The Best Windows Version - From 1.0 to Windows 10
One of the biggest PC-related releases of all time, Windows is a series of operating systems created by Microsoft in 1985, almost 40 years ago. It is the most popular operating system, with over 1 billion powered PCs.
It is hard to establish the number of Windows Operating System versions, but we can also state that 22 is a fair number. If you consider big updates that were not considered new versions, the number can get close to 50.
Among all of these different Windows versions, some will stay in the hearts of PC users forever, such as the rock-solid Windows XP and Windows 7. On the other hand, we will try to forget some others, such as the terrible Windows Vista. Taking a look at the way of Microsoft, RoyalCDKeys decided to make a ranking from the worst to the best version of Windows.
What Matters in the Operating System Ranking
Since the first versions of Windows were released in 1985, it is impossible to make a head-to-head comparison with the OS in the market today. That’s why we must look at each OS separately, considering its impact, improvements, graphic overview for the time, and other aspects. If we don’t, we could list the latest Windows releases from the first to the latest and make everything easier but inaccurate.
Mind that we will be looking for computer-compatible Windows Versions. That way, mobile devices, such as Windows Phone, Windows RT, and others, won’t be considered. Cell phone and tablet users may have their chance at another moment. Server versions of Windows, such as Windows Server, won’t be considered either.
We begin the list with a pretty recent Windows version, and what to say about that? Well, everybody hates it. At the beginning of the 2010s, tablets and smartphones were taking the technology market, completely changing the game. Changes they brought led to what cellphones are today and started building their position. But if there is one thing we can say is that PCs and smartphones don't mix themselves. This statement comes mainly from Windows 8 failure.
Windows 8 came with a design that intended to focus on both desktops and touch screen devices. So, normal laptop and desktop PCs were forced to run software that was not designed for them and didn’t have a good response for the mouse and keyboard. The thing is, it didn’t work that well on a touchscreen device either.
Another thing is that Microsoft saw the money Apple was making by being extremely restrictive with the way their digital apps and extra features were sold and decided to give a lot of focus to the Microsoft Store, copying the formula.
We have to give Microsoft points for the attempt. They saw how tablet and cellphones tendencies were growing and tried to create a version of Windows intended to follow it. Windows 8.1 brought the traditional taskbar, start button, and start menu. Besides that, Windows 8 was stable and speedy. The task manager was updated. Some fans also like the live tiles.
These changes made this version of Windows more usable. But right after Windows 10 release, studies showed that only 14% of Windows users still used Windows 8. Numbers that Windows 10 surpassed one year after its release, and now we know the main reason.
Since we are still at the beginning of the list of the best versions of Windows, we feel free to talk about what is the worst version for many. Windows 8 had the excuse of being something never tried before and innovative, which wasn’t the case for Vista.
Different from Windows 8, the problems of Windows Vista were mainly related to PC performance. It took a whole life even to start, and practically all programs ran far worse. If the predecessor, Windows XP, seemed to turn every device into a gaming PC, this one did the opposite, and gamers suffered a lot as their favorite games simply stopped working.
There was also the necessity for new drivers that, for the reason that only Microsoft can explain, took a whole life to be released. This fact did no good either in terms of performance improvements. Vista was too hard on computers as well. Now, imagine seeing the new OS just doesn’t run on your computer.
Now, with such a complicated OS to run on a computer, Vista should have a lot of features, right? Well, not really… As with every new Microsoft Windows version, this OS had its improvements, but the overall feeling was more enjoyable on Windows 7.
Windows 1.0 - 3.0
The second OS on our list is also the first Microsoft Windows release ever which came as a graphic overlay for MS-DOS and, as such, didn’t have that many features (not saying it had no features at all). MS-DOS users at the time would never imagine what Windows would become in some years.
We put Windows 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 together because even though they are considered different versions of the operating system, they were released within two years. Even though some of them were important, the majority of changes from one to another weren’t that big.
But it was on Windows 2.0 where some of the features we know today were released. For instance, Microsoft released what we know today as apps of Microsoft Office on this version of Windows, with the first appearance of Microsoft Word and Excel. Other improvements were the addition of the calculator, the calendar, and the Paint software.
Here is where things started to get interesting. After Windows 3.0, other operating systems, such as Macintosh OS, gained a big competitor.
It had several graphic improvements compared to the 2.0 Windows version. Some of them were 3D shared-look and new beautiful icons, which seem useless at first sight, but the truth is that a good icon always helps.
