|License (s)||proprietary : Microsoft EULA|
|First publ.||November 20, 1985|
|Current version||Windows 10|
|Architecture (s)||x86 , x64 , IA-64 , ARM|
Windows NT 3.1
|Others||Programmed in C , C ++ , assembler|
Microsoft Windows ( English pronunciation [ ˈmaɪ.kɹoʊ.sɒft ˈwɪn.doʊz ]) or Windows is originally a graphical user interface developed by Microsoft , which later became a number of independent operating systems.
The original Windows was a graphical extension of the MS-DOS operating system , such as GEM or PC / GEOS . This system was Windows 95 to a revised kernel , the 32-bit - API Win32 expanded and Internet capability and continued with the versions Windows 98, 98 SE and ME. The collective term Windows 9x has established itself for this operating system family . At the same time, Windows NT , based on the concepts of the VMS operating system , was developed under the direction of David N. Cutler since 1988 . Since Windows XP , Microsoft has only sold successors to Windows NT for the desktop, as Windows 9x was abandoned due to technical weaknesses. Since then, the operating system as a whole has been called Windows (English for "window"). The name comes from the fact that the user interfaces of applications are displayed on the screen as rectangular windows .
Windows operating systems are particularly common on personal computers and servers ; There are also variants for devices such as smartphones or PDAs and for special embedded devices such as fully electronic measuring devices and retail cash register systems or for use in motor vehicles. Kevin Turner, the Chief Operating Officer of Microsoft, named at the Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 a total market share of 14 percent for all Windows variants.
The term window (English for "window") as a designation for a software interface element goes back to the WIMP paradigm ( window , icon , menu , pointing device ) developed in the early 1970s at Xerox PARC for the construction of user interfaces . Microsoft Windows is a system that implements this paradigm .
Originally, the US company Microsoft did not develop any operating systems, but has been developing BASIC for various computer platforms since the mid-1970s . Microsoft first entered the operating system business with MS-DOS in 1981 and supplied BASICA for PC DOS and GW-BASIC for MS-DOS, among other things, and other applications followed.
Microsoft also contributed a BASIC interpreter for Apple, as well as the application programs Word and Multiplan (later Excel ), which were also developed for the Macintosh . Inspired by the graphical operating system from Apple, the Macintosh System Software , which in turn was inspired by the computer with the first graphical operating system ever - the Xerox Alto - Microsoft then developed its own DOS-based graphical user interface "Interface Manager", which was shortly before the Release of version 1.0 1985 in "Windows" was renamed.
Microsoft urged Apple in advance to license the graphical user interface of the Apple Lisa to other PC manufacturers. But Apple did not want to forego its own hardware sales, as around 55% of the income came from the sales of Apple computers.
When the then CEO of Apple, John Sculley , saw Windows 1.0, he wanted to sue Microsoft immediately. But Bill Gates put Sculley under pressure by threatening to shut down the widely used Macintosh applications Word and Excel immediately if Apple was not prepared to make concessions. Although both Apple and Microsoft's graphical user interface , English Graphical User Interface (GUI) of Xerox had licensed, saw Windows 1.0 in some detail the Macintosh operating system all too similar - right down to "Special" menu, the first Macintosh would have. Since Microsoft had insight into the source code of the "system software" for the development of application programs , the suspicion of an intentional copy was obvious. Microsoft, on the other hand, argued that the development of the "Interface Manager" began in 1983 - before the prototype of the Macintosh was available. John Sculley, for whom it was important to establish third-party applications on the Macintosh platform and who therefore did not want to do without Word and Excel, finally signed a contract on November 22, 1985 that allowed Microsoft to use Windows 1.0 despite all similarity to the "system software" of the Macintosh. When Windows 2.03 was introduced almost three years later, Apple decided on March 17, 1988 to sue Microsoft for copyright infringement. Over five years later, on August 24, 1993, the lawsuit was dismissed in favor of Microsoft. Microsoft had already made the breakthrough with Windows 3.0 and 3.1.
