27)
Supported Closed source,
Shared source/
Microsoft EULA
Longhorn Server NT 6.0 x86-32, IA-64, x86-64 Web,
Standard,
Enterprise,
Small Business Server,
Datacenter,
Web Core,
Standard Core,
Enterprise Core,
Datacenter Core,
Standard without HyperV,
Enterprise without HyperV,
Datacenter without HyperV,
Standard Core without HyperV,
Enterprise Core without HyperV,
Datacenter Core without HyperV,
HPC,
HyperV Core,
Foundation,
Storage
Server
Windows Home Server 2007-06-16 3790 5.2 Supported Closed source/
Microsoft EULA
Q, Quattro NT 5.2 x86-32, x86-64 Home Server Server
Windows 7
2009-10-22[2] 7600 6.1 Supported Closed source,
Shared source/
Microsoft EULA
"7" NT 6.1 x86-32, x86-64 Starter,
Home Basic,
Home Premium,
Professional,
Ultimate,
Enterprise,
Starter N,
Home Basic N,
Home Premium N,
Professional N,
Ultimate N,
Enterprise N,
Starter K,
Home Basic K,
Home Premium K,
Professional K,
Ultimate K,
Enterprise K,
Starter KN,
Home Basic KN,
Home Premium KN,
Professional KN,
Ultimate KN,
Enterprise KN,
Starter E,
Home Basic E,
Home Premium E,
Professional E,
Ultimate E,
Enterprise E
Desktop, Workstation, Multi-Touch
Windows Server 2008 R2
2009-10-22 7600 6.1 Supported Closed source,
Shared source/
Microsoft EULA
"7" Server NT 6.1 IA-64, x86-64 Standard,
Enterprise,
Datacenter,
Web,
Standard Core,
Enterprise Core,
Datacenter Core,
Web Core
Server

CE-based

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.

Release date RTM Build Current version Status support License/Source model Codename Based on (kernel) Kernel type Operating environments Editions Purpose Short description
Windows CE 1.0 November 1996 Pegasus, Alder CE 1.0 Embedded first release of Microsoft's Windows CE line for minimalistic computers and embedded systems
Windows CE 2.0 November 1997 Mercury, Apollo CE 2.0 2.1, 2.11 Embedded
Windows CE 3.0 April 2000 Unsupported
(10/9/2007)
Shared source/ Microsoft EULA Cedar, Galileo, Rapier, Merlin, Stinger CE 3.0 Embedded kernel Embedded
Pocket PC 2002 CE 3.0
Windows CE 4.0 7 January 2002 Talisker CE 4.0 4.1, 4.2 Embedded
Windows Mobile 2003 23 June 2003 Ozone CE 4.20
Windows CE 5.0 9 July 2004 5.0 (9 July 2004) Supported Shared source/ Microsoft EULA Macallan CE 5.0 Embedded kernel Embedded
Windows Mobile 5.0 9-12 May 2005 Magneto CE 5.0
Windows Embedded CE 6.0 1 November 2006 Shared source/ Microsoft EULA Yamazaki CE 6.0 Hybrid kernel
Windows Mobile 6.0 12 February 2007 Crossbow CE 5.2
Windows Mobile 6.1 1 April 2008 various performance enhancements, a redesigned Home screen, threaded SMS, full page zooming in IE and Domain Enroll
Windows Mobile 6.5 May 18 2009 minor upgrade to the existing Windows Mobile platform
Windows Mobile 7 a.k.a. Windows Phone, not released (forthcoming) Photon CE 6.0 major update to the platform, merging Smartphone and Pocket PC; expected in 2010

Technical information

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

Name Kernel Kernel type Architecture Integrated firewall SMP support Multiple architecture support USB Support UDMA Support Long Filename Support Update management APIs Safe Mode
Windows 1.0 ? ? 16-bit No No No No No No No Win16 No
Windows 2.0 ? ? 16-bit No No No No No No No Win16 No
Windows 3.0 ? ? 16-bit No No No No No No No Win16 No
Windows 3.1x ? (OS or shell?) ? 16-bit (partial 32-bit compatibility through Win32s) No No No No No No No Win16, Win32s No
Windows 95 MS-DOS 7.0, MS-DOS 7.1 (Win95B) Monolithic kernel Hybrid 16/32-bit No No No Only OEM Service Release 2.1 or higher Only OEM Service Release 2 or higher Yes Windows Update (If Internet Explorer 5 is installed) Win16, Win32 Yes
Windows 98 MS-DOS 7.1 Monolithic kernel Hybrid 16/32-bit No No No Yes Yes Yes Windows Update Win16, Win32 Yes
Windows Me MS-DOS 8.0 Monolithic kernel Hybrid 16/32-bit No No No Yes Yes Yes Windows Update Win16, Win32 Yes

NT Kernel-based

The NT kernel powers all recent Windows operating systems. It runs on x86, x86-64 and Itanium processors.

