Tag Archives: Windows


Anniversary of Windows Server 2003

 

April 24th 2003 saw the release of Windows Server 2003 by Microsoft, with the server operating platform set to provide greater performance and scalability compared to Windows 2000, its predecessor. At the same time as Windows Server 2003 Microsoft also launched Visual Studio .Net 2003 and the Enterprise Edition of SQL Server 2000, in turn enabling users to increase productivity with a more cost effective and reliable solution, as well as benefiting from a 30% increase in infrastructure efficiency that this new release offered over Windows NT 4.0

 

Following its beta version success, feedback confirmed that through Windows Server 2003 Microsoft were able to provide deployment cost reductions of up to 50% whilst providing a 40% increase in stability for some companies when compared to Windows NT 4.0.  Other benefits reported included a reduction of up to 30% in relation to the number of servers needed to achieve the same workload throughput with some customers also benefitting from a 20% reduction in management costs.

 

Windows Server 2003 was the first server designed to support Intel Itanium 64-bit systems and therefore able to serve high levels of demand and business workloads.  It offered increased scalability for those who needed it as well as a solution to meet the needs of the small business with simplicity and ease of use key features of the release.

 

Over 5,000 developers and 2,500 testers were involved in its production, Microsoft implemented 650 advancements and enhancements with Windows Server 2003 including increased security with changes made to default installation components and the IIS web server rewrite, as well as the first of Microsoft’s operating systems to be included in its Trustworthy Computing initiative, which it set up to address concerns regarding privacy, security and public confidence in the industry.  Further developments were evident in terms of improvements to Message Queuing, the Active Directory and Group Policy.  The Automated System Recovery which replaced rescue disk creation together with enhanced back up and disk management features were also included.  Greater management functionality was offered with the Manage Your Server Tool for administrators and support for watchdog timer for the restarting of a server was also included.

 

Microsoft offered Windows Server 2003 in five editions Web, Standard, Enterprise, Datacentre and Small Business and on December 6 2005, Windows Server 2003 RS was subsequently made available.

 

Windows Server 2003 would be succeeded by Windows Server 2008 following its release by Microsoft on 4th February 2008.

 

Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1jA2DPF


A Look Back at Windows 2000

 

Today marks the 14th Anniversary of the release by Microsoft of Windows 2000.  Windows 2000 succeeded Windows NT 4.0, and was referred to as Windows 5.0 during its development.  It would prove to be the last release by Microsoft under its Windows NT umbrella with Windows XP released the following year in October.

 

Having been designed to replace Windows 95, 98 and Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000 offered increased reliability, greater ease of use, as well as improved support for mobile computing and internet compatibility. Windows 2000 allowed for easier hardware installation for its users as it now supported a vast array of Plug and Play hardware including wireless and networking devices, as well as USBs and infrared equipment.  Through Windows 2000 Microsoft also introduced support for operation system level hibernation without the need for special drivers as in previous releases.

 

With greater reliability and security key features of Windows 2000, Microsoft included Windows File Protection for the first time, to protect core files and prevent programs replacing them.  Microsoft also gave us the MMC Microsoft Management Console and Logical Disk Manager capability for dynamic storage, in addition to features such as Internet Explorer 5 and Windows Desktop Update now introduced into the NT line.

 

With personalised menus, expandable special folders and the ability to launch multiple programs from the Start Menus, a Re-sort button also allowed files to be sorted by name.  Windows 2000 also introduced us to visual improvements such as fade transition effects, with layered windows that were transparent, and supported balloon notification in the Taskbar.  With a default-enabled interactive Media Player for previewing video and sound files, additional assistive technologies for those with disabilities were also included by Microsoft.

 

Subtle logo changes and the addition of a melodic piano tune were added for start-up and shut-down also featured in the release.

 

Windows 2000 was made more accessible to those with visual and hearing impairments as well as other disabilities through the addition of assistive technologies, FilterKeys included SoundSentry which show a visual effect when sound is played, ToggleKeys with sound indicating when Caps, Number or Scroll Lock are pressed together with BounceKeys, SlowKeys and Repeat Keys offering further assistance. Serial Keys allowed for speech augmentation device support, with the Microsoft Narrator screen reader also offered for the first time, together with a screen magnifier.

 

Available in 4 editions, Windows 2000 was an instant hit with Microsoft reporting that over 1million units were sold within the first month of its release.

 

Image Credit: http://bit.ly/1eLZWYP


A look back at Windows Vista

 

 

7 years ago today, one of the most eagerly anticipated Windows products became available for general purchase – Windows Vista. Unfortunately, the OS didn’t have the impact that Microsoft had hoped for – instead of a positive product that could only build on the successes of XP, Vista was met with a backlash of criticism and unflattering reviews, centred largely around performance and cost. It’s predecessor, Windows 7, was released not even 3 years later, and even though some said this was rushed through development, it was still met with a better reception than Vista.

