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Microsoft introduced an operating setting named Windows on Nov twenty, 1985 as a graphical OS shell for MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's pc market with over ninetieth market share, overtaking Macintosh OS that had started to be used in 1984.

As of April 2014, the most recent versions of Windows for server computers, smartphones, personal computers and embedded devices are respectively Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Embedded eight. A specialized version of Windows runs on the Xbox One game console.

The history of Windows dates back to Sep 1981, when Chase Bishop, a man of science, designed the first model of an electronic device and project "Interface Manager". It was then announced publicly in Nov 1983 under the name "Windows", but Windows 1.0 wasn't free till Nov 1985. Windows 1.0 was to vie with Apple's software, however achieved very little quality. Windows 1.0 isn't an entire OS; rather an extension of MS-DOS. The Windows’ 1.0 shell is a program called the MS-DOS executive in the market. A number of components were included, i.e. Calendar, Calculator, Card file, writing board viewer, Notepad, Clock, control panel, Paint and Write.

Windows 2.0 was free in December 1987 and was more popular than its precursor. It features several enhancements to the interface and memory management. Windows 2.03 modified the OS from covered windows to overlapping windows. The results of this modification led to Apple computer filing a suit against Microsoft alleging infringement on Apple's copyrights. Windows 2.0 additionally introduced more subtle keyboard shortcuts and will make use of enlarged memory.

Windows 2.1 was released in 2 completely different versions: Windows/386 and Windows/286. Virtual 8086 mode of Intel 80386 is used by Windows/386 to multitask many DOS programs and also the paged memory model to emulate expanded memory using available extended memory space. In spite of the name, Windows/286 runs on both Intel 80286 and Intel 8086 processors. It runs in real mode however will create use of the high memory space.

Parts from the full package of Windows, there were runtime-only versions that shipped with early Windows software system from third parties and made it attainable to run their Windows software system on MS-DOS and without the full Windows feature set.

The graphical shells are what early versions of Windows are often thought to be, because they mostly ran on MS-DOS top and use it for filing system services. However, also the initial versions of Windows already assumed several typical OS functions; notably, having their own feasible file format and providing their own device drivers (timer, graphics, printer, mouse, keyboard and sound). In contrast to MS-DOS, Windows allowed users to execute multiple graphical applications at constant time, through cooperative multitasking. implemented by Windows was a segment-based, software system virtual memory scheme which was elaborate that permits it to run applications larger than available memory: code segments and resources are swapped in and thrown away once memory became scarce; data segments moved in memory when a given application had relinquished processor management.