Windows XP (including Windows NT and 2000) Help

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Cover of May 1987 issue of Microsoft Systems Journal

Windows 7 (as it is now known) began life back in the late 1980s when IBM and Microsoft developed a new protected mode operating system that they called OS/2 (to distinguish it from their first operating system DOS). Version one of this new operating system was finally released to the public in 1987 (the May 1987 issue of Microsoft Systems Journal dealt almost exclusively with the new operating system and the cover of this issue is reproduced below).

Following the IBM/Microsoft split in 1989, Microsoft renamed version two of the operating system Windows NT 3.1 to try to cash in on their graphical user interface Windows 3.1. In reality the two products were very different creations and Windows NT failed to catch on as well as Microsoft had hoped. Further enhancements to Windows NT improved its stability and Windows NT 3.5 began to gain support at the top end of the market.

Microsoft introduced version 7 of their DOS operating system under the name Windows 95 with the biggest advertising campaign ever for an operating system. This new version of DOS copied the OS/2 style of desktop and was much easier to use than previous versions. Microsoft soon followed this with a new third version of Windows NT called NT4 with the same style of interface. This version was released in two variants called Server and Workstation.

Microsoft further enhanced the graphical interface of DOS releasing subsequent versions called Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, and finally Windows ME. Many of the upgrades to the interface made during these upgrades was also applied to the fourth version of Windows NT which was renamed to Windows 2000 just prior to release. Windows 2000 was made available in a number of different server variants Data Server, Advanced Server, and Server; as well as the workstation variant now renamed Professional.

The next version of Windows NT (version five) was renamed yet again to Windows XP. This version is available in home and professional variants and is intended as a replacement for both Windows 2000 Professional and Windows ME. Version six came out with the name Vista and version seven simply uses the version number to identify itself.

The server variants have been released more recently under the name Windows 2003 and Windows 2008.

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