First Published: September 2009
Last Updated: July 22, 2015
In micro computing history, there has been 5 Eras, and we're just about to enter
the 6th. To be exhausively comprehensive about it, there was actually also
Era 0 (1960~1981):
Pre-IBM-PC, pre-Microsoft... all microcomputers were basically just
toys--extremely primitive and experimental. All meaningful computing was
done with mainframes and minicomputers.
Era 1 (1981~1995): DOS days. Birth of networking circa
Era 2 (1990~1998 ): Win3.x days. Emergence of
Era 3 (1993~2003): Win4.x Dawn of modern IT. Split into
consumer (9x branding) & business/scientific (NT) lines. SBS!
Commerical Internet & broadband.
Era 4 (2000~2014): Win5.x, Active Directory, MMC, SBS!!
... Open Source/GNU
Era 5 (2006~?): Win6.x, SMB 2.0, UAC, virtualization in earnest... cloud, tablets
Era 6 (2015~?): Windows 10 & Server 2016.
SMB 3.0, pervasive SaaS & VM, Containers...
NOTE: Each era is subdivided into multiple generations with minor
overlaps, whereas the eras themselves have major overlaps.
* until the last version release
** until Extended Support phase expires (officially EOL)
Note: While each color block depicts the chronological period, the
individual version names within the blocks are not corresponding
to the year of release.
APR 4 2014: Terry Myerson from Microsoft
confirmed at Build 2014,
that the next "wave" (major release) of Windows, known by the
codename Threshold, is slated for
April 2015. It is still
unclear what the final product name would be (rumored to be
Update OCT 5
2014: The next release is now officially announced as
Windows 10, currently in
enterprise tech preview, with public beta slated for mid 2015.
Windows 10 "RTM" frozen at build 10240.
Still considered 6.x in the chart above. Same architecture, API (with
minor addition) & driver model, etc.