Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Windows
Windows darkblue 2012 svg.svg
Windows 10 (version 1709).png
Screenshot of Windows 10 (Fall Creators Update, version 1709), showing the Action Center and Start Menu
Developer Microsoft
Source model Closed / shared source
Initial release November 20, 1985; 32 years ago (1985-11-20), as Windows 1.0
Latest release 1709 (10.0.16299.248) (February 13, 2018; 12 days ago (2018-02-13))
Latest preview RS4 (10.0.17101) (February 23, 2018; 2 days ago (2018-02-23))
Marketing target Personal computing
Available in 137 languages [1]
Update method
Package manager Windows Installer (.msi), Windows Store ( .appx) [2]
Platforms ARM, IA-32, Itanium, x86-64, DEC Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC
Kernel type
Default user interface Windows shell
License Proprietary commercial software
Official website

Microsoft Windows is a group of several graphical operating system families, all of which are developed, marketed, and sold by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. Active Windows families include Windows NT and Windows Embedded; these may encompass subfamilies, e.g. Windows Embedded Compact (Windows CE) or Windows Server. Defunct Windows families include Windows 9x, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone.

Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985, as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs). [3] Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal computer (PC) market with over 90% market share, overtaking Mac OS, which had been introduced in 1984. Apple came to see Windows as an unfair encroachment on their innovation in GUI development as implemented on products such as the Lisa and Macintosh (eventually settled in court in Microsoft's favor in 1993). On PCs, Windows is still the most popular operating system. However, in 2014, Microsoft admitted losing the majority of the overall operating system market to Android, [4] because of the massive growth in sales of Android smartphones. In 2014, the number of Windows devices sold was less than 25% that of Android devices sold. This comparison however may not be fully relevant, as the two operating systems traditionally target different platforms. Still, numbers for server use of Windows (that are comparable to competitors) show one third market share, similar to for end user use.

As of December 2017, the most recent version of Windows for PCs, tablets, smartphones and embedded devices is Windows 10. The most recent versions for server computers is Windows Server 2016. A specialized version of Windows runs on the Xbox One video game console. [5]


By marketing role

Microsoft, the developer of Windows, has registered several trademarks each of which denote a family of Windows operating systems that target a specific sector of the computing industry. As of 2014, the following Windows families are being actively developed:

The following Windows families are no longer being developed:

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