Windows NT

Windows boot screens

1996's Windows NT became a staple of companies worldwide (in fact, we saw a PC running it in a major PC company only the other day) until it was replaced by the mighty Windows 2000. From memory, it really wasn't that stable, at least not in the office where TechRadar used to do a Saturday job.

Windows 98

Windows boot screens

June 1998 saw the release of Windows 98, an OS with a surprising number of users even today. Continuing the clouds theme from Windows 95, Windows 98 introduced improved USB support through the 1999 Second Edition and ushered in the Windows Driver Model.

Windows 2000

Windows boot screens

Truly a version of Windows to look back on with fondness. Like NT, Windows 2000 has a long industrial legacy. Though you'll find Windows XP running most businesses today, Windows 2000 is still used widely.

Windows Me

Windows boot screens

So you thought Windows Vista filled you with hate? You obviously didn't use Windows ME, a cheesily-named dog of an operating system that emerged in 2000. It included several improvements from Windows 2000 but otherwise it was rubbish - like its boot screen. HATE, HATE, HATE.

Windows XP

Windows boot screens

2001's Windows XP (codenamed Whistler) brought improved security and robustness by moving across to the NT codebase, incorporating huge driver support and releasing both Home and Professional editions. In 2006, IDC believed there were over 400 million copies in use.

Windows Vista

Windows boot screens

Yeah, it's interesting isn't it? Goodness knows what Microsoft was thinking, but it only succeeded in making this crap-looking and basic screen. It probably wanted to save on boot-up time or something.

Windows 7

Windows boot screens

Windows 7 introduces this animation, which appears before the log-in screen, but once again there's no boot screen in the traditional sense. But it does look really quite nice, as does Windows 7 itself - see what we thought of it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Liked this? Then check out TechRadar's bumper selection of Windows 7 tips, tricks and secrets

Sign up for TechRadar's free Weird Week in Tech newsletter
Get the oddest tech stories of the week, plus the most popular news and reviews delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up at http://www.techradar.com/register

Follow TechRadar on Twitter