Complete List of Windows Versions and History

The Windows operating system has been around since 1985 when Windows 1.01 was first launched to the public. It has since come a long way and has now evolved into Windows 11 (the current latest Windows OS).

Not only that, but each Windows also had sub-variations of these versions, which were introduced with major bi-annual feature updates. For example, Windows 10 has versions 21H2, 21H1, and many others.

This post lists the complete timeline and highlights the significant details of each Windows version released from the beginning of time.

Windows Timeline

The image below is an illustration of the different Windows versions and their release point in time.

Windows Versions Timeline 1
Timeline representation of all Windows versions

Windows History

The table below briefly describes the important aspects of each of the Windows operating systems along with some other useful information.

NameCodenameRelease yearVersionEditionsCurrently SupportedDetails
Windows 1.01Interface Manager19851.01NoThe first client Windows OS introduced the MS-DOS Executive
Windows 1.0219861.02No
Windows 1.0319861.03No2 moderately-different versions exist with a difference in the USER.EXE file
Windows 1.0419871.04NoAdditional support for IBM drivers
Windows 2.0119872.01NoIntroduced overlapping, resizable windows and could run multiple DOS applications simultaneously
Windows 2.0319872.03NoIntroduced 386 enhanced mode, which allows Windows to use memory beyond 640k
Windows 2.119882.1NoRequired hard disk drives to take advantage of some Intel processors
Windows 2.1119892.11NoAppleTalk support and faster printing with updated printer drivers
Windows 3.019903.0NoA new, colorful user interface introduced
Windows 3.119923.1NoMore stable and faster
Windows 3.1Winball / Sparta19923.1Windows for WorkgroupsNoIncludes native networking support and introduced the Hearts card game
Windows NT 3.1Razzle1993NT 3.1NoThe first OS with 32-bit architecture
Windows 3.1119933.11NoMostly containing bug fixes and improvements; no major new features
Windows 3.11Snowball19933.11Windows for WorkgroupsNoMostly focused on 32-bit networking: 32-bit file access and 32-bit full network redirectors
Windows 3.219933.2NoFocused on Simplified Chinese language
Windows NT 3.5Daytona1994NT 3.5Windows NT 3.5 WorkstationNoIncluded Winsock and TCP/IP support
Windows NT 3.51Daytona1995NT 3.51Windows NT 3.51 WorkstationNoProvides client/server support for interoperating with Windows 95
Windows 95Chicago19954.00NoDrastically improved GUI and plug-and-play capabilities
Windows NT 4.0Shell Update Release1996NT 4.0Windows NT 4.0 WorkstationNoIntroduced the concept of system policies
Windows 98Memphis19984.10NoMajor cosmetic UI upgrades, highly web integrated
Windows 98 Second Edition (SE)19994.10NoMostly included bug fixes and minor improvements. IE 4.0 was replaced with IE 5.0
Windows 2000Windows NT 5.02000NT 5.0Windows 2000 ProfessionalNoIntroduced NTFS 3.0, Encrypting File System, basic and dynamic disk storage
Windows MEMillennium20004.90NoInitially included IE 5.5, Windows Movie Maker. Designed for home users
Windows XPWhistler2001NT 5.1Starter, Home, professional, 64-Bit EditionNoIncreased performance and stability, intuitive UI, improved hardware support, expanded multimedia capabilities
Windows XPFreestyle2002NT 5.1Media Center EditionNoInclusion of the Windows Media Center
Windows XPHarmony2003NT 5.1Media Center Edition 2004NoWindows XP Service Pack 2 upgrades earlier versions of MCE to this one
Windows XPSymphony2004NT 5.1Media Center Edition 2005NoIncludes support for Media Center Extenders, and CD/DVD-Video burning support
Windows XPEmerald2005NT 5.1Media Center Edition 2005 Update Rollup 2NoAdds support for the Xbox 360 as a media center extender, DVB-T broadcasts, and two ATSC tuner cards
Windows XPAnvil2005NT 5.2Professional x64 EditionNo
Windows VistaLonghorn2007NT 6.0Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, UltimateNoUpdated GUI, Windows Search, redesigned networking, audio, print, and display sub-systems
Windows 72009NT 6.1Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, UltimateNoTouch and handwriting recognition improvements, support for virtual hard disks, improved multi-core processor performance, improved boot performance, DirectAccess, and kernel improvements
Windows 82012NT 6.2Professional, EnterpriseNoMajor changes to the UI, optimized for tablets, touch-optimized Windows shell
