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On May 22, 1990, the critically accepted Windows 3.0 was released. Windows 3.0 had an improved program manager and icon system, a new file manager, support for sixteen colors, and improved speed and reliability. Most important, Windows 3.0 gained widespread third-party support. Programmers started writing Windows-compatible software, giving end users a reason to buy Windows 3.0. Three million copies were sold the first year, and Windows finally came of age.
On April 6, 1992, Windows 3.1 was released. Three million copies were sold in the first two months. TrueType scalable font support was added, along with multimedia capability, object linking and embedding (OLE), application reboot capability, and more. Windows 3.x became the number one operating system installed in PCs until 1997, when Windows 95 took over.
Windows 95On August 24, 1995, Windows 95 was released in a buying fever so great that even consumers without home computers bought copies of the program. Code-named Chicago, Windows 95 was considered very user-friendly. It included an integrated TCP/IP stack, dial-up networking, and long filename support. It was also the first version of Windows that did not require MS-DOS to be installed beforehand.
Windows 98On June 25, 1998, Microsoft released Windows 98. It was the last version of Windows based on the MS-DOS kernel. Windows 98 has Microsoft's Internet browser "Internet Explorer 4" built in and supported new input devices like USB.
Windows 2000Windows 2000 (released in 2000) was based on Microsoft's NT technology. Microsoft now offered automatic software updates over the Internet for Windows starting with Windows 2000.
Windows XPAccording to Microsoft, "the XP in Windows XP stands for experience, symbolizing the innovative experiences that Windows can offer to personal computer users." Windows XP was released in October 2001 and offered better multi-media support and increased performance.