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History of Microsoft Windows Part III
Windows 3.0 to Windows 2000

Start Part One The History of Microsoft Windows
Part Two Getting the Bugs Out

On May 22, 1990, the critically accepted Windows 3.0 was released. Windows 3.0 had an improved program manager and icon system, a new file manager, support for sixteen colors, and improved speed and reliability. Most important, Windows 3.0 gained widespread third-party support. Programmers started writing Windows-compatible software, giving end users a reason to buy Windows 3.0. Three million copies were sold the first year, and Windows finally came of age.

On April 6, 1992, Windows 3.1 was released. Three million copies were sold in the first two months. TrueType scalable font support was added, along with multimedia capability, object linking and embedding (OLE), application reboot capability, and more. Windows 3.x became the number one operating system installed in PCs until 1997, when Windows 95 took over.

On August 24, 1995, Windows 95 was released in a buying fever so great that even consumers without home computers bought copies of the program.  Code-named Chicago, Windows 95 was considered very user-friendly. It included an integrated TCP/IP stack, dial-up networking, and long filename support. It was also the first version of Windows that did not require MS-DOS to be installed beforehand.

On June 25, 1998, Microsoft released Windows 98. It was the last version of Windows based on the MS-DOS kernel. Windows 98 has Microsoft's Internet browser "Internet Explorer 4" built in and supports the new input devices like USB.

Windows 2000 was based on Microsoft's NT technology, and Microsoft offered automatic software updates over the Internet. We can expect to see a greater user of speech and facial recognition in future versions of Windows. Computer users will soon control their computers without even touching a keyboard or mouse.

Further Reading
Articles on the history of Windows, Microsoft and Bill Gates.
Inventors of the Modern Computer Series
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