Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Windows is a name which refers to a series of OSes from Microsoft. Early versions were strictly targeted at low-end home computers, while more recent versions have begun tackling the server market. The Windows family of products is the most commonly used operating system on the planet today. While there are many obvious benefits to this, due to it's reptutation for instability and insecurity, many regard this as something of a curse (although realistically the vast majority of computer users neither know nor care about alternatives, and it is questionable whether the alternatives would fare much better with truly widespread deployment). Early versions were based on DOS underpinnings, although the most recent versions no longer contain any legacy code. The following list roughly outlines the evolution of the operating system from it's earliest, relatively unused versions through the current server-oriented releases:

The primary interface for all recent releases of the OS is a GUI which is similar to virtually every GUI in use today. The OS provides excellent "out of the box" support for a staggering variety of hardware.

Most versions of Windows have an unfortunate (though probably not undeserved) reputation for being insecure and buggy. Part of this is based in simple fact, while parts can be attributed to a side-effect of the popularity of the OS. If more people run it, and more applications are written for it, then failures are more likely to appear, and more people will expend effort to attack it. Recent releases show significantly better stability, although Microsoft's true commitment to security is still questionable at best.

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