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About microsoft windows operating systems

Balance work and family

See how multitasking parents use Windows 10 to get it all done.

Stay connected

See how professionals work effectively in a remote world.

Create. Teach. Learn.

See how you can share your craft in a remote world.

Home & family resources

Discover free Microsoft tools, tips, and resources that can help you connect, work, learn, and play at home.

You can count on Windows 10

People all over the world depend on Windows 10 for many different reasons. Here are a handful of things we’re proud to keep on delivering.

Get things done

Windows 10 has innovations from touch screen 2 support to features that help you focus and create.

All-encompassing security included

Windows 10 comes with a comprehensive suite of antivirus, firewall, ransomware protection, and Internet features, built-in with no extra cost to you. 1

New games for family night

There’s a wide variety of games available on Windows 10—the most popular PC gaming platform on the planet. 3

Windows 10 for each of us

Whether you have a disability, a personal preference, or a unique work style, Windows 10 adapts to you.

Need a larger screen? A brighter screen? A narrator to read text? Find out about accessibility tools and features for people who are blind, color blind, or have low vision.

For those who are hard of hearing, have hearing loss, or have deafness, our specialized features can provide solutions including closed captioning, mono sound, and live call transcription.

Innovative tools such as dictation and Windows Hello sign-in can make the digital world more accessible for those who live with dyslexia, seizures, autism, or other cognitive differences.

Our applications for people living with learning disabilities can help increase focus, concentration, and understanding—and include tools to improve reading and writing skills.

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Our suite of products helps people living with arthritis, quadriplegia, spinal cord injuries, and other mobility issues to navigate the digital world in non-traditional ways.

Unlock the best Microsoft 365 has to offer! Now with added benefits from Microsoft partners.

As a benefit of your subscription, access over $500 in unique offers available from our partners.

Bring your ideas to life

Choose from thousands of curated stock images, icons, and fonts to add your own flair quickly and beautifully.

Organize your time

Manage multiple calendars in one view, sort through emails quickly with Focused Inbox, and use Suggested Replies to instantly hit send and move on.

Sharing made simple

Share OneDrive documents from your PC or mobile device and let friends, classmates, or family view, make suggestions, edit, or collaborate in real time.

Protect what’s important

Get 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage. That’s 300,000 photos, plus all your documents, 4 that you can access, edit, and share across all your devices—all while knowing your files are backed up and protected.

Thousands of apps

Work, play, create, stream, meet, share, and more with thousands of trusted apps from the Microsoft Store. All of them have been scanned for malware, so you can download anything worry-free. 5

Compare Windows 10 Home vs. Pro

Find the right fit for your needs. Whether it’s Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro, see which version is better for you.

The best Windows ever keeps getting better

Windows 10 is fundamentally fast and familiar, safe and secure, and has features that allow you to be more creative and productive.

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Windows 10 Pro works for you

If you run a small business and want enhanced functionality, Windows 10 Pro is designed for how you work.

Make the switch to a Windows 10 PC

Powerful productivity. Great battery life. Long lasting. And a beautiful touch screen to boot. 2

Find the computer that’s best for you

Now more than ever PCs are more powerful and innovative—just like Windows 10. And no matter your budget or need, there are plenty to choose from.

Need help choosing a computer?

We’re here to help! Answer a few questions and find the right Windows 10 computers for you.

Microsoft Windows

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

Microsoft Windows, also called Windows and Windows OS, computer operating system (OS) developed by Microsoft Corporation to run personal computers (PCs). Featuring the first graphical user interface (GUI) for IBM-compatible PCs, the Windows OS soon dominated the PC market. Approximately 90 percent of PCs run some version of Windows.

The first version of Windows, released in 1985, was simply a GUI offered as an extension of Microsoft’s existing disk operating system, or MS-DOS. Based in part on licensed concepts that Apple Inc. had used for its Macintosh System Software, Windows for the first time allowed DOS users to visually navigate a virtual desktop, opening graphical “windows” displaying the contents of electronic folders and files with the click of a mouse button, rather than typing commands and directory paths at a text prompt.

Subsequent versions introduced greater functionality, including native Windows File Manager, Program Manager, and Print Manager programs, and a more dynamic interface. Microsoft also developed specialized Windows packages, including the networkable Windows for Workgroups and the high-powered Windows NT, aimed at businesses. The 1995 consumer release Windows 95 fully integrated Windows and DOS and offered built-in Internet support, including the World Wide Web browser Internet Explorer.

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With the 2001 release of Windows XP, Microsoft united its various Windows packages under a single banner, offering multiple editions for consumers, businesses, multimedia developers, and others. Windows XP abandoned the long-used Windows 95 kernel (core software code) for a more powerful code base and offered a more practical interface and improved application and memory management. The highly successful XP standard was succeeded in late 2006 by Windows Vista, which experienced a troubled rollout and met with considerable marketplace resistance, quickly acquiring a reputation for being a large, slow, and resource-consuming system. Responding to Vista’s disappointing adoption rate, Microsoft in 2009 released Windows 7, an OS whose interface was similar to that of Vista but was met with enthusiasm for its noticeable speed improvement and its modest system requirements.

Windows 8 in 2012 offered a start screen with applications appearing as tiles on a grid and the ability to synchronize settings so users could log on to another Windows 8 machine and use their preferred settings. In 2015 Microsoft released Windows 10, which came with Cortana, a digital personal assistant like Apple’s Siri, and the Web browser Microsoft Edge, which replaced Internet Explorer. Microsoft also announced that Windows 10 would be the last version of Windows, meaning that users would receive regular updates to the OS but that no more large-scale revisions would be done.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen, Corrections Manager.

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