When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works.

Trivia Tuesday: A Microsoft Family Tree

We've decided to do something a bit different with this week's Trivia Tuesday. With the launch of Windows 8 just around the corner, it seems like a great time to take a look back and see just how Microsoft's operating systems have evolved over the years, from the earliest versions of DOS all the way up to today's triumvirate of Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Phone 8.

With that in mind, we've prepared the following chart (don't worry, you'll get a chance to look at a bigger version later on):

This chart doesn't show everything - Xenix, a version of Unix produced by Microsoft from  1980 - 1989, is nowhere to be found, since it's a dead end OS, as far as Microsoft is concerned

Now, there's a couple of things you need to keep in mind: firstly, we haven't included every single OS release or every single flavor, only milestones. Secondly, the straight lines indicate 'direct descent,' while the dotted lines indicate something less direct - usually this means that the OSes share some similar codebase, but in the case of OS/2 and Windows NT, there's more of a 'spiritual' line of succession. Lastly, striped text boxes indicate non-Microsoft OSes that are derived from Microsoft OSes. We think you'll be able to figure out the rest.

So without further ado, we'll leave you with our beautiful chart. We really hope you enjoy it, and if you feel like sharing it, go ahead - just give us credit!

The Evolution of Microsoft Operating Systems - Full Size (1.18 MB)

Previous Trivia Tuesday articles
Got ideas for future Trivia Tuesday articles? Let us know in the comments section below!

Report a problem with article
Next Article

Rumor: Microsoft building 3-5 million Surfaces for Q4

Previous Article

Samsung to offer its own alternative to the Windows 8 Start Screen

Join the conversation!

Login or Sign Up to read and post a comment.

20 Comments - Add comment