A look back at Microsoft's many attempts at producing a dependable version of its operating system
WINDOWS 981998 An updated Windows 95 with much-improved networking features and support for laptops. It was hobbled by crashes and suffered from weak security.
WINDOWS 20002000 A solid product, but one only intended for corporate use. Poor power management and accessory support made it a bad choice for laptops.
WINDOWS MILLENNIUM EDITION2000 Designed as a consumer stopgap pending the release of the delayed Windows XP, ME was widely reviled during its 10-month life span.
WINDOWS XP2001 A consumer- and laptop-friendly version of Windows 2000. Security problems were eased by a 2003 update. This is still the most widely used version of Windows.
WINDOWS VISTA2007 Ambitious in design but cursed in development, many of its most interesting planned features were dropped before release. Consumers disliked it and corporations shunned it.