Windows is the name of an operating system from Microsoft. The full name includes the name of the release.
Historically Windows 3.X was a UI on top of the DOS operating system but more recent versions beginning with Windows 95 include the full operating system. The versions in order of their release include: Windows 95, Windows NT4, Windows 98, Windows 98SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. These operating systems have been designed to run on X86 based processors. There is also a Windows Mobile for ARM processors and well as Windows 8 for the Surface RT and others.
 Windows 95, 98, NT
These operating systems use X86 processors and require a 32 bit version. They do not support USB devices so may have trouble with some utilities that need this capability. These are all destandardized and thus are not tested to work so you may have problems with current programs. Be sure the program states that it will work on one of these platforms before using it.
 Windows 98SE, ME
These operating systems are no longer supported. They support USB but there may not be a driver for the program you are using. Programs you intend to run should be identified as supporting these platforms. You will need to install drivers provided by the manufacturer. Do not expect any needed drivers to be present.
 Windows 2000
This operating system is still in wide use in business but not in home systems. Internally this is called Windows NT version 5.
 Windows XP
This is the most popular OS on PC's today. It is available in several configurations for different hardware platforms. Internally it is called Windows NT 5.1
 Windows XP64
This OS can have problems with devices and programs that use USB since there may not be a driver for your device.
 Windows XP Home/Professional
Both home and professional editions are widely supported. Any Windows application you wish to use will likely work on these platforms. This OS on a laptop can provide a good portable reading experience except for the poor battery life and landscape orientation. A multimedia version is also available but the base OS is the same.
 Windows Tablet
 Windows embedded
This version can be custom configured for smaller devices and system requirements.
 Windows Vista
This OS will eventually replace XP but currently it can cause problems with many applications because of the change in security features. It may be very difficult to install some applications and changes to the applications themselves may be required.
Windows Vista has 4 versions depending on the features, Basic, premium, business, and ultimate. A tablet version is also available. Intel’s Ultra Mobile PC also known later as the Celeron allowed a joint effort with Microsoft and Samsung. The pen-enabled OS was based on Windows Vista. The Samsung Q1 was one of the first devices for the new tablets. They had smaller 7-inch screens, better battery life, less weight, and were a slate design without a keyboard. It was much more like a modern tablet, with WiFi, Bluetooth, and a CF slot for extra memory. The Celeron processor proved to be too slow for wide acceptance particularly after the release of Windows 7.
 Windows 7
Has several version both home and professional. Needs less resources that Windows Vista. Full replacement for Windows Vista and the professional version has a Windows XP emulation mode. Windows 7 will run on a netbook or tablet.
 Windows 8
Windows 8 is markedly different from earlier Windows products. It attempts to provide a Windows RT like experience with a mouse or touchpad although a touch screen is also fully supported. This version introduced the fully integrated apps concept that is the staple of iOS and Android OS's. Instead of a Start menu is has a start screen with icons for the various apps and the older Windows compatible applications. Apps are usually available for all three platforms (32bit pro, 64bit pro, and RT). These are called respectively x86, x64, and ARM in the store. For eBook Reading see: Windows 8 Apps or go to the Windows Store.
 Windows 8 Pro
Windows 8 Pro is designed for Intel x86 processors and compatible hardware. It is available in 32bit (x86) and 64bit (x64) versions. The Pro on the end is meant to distinguish the Intel x86 and x64 versions from the ARM based RT version. It many cases applications written for older OS's will work on this version. There are two main screens, one is the traditional Windows screen and the second is a tablet like apps screen.
 Windows 8 RT
This is similar to Windows 8 Pro but designed for ARM based computer hardware. It is shipped on the Surface RT but it available on third party devices as well. It will not run applications designed for an earlier version of Windows or Windows Mobile.
 Windows phone
Windows phone is another Windows 8 variant for ARM processors. It is similar to the Window 8 RT version but it has its own Windows phone store that is targeted to the cellular capability and smaller screen.
 Windows 10
Windows 10 has been released (July 29, 2015) for X86 processors. It is a free upgrade for a limited time for Windows 8 and Windows 7 users. It is designed to have a single style of OS user interface for phones, tablets, and desktops. There are two versions, Windows Home, and Windows Pro. There is also a 32 bit and 64 bit version of each. It builds on Windows 8 while simplifying the differences between apps and desktop applications.
There will be a new version for ARM processors but it is not released yet. When it comes it will be based on 64 bit ARM processors and will fully support a 32 bit X86 emulation mode that will allow all 32 bit windows apps to run. It is targeted at "cellular PCs", a term that Microsoft has coined for this hardware configuration.
 Making Windows eBook friendly
Windows has some features that can be used to make it more friendly for eBook users. For example the Thumbnails feature can be customized for certain eBook formats.
At one point Windows was thought to someday have its own Home E-Reader that could be wirelessly attached to your PC. Today the Windows 8 direction seems to be different but may eventually offer similar features.
Sometimes a windows touch screen isn't as friendly as a touch pad or mouse due to the application support specific to a touch pad or mouse. If this is the case then touch pad mouse pointer simulator can be of use.
 Tips for Windows users
- Open With ADD - A useful program to make sure reading and editing programs are on the right click menu for an eBook.
- Command line - How to use a command line.
- File extensions - How they work and how to view them.
- Portable Apps - How to make and use portable apps in Windows.
- Thumbnails - Creating thumbnail images of eBook Covers.
 For more information
See EBook software for information on what eBook programs you can use with your Windows machine.
http://www.microsoft.com/en/us/default.aspx - for Windows products
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/WinHistoryDesktop.mspx - a history of Windows