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.