The diagram shows the individual major versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system based on the release dates and broken down into the product lines on a time table, which enables a better overview.
|Windows versions timeline since 1985|
on NT basis
|NT 3.1||NT 3.5||NT 3.51||NT 4.0||2000||XP||Vista||7th||8th||8.1||10|
based on NT
|NT 3.1 server||NT 3.5 server||NT 3.51 server||NT 4.0 server||2000 server||Server 2003||
|Tablet ARM -OS
based on NT
|RT 8||RT 8.1|
|CE line||CE 1.0||CE 2.0||CE 3.0||CE 4.0||CE 5.0||CE 6.0||CE 7.0||Embedded Compact 2013|
|IoT line||10 IoT|
|Mobile 5.0||Mobile 6.0||Mobile 6.1||Mobile 6.5||Phone 7.0|
NT-based smartphone OS
|Phone 8.0||Phone 8.1||10 mobile|
DOS line for 16-bit computers
Microsoft Windows was introduced as a graphical user interface for DOS computers. DOS was used for system access. This gradually changed with Windows 3.x , especially with the introduction of 32-bit access . Only cooperative multitasking was available between Windows programs . With Windows for Workgroups a version with integrated network capability was released. The addition to the name was dropped again from Windows 95 and in all Windows NT versions.
|Product name||Publication date|
|Windows 1.0||November 20, 1985|
|Windows 2.0||December 9, 1987|
|Windows 2.1||May 27, 1988|
|Windows 2.11||March 13, 1989|
|Windows 3.0||May 22, 1990|
|Windows 3.1||March 1, 1992|
|Windows 3.11||February 1994|
|Windows for Workgroups 3.1||October 1992|
|Windows for Workgroups 3.11||November 1993|
On November 10, 1983 by Microsoft on the COMDEX Fall / '83 a prototype presented called "Interface Manager", which the first graphical user interface developed by Microsoft for DOS showed. However, after the developers kept talking about windows, Microsoft's marketing department later decided to rename the system to "Windows". Microsoft Windows 1.0x was released on November 20, 1985. Windows 1.0x sold for $ 99, but it wasn't a huge hit because there were virtually no applications for it. A file manager serves as the interface. The individual programs must be selected based on their file name.
Windows 3.0 was released on May 22, 1990. Windows 3.1 , which followed on March 1, 1992, was the first commercially successful version of a Windows system. Windows 3.1x was very popular, with around 3 million licenses sold in the first 2 months alone. With Windows for Workgroups 3.1 , code name "Sparta", the first network-compatible Windows appeared in October 1992. By retrofitting the TCP / IP network protocol stack supported Windows for Workgroups 3.11 , the Internet protocol . Windows 3.2 is an update of the Windows 3.1 version for China; according to the Microsoft Knowledge Base, new or improved input editors have been used for the font. The Win32s interface for Windows 3.1x , which had to be installed subsequently, provided a subset of the Win32 API from Windows NT, whichmeantthat some programs developed for Windows NT worked.
DOS line for 32-bit computers
The Windows 9x -line is based on MS-DOS , but has its own 32-bit - kernel , the system access using so-called right after the start VxDs ( Virtual Device Driver controls virtual device drivers). The Win32 API was not entirely new to Windows NT 3.1 and Windows NT 3.5, but Windows 95 was the first home version of Windows to use it.
Windows 9x received an adapted DOS, while earlier DOS-based Windows versions required a pre-installed DOS. The start of Windows could be prevented (except in Windows Me) by an entry in the MSDOS.SYS file, so that Windows started manually using the DOS program WIN.COM as in earlier versions. Microsoft wanted to suggest that MS-DOS did not exist independently, but the MS-DOS operating system could run from any Windows 9x without Windows. Windows 9x supports preemptive multitasking for 32-bit applications and cooperative multitasking for compatibility with Windows 3.x 16-bit applications. 32-bit processes each have their own virtual address spaces ( memory protection ), but consistent memory protection is not guaranteed for compatibility with applications that address hardware directly.
