Chronology of Microsoft Windows Operating Systems

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References are numbered in [brackets], which are listed here. A number after the dot gives the page in the source.

Last updated: 2022 April 29.


January 5
  • At the Consumer Electronics Show, Bill Gates announces a new version of Windows CE called Pocket PC. [1559]
January 24
  • Compaq Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Dell Computer, IBM, Gateway, and other companies begin selling computers running Windows 2000 operating system. [1559]
February 3
  • Microsoft announces its next consumer operating system will be called Windows Me, short for Windows Millenium Edition. [1559]
February 17
  • In San Francisco, California, Microsoft unveils the Windows 2000 operating system. Upgrade price is US$189 from Windows 95 or Windows 98, or US$129 from Windows NT. (1.5 million copies are sold in the first two months.) [1031.14] [1036.22] [1233.135] [1236.98] [1249.32] [1464.116] [1559] [1624.238] [1636.54] [1648.53] [1734.66] [1739.20] [1897.132]
April 19
  • In New York City's Grand Central Station, Microsoft launches the Pocket PC, a specification for handheld computers. The Pocket PC runs Microsoft Windows CE 3.0, and includes several applications: music player, word processor, Internet browser, and more. [1055.12] [1179.76] [1829.32] [1559] [1897.132]
June 15
  • Microsoft releases Windows CE 3.0. It includes better real-time and multimedia capabilities, supports more languages, and is more easily broken up for use in pieces. [1559] [1897.132] (April [1236.44])
June 19
  • Microsoft releases the final version of Windows Me to computer manufacturers. [1559] [1897.132]
  • Microsoft releases Windows 2000 Service Pack 1. [1466.180]
  • At the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft releases a pre-beta version of Windows 2000 64-bit Edition. [1106.16]
August 18
  • Some personal computer manufacturers in the US begin shipping computers running Windows Me operating system. [1559]
September 14
  • Microsoft launches the Windows Millenium Edition (Me) operating system. (400,000 copies of the retail upgrade copy are sold in the first month.) [1231.57] [1236.99] [1559] [1638.51] [1648.53] [1748.26]
(month unknown)
  • Microsoft issues 20,000 copies of Whistler, code-name for its next consumer version of Microsoft Windows. [158.77]
  • Market share of handheld computer operating systems: Windows CE 16.5%. [1833.44]


February 5
  • Microsoft announces that Office 10 for Windows will be called Office XP, and that its next Windows operating system will be called Windows XP. The 'XP' name is short for 'experience'. [1559]
April 22
  • The Fox Broadcasting Company airs the Futurama TV show in the US. In the year 3000, a clown makes a joke about Windows 3000 being used as a prison guard because it always locks up. [1964]
May 16
  • Microsoft officially releases Windows 2000 Service Pack 2. The update fixes over 500 software bugs. [1559]
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July 20
  • Microsoft makes the source code for Windows CE 3.0 available to developers under a Shared Source License, allowing developers to view and modify the source code, but not release it commercially. [1559]
  • Microsoft officially retires Windows NT 4.0. [1553.11]
September 24
  • PC manufacturers begin shipping new computers with Windows XP preloaded. [1417.32] [1559]
October 25
  • Microsoft launches the Windows XP operating system in the US. The software is based on Windows NT and Windows 2000, but includes a Compatibility Mode allowing most software written for older Windows versions to operate correctly. Several people can be logged in at once, quickly swapping between separate desktops. Prices are US$199 (Home Edition) and US$299 (Professional Edition). Upgrade prices are US$99 (Home Edition) and US$199 (Professional Edition). The source code is 50 million lines. [1219.37] [1267.112] [1417.7] [1446.16] [1559] [1772.70] [1897.132]
  • Microsoft posts the first Windows XP Update Package on its Windows Update Web site. [1446.16]
November 2
  • Microsoft and the US Department of Justice and nine US states reach a settlement in their antitrust case. Microsoft is to license Windows uniformly, and cannot make exclusive contracts that compel companies to use to not use certain competing software products. The settlement is subject to acceptance by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. If approved, a consent decree would be in effect for five years, with a technology-oversight team at Microsoft ensuring compliance. [1211.8] [1559] [1773.62] [1897.132]


March 3
  • The Fox Broadcasting Company airs the Futurama TV show in the US. In the year 3000, a robot tells a scary story about an unplugged computer, " image stayed on the screen. It was... the Windows logo!". [1967]
  • Microsoft releases Service Pack 3 for Windows 2000. [1435.16]
  • Microsoft releases Windows XP Service Pack 1. [1897.132]
November 1
  • The WB Television Network airs the Sabrina, the Teenage Witch TV show in the US. In response to a screen-saver's request to help get off a computer, a character says "Sorry, I don't do Windows". [1998]
November 7
  • In New York, Microsoft officially unveils the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system. [1225.3] [1277.25] [1441.101] [1559] [1897.132] [1955.60] [1956.20]
  • Market share of handheld computer operating systems worldwide during the year: Palm OS 55.2%, Windows CE 25.7%. [1559]


  • Microsoft begins the Windows CE Shared Source Premium Licensing Program, allowing developers to view, tweak, improve, and market their changes to all of the source code. Previously only about half of the source code was available, and they could not release their changes. [1777.9]
June 23
  • Microsoft announces the new name for its mobile computing operating system: Windows Mobile 2003. [1846.10] [1847.4] [1559]
June 26
  • Microsoft releases Windows 2000 Service Pack 4. New features include support for USB 2.0 and wireless Internet connections. [1435.16] [1559]
September 30
  • Microsoft launches Windows XP operating system Media Center Edition 2004. [1559] (October [1897.132])


