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Microsoft Windows 1.0

Windows 1.0 is the first graphical personal computer operating environment developed by Microsoft. Microsoft had worked with Apple Computer to develop applications for Apple’s January 1984 original Macintosh, the first mass-produced personal computer with a graphical user interface (GUI) that enabled users to see user-friendly icons on the screen. 

Windows 1.0 was released on November 20, 1985, as the first version of the Microsoft Windows line. It runs as a graphical, 16-bit multi-tasking shell on top of an existing MS-DOS installation. It provides an environment that can run graphical programs designed for Windows, as well as existing MS-DOS software. Its development was spearheaded by the company founder Bill Gates after he saw a demonstration of a similar software suite known as Visi On at COMDEX.

Despite positive responses to its early presentations and support from a number of hardware and software makers, Windows 1.0 was received poorly by critics. Critics felt Windows 1.0 did not meet their