Besides that, this system introduced far better memory management, which allowed us to do many more things on our computers. To complete, for the first time, we could play solitaire!
Windows NT 4.0
This is a good example of how good things can be if you focus on simplicity and use the features that are already working. It brought a 32-bit Windows NT Kernel that made the desktop OS user-friendly.
Besides that, Windows NT was a rock-solid and extremely stable system. This ensured the confidence of the general user, especially for business purposes. That’s all; stable and friendly is all we need to say to summarize Windows NT 4.0.
Advancing more than 10 years in time, it is time to talk about Windows 98. Microsoft already had an open eye for the internet and all the possibilities it could bring at the moment of its release.
So, even though it didn’t come first for this OS, it was a major part of it for the first time. Internet Explorer browser was there, and users were starting to witness what the world wide web means, so Windows 98 was designed to focus on better internet connectivity.
Besides that, other improvements were made, such as Windows Driver Module and better USB support. To complete, Windows 98 is still considered the best OS for games by many PC users since it supports DOS games and DirectX-based titles, providing a new gaming experience.
Now, we go back in time to talk about Windows 95. The operating system marked the 10 years of what was already about to become a revolution in terms of PC usage. Windows 95 brought some advancements that are still a part of Windows today. Examples are the taskbar, start menu, start button, and the file explorer, which made the popular OS far more user-friendly than others.
Microsoft knew from the beginning that the start button and start menu were huge advancements. They used the Rolling Stones hit “Start me Up” to announce them. These and many other features made Windows 95 a tremendous success at the time. Studies indicated that in 1999, the operating system owned 65% of the PC market. In the first year of the software, Microsoft company made more than US$ 6 billion.
In 1997, the value surpassed US$ 11 billion. Almost thirty years later, with far more options of software, different services, and possibilities available, no operating system surpasses Windows 95 considering its % peak.
The changes were so significant that they had an additional cost. Many users reported an increase in the number of crashes and bugs, which states that Windows 95 certainly had its flaws. But it is no surprise to say that it is not only the favorite version of most people but also one of the best versions of Windows ever released, keeping in mind the possibilities at the time. We will understand if you're feeling nostalgic right now.
One step closer to the best version of Windows comes Windows 2000. It's not exactly a major release like some other versions of Windows already mentioned here. It was a workstation-oriented version of the OS.
There were two of these released in 2000. Windows Me was built using Windows 95 and 98 code, which ended up becoming one of the worst versions of the software ever made. But we also had Windows 2000, built using Windows NT code.
Windows 3.11 (For Workgroups)
Time to go back to the year 1992 for another version of Windows 3. Today, it would be a little more than an update package, but 20 years ago, it was a major release, sold separately and becoming a huge success. It was Windows 3.1 that paved the Windows way until it became the biggest OS.
It brought some graphical improvements over Windows 3.0. Besides that, it introduced new features, such as TrueType font support and multimedia support, which allowed people to play music files without special software. It also brought the color scheme called Hot Dog Stand.
Everybody that used a computer back in the 90s probably used Windows 3.1, as it ruled from its release, in 1992, until 1995 and kept a good share of users even later. Windows 3.1 sold more than 3 million copies in six weeks.
We finally get to one of the most recent Windows versions. Released in 2015, Windows 10 was a bomb and, after a series of good and bad moments, reminded everyone why Microsoft is the biggest of all companies in terms of OS.
You won’t find a big deal in terms of new features. Start Menu is back once again. It brings very nice pictures that greet us every time we boot the system and a color system we can use to personalize the entire UI.
For sure, we have very stable and mature software. Besides that, it is one of the latest Microsoft’s releases, so we can expect updates and improvements for some time. If you are looking for an excellent OS for PC gaming, you will be happy to discover that Windows 10 has a great performance and doesn’t take much from hard drives.
Windows 10 offers multi-desktop management, allows a new usage of applications, and lets you set up multiple desktops. To complete, you can use task view, snap assist the remote desktop to create and run virtual machines.
Of course, Windows 10 has some flaws, such as the complexity of the settings menu, but it’s a matter of getting used to it. Thus, if you don’t have this Microsoft software, we recommend upgrading. You can go for Windows 10 Home or Windows Pro edition, as they have similar properties, and the differences won’t be that huge. The best is that you can get both keys for a fraction of the retail price with RoyalCDKeys!