  • About 30,000 files (660 MB) forming about 5% of the Windows 2000 operating system source code is illegally released to the Internet. [1602.9]
  • Microsoft provides the Thai government a Thai-language reduced-feature version of Windows XP, for about US$40 per copy. Normal world price is US$199. [1559]
March 24
  • The European Competition Commission labels Microsoft an abusive monopolist. The Commission says Microsoft must offer European computer makers two versions of Windows, with and without Windows Media Player, must share technical information on server software with rivals, and must pay a US$613 million fine. [1559] [2111.45] [2314.81]
May 1
  • The Sasser worm is first noticed on the loose, affecting Windows 2000 and Windows XP. The worm crashes and rebots computers, replicating itself to other computers. Millions of computers are quickly affected worldwide. [2100.117]
July 9
  • Microsoft releases the Windows CE 5.0 operating system for handheld computers. Code-name during development was Macallan. [1559]
July 16
  • The first virus that infects Windows CE appears. [1559]
August 6
  • Microsoft releases Windows XP Service Pack 2 to computer manufacturers. [1557.16] [1784.75] [1897.133] [2318.38]
August 7
  • Microsoft releases the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 operating system. [1897.133]
August 18
  • Microsoft releases Windows XP Service Pack 2 for automatic updates. [1559]
  • Shipments of handheld computers during July to September worldwide: Windows CE-based 1.3 million, Palm OS-based 850,000, Research In Motion 565,000. This is the first quarter for shipments of Windows-based handhelds to exceed Palm-based handhelds. [1559] [1612.7]
October 6
  • Microsoft releases Windows XP Service Pack 2 for retail sale. [1559]
  • Microsoft releases the Windows XP Starter Edition operating system in Thailand. [1559]
  • Microsoft releases the Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 operating system. [1610.9] [1897.133]
December 31
  • Microsoft officially ends support for Windows NT 4.0. [2403.20]


  • Microsoft releases the Windows XP Starter Edition operating system in Malaysia and Indonesia. Price in Malaysia is 120 ringgits (about US$32). [1559]
February 15
  • The Fox Broadcasting Company airs The Fairly Oddparents TV show in the US. A fairy refers to the "WANDOS 2.0" operating system, a reference to the Windows operating system. [2279]
April 25
  • Microsoft releases the Windows XP Professional x64 Edition operating system, for computers with Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon processors with 64-bit instructions. Price is US$155.95. [1559] [1687.73] [1689.1] [1691.1] [1784.75] [1897.133]
  • Microsoft releases the Windows Mobile 5 operating system. [1897.133] [2187.16]
June 15
  • Microsoft releases Windows XP N, without Windows Media Player. [1559]
July 22
  • Microsoft announces the name of the next Windows operating system: Windows Vista. [1559] [1784.75] [2074.15]
July 28
  • Microsoft reports it has sold 100,000 copies of Windows XP Starter Edition to date. [1559]


May 23
  • Microsoft releases a Beta 2 test version of Windows Vista. [2322]
July 11
  • Microsoft ceases providing new security patches for Windows 98, 98 SE, and Millenium Edition. [2101.55]
November 30
  • Microsoft officially releases the Windows Vista operating system to corporate clients. The software is comprised of 50 million lines of source code. [2337.58] [2389.15] [2395.10] [2504.65]


January 30
  • Microsoft releases the Windows Vista operating system for personal computers. [2338.20] [2379.26] [2380.29] [2386.11]
June 30
  • To date, Microsoft has sold over 60 million licenses to Windows Vista. [2322]
September 17
  • The European Court of First Instance rules that Microsoft must obey a 2004 order to share networking protocols and offer a version of Windows without a built-in copy of audio/video Windows Media Player, and pay a US$613 million fine. [2322] [2438.30] [2453.10]


June 30
  • Last day of Microsoft making Windows XP available to PC makers. [2322] [2552.49]
  • At the Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft first publicly demonstrates the Windows 7 operating system. [2518.3]


January 9
  • Microsoft releases the Windows 7 operating system for beta testing. Downloading the software will be available until January 24. [2501]
February 23
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment releases the film Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder on DVD in the United Kingdom. A robot (Calculon) thinks of his award acceptance speech: "I'd like to thank the Academy, my agent, and most of all my operating system, Windows Vista for everything..." and then malfunctions. [2606]
March 29
  • The Fox Broadcasting Company airs The Simpsons TV show in the US. A church reverend uses a handheld "Psalm Pilot" computer, mocking the Palm Pilot. A personal computer displays the Windows "Pipes" screen saver. [2573]
July 22
  • Microsoft releases Windows 7 code to PC manufacturers in the USA. [2322]
October 22
  • Microsoft launches Windows 7 operating system. Price is US$199.99 for the Home Premium version, or US$119.99 for an upgrade from older versions. [2322]


April 25
  • The Fox Broadcasting Company airs The Simpsons TV show in the USA. A desktop computer appears, running a standard Windows lines screensaver. [2594]


September 13
  • At Microsoft's annual developer conference, Microsoft distributes 5000 Samsung tablet computers running a test version of Windows 8 operating system. [2322]

End of 2000-2011.
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1981-1989 1990-1993 1994-1996 1997-1999 2000-end

A list of references to all source material is available.

Other web pages of interest:

  • Chronology of Personal Computers
  • Personal Computer References in Pop Culture
  • Chronology of Microprocessors
  • Chronology of Handheld Computers
  • Chronology of Workstation Computers
  • This Day in Personal Computer and Video Game History
  • This Day in History

  • Last updated: 2022 April 29.
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