-Millenium Virus, Worm Attacks"> 2001 Microsoft brings its business-class Windows NT kernel and a new user interface together in Windows XP, which is arguably the best Windows version ever.The highs are short-lived, however: Windows XP launches in New York with a subdued press event six weeks after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.Internet Explorer has an overwhelming market share, but for every positive review of the new Windows and IE there are disturbing reports of fast-spreading viruses. Read more here about the past decade of Windows worms. CodeRed shuts down corporate networks worldwide in the summer, and Nimda spreads like wildfire near years end. Meanwhile, in the antitrust trial, Judge Jackson is gone, his verdict is reversed on appeal, and the new administration says they dont want to break up Microsoft after all. 2002 The stream of Internet-borne viruses turns into a torrent (Klez is the years biggest hit), and Bill Gates clicks the Send button for an all-hands-on-deck memo, this one declaring that Trustworthy Computing is the companys highest priority. The year ends with Gates and Co. on top of the world as Microsoft and the Department of Justice settle the long-running antitrust suit on Nov. 1. If youre in Redmond, its another high; among Microsofts competitors, its a very dark day. 2003 On Slammer, on Blaster, on BugBear and Sobig! Whether you use Windows, manage Windows-based networks, or write patches for it, 2003 is the worst year ever for viruses, worms and security scares. The one glimmer of hope? Windows Server 2003, launched in April, is the first Windows version to take security seriously. 2004 More positive news on the Windows security front, as Windows XP Service Pack 2 arrives. It includes a collection of new security features designed to block viruses, spyware and random hack attacks. Windows continues to dominate the desktop operating system market, but users (especially technically savvy ones) embrace the Firefox browser with open arms, and weary Windows users start to look at Mac OS X. Windows XP Media Center 2005, a niche product, sells a million copies in the first quarter after its release. 2005 Its supposed to be the year of Longhorn, but all those Windows security updates in 2003 and 2004 took their toll, and the new operating system is delayed to 2006. It gets a new name, Windows Vista, and a new, security-focused release of Internet Explorer arrives as a beta. When Windows 95 was launched, browsers were a novelty and the Internet was an interesting concept. Ten years later, Web-based services and digital media are at the core of personal computing. When Windows Vista arrives in late 2006, it might be perfectly poised to take advantage of these trends, or it might be completely irrelevant. Anyone want to go around again? Author Ed Bott has covered the Microsoft scene for many years and he has authored books on most versions of Microsoft Windows. His Weblog offers a variety of Windows XP tips. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.