1.3. Looking at the Windows OS

I start at the top of the OS hierarchy with the Windows OS. The look and feel of Windows today is very different from the look and feel of Windows 3.0 when I started using it in 1990. Windows XP and Windows Vista streamlined the UI and added features, such as Wireless Zero Configuration, to make it easier to use your computer.

1.3.1. Comparing versions of Windows

MS-DOS was awkward and intimidating for many people to use, as they sat there looking at the command prompt slowly blinking at them. Windows was first developed as a shell, or UI, to go on top of MS-DOS, making MS-DOS easier to user. By the time Windows hit its third iteration, it was a very usable tool. This product — Windows 3.0 — went on to become Windows 95, 95 OSR2, 98, 98 SE, and Me. Windows Me represents the end of this product line, which has always been, because of architectural limitations, a shell on top of some level of MS-DOS.

The Windows that we now know and use owes its roots to a Microsoft/IBM venture that built upon the IBM OS/2 family to produce a new, secure server OS. But in the manner of many partnerships, this one fell apart, and both parties took the fruits of their labors and went home. Microsoft took this work and created Windows NT 3.x. NT and 3.1 were chosen to be compatible with the version number of the other Windows OS. The Windows NT OS was more stable than earlier versions of Windows because of its architecture (NT; New Technology) and more secure because ...

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