Windows 8.1Blue2013NT 6.3Professional, EnterpriseYesadditional customization options for Start menu, Start button on the desktop restored, ability to snap up to four apps on display, ability to boot directly to desktop
Windows 8.1Blue2014NT 6.3Windows 8.1 with BingYesBing-based unified search system was added
Windows 10 v1507Threshold2015NT 10.0Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise, Pro for Workstations, Pro Education, S, Enterprise LTSCNoSignificant changes to the UI and OS functionality, offered in various editions
Windows 10 v1511Threshold 220151511Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise, Pro for Workstations, Pro Education, S, Enterprise LTSCNoPreinstalled Skype, Microsoft Edge synchronization capability, tab previews in Edge
Windows 10 v1607Redstone 120161607Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise, Pro for Workstations, Pro Education, S, Enterprise LTSCNoVisual and functional improvements
Windows 10 v1703Redstone 220171703Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise, Pro for Workstations, Pro Education, S, Enterprise LTSCNoVisual and functional improvements
Windows 10 v1709Redstone 320171709Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise, Pro for Workstations, Pro Education, S, Enterprise LTSCNoVisual and functional improvements
Windows 10 v1803Redstone 420181803Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise, Pro for Workstations, Pro Education, S, Enterprise LTSCNoVisual and functional improvements
Windows 10 v1809Redstone 520181809Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise, Pro for Workstations, Pro Education, S, Enterprise LTSCNoVisual and functional improvements
Windows 10 v1903Vanadium20191903Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise, Pro for Workstations, Pro Education, S, Enterprise LTSCNoLight theme introduced, separate Search and Cortana, Windows Sandbox, recommended troubleshooting tips
Windows 10 v1909Vibranium20191909Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise, Pro for Workstations, Pro Education, S, Enterprise LTSCNoCreate events from Calendar flyout, improved notification management, OneDrive integration with File Explorer search
Windows 10 v2004Vibranium20202004Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise, Pro for Workstations, Pro Education, S, Enterprise LTSCNoBetter Your Phone experience, DirectX 12 Ultimate, WSL 2
Windows 10 v20H2Vibranium202020H2Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise, Pro for Workstations, Pro Education, S, Enterprise LTSCYesChromium-based Microsoft Edge, theme-aware Start menu tiles, other improvements
Windows 10 v21H1Vibranium202121H1Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise, Pro for Workstations, Pro Education, S, Enterprise LTSCYesNews and Interests in taskbar, improvements to Windows Defender (now Windows Security)
Windows 10 v21H2Vibranium202121H2Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise, Pro for Workstations, Pro Education, S, Enterprise LTSCYesSupport for Wi-Fi 6E, new simplified passwordless deployment modes for Windows Hello for Business
Windows 11 v21H2Sun Valley202121H2Home, Pro, Education, Pro Education, Pro for Workstations, Enterprise, SEYesMajor UI changes, modern look, widgets included, integrated Microsoft Teams, redesigned taskbar, updated backgrounds
All Microsoft Windows OS details

The table above depicts all the significant changes as well as the release details of individual Windows versions since Microsoft first launched the operating system back in 1985.

Let us now categorize these operating systems so that their hierarchy is easier to understand.

Note: The “X” in the table denotes an empty integer as part of the complete Windows version.

Sr. No.DOS-basedWindows 9XWindows NT
1Windows 1.0XWindows 95NT 3.1
2Windows 2.0XWindows 98NT 3.5
3Windows 1.2XWindows MENT 3.51
4Windows 3.0NT 4.0
5Windows 3.1X2000
6XP
7Vista
8Windows 7
9Windows 8
10Windows 8.1
11Windows 10
12Windows 11
Microsoft operating systems categorization

Closing Words

Microsoft has made functional, cosmetic, and infrastructural changes to the Windows operating system since it was first released. They have been working on making it the top OS for consumers, continuously enhancing the user experience through feedback and testing through the Insider program.

That said, we hope that the images and tables above reduce the complication of understanding the Windows hierarchy.

Also see:

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.