Name Kernel Arcitecture Integrated firewall SMP support Multiple architecture support USB Support UDMA Support Long File Name Support Package management Update management APIs Safe Mode Data Execution Prevention
Windows NT 3.1 NT 3.1 32-bit No Yes Yes No ? Yes (NTFS Volumes only) Win32, OS/2, POSIX No No
Windows NT 3.5 NT 3.5 32-bit No Yes Yes No ? Yes (Except on CDFS volumes) Win32, OS/2, POSIX No No
Windows NT 3.51 NT 3.51 32-bit No Yes Yes No ? Yes (Except on CDFS volumes) Win32, OS/2, POSIX No No
Windows NT 4.0 NT 4.0 32-bit No Yes Yes Yes (if the Ion USB update is installed) Yes Yes Windows Update (if Internet Explorer 5 or later is installed) Win32, OS/2, POSIX No No
Windows 2000 NT 5.0 32-bit/64-bit No Yes Yes (IA64/Itanium in Advanced Server and Datacenter Server) Yes (USB 2.0 with update or SP4)[3] Yes Yes Windows Update Win32, OS/2, POSIX Yes No
Windows XP NT 5.1.2600; NT 5.2.3790 32-bit/64-bit Yes Yes (Professional Edition only) Yes (IA64/Itanium, x86, x86-64) Yes (USB 2.0 with update or SP1+)[4] Yes Yes MSI, custom installers Windows Update Win32, .NET Yes Yes (in SP2)
Windows Server 2003 NT 5.2.3790 32-bit/64-bit Yes Yes Yes Yes (USB 2.0)[5] Yes Yes MSI, custom installers Windows Update Win32 Yes Yes (in SP1)
Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs NT 5.1.2600 32-bit Yes ? No Yes Yes Yes MSI, custom installers Windows Update Win32 Yes Yes
Windows Vista NT 6.0.6000 ; NT 6.0.6001 (SP1) ; NT 6.0.6002 (SP2) 32-bit/64-bit Yes Yes Yes (x86, x86-64) Yes (USB 2.0) Yes Yes MSI, custom installers Windows Update Application Win32, .NET, POSIX (only Enterprise and Ultimate) Yes Yes
Windows Server 2008 NT 6.0.6001 32-bit/64-bit Yes Yes Yes (IA64/Itanium, x86, x86-64) Yes (USB 2.0) Yes Yes Windows Update Application Win32 Yes Yes
Windows Home Server NT 5.2 32-bit ? ? ? Yes (USB 2.0) ? Yes Win32 ? ?
Windows 7 NT 6.1 32-bit/64-bit Yes Yes Yes (x86, x86-64) Yes (USB 2.0) Yes Yes Windows Update Application Win32, .NET Yes Yes
Windows Server 2008 R2 NT 6.1.7600 64-bit Yes Yes Yes (IA64/Itanium, x86-64) Yes (USB 2.0) Yes Yes Windows Update Application Win32, .NET Yes Yes

Supported file systems

Various versions of Windows support various file systems, including: FAT16, FAT32, HPFS, ISO 9660, NTFS, or UDF, along with network file systems shared from other computers, and the ISO 9660 and UDF filesystems used for CDs, DVDs, and other optical discs such as Blu-ray. Each file system is usually limited in application to certain media, for example CDs must use ISO 9660 or UDF, and as of Windows Vista, NTFS is the only file system which the operating system can be installed on. Windows Embedded CE 6.0, Windows Vista Service Pack 1, and Windows Server 2008 support ExFAT, a file system more suitable for flash drives.


