Microsoft Windows comes in several different versions and revision levels for use on both personal computers and network servers. The versions are described in the following table.
Version and Description
NB: Windows 8 and Windows server 2012 latest updated versions.
Windows 7 :
Windows 7 is available in 3 different editions:
- Windows 7 Home Premium, a low-cost edition for beginner and home users. This edition offers basic OS functions such as the Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer 8, and support for other productivity software.
- Windows 7 Professional, which allows users to run programs in Windows XP®mode, connect to domains, and back up data to a network location.
- Windows 7 Ultimate offers more features than the other two editions. Some noteworthy features in the Windows 7 Ultimate edition are multiple language support, and advanced data protection using Bitlocker.
Windows Vista is available in several different editions:
- Windows Vista Home Basic, a lower-budget OS for beginner and home users who do not require advanced multimedia capabilities, and who do not require networking more advanced than a workgroup.
- Windows Vista Home Premium, which adds a media center, HDTV sup-port, backup scheduling, and more support for alternate displays. It also includes the Windows®Aero®interface.
- Windows Vista Business, which offers more features than Home Premium, and can be added to a Windows domain.
- Windows Vista Enterprise, which adds features to the Business edition, including UNIX application support, BitLocker, drive encryption, and multilingual user interfaces.
- Windows Vista Ultimate, which combines all features of the other editions, plus additional features such as BitLocker, with support for up to 128 GB of RAM.
Windows Server®2008 :
Windows Server 2008, Microsoft’s current server-oriented operating system, is available in several different editions:
- Server 2008 Foundation, an affordable small-business platform for ﬁle and print sharing, remote access, security, and clean upgrade paths.
- Server 2008 Datacenter, a highly scalable platform for large-scale virtualization.
- Server 2008 Enterprise, optimized for applications, clustering, and identity management.
- Server 2008 Standard, with enhanced security options, virtualization capabilities, and the ability to streamline management.
- Web Server 2008, integrated with ASP.NET and the .NET framework.
- HPC Server 2008, which stands for High-Performance Computing, is able to scale to thousands of cores, and can be easily integrated with non-Microsoft HPC servers.
- Server 2008 for Itanium®-based Systems, for large databases. Itanium is the name of a processor available from Intel®.
Windows XP is one of Microsoft’s most popular operating systems for desktop and laptop computers for both home and office use. It comes in several distinct editions:
- Windows XP Professional, the ﬂagship Windows XP edition, intended for office use in networked environments. It supports individual ﬁle-level security and encryption, policy-based conﬁguration management, and domain as well as workgroup membership.
- Windows XP Home Edition, intended for home users. Windows XP Home is very similar in look and feel to Windows XP Professional, but does not support some of the Windows XP Professional networking, security, and management features.
- Windows XP Media Center Edition, optimized for media-based activities such as recording live TV, organizing and playing music, and managing digital photographs.
- Windows XP Tablet PC edition, for tablet-type PCs.
- Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, for computers with 64-bit processors.
Windows Server 2003 is currently available as Release 2 (R2). Windows Server 2003 R2 comes in several editions:
- Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition, for general purpose use as a ﬁle server or service host, or to support small and medium business needs.
- Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition, optimized to support enterprise network management for large numbers of users, computers, and services.
- Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition, for high-availability applications and databases.
Windows 2000 was a prior version of Microsoft’s enterprise operating system software. It was available in several Server editions as well as in a desktop version, Windows 2000 Professional. The Server version was the ﬁrst to include Microsoft’s standards-based directory service software, Active Directory®. Of all the older Windows versions, this is the most likely to be seen still in use. Microsoft no longer provides active product support for Windows 2000 Server or Professional.
Older Windows Versions
There are other versions of Microsoft Windows that are now unsupported and outdated. It is possible (but unlikely) that you will encounter some of these in a legacy implementation.
Windows®9x and Windows® Me:
Prior to Windows XP, the Windows 9x group of operating systems were Microsoft’s primary products for end-user and home PCs. They were complete operating systems with built-in networking, but used a different code base and a different graphical interface design from the Windows Server computers available at that time, as well as from the later Windows XP operating system family. This group of operating systems is no longer supported:
- Windows 95 was Microsoft’s ﬁrst release of a complete graphical desktop operating system, as opposed to a sys- tem shell for lower-level system software. It was the ﬁrst to provide a graphical interface based around the Start menu and taskbar.
- Windows 98 was a popular and widely adopted version within the Windows 9x product line. An updated version was also released as Windows 98 SE (Second Edition).
- Windows Me (Millennium Edition) was the ﬁnal release in the Windows 9x code base family. It was released in 2000.
There were several prior versions of Windows Server software, all released under the Windows NT brand. They employed the Windows 3.1 graphical interface (though NT 4.0 used the Windows 95 GUI) and implemented network domain conﬁgurations on a proprietary Microsoft model:
- Windows NT 3.1 Advanced Server and its client version, Windows NT 3.1, were the ﬁrst 32-bit versions of Windows. They were released in 1993.
- Windows NT 3.5x and its client version, Windows NT Workstation 3.5x, were the ﬁrst Windows versions con- sidered to be robust enough for enterprise network support. They were released in 1995.
- Windows NT 4.0 and its client version, Windows NT Workstation 4.0, were the ﬁrst versions to use TCP/IP as the preferred protocol. They were released in 1996.
Older versions of Windows:
The ﬁrst Windows desktop operating systems were “shell” programs that ran on top of the underlying DOS command- line-based operating system. They extended DOS by providing a graphical interface, extended memory support, mouse support, and the ability to have multiple programs open at once:
- Windows 1.0 (released in 1985) and Windows 2.0 (released in 1987) were earlier releases but were not that popular.
- Windows 3.0 was the ﬁrst commercially successful version of Windows. It was released in 1990.
- Windows 3.1 was the primary end-user desktop version of Windows until the advent of Windows 95. It was released in 1992.
- Windows for Workgroups was an extension of Windows 3.1 that incorporated workgroup networking support using the NetBEUI protocol. It was released in 1992.
Windows Compatibility Mode:
Upgrading from an older to a newer version of Windows does not necessarily mean a favorite program will have to be abandoned if it does not work properly in the new environment. Windows 7 addresses that problem, and can accommodate legacy applications dating back to Windows 95. You can either run the wizard to automate the process (by choosing Start→Control Panel→Programs→Run programs made for previous versions of Windows), or you can manually change compatibility settings for a speciﬁc program. This can be done by right-clicking a program’s executable (.exe) ﬁle, choosing Properties, and changing the appropriate settings on the Compatibility tab.