The term "Windows 9x" is derived from the now more specific names (instead of just version numbers), which in most DOS-based Windows versions 4.x start with a nine. Windows Me differs from this scheme , although it is grouped together with the other related versions.
|Product name||Code name||Publication date|
|Windows 95||Chicago||August 15, 1995|
|Windows 95a||Nashville||February 14, 1996|
|Windows 95b||August 24, 1997|
|Windows 95c||November 26, 1997|
|Windows 98||Memphis||June 30, 1998|
|Windows 98 SE||May 5, 1999|
|Windows Me||millennium||September 14, 2000|
Microsoft Windows 95 was considered revolutionary when it appeared in 1995. In the 16- / 32-bit system, DOS was degraded to a substructure. It also managed long filenames. The first million copies were sold within four days. In the two following years Windows 95b and Windows 95c appeared, which support USB and FAT32 for addressing hard disks of over 2 gigabytes.
Microsoft Windows 98 appeared in 1998 as an evolutionary stage of Windows 95 with Internet Explorer 4.0 and multimedia extensions. After Windows 95 Windows 98 is the second most successful system, the official support ended in 2006. On 5 May 1999 appeared Windows 98 Second Edition (English for second edition ) which in a revised version of Internet Explorer 5 and improvements in the areas of multimedia and USB contained.
Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition was released in 2000 with multimedia enhancements and a system restore to reset the system to an automatic or user-selected time. The protection of system files has also been improved. The System File Protection (SFP) function prevents deletion. The “Compressed Folders” program directly supports the creation and extraction of ZIP archives. Windows Me also includes some features inherited from Windows 2000.
The Windows NT series has a new kernel. The abbreviation NT originally stood for N-Ten (N10), an emulator on which the system was operated by the NT developers in the initial phase. According to Microsoft, the assumption that NT stands for New Technology is wrong. The name initially stood for the OS / 2 operating system developed jointly by Microsoft and IBM , which was only developed jointly in the 16-bit versions (version numbers 1.x) but marketed separately. With the development step towards the 32-bit versions (2.x), Microsoft separated from IBM in order to further develop the operating system as Windows NT in competition with OS / 2 from IBM.
Windows NT is designed for different processor architectures. The first version was offered for Intel 386 , MIPS and Alpha processors . PowerPC was added with NT 3.51 . While the earlier development of versions of NT for the Alpha architecture was gradually discontinued by DEC and others so that Windows 2000 only supported x86, support for the AMD64 and the IA-64 architecture was introduced with Windows XP . With Windows RT was ARM architecture supports. Today Microsoft supports x86 , AMD64 and ARM.
MS-DOS is emulated for Intel-386, MIPS, PowerPC and Alpha, commands with largely identical names and functions are available as a runtime environment , DOS programs can continue to be used as long as they do not require direct access to the hardware. Games therefore usually do not run at all or only run without sound and joystick support. 16-bit Windows programs were also emulated for MIPS, PowerPC, and Alpha. The AMD64, IA-64 and ARM lack the MS-DOS emulator and support for 16-bit Windows programs.
NT has preemptive multitasking with memory protection. Direct hardware access by programs (in contrast to the DOS line) is not permitted due to the strict implementation of a layer model. Starting with Microsoft Windows 2000, the NT line and the consumer version of Microsoft Windows were standardized and transferred to a common product line. With the XP version, the merging of “unsafe multimedia versions, DOS-based” and “safe NT versions without multimedia” can be considered complete.
Microsoft Windows NT 3.1 was the first Windows NT release. It was released on July 26, 1993 in a workstation and a server version. Windows NT 3.1 supported x86 processors from Intel 80386, MIPS processors of the R4000 and R4400 series, later also Alpha-AXP processors. The interface corresponds to that of Windows 3.1.
Microsoft Windows NT 3.5 , code name "Daytona", was released in September 1994 and represents a further development of Windows NT 3.1. The revised version Microsoft Windows NT 3.51 came in June 1995. Windows NT 3.51 supported PowerPC processors for the first time, which was the main innovation was. For this purpose, the Win32 API has been extendedin particular. The workstation and server variants were more clearly separated from each other than was the case with NT 3.1.
Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 , codenamed “ Cairo ”, was released on August 29, 1996. Unlike Windows NT 3.x, Windows NT 4.0 has almost the same user interface as Windows 95. At first, Windows NT 4.0, like Windows NT 3.x, was released in two versions. In 1996 and 1998, two more server Variants of the operating system published.
Microsoft Windows 2000 was released on February 17, 2000 and is NT version 5.0. It offers improved support for devices and exists in a total of four different versions. The server variants were specially designed for different company sizes and for the first time offer Active Directory . In contrast to its predecessor, Windows 2000 only supported x86 processors.
Microsoft Windows XP , code name “Whistler”, was released on October 25, 2001 and is NT version 5.1. It was the best-selling Windows operating system to date and for the first time combines the major product lines “private” and “company”. In particular, the renewal of user guidance and the integration of multimedia and the Internet were promoted. It introduced product activation, which wassupposed to preventthe use of black copies . Windows XP is available in different editions. The x86 versions were sold in three editions when they were introduced, the Home Edition and the Professional Edition for the x86 architecture and the Windows XP 64-Bit Edition for the IA-64 architecture. Other editions were introduced later. Microsoft Windows XP Embedded was released on November 28, 2001. On March 28, 2003, another 64-bit edition followed, based on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64, this time for Itanium-2 processors. On April 25, 2005, the Windows XP Professional x64 Edition for AMD64 processorsappeared on the same basis. The Media Center Edition and the Tablet PC Edition appeared for x86 processors. Windows Embedded Standard 2009 , based on XP, appeared in 2008.
Microsoft Windows Server 2003 appeared in 2003 as a server variant of Windows XP and has NT version 5.2. The x64 variants arevariants of the operating systemspecially tailored to the 64-bit architecture . Furthermore appeared Enterprise and Datacenter for Itanium processors. Different variants of Windows Server 2003 have appeared.
Microsoft Windows Vista , codenamed “Longhorn”, was released on November 30, 2006 for businesses and on January 30, 2007 for home users. Microsoft Windows Server 2008 was released on February 27, 2008. Vista and Server 2008 are NT version 6.0. After a first alpha version at the beginning of 2002, the release date was postponed several times, but not all of the originally planned functions could be implemented (for example the WinFS file system extension ). The graphical user interface has been revised and offers the Aero Basic and Aero Glassmodes. All product variants are available both as versions for the 32-bit architecture and as versions for the 64-bit architecture (Windows Vista for AMD64 , Windows Server 2008 also for IA-64 ). In addition to the N versions known from Windows XPwithout pre-installed Windows Media Player for the European Union ,Windows Vista also contains K versions that are supplied without pre-installed Windows Media Player and Windows Messenger . The K versions are intended for the South Korean market. The starter version of Windows Vista was not released in Europe. A total of ten versions of Vista have appeared. Several editions of Windows Server 2008 appeared. Windows Server 2008 will be the last version of the server to support x86 processors.
Microsoft Windows 7 was announced in 2000 under the code name Blackcomb and was supposed toreplace Windows XP . However, in 2001 Microsoft decided torelease another version of Windowsbetween Windows XP and Blackcomb , later called Windows Vista . In 2006 the codename was changed from Blackcomb to Vienna , later the name Windows 7. Windows 7 and the server variant based on the same kernel, Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 , were sold since October 22, 2009. Important changes in Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2008, the server variant of Windows Vista, include: B. the support of 256 logical CPU cores, the abandonment of the version for 32-bit x86 processors and the introduction of DirectAccess ; Windows Server 2008 R2 is therefore only available for x86 systems with 64-bit support and the IA-64 architecture. The first service pack was released on February 22, 2011.
