Each Version will be ranked out of ten points.
Windows 98: 6/10
This was what Windows 95 should have been, and the Second Edition was better still. NT was still a better choice for work, but I could use Windows 98 at home and install it on my Dad’s PC and be reasonably confident it would work. Most 16–bit programs had ridden off into the sunset by this time (although there were noteworthy exceptions like Quicken 98, which was still available in 16– and 32–bit versions).
Windows Me: 1/10
The worst Windows version ever, and doomed from the start. It was announced as the end of its line, it had to contend with Y2K fears, and it was buggier than a Fourth of July picnic on a Mississippi riverboat. The only feature that saved it from a zero is System Restore, which worked often enough to be useful if not dependable.
Windows 2000: 7/10
For its time, it was nearly perfect, and when businesses had to upgrade their hardware or be pitched into Y2K hell, it was the ideal choice. Tons of application support and good solid drivers. It’s no wonder some businesses still stick with it seven years later.
Windows XP: 6/10
Why two ratings? One for businesses, one for consumers. If you were running Windows 2000 already, you might have looked at the interface (“Fisher-Price” was the most common description) and said, “Huh?” But for consumers who were used to the crashes and mysterious lockups that were par for the course with the 16/32–bit hybrid 95/98/Me line, well … it was a giant leap forward in stability and reliability.
Windows XP Service Pack 2: 8/10
This could easily have been a separate Windows release instead of just a service pack. Microsoft really underestimated the security challenges that it would confront with Windows XP, and the improvements in SP2 really did make a difference. For businesses, it offers much better administrative tools and deployment options than Windows 2000. And after a few years the interface wasn’t so bad after all (and if you really hated it you could make it look just like Windows 2000).
Windows Vista: 3/10
Ah, Vista! Microsoft had grand dreams for the OS that would replace Windows XP, but they were too ambitious, and the project dragged on for years. At one point, Microsoft halted development and started over, but the damage was done. While Vista’s experience was passable on powerful hardware, it gained such a reputation for being bloated, slow and intrusive that many who might have upgraded from XP passed it by.
Windows 7: 8/10
There’s no question that Windows 7 was one of the best versions of Windows. It was more stable and more secure than any previous versions, and tweaked to the interface are more than just eye candy.
Windows 8: 7/10
Development of Windows 8 started before the release of its predecessor, Windows 7, in 2009. It was announced at CES 2011, and followed by the release of three pre-release versions from September 2011 to May 2012. The operating system was released to manufacturing on August 1, 2012, and was released for general availability on October 26, 2012.
Windows 8 was released to a mixed reception. Although reaction towards its performance improvements, security enhancements, and improved support for touchscreen devices was positive, the new user interface of the operating system was widely criticized for being potentially confusing and difficult to learn (especially when used with a keyboard and mouse instead of a touchscreen). Despite these shortcomings, 60 million Windows 8 licenses have been sold through January 2013, a number which included both upgrades and sales to OEMs for new PCs.
On October 17, 2013, Microsoft released Windows 8.1. It addresses some aspects of Windows 8 that were criticized by reviewers and early adopters and incorporates additional improvements to various aspects of the operating system
Windows 10: 9/10
Windows 10 is likely a contender for the top spot. It’s pros include: fast startup, rich software and device ecosystem, touch-screen support, biometric login with Windows Hello, compatible Edge web browser, better gaming, improved privacy and ebook store. The bottom line is that Windows 10 delivers a host of new technology that makes interacting with your PC more natural than ever. And it just keeps getting better. Creators Update adds many gaming features, and improved privacy options.