Microsoft Windows

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

Microsoft Windows
DeveloperMicrosoft
Source model
Initial releaseNovember 20, 1985; 35 years ago (1985-11-20)
Latest release10.0.19043.1237 (September 14, 2021; 4 days ago (2021-09-14)[1]) [±]
Latest preview
  • Beta Channel 10.0.22000.194 (September 16, 2021; 2 days ago (2021-09-16)[2]) [±]
  • Dev Channel 10.0.22458.1000 (September 15, 2021; 3 days ago (2021-09-15)[3]) [±]
Marketing targetPersonal computing
Available in138 languages[4]
Update method
Package managerWindows Installer (.msi, .msix, .msp), Microsoft Store (.appx, .appxbundle),[5] Windows Package Manager
PlatformsIA-32, x86-64, ARM, ARM64
Previously: 16-bit x86, DEC Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC, Itanium
Kernel type
Default
user interface
Windows shell
LicenseProprietary commercial software
Official websitemicrosoft.com/windows

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).[6] 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 in all countries.[7][8] However, in 2014, Microsoft admitted losing the majority of the overall operating system market to Android,[9] 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 that for end user use.

As of May 2021, the most recent version of Windows for PCs, tablets and embedded devices is Windows 10, version 21H1. The most recent version for server computers is Windows Server 2022, version 21H2.[10] A specialized version of Windows also runs on the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S video game consoles.[11]

Previous Windows logo (2012–2021)