The Best and Worst Windows Versions Ever Released

By Filip Lescan
Published in Entertainment
April 04, 2020
4 min read

We’ve all experience using the Windows OS, whether on our personal PC, laptop, or office computer. After all, this Operating System (OS) has been around for more than 30 years. But have you ever wondered what is the best Windows version ever released? Consequently, you might also be curious about what is the worst version of Windows?

In this post, we will be ranking windows operating systems from best to worst. We won’t be including the current Windows 10 since it’s still in the process of receiving updates. Hence, comparing it to the previous OS, which has reached its lifespan, would be unfair.

1. Windows 7

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Windows 7 is arguably Microsoft’s fastest-selling and most popular OS until it was overtaken by Windows 10. Windows 7 offered a user-friendly and more secure interface than its predecessors the Windows XP and Windows Vista.

It features the standard Start Menu, which gives you access to all the settings and information you need without the added distractions. It also has one of the best app compatibility, especially with point-of-sale systems and printing mailing labels.

In just two years since its first release in 2009, Microsoft has sold roughly 450 million copies of this software. Unfortunately, Microsoft ended its support of Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, prompting businesses and avid users to upgrade to Windows 10.

2. Windows 2000

Rating: 4 out 5

During its time, the Windows 2000 was nearly perfect. It was released in a period when the world feared the repercussions of the Y2K scare. It surpassed some of the Windows NT workstation’s hardware limitations and did not have the hardware overhead of the Windows Vista or XP.

Furthermore, it was more stable than the newer Windows 9X and could even run the same software. It’s also relatively secure thanks to configuration changes and the addition of exclusive software. This OS may be a couple of decades old, but it’s still the optimal choice for older PCs.

It’s also the OS that brought in many supported technologies such as DirectX support, FAT32, NFTS3.0, Active Desktop, and USB. Some of its vital OS features, such as the Microsoft Installer and Microsoft Management Console, paved the way for its successors’ core components.

3. Windows XP

Rating: 4 out of 5

Released in 2001, the Windows XP is an OS known for its simplicity. Its UI was easy to learn and generally consistent. It somewhat veered away from its predecessor, the Windows 95, by emphasizing processing and security instead of the user interface.

Windows XP does not have the foamy and filmy layers of its predecessors, especially Windows 10. Case in point, if you open XP’s system monitor, you get about eight running processes that consume less than a percent of your disk space and CPU. On the flip side, Windows 10 has close to a hundred processes that consume about 20 to 30 percent of your disk space and CPU.

However, the XP also has its flaws. Its early release wasn’t as secure as it needs to be. The Windows XP Service Pack 2 addressed this issue by enabling Windows Firewall as a default.

4. Windows 8

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Released in 2012, Windows 8 was the first OS to integrate Modern apps into its platform. It got rid of the start button in favor of making it a tablet-friendly UI. It featured an overlay of live tiles instead of desktop icons and clickable items on a menu. These changes did not sit well for the general public, especially since it was only three years since the popular Windows 7 was released.

The consensus for most computer experts is that WIndows 8 came at a time when nobody wanted it. While the world was transitioning to touchscreen technology, PC users are still keen on using a mouse instead of gestures. In short, the marriage of traditional desktops and touchscreen was not a good choice.

5. Windows 98

Rating: 3 out of 5

The follow-up to Windows 95 surely did not disappoint. Some of the essential changes made include transitioning into 32-bit, booting from scratch instead of manually starting from Disk Operating System (DOS), and fixing many bugs from its predecessor.

Thanks to these changes, Windows 98 became more stable and had better hardware compatibility with its front USB port. It opened the doors for different peripherals to be connected to the PC. Overall, Windows 98 is a polished Windows 95 with more modern features.

6. Windows 95

Rating: 3 out of 5

Windows 95 is the first OS marketed towards regular people and not just hobbyists or professionals. It’s practically the OS that brought computers to every household and was responsible for enriching the World Wide Web.

The Start button was also first introduced in Windows 95 and a graphical user interface laid on top of Microsoft’s DOS. With it, people became more familiar with personal emails, downloading digital music, and sharing photos. While it had a lot of bugs, it nevertheless behaved as Microsoft advertised it.

7. Windows Vista

Rating: 2 out of 5

According to some critics, Windows Vista is one of the worst Microsoft OS in recent memory. While it’s a solid platform, it also has many rough edges, and its ecosystem is a bit of a slowpoke. Its software bloat resulted in unwieldy lines of code that slowed down its performance.

In Microsoft’s defense, they were trying to address some of the issues that Windows XP has. Albeit, it led to many problems, such as User Account Control (UAC) prompts wherever a program wants to implement changes on your computer. Moreover, the OS requires more powerful hardware, which is an additional cost to the consumer.

8. Windows Me

Rating: 1 out of 5

Windows ME is much like Windows 98, but new features did more harm than good. It has tons of bugs, even on its System Restore quality. Microsoft also removed the DOS mode, which could have allowed the installation of older software.

Additionally, Windows ME included a lousy version of the Internet Explorer. During this time, there weren’t any other browsers like Google Chrome or Firefox. Because it was riddled with performance issues, crashes, and slowdowns, it’s no wonder that Microsoft shortly pulled the plug out of this OS.

Feeling Nostalgic?

This discussion certainly was a trip down memory lanes. Our review did not touch on other OS such as Windows 1 to 3, Windows RT, Windows NT, and Windows 8.1, but they will most likely land in the middle of the pack.

Let us know what you think is the best version of Windows and which is the worst Windows version by typing a comment below.


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