Microsoft launched its first version of Windows on November 20th, 1985. It was a huge milestone that paved the way for the modern versions of Windows we use today.
With Windows 1.0 you picked up a mouse and moved Windows around by pointing and clicking. Alongside the original Macintosh, the mouse completely changed the way consumers interacted with computers.
In 1985, Windows 1.0 required two floppy disks, 256 kilobytes of memory, and a graphics card. Apple had been ahead in producing mouse-driven GUIs at the time. Microsoft had already created its low-cost PC DOS operating system for IBM PCs.
Pc manufacturers flocked to Windows, and the operating system attracted support from important software companies. This approach to providing software for hardware partners to sell their own machines created a huge platform for Microsoft.
Windows has dominated personal computing for 35 years. It’s only now that Windows faces its toughest challenge yet. In 2055, it’s unlikely that we’ll be celebrating another 35 years of Windows in quite the same fashion.
Windows 1.0 introduced a GUI, mouse support, and important apps. Bill Gates headed up development of the system after working on software for the Mac.
Windows 2.0 continued 16-bit computing with VGA graphics and early versions of word and Excel. It allowed apps to sit on top of each other, and desktop icons made Windows feel easier to use at the time of the 2.0 release in December, 1987.
Windows 3.0 continued the legacy of a GUI on top of MS-DOS. But it included a better UI with new program and file managers. Minesweeper, a puzzle game full of hidden mines, also arrived.
It also included support for TCP/IP, the network communications protocol we all use to access the Internet today. It was the second release of nt, and marked Microsoft’s push into business computing with important security and file sharing features.
Microsoft moved to a 32-bit architecture and introduced the start menu. A new era of apps emerged, and Internet Explorer arrived in an update.
Microsoft was also focused on the web at its launch, and packaged apps and features like active desktop, Outlook Express, frontpage Express, Microsoft chat, and NetMeeting. Windows 98 built on the success of Windows 95 by improving hardware support and performance.
Windows movie maker first appeared in me, alongside improved versions of Windows Media player and Internet Explorer. It was unstable and buggy.
Based on Windows NT, it was designed to be secure with new file protection, a DLL cache, and hardware plug and play.
Windows XP was designed for client and server computers within businesses. Based on Windows NT, it was designed to be secure with new file protection, a DLL cache, and hardware plug and play.
Microsoft took around six years to develop Windows Vista. It only worked well on new hardware. User account control was heavily criticized, and Windows Vista remains part of the bad cycle of Windows releases.
Windows 7 arrived in 2009 to clean up the Vista mess. Microsoft did a good job of performance, while tweaking and improving the user interface and making user account control less annoying.
Microsoft removed the start menu and replaced it with a fullscreen start screen. New apps were designed to replace aging desktop apps. Microsoft had to rethink the future of Windows.
Microsoft has switched to a Windows as a service model to keep it updated in the future. New features include Cortana, Microsoft edge, and the Xbox One streaming to PCs.
Microsoft has been tweaking various parts of the operating system to refine it. More system settings have moved from the traditional control panel over to the new settings app. The start menu has a less blocky look to it now.