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 , which has been available since September 4, 2012, is the successor to Windows Server 2008 R2 . On October 26th, Microsoft Windows 8, based on the same kernel, was released . In 2007 the code names “Mystic” and “Orient” were used for the development. In January 2011 it was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that Windows 8 would not only support the conventional x86 , but also the ARM architecture of the three largest manufacturers Nvidia , Qualcomm and Texas Instruments . This version is marketed under the name Microsoft Windows RT . Windows Server 2012, on the other hand, only supports AMD64 / Intel 64 , Itanium support has been dropped. Microsoft Windows Phone 8 is also based on the Windows NT 6.2 kernel, while earlier Windows Phone versions are based on the CE kernel . Microsoft sold Windows 8 in the first three months at a greatly reduced price.
Microsoft Windows 10 was announced on September 30, 2014. A technical preview followed a day later. While a separate Windows was previously developed for each platform (Windows 8 for desktops and tablets, Windows RT for ARM tablets, Windows Phone 8 for smartphones), Windows 10 covers all platforms, the graphical user interface adapts to the display size and the purpose of the device . The start menu comes back in a revised form, on mobile devices it fills the screen. It thus replaces the start screen familiar from Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. The market launch for Windows 10 was on July 29, 2015.
The CE line was designed for mobile devices such as pocket PCs , smartphones and PDAs and represents a separate product line. In addition to the versions listed here, there are other versions for individual device types and main processors .
- Windows CE 1.0 (November 1996)
- Windows CE 2.0 (September 1997)
- Windows CE 3.0 (July 30, 2000)
- Windows CE .NET 4.0 (April 1, 2002)
- Windows CE 5.0 (August 31, 2004)
- Windows CE 5.1 (May 2005, part of Windows Mobile 5, not available separately)
- Windows CE 5.2 (February 2007, part of Windows Mobile 6, not available separately)
- Windows Embedded CE 6.0 (November 1, 2006)
- Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 (November 13, 2007)
- Windows Embedded Compact 7 (March 1, 2011)
- Windows Embedded Compact 2013 (June 2013)
- Pocket PC
- Pocket PC 2001
- Pocket PC 2002
- Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC
- Phone Edition with telephone functions and for smartphones without a touchscreen
- Windows Mobile 5.0
- Phone Edition with telephone functions and for smartphones without a touchscreen
- Windows Mobile 6.0
- Classic Edition for PDAs
- Professional Edition for PDAs with telephony function
- Standard Edition for Smartphones
- Windows Mobile 6.1
- Classic Edition for PDAs
- Professional Edition for PDAs with telephony function
- Standard Edition for Smartphones
- Windows Mobile 6.5
- Classic Edition for PDAs
- Professional Edition for PDAs with telephony function
- Standard Edition for Smartphones
- Windows Phone 7 - released October 21, 2010.
The successor Windows Phone 8 no longer belongs to the CE line, but to the NT line thanks to the use of the Windows NT kernel.
The concept of Microsoft Windows is a possible binary compatible platform for application programs to be. This is realized via the Win32 - API and extensions thereof. Windows (with the exception of the mobile phone versions from version 7) has been an open platform since the beginning , which means that anyone can write and sell applications for Windows without restriction, as Microsoft does not require permission or the purchase of fee-based documentation. Microsoft is also the market leader because the downward compatibility of the Windows platform has long been the top priority in the further development of Windows. Such a stable binary-compatible platform has the advantage for application program providers that applications do not have to be adapted for every Windows variant (past or future), but the platform provider is responsible for compatibility. Microsoft has therefore had to integrate a steadily growing number of application-specific workarounds , so-called “shims” , into every new Windows version. The advantage for the user is that he can continue to use his usual software in the desired version even after a Windows upgrade and he does not have to wait for an adjustment or switch to another software. The disadvantage of this stable but proprietary Windows platform is the lock-in effect , which makes changing operating systems unattractive due to the lack of interoperability .
“The big value of Windows is the fact that it's old technology that runs everyone's apps. If we came out with an operating system that looked like Windows but couldn't run your Windows apps, it wouldn't be Windows. Nobody would want it. "
“The great added value of Windows is the fact that it's an old technology that everyone's applications run on. If we were to put an operating system on the market that looked like Windows but couldn't run Windows applications, it wouldn't be Windows. Nobody would want it. "
The Windows operating system family is the market leader in the PC market with a share of 80 to 90% according to various WebStat counters, followed by Apple operating systems.
