After a lengthy development process, Windows Vista was released on November 30, 2006 for volume licensing and January 30, 2007 for consumers. It contained a number of new features, from a redesigned shell and user interface to significant technical changes, with a particular focus on security features. It was available in a number of different editions, and has been subject to some criticism. Vista's server counterpart, Windows Server 2008 was released in early 2008.

On July 22, 2009, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 were released as RTM (release to manufacturing) while the former was released to the public 3 months later on October 22, 2009. Unlike its predecessor, Windows Vista, which introduced a large number of new features,[which?] Windows 7 was intended to be a more focused, incremental upgrade to the Windows line, with the goal of being compatible with applications and hardware with which Windows Vista was already compatible.[25] Windows 7 has multi-touch support, a redesigned Windows shell with an updated taskbar, a home networking system called HomeGroup,[26] and performance improvements.

Windows 8, the successor to Windows 7, was released generally on October 28, 2012. A number of significant changes were made on Windows 8, including the introduction of a user interface based around Microsoft's Metro design language with optimizations for touch-based devices such as tablets and all-in-one PCs. These changes include the Start screen, which uses large tiles that are more convenient for touch interactions and allow for the display of continually updated information, and a new class of apps which are designed primarily for use on touch-based devices. Other changes include increased integration with cloud services and other online platforms (such as social networks and Microsoft's own SkyDrive and Xbox Live services), the Windows Store service for software distribution, and a new variant known as Windows RT for use on devices that utilize the ARM architecture