And we finally get to Windows XP – for some time and for many people, the best version of the software ever released by Microsoft. Stable, fast, and beautiful, Windows XP had almost everything users needed back then. When Microsoft stopped supporting it in 2014 (close to Windows 10 release), the software had already sold more than 500 million copies.
For a long time, Windows XP was in higher demand than Windows 8, even though it was released many years later. Only that should be enough for younger users to understand how good it was. Windows XP became really popular after its second pack, where Windows Firewall was enabled by default.
Windows XP represented a golden era for Internet Explorer and web usage in general. MSN, MySpace, Limewire, Winamp, and many other sites and apps were in their prime. Besides that, this unique OS was the home of a list of incredible software and features that changed the way we used computers – for instance, Windows Media Player and Windows Movie Maker.
Since then, we can download updates or fix bugs. We also got USB 2.0 support and wi-fi security mode included.
For almost 9 years, Windows XP was the best of Microsoft's software. It ruled even after the release of Windows Vista, which came six years later (it took more than three or four years for Microsoft to make a new OS software).
The reign of Windows XP ended after the release of the only one that, for some users, could surpass Windows XP. It is time to talk about it right now.
And we finally get here. The one that still, for around 13 years, is the best Windows software ever released. I still couldn’t say if Windows 7 deserves this position for its own merit or because, after two long years, Windows 7 came to replace and save us from Windows Vista.
Windows 7 is incredible because it gathers years of advancement made by Microsoft and puts everything together at our hand. It’s been successful in something Windows Vista failed completely: quality, freedom, and performance.
Forget about the extensive and exhaustive control Microsoft accounts had. Forget the exaggerated time needed even to start up the computer. Forget about all the performance flaws and unnecessary computer security protocols. Windows 7 was clean, beautiful, stable, and extremely permissive, nothing like Vista and its number of bugs.
The few improvements everybody liked on Vista, such as the Start Menu and the taskbar, were kept. We could also pin icons to the taskbar. Jumplists provide fast access to features on the programs on the taskbar. Libraries usage made it far easier to group files together in Windows Explorer, so the traditional “My Documents” folder wouldn’t hold you back anymore.
Windows key that helped users to find the location and open the window of each program was pretty great. All the other shortcuts on the keyboard were the best option for every user that wanted quick access to almost any program and also for good management of different tasks.
To complete, Windows 7 has a clean start menu, different from any other after it. No announcements, no cloud connection-related tasks, and much more privacy. It makes you feel your computer is in your hands, not Microsoft’s.
Where Does Windows 11 Come In?
As you advanced through the article, you may have missed some comments regarding Windows 11 position on the ranking. So far, it seems we can, for sure, expect to have it somewhere on the list as it gives no sign of being even closely as bad as Windows 8 and Windows Vista. On the contrary, it has some great features that could easily grant it a good position.
Some of these features, for instance, are all the integration with Xbox Games and how it connects to the whole Windows Ecosystem. A great upgrade that made gamers happy. So why we didn’t bother to put it somewhere?
Well, note that Windows 11 was recently released, coming live at the end of 2021, and we simply haven’t yet had time, enough patches, and enough changes to properly qualify it. So, we kept Windows 11 from the list instead of making an unfair judgment.
Anyway, if you want to try and install Windows 11, it’s no wrong call. The software has good functionality and, depending on the Windows version you are upgrading from, will be full of new technologies.
Is it a Problem to Still Use Old Windows Versions?
Well, we know how hard it can be to leave OS like Windows XP or Windows 7 behind. However, without Microsoft’s support, these versions of Windows may have serious compatibility problems with a new PC, no matter if it is a laptop or desktop.
Also, they are not secure and are vulnerable to viruses, malware, and hackers. To properly ensure the security of your PC, you will need a newer edition of Windows. Old settings, bugs, and low speed may also be a problem.
RoyalCDKeys: The Place to Get a New Windows
If you’re looking for a Windows upgrade, mind that you can avoid the higher prices commonly found on MS Store or in the traditional retail stores here and there. That’s because RoyalCDKeys offers safe and working keys for both Windows 10 and Windows 11, which are very good OS and will be supported for a long time. All of that with the best prices you will find.
Now, you already have the complete list and know how well most of Microsoft’s OS operated in their times. Besides that, you know where to look if you’re considering upgrading your system. With nothing else to say, remember you can always look in RoyalCDKeys for more information, tips, guides, and lists about Operating Systems, antiviruses, and Office plans!