 

So what made Vista so unpopular? It had a lot of new features and upgraded programs, including Windows Media Player 11, IE7, instant search, the Aero interface, Windows Mail and newly designed games, including some for younger children, a feature XP was lacking. Well, cost for one thing. Whilst the costs to buy Vista in a package new weren’t highly expensive in the US for the time, in the UK the equivalent versions cost almost double, as well as in Canada. Additionally, Microsoft boasted that Vista would be able to run on nearly any PC on the market – a claim that backfired as a lot of the “premium” features, such as Aero, required very high specs to run properly, and were very buggy on PCs that did not meet requirements.
Windows XP diehard fans were also unimpressed with Vista. A lot of the features that made XP work well had been removed or redesigned in Vista, leaving users confused about the reasons why, and also how to work their machines.

 

Removed/replaced features included:
•    Windows Messenger
•    MSN Explorer
•    Active Desktop
•    NetMeeting – replace with Windows Meeting Space
•    Luna theme, and other classic colour schemes
•    Windows Explorer features

 

So what was good about Vista? There are several elements that did make up for Vista’s problems, including:
•    Search in Start Menu – This makes using the OS a lot easier, and saves time
•    Voice recognition – great for timesaving, and also easy to use in meetings.
•    Different volume settings for different programs – speaks for itself
•    Number of items being dragged in a drag and drop multi-function command – only a small thing, but lets you know you have selected the right number of items

 

So, what were your thoughts on Vista when it was released? Did you buy it and regret it? Were you one of the ones who liked Vista and kept it when 7 came out? Let us know in the comments…

7 years ago today, one of the most eagerly anticipated Windows products became available for general purchase – Windows Vista. Unfortunately, the OS didn’t have the impact that Microsoft had hoped for – instead of a positive product that could only build on the successes of XP, Vista was met with a backlash of criticism and unflattering reviews, centred largely around performance and cost. It’s predecessor, Windows 7, was released not even 3 years later, and even though some said this was rushed through development, it was still met with a better reception than Vista.

So what made Vista so unpopular? It had a lot of new features and upgraded programs, including Windows Media Player 11, IE7, instant search, the Aero interface, Windows Mail and newly designed games, including some for younger children, a feature XP was lacking. Well, cost for one thing. Whilst the costs to buy Vista in a package new weren’t highly expensive in the US for the time, in the UK the equivalent versions cost almost double, as well as in Canada. Additionally, Microsoft boasted that Vista would be able to run on nearly any PC on the market – a claim that backfired as a lot of the “premium” features, such as Aero, required very high specs to run properly, and were very buggy on PCs that did not meet requirements.

Windows XP diehard fans were also unimpressed with Vista. A lot of the features that made XP work well had been removed or redesigned in Vista, leaving users confused about the reasons why, and also how to work their machines.

Removed/replaced features included:

· Windows Messenger

· MSN Explorer

· Active Desktop

· NetMeeting – replace with Windows Meeting Space

· Luna theme, and other classic colour schemes

· Windows Explorer features

So what was good about Vista? There are several elements that did make up for Vista’s problems, including:

· Search in Start Menu – This makes using the OS a lot easier, and saves time

· Voice recognition – great for timesaving, and also easy to use in meetings.

· Different volume settings for different programs – speaks for itself

· Number of items being dragged in a drag and drop multi-function command – only a small thing, but lets you know you have selected the right number of items

So, what were your thoughts on Vista when it was released? Did you buy it and regret it? Were you one of the ones who liked Vista and kept it when 7 came out? Let us know in the comments…


Windows 1.0

Happy Anniversary Microsoft Windows 1.0

November 20th 1985 marks the 28th Anniversary of the release of Windows 1.0, Microsoft’s first version of an operating system which supported multi-tasking together with a graphic interface for PC’s.  Microsoft’s working name for this new operating system was Interface Manager, but they replaced the name to reflect the new multiple computing windows which the system featured.

 

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Bill Gates – 58 Years of Success

With Bill Gates celebrating his 58th birthday this month, we’ve taken the opportunity to reflect on some of the biggest creations offered by Gates, which have formed part of the Microsoft portfolio.

Windows 95

Following its initial launch of Windows in November 1995, one of Microsoft’s biggest commercial successes would be with Windows 95. Now dating back some 18 years following its release in August 1995, the advancements made by Microsoft with this operating system allowed for the successful integration of both Windows and MS-DOS, with the graphical user interface providing for ease of use and the inclusion of new features such as the taskbar, start menu and the ability to close, minimize and maximize each window. Windows 95 quickly became the market leader, having sold over 7 million copies in its first five weeks of sales, helped in part by the extensive advertising campaign which launched the product including the Rolling Stones song Start Me Up featuring in commercials, with the Empire State Building also lit up with the colours which feature in the Windows logo.

