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35 Years of Microsoft Windows: Remember Windows 1.0?
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35 Years of Microsoft Windows: Remember Windows 1.0?

Microsoft has celebrated its 35th anniversary today with the release of Windows 1.0 on November 20, 1985.

windows 1 1 - 35 Years Microsoft Windows: Remember Windows 1.0?

Windows 1.0 was Microsoft's debut and was essentially an environment that ran above MS-DOS. And Windows has become the most popular desktop operating system in the world. Let's go back in time and take a look at what the original Windows 1.0 was like.

When graphics were the new exciting feature
In the early 80s, the tech type considered mouse-based graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and multitasking to be a hot new thing. It was similar to today's craze for augmented reality and neural networks.

At the time, the entire industry was aware of Xerox's work in Alto computer in the 1970s. A commercial version of this technology, the Xerox Star, had appeared in 1981.

As PCs improved CPU speed and memory capacity, it became possible to use GUIs on lower-cost machines, which dramatically improved user friendliness. In 1983, Apple released the $ 10.000 computer, Apple Lisa based on a mouse. In the meantime, cheaper GUIs based on IBM computers (such as Visi-On ).

windows 1 2 - 35 Years Microsoft Windows: Remember Windows 1.0?

The general trend towards GUIs prompted Microsoft to start working on an experimental forerunner of Windows as early as 1981. However, the project officially began a few years later, in 1983, and Windows has been announced in the press.

It took two more years and a new administrator (Tandy Trower) to create a product portable. Windows 1.01 was released in 1985, but it did not upset the water much. However, this first edition laid the foundation for Microsoft's future.

Using Windows 1.0
If you wanted to use Windows 1.0 on the same day, you first had to buy a copy of the software in a box. Then either install it on a hard drive inside your computer or run it from two floppy disks. Windows 1.0 was not a standalone operating system. On the contrary, it was a graphical application environment that ran over MS-DOS.

Windows 1.0 supported CGA, Hercules, or EGA graphics. You could also use a number of mice on the market at the time, including Microsoft. However, you did not need to have a mouse. As you can today, you could still fully control Windows with keyboard commands.

After booting, if you wanted to start Windows, you typed "win" in the MS-DOS command prompt.

window 1 boot Screen - 35 Years Microsoft Windows: Remember Windows 1.0?

Windows 1.01 was the first version of Windows. Compared to subsequent versions, Windows 1.01 represented a fairly primitive graphical user interface. It included a simple boot program and file manager called MS-DOS Executive. He displayed a list of filenames, with no icons and no graphics.

windows 1 msdos executive - 35 Years Microsoft Windows: Remember Windows 1.0?

If you clicked an EXE file in MS-DOS Executive, the program would open as an application window. You could maximize or minimize it using the Zoom or Icon functions, respectively.

When an application was minimized it became an icon in a simple taskbar at the bottom of the screen. You could double-click such an icon in the taskbar at any time to reopen this window.

windows 1 notepad - 35 Years Microsoft Windows: Remember Windows 1.0?

Windows 1.0 also included many basic applications, such as Calendar, Clock, Clipboard, Cardfile, Terminal, Notebook, Writing, and Painting. Notepad was almost Spartan in operation, and Paint only supported monochrome graphics.

The software also ran MS-DOS programs in one window, but few DOS applications behaved properly in this new multitasking environment.

windows 1 paint - 35 Years Microsoft Windows: Remember Windows 1.0?

Unlike newer versions of Windows (and the Macintosh operating system), Windows 1.0 did not support overlapping windows. Instead, the windows could only fit side by side on the screen, and their contents automatically resized to fit in the available space.

Microsoft probably made this decision to avoid similarities with MacOS. However, according to with Trower, maybe it was the preference of a previous project manager and there was no time to change it before putting it on store shelves.

Although from what you understand from the photos, Windows 1.0 was primitive by today's standards, it was for a time an impressive start, considering the low quality computers that existed. He laid the foundations for future expansion of the idea. In addition, some of the new operating system innovations bequeathed successful new features to Windows later, including the taskbar introduced in Windows 95.

Reversi: The first Windows game
windows 1 reversi - 35 Years Microsoft Windows: Remember Windows 1.0?

Windows 1.0 was released with the first commercial Windows game: Reversi. This strategy board game was developed by Chris Peters at Microsoft, as an experimental exercise. However, it was later included in Windows 1.0 as part of a set of built-in applications.

Reversi is based on Othello and has four levels. Unfortunately, it was quite a difficult game. It did not gain as many fans as other Windows games, such as Solitaire and the Minesweeper. However, Reversi went with Windows until version 3.0 in 1990.

Very few commercial games have been released for Windows 1.0. In fact, all we know is Balance of power, the geopolitical strategy game created by the legendary designer, Chris Crawford. This can make Balance of Power the official second Windows game, along with games developed internally at Microsoft, such as Puzzle and chess.

windows 1 balance of power - 35 Years Microsoft Windows: Remember Windows 1.0?

In the coming years, developers Several shareware games for Windows have been released, but you can measure them in both hands. Thus, Windows did not see another retail game release until 1991 (Battle Chess for Windows 3.0).

Reception and heritage
When Windows 1.0 started, it received a lukewarm response from the press. First announced in 1983, most considered the two years too late. In addition, other windows computer systems, as well as the Macintosh operating system, have outperformed it in style and capabilities.

In 1985, PC mice were also expensive accessories. Given the lack of available applications for Windows, there was no one-size-fits-all application that could push the situation to mice. Even Microsoft Word and Excel programs would be released in a year.

boxed copy of windows 1 - 35 Years Microsoft Windows: Remember Windows 1.0?

However, Windows 1.0 was a big first step in a huge new product line, even if Microsoft did not realize it then. Since then, we have seen at least twelve major versions of Windows, from Windows 2.0 to Windows 10. Not counting similar versions, such as Windows XP Tablet Edition and Windows Phone.

Windows is still the biggest business for Microsoft and it all started 35 years ago with Windows 1.01. Believe it or not, Microsoft has continued to support the standard version of Windows 1.0 until 31 December 2001, 16 years after their release, making it the largest version of Windows to date.

How to run Windows 1.0 in your browser
Want to try Windows 1.0 yourself? It's easy. Just visit the PCjs Machines website, where you will find a complete simulation of an IBM computer running Windows 1.0 in JavaScript.

It is worth noting that the PCjs simulation in Windows 1.0 has a vertical appearance on modern screens. This is because it displays a 640 x 350 EGA window with square pixels. With today's data, this would have expanded to a 4: 3 aspect ratio, like a traditional CRT monitor. All of the above Windows 1.0 images have been customized to match the way they were originally intended to appear in vintage format.

While using Windows Simulation, try running Paint or playing some Reversi. You will see how far we have come.

Happy Birthday, Windows!

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