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

FAT16 FAT32 HPFS ISO9660 NTFS UDF
Windows 95 Yes Yes (OSR2 or above) Network Drive Yes Network Drive No
Windows 98 Yes Yes Network Drive Yes Network Drive Yes (1.5, read)
Windows Me Yes Yes Network Drive Yes Network Drive Yes (1.5, read)

NT Kernel-based

FAT16 FAT32 HPFS ISO9660 NTFS UDF (More Info)
Windows NT 3.1, 3.5, 3.51 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes v1.0/v1.1 ?
Windows NT 4.0 Yes Yes Partial Yes Yes v1.2 ?
Windows 2000 Yes Yes No Yes Yes v3.0 Yes
Windows XP Yes Yes No Yes Yes v3.1 Yes (2.01)
Windows Server 2003 Yes Yes No Yes Yes v3.1 Yes
Windows Vista Yes Yes No Yes Yes v5 Yes (2.6)
Windows Server 2008 Yes Yes No Yes Yes v5 Yes
Windows 7 Yes Yes No Yes Yes v5 Yes (2.6)
Windows Server 2008 R2 Yes Yes No Yes Yes v5 Yes (2.6)

Hardware requirements

Minimum/recommended system requirements (for x86 processors)

9x Kernel-based

CPU RAM Free disk space Video adapter and monitor Drives Devices
Windows 95 386 4MB 120MB
Windows 98 486 DX2 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 Drives 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 64 MB 1.5 GB Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher resolution CD-ROM or DVD-ROM Keyboard and mouse
Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs Pentium, 233 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
Windows Server 2008 GHz (x86) or 1.4 GHz (x64) 512 MB RAM (may limit performance and some features) 10 GB Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher resolution DVD-ROM Keyboard and mouse
Windows 7 1 GHz (x86/64) 1 GB or higher recommended (2 GB or Higher for x64) 16 GB (installs in 7 GB) 128MB (Aero) 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 (From SP2), TCP/IP Filtering, IPSec Yes (NTFS Only)
Windows Server 2003 ACLs, Privileges, RBAC Win32 WindowStation, Desktop, Job objects Windows Firewall, TCP/IP Filtering, IPSec Yes
Windows Vista ACLs, Privileges, RBAC Win32 WindowStation, Desktop, Job objects Windows Firewall, TCP/IP Filtering, IPSec Yes
Windows Server 2008 ACLs, Privileges, RBAC Win32 WindowStation, Desktop, Job objects Windows Firewall, TCP/IP Filtering, IPSec Yes
Windows 7 ACLs, Privileges, RBAC Win32 WindowStation, Desktop, Job objects Windows Firewall, TCP/IP Filtering, IPSec Yes

Features

Version Shell Theme Internet Explorer Web server Windows Media Player Command-line interpreter
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 COMMAND.COM
Windows NT 4.0 Windows Explorer 2.0 COMMAND.COM, cmd.exe
Windows 98 Windows Explorer 4.01 PWS COMMAND.COM
Windows 98 SE Windows Explorer 5.0 PWS 6.0 COMMAND.COM
Windows 2000 Windows Explorer 5.01 IIS 5.0 6.4 COMMAND.COM, cmd.exe
Windows Me Windows Explorer 5.5 7.0 COMMAND.COM
Windows XP Windows Explorer Luna (Blue standard) 6.0 IIS 5.1 8 (9 in SP2) COMMAND.COM, cmd.exe,
Windows PowerShell (optional)
Windows Server 2003 Windows Explorer Classic (Luna can be enabled with Theme Service) 6.0 IIS 6.0 9 (10 in SP1) COMMAND.COM, cmd.exe,
Windows PowerShell (optional)
Windows Vista Windows Explorer Aero 7.0 IIS 7 11 COMMAND.COM, cmd.exe,
Windows PowerShell (optional)
Windows Server 2008 Windows Explorer Classic (Aero can be enabled by installing "Desktop Experience") 7.0 IIS 7 11 (enabled by installing "Desktop Experience") COMMAND.COM, cmd.exe,
Windows PowerShell (optional)
Windows 7 Windows Explorer Aero 8.0 IIS 7.5 12 COMMAND.COM, cmd.exe,
Windows PowerShell V2
Windows Server 2008 R2 Windows Explorer Classic (Aero can be enabled by installing "Desktop Experience") 8.0 IIS 7.5 12 (enabled by installing "Desktop Experience") COMMAND.COM, cmd.exe,
Windows PowerShell V2

See also

Personal tools

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