Microsoft Office

With the first version of Microsoft Office featuring only Word, Excel and PowerPoint and dating back to November 1990, it would be Microsoft Office 3.0 which would allow the application to be installed from CD-ROMS for the first time, with the addition of features such as Microsoft Mail to the offering. Microsoft Office 4.3 would also see the first inclusion of Access to the Pro Edition. Microsoft Office 97 would contain a vast number of additional improvements and would see the first appearance of the Office Assistant. Office has come a long way with today’s packages offering the user a wealth of applications, as well as SharePoint workspace in its latest version, Microsoft Office 2013.

Xbox

Microsoft’s game console Xbox hit the shelves in the USA in November 2001, with Europe having to wait until March the following year to try it out.  Launched to rival the PlayStation 2, the Xbox would achieve phenomenal success going on to sell over 24 million consoles.  With Xbox Live available from Microsoft bringing a new dimension to game play following its release in November 2002, Microsoft continued to grow the Xbox brand with Xbox 360 appearing in November 2005 taking on the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3.  With the Xbox 360 again proving a massive success with over 78 million units sold, we are left eagerly awaiting the launch of Xbox One on November 22nd this year.

Internet Explorer

Following Bill Gates’ famous memo The Internet Tidal Wave, which acknowledged the significance and importance that the development of the internet posed, Microsoft launched Internet Explorer in August 1995, it took the form of an adapted version of Mosaic which was on license by Microsoft from Spyglass Inc. at the time. Microsoft’s web browser would prove to be hugely popular with the majority of the market share.  With direct competition from the likes of Google Chrome and Firefox which joined the market later, Internet Explorer still maintains a significant market share, with Internet Explorer 11 having been released in October 2013.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Founded in 1997 and one of Gates’ biggest personal creations, is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which focusses on ways to globally support and improve in areas such as extreme poverty and healthcare.  The Foundation offers significant support in the fight against Malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS and well as working to eradicate Polio.   The Foundation’s work also includes a Global Development Programme, and a United States Programme, the latter of which covers support for Schools and Universities including the funding of buildings and also offers scholarships.  Bill Gates has donated in the region of $28billion of his personal fortune to the Foundation, as stated in a recent Bloomberg report, and the amazing work carried out by the Foundation on a worldwide basis, has helped countless individuals to achieve a better life.

Image Credit:
http://bit.ly/153jjfm


10 Years today since the release of Windows NT

 

 

On 27th July 1993 Microsoft unveiled their brand new operating system, WindowsNT. This was the most advanced and powerful operating system which had ever been released. WindowsNT shared some similarities to UNIX. UNIX was another operating system which was first developed in the late 60s, it showed a lot of potential and was very advanced for its time.

 

It is believed that the idea for the name “NT” was taken from an early Intel processor, the Intel i860 which was code-named “N-Ten”. For marketing purposes Microsoft expanded the NT name to “New Technology”, but never carried it further to have any particular meaning, but still regard new systems to have been “Built on NT Technology”.

 

WindowsNT was a significant improvement to the previous version that was MS-DOS based, as this was the first fully 32-bit version of Windows, meaning that this was a much more powerful system as for the earlier versions only being able to process 16-bit.

 

WindowsNT was a huge stepping stone for Microsoft because this was the first of the operating systems for what all of the systems after were based on.

 

Almost exactly 3 years after the initial release of WindowsNT, NT 4.0 was released on July 29th 1996, introducing Windows Explorer which included the Taskbar and Start Menu that featured on Windows 95, 98 and 2000.

 

Windows 2000 experienced a lot of problems and also the “millennium bug” that caused many faults with the operating system, Microsoft worked on the problem quickly and just a year later they resolved all the issues and in October 2001 Microsoft released Windows XP, which is considered the best operating system Microsoft have done, even as today with Windows 7 and 8 out. XP is still used by a minority today mostly by choice.

 

Windows has come a long way since the first initial NT release, with the greatly powerful Windows 7 and 8 used by millions around the world with its option to upgrade to its powerful 64-bit versions which opens up a nearly infinite amount of opportunities, through hardware upgrades to extending software to endless capabilities to which we have yet to experience. With the release of 64-bit is only a matter of time before some brilliant mind is able to fully optimise this system to extraordinary levels of achievements. Windows 7 and 8 are only a very small percentage of what to expect out of 64-bit operating systems.

 

Here is a table showing how Windows has developed over the years in RAM capabilities and how 32-bit has reached the limit of what can be achieved, 64-bit showing how it’s improved and still has so much more to come:

 

Operating System RAM limit 32-bit RAM limit 64-Bit
 

First Windows NT to 4.1 release

 

64 MB

 

Windows XP 4 GB 128 GB
Windows Vista 4 GB 128 GB
Windows 7 4 GB 192 GB
Windows 8 4 GB 512 GB

 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/83/Windows_logo_and_wordmark_-_2012.svg


Events in Computing History – July

Another month, another set of significant events in the history of computing and web browsing.

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