Thirty years ago (on November 20th 1985) is when Microsoft release the very first version of its Windows line. It was created as a successor to MS-DOS.

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The original Windows logo

It would soon pave the way for future versions of Windows that we now know today. Windows has changed a lot over the years but still retains some features that were in Windows 1.0, such as scroll bars, drop-down menus, icons, dialog boxes and apps such as Notepad and Microsoft Paint.

Here is Bill Gates holding a boxed copy of Windows 1.0
Here is Bill Gates holding a boxed copy of Windows 1.0

Before Windows 1.0, users of MS-DOS would have to rely on typing in commands. However with Windows 1.0, you could use a mouse to navigate through the brand new GUI (graphical user interface). The mouse was a revolutionary way for how people interact with computers.

The Windows 1.0 splash screen.
The Windows 1.0 splash screen.

At the time of its release, some people complained that Windows 1.0 was too focused on the mouse instead of keyboard commands.

Windows 1.0 wasn’t the most received version of Microsoft’s operating system but it ignited a battle between Apple, IBM and Microsoft to help bring computing to more and more people.

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Windows logos over the years (at least up until 2012).

Windows has conquered personal computing for the past 30 years and no Apple attack ads (see Mac vs. PC Apple ads) have been able to change that. Microsoft has continually modify Windows while also making it available in new ways through devices, businesses and now the cloud.

Microsoft may find that trying to bring Windows to the mobile space via smartphones and tablets, a tough challenge to beat. It could just be that Microsoft is ahead of the curve.

It will only be a few short years until we are celebrating the 50th (in 2035) or even the 60th anniversary (in 2045) of Windows. So while we’re here, why don’t we take a look back at the last 30 years and we’ll worry about bigger anniversaries at a later date.

Windows 1.0 (1985)

This was the very first version of Windows and it has a graphical user interface, mouse support and important apps.
This was the very first version of Windows and it has a graphical user interface, mouse support and important apps.

Windows 2.0 (1987)

windows2.0
The second version of Windows was still 16-bit and VGA graphics. It also had the first versions of Microsoft Word and Excel.

Windows 3.0 (1990)

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The third version of Windows had a much better UI and new File and Program managers. Minesweeper was introduced in Windows 3.1.

Windows NT 3.5 (1994)

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This version of Windows was Microsoft’s first step into business computing and included important security and file sharing features.

Windows 95 (1995)

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Windows 95 was a significant update because Microsoft moved to a 32-bit OS. This version also introduced the Start menu. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer arrived as an updated to this version. (P.S. Windows 95 turns 20 this year)

Windows 98 (1998)

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Windows 98 was built on what Windows 95 brought by improving hardware support and performance. Microsoft also bundled apps and features like Active Desktop, Outlook Express, Frontpage Express, Microsoft Chat and NetMeeting.

Windows ME (2000)

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Windows ME was a precursor to Windows 2000 but this version was mostly forgotten because it was unstable and buggy. Windows Movie Maker also made its first appearance in this version along with newer versions of Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer

Windows 2000 (2000)

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Windows 2000 was designed with business in mind. There was new file protection, a DLL cache and hardware plug and play in this version.

Windows XP (2001)

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Windows XP combined home and business into one operating system. It also became one of the more popular versions of Windows.

Windows Vista (2007)

Windows Vista was disliked just as much as Windows ME. Vista introduced a new UI called Aero UI as well as security features. This version of Windows took Microsoft six years to create. It also seemed to work well on newer hardware. Windows Vista is seen as one of the worst versions of Windows.
Windows Vista was disliked just as much as Windows ME. Vista introduced a new UI called Aero UI as well as security features. This version of Windows took Microsoft six years to create. It also seemed to work well on newer hardware. Windows Vista is seen as one of the worst versions of Windows.

Windows 7 (2009)

windows7.0
Windows 7 was designed to clean up the mess that was left by Vista two years prior. Performance was much better and the UI was tweaked and improved. Windows 7 is considered one of the most popular versions of Windows.

Windows 8 (2012)

windows8.0
Windows 8 was a major redesign of the Windows that we had come to know and love. The most notable omission was the Start menu and it was replaced by a fullscreen Start Screen. Microsoft introduced ‘Metro-style’ apps to replace desktop apps. Microsoft also put a big emphasis on touch screens and tablet PCs. It was too much of a change for most desktop users and made Microsoft start to rethink their plans for future versions of Windows.

Windows 10 (2015)

windows10.0
Windows 10 brought back the Start Menu that was missing from Windows 8. It was a blend of Windows 7 and a bit of Windows 8. Microsoft also introduced features such as Cortana, Microsoft Edge browser and Xbox One streaming to PCs. It was designed with hybrid laptops and tablets in mind. With this version, Microsoft has switched Windows to a service model and will keep it fairly updated on a regular basis.

So here’s to 30 years and  to many more years of Windows, it looks like its here to stay (or at least for a while).

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Source: Wikipedia, (2), The Verge

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