Evolution of Windows from Windows 1 to Windows 8, in pictures

Windows is the bane and backbone of modern day computing society. For better (Linux) or for worse (Mac), the world would be a completely different place if Windows was never born. Initially outed as Windows 1, Windows of the old age is nothing like Windows now. Indeed, I’m sure the youngin’ will cringe at the sight of 16-bit Windows 1. However, Windows was created for a different time and for use cases we now take for granted, such as multi-tasking, without access to the same technology we have today; so a Windows that looks like shit today was innovation back then.

While there are, without a doubt, many feature differences between the different versions of Windows, probably the best way to visualize the transformation from the original Windows (Windows 1) to the latest and might-be-greatest Windows (Windows 8) is through their respective graphical user interfaces. And so we have compiled images of the user interfaces of Windows 1 to Windows 8 for you marvel at. Take a look for yourself:

Windows 1

Windows 2/2.1

Windows 3/3.1

Windows 95

Windows 98

Windows ME

Windows 2000

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Windows 7

Windows 8

I didn’t notice it before but looking at the above screenshots, has Windows 8 gone back to the block/tile style of Windows 1 except with higher quality graphics? Yeah, yeah, I think it has. Touche, Microsoft, touche. Be sure to share your thoughts on Windows in the comments below.

[Images via Microsoft and Wikipedia]

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  • Fayazdo

    @Circle Walker: Luckily for you (and me) there are already applications out there that will let you strip down Windows 8 and make it look like XP or Seven if you wish.

  • Ahh… reminds of my childhood. I started with DOS and actually touched Windows 2.x, but worked with Windows 3.11 for WorkGroups for some time and believe me, for a long time, I thought, its a Dos based software like WordPerfect and Lotus 123. It never falls under the category of OS, until Windows NT arrived.

    Nice post btw… :)

  • Circle Walker

    Sounds like this field of comments full of IT and pro-user. I’m just a better-than-average user. My only gripe about windows 8 is the new interface itself. I mainly uses a laptop so I always trying to conserve as much battery as possible. Remember the default resource hog sidebar in vista that became optional/disappear in 7? and all that “customization” widgets too? I usually strip down my windows to my liking and it only run necessary processes and services. As of now, Windows 8 doesn’t have an option to remove the “windows 8 UI” aka Metro UI, which going to be useless for me. I don’t need to see the weather all the time (they are not that accurate anyway and besides, just look out to your windows for the current weather), I don’t need it to log in my facebook, email, etc. accounts all the time (privacy?). So I’ll stay with my slim down win XP desktop and win 7 laptop, which I’m going to recommend several people to buy a new pc now before windows 8 came out.

  • Horrabin

    I’ve seen many comments about the learning curve from XP to Win 7. I don’t recall much trouble at all switching over and now am completely at home with it. It seems to me most of the trouble was with the Control Panel because so much got moved or consolidated. I did put Classic Shell, Start Menu 7, and the Quick Launch back. I could never work right with the Vista/7 start menu, it seemed too much trouble finding stuff with it and I want to type as little as possible at home, since that’s all I do all day at work…
    I just installed the RTM Win 8 to see what happened because the preview kept crashing on my not-so-old spare computer. Put Quick Launch on it straightaway so the taskbar has room for what I’m actually running rather than making a start menu out of it. Runs OK this time, I may get used to it enough to use it for real eventually. I did like the Aero color scheme much better. I agree 8 looks too much like recycled Windows 1 (updated by Fisher-Price) for my liking. I suppose I’ll get used to it.

  • Gerald Brown

    Big fan of Windows 7; Like it better than even XP, which I loved.

    Had a sorta steep learning curve, but once I got the basics down, I loved it.

    Windows 8, Not so much.

    The much hated Vista was actually OK, after about a year, though the interface was a little screwy some things like XP and some things 7.

    Have Vista (64 bit version) on my laptop and on my mother’s laptop, which I support (5 computers in the house, which I support, plus my Brother’s in Nashville).

    If I ran across a cheap version 7 I would upgrade, but I see no reason to go out and buy one, at retail.

  • Gerald Brown

    I Played with Windows 1, and had to support and use Windows 3/3.1, even though I very much preferred the QEMM/Desqvue combo and used it at home.

    I’ve had to support all version of Windows, including NT 3.51 and above.

    Strangely enough I was doing tech support for NY Social Services, which was still using NT 3.51, because they had an expensive custom app that would only run on this. This was after 2000, when Windows 2000 was already out!

  • GS

    I use winXP for windows only software. Rest of my work depend on Linux. WinXP is great OS if microsoft continues to support it.

  • Kathryn

    I have been using Windows XP Pro since it came out and love it. Not a fan of 7. I think I will stay with XP Pro as long as I can.

  • Mags

    I started with DOS, then got my own secondhand pc with Win 3.1. Used 95, 98SE, XP, Vista, Win 7 Premium 32 bit, and now Win 7 Pro 64 bit.

    Like oldtimer3 I will be sticking with Win 7.

    M$ seems to have a habit of producing good, bad and very bad OS.

    IMO Win 8 (at this point) seems to fall under bad for desktops and laptops. Don’t know about Tablets as I don’t use one. So will wait and see what they come up with for their next OS.

  • oldtimer3

    Started with 95, tried Linux for a while, came back for Win 7. Probably stay with 7 until the “experts” get the bugs out…lol

  • Ashraf

    @wdhpr: I’m sure many people would join you if it wasn’t for damn compatibility issues. Yes, yes I know Linux has Linux alternatives for most Windows software and there is WINE emulation for others. Still, the average Joe doesn’t want to go through the trouble of emulating and they don’t want to relearn Linux soft.

  • wdhpr

    I started with DOS and didn’t like Windows at that time. Now I’m using Linux and by the looks of Win 8 I think I’ll stay there.

  • Ashraf

    @Cindy: You are welcome! Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Cindy

    Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane. I started with Windows 3.1. Microsoft, you’ve come a long way, baby!