From the beginning…

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At first it was signed with four different-sized square shaped tiles stylized as a window. Then the icon (not for long) became monochromatic. Adding four colors and creating a flag-like symbol became an indispensable part of everyday life for many.  Now in shades of blue – it is supposed to add a sense of knowledge and security. Most of us can’t imagine operating a computer without it, and for many it’s basically an integral part of a PC or laptop – dear reader, this is Microsoft’s child – WINDOWS. 

People are often divided into different categories: dog lovers or cat lovers, those who like the mountains or the sea, clubbers or home lovers. In the same way, users of electronic equipment can be divided – according to their preference for using operating systems. Some like to use distributions collected under the logo of a smiling penguin, others most appreciate the friendliness of the interface of the bitten apple. However, it is Windows that is on the devices of 75% of computer users.

Currently, the latest version of the software is Windows 11. Some are skeptical about the update of the previous system, for others the changes were necessary. But what was it like before? Microsoft’s 37 years of releasing Windows have seen not only successes, but also failed distributions. 

To begin this adventure we must go back to 1985. That’s when Paul Allen and the more famous Bill Gates released a graphical overlay for the already successful MS-DOS, which until then had only been a text environment. The overlay, not considered by some to be a new operating system, was originally to be called Microsoft Interface Manager, and had been in development since 1981. Eventually, for various reasons (mainly marketing), the name “Windows” was settled on. This one was numbered 1.0 

Windows 1.0 only supported tiled windows, but already included a notepad, terminal, calendar, watch or calculator. There was also a basic control panel or RAMDrive, which was used to manage memory cards. Also part of the system was a game – Reversi (also known as Othello). The system cost $99, and additionally included Windows Write (the prototype of WordPad) and Paint in the starter package. Was Windows 1 a huge success? Certainly not as much as Microsoft wanted. However, the developers did not give up and two years later the next version debuted. 

Windows 2.0, as it is referred to here, was an improvement over the “one.” Like its predecessor, it could run without a hard drive (if you had two diskette drives). Important innovations were the possibility of overlapping windows, as well as support for 16-color VGA graphics. Also not to be overlooked is the fact that this system was also the first on which Word and Excel could be used. While Windows 2 was positively reviewed, it was still considered more limited than Mac OS on the Macintosh. Here it is worth mentioning that Apple had court battles with Microsoft over copying solutions used in their system. And these appeared almost 200 to the next version of the system which is …. 

… Windows 3.0. 

But we will write about what the 1990 hit brought us soon.

This post is also available in: Polski (Polish)