A quarter century of Windows

A quarter century of Windows

Summary: Love it or loathe it, Windows is 25 years old today. We present some facts, figures and images from the Windows archives.


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  • Windows system requirements
    Today's desktop computer is a far cry from that of five years ago, let alone a quarter of a century past. Each new version of Windows adds new functionality while having to support a multitude of legacy features, so it's no surprise to find that the minimum requirements for running the OS have escalated over the years. Even so, it's interesting to chart the minimum recommendations for processor speed, memory (RAM) and free hard disk space since 1995.

    The unlabelled data points, reading from the left, are for Windows NT 3.51, Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 98 and Windows ME.

  • Windows development
    Each successive version of Windows consumes ever more of Microsoft's programming and testing resources, and spews out millions more lines of code. These charts show how the development process unfolded between Windows NT 3.1 in July 1993 and Windows Server 2003 in April 2003 (data from knowing.net ). Like Server 2003, Windows Vista is reckoned to contain 50 million source lines of code; no estimate is available for Windows 7.

Topics: Operating Systems, Reviews, Software


Charles has been in tech publishing since the late 1980s, starting with Reed's Practical Computing, then moving to Ziff-Davis to help launch the UK version of PC Magazine in 1992. ZDNet came looking for a Reviews Editor in 2000, and he's been here ever since.

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