Since Microsoft misjudged the current relevance of the Internet at the time Windows NT was being developed, the company initially neglected Internet security. In addition, through Windows Server 2003 , Windows shipped with security options disabled by default, and vulnerable (albeit useful) services were enabled. In June 2005 Bruce Schneier's Counterpane Internet Security reported that they had seen more than 1000 new viruses and worms for Windows systems in the past six months.
At the turn of the millennium, Microsoft announced that the issue of security would henceforth be given the highest priority. The much-needed system for automatic updates was first introduced with Windows 2000. The result was that Service Pack 2 for Windows XP and Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003 were installed much faster by customers than previous updates. Microsoft normally distributes security patches via its Windows Update system once a month as part of the so-called patch day .
At the latest since the computer worm W32.Blaster and its derivatives, which were very present in the media in 2003, Microsoft has placed the main focus on Internet security in Windows Vista . According to Microsoft's own statement, this had the consequence that, after its introduction, significantly fewer security gaps were actively exploited in Vista than in Windows XP and Vista were attacked significantly less often by malware . The additional security is mainly attributed to newly developed security measures such as user account control, which, however, also entail restrictions in terms of ease of use.
With Windows 7 , security issues have continued to decrease. Due to the significant further development of the security measures, attackers are now increasingly turning to vulnerabilities in third-party programs.
Third Party Security Analysis
A study by Kevin Mitnick and the Avantgarde agency from 2004 led to the result that an unpatched installation of Windows XP with Service Pack 1 was infected by an infection after just four minutes if it was connected directly to the Internet (i.e. also was accessible from the network). This very short time is due, among other things, to the missing Windows firewall in combination with the security gap in the Windows RPC service, but also to unfavorable standard settings . Since Windows XP Service Pack 2, a firewall has been integrated and activated by default, so that the study comes to significantly better results here.
Security experts from iSec come to the conclusion in a study presented at Black Hat 2011 that Windows 7 is more secure than Mac OS X. The latter has some weaknesses in the network. Although the authors mainly tested the security of Mac OS X Leopard to Lion , they also came to the conclusion that Windows 7 is more secure than Mac OS X 10.7.
The operating system natively supports programs for the Windows platform . Runtime environments for executing .NET , WinRT or Java programs or abstraction layers so that MS-DOS , OS / 2 or Linux programs can be executed, for example, are or have been supplied with or can be installed at a later date.
Kernel mode drivers for Windows Vista in the 64-bit version must be signed so that they can be loaded automatically when the system starts. This signature is chargeable for hardware manufacturers.
Controversy about included applications
The close coupling of the web browser ( Internet Explorer ), media player and Windows Explorer applications for file management has been the subject of longstanding legal disputes with providers of alternative application programs. These providers saw an unjustified competitive advantage for Microsoft in the close integration of the application programs with the operating system. With Windows XP and Service Pack 3 for Windows 2000, Microsoft made it possible to link the operating system to alternative application programs.
The Windows cryptographic library contains two public keys ; while the first key belongs to Microsoft, the meaning of the second key, which is contained in all versions of Windows since Windows 95 OSR2, was initially unknown. When Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 5 was released and Microsoft forgot to remove the debug symbols , developers noticed the names of the two keys. The first key was called _KEY , the second _NSAKEY . This sparked speculation that the second key belongs to the National Security Agency (NSA), which could use it to sign its own applications and compromise Windows systems. Microsoft later published a press release in which they denied any relation of the NSAKEY key to the NSA authority.
Developers noticed a third key in the beta version of Windows 2000, which surprised even Windows developers. Microsoft emphasized in a press release that this key is being signed by Cryptographic Service Providers for test purposes.
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- Microsoft Windows Desktop Products History
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- win-tools.de - Everything about Windows
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- Microsoft TechNet: Lesson 2 - Windows NT System Overview: What To Do (section One Operating System Running On Multiple Platforms )
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