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Microsoft Windows is 30 years old

by Mark Tyson on 11 November 2013, 15:35

Tags: Windows 8, PC

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Microsoft Windows was first unveiled to the public by Bill Gates on 10th November 1983 but didn’t ship until two years later, in November 1985. Windows started as a shell to support cooperative multitasking of DOS programs which appeared in its desktop windows.

Some aspects of early versions of Windows were deliberately different to the Apple Mac’s interface to avoid legal repercussions; desktop windows wouldn’t overlap and the trash can, so useful to GUI file management, didn’t appear in early versions of Windows.

However, even in version 1, Windows had a lot of the OS features and functionality we use and expect on today’s computers and mobile devices. Windows 1 had a built-in calendar, clock, card file, text and bitmap editors, clipboard and a time wasting game - Reversi. However Windows wasn’t widely adopted until Windows 3.0...

Released in May 1990, Windows 3.0 was the first major release of Windows which became widely successful. It supported improvements to memory management including a Protected/Enhanced mode, a graphical file manager and could run full-screen DOS programs in a window. Multimedia extensions for Windows 3 arrived in 1991 to make good use of sound cards and CD-ROM drives in Windows programs. Around this time home computer users weaned on the 16-bit classics like the Amiga and Atari ST started to move over to the new multimedia-friendly, fast and powerful PCs in droves.

A lot has happened with Windows over the last 30 years. Since Windows 1.0 there have been Windows OS releases that appear to be ‘hits’, like Windows 3.1, Windows 98SE, Windows XP and Windows 7. Similarly there are mostly scorned versions of Windows like Windows ME, Windows Vista and touch-enhanced Windows 8. The existence of PCs and Windows have been closely linked in all this time and grown spectacularly until recently with the widespread adoption of smart connected devices like smartphones and tablets.

HEXUS Forums :: 33 Comments

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And it's a shame that having finally just about got it right with Win 7, they then had to go and right royally bollix it up again with the W8 UI.

All IMHO, of course.
Awww old memories, I liked windows 3.0 used to paint and game on it :D
Still reckon the best desktop version was 2000 personally, although Win 7 is pretty damn close too.

I was so sad when my 2000 install CD finally delaminated :(
With the exception of ME (should have been killed in favour of 2000) and Vista (too late, too different without enough testing at launch) I've thought all versions of Windows offered solid progress in the general right directions… funny to think it's younger than me though, how the world changes.

I like 8, 8.1 and look forward to 9… I'd just like them to bundle Stardocks Modern Mix like functionality so I don't have to go full screen for MUI apps (and settings) when I'm otherwise in desktop mode.

Happy Birthday Windows, don't get drunk and “network” with OS-X in the pub car park…
I'm always surprised that no-one seems to notice that Windows releases follow the same trend as Star Trek movies - good, bad, good, bad and so on (or vice versa). Whilst it might be stretching things a bit - Win 1 (iffy), Win2 (better), Win3 (iffy), Win3.1(1) (good), Win95 (iffy), 95-OSR2 (usb, TCP/IP, internet etc) (better), 98 (iffy), 98SE good, ME (bad), XP (good), vista (bad), Win7 (good), Win8 (poor), 8.1 (well, there's an exception to every rule, right?)

Of course, you gotta fit NT4 and Win2k in there somewhere which probably breaks things, but it
does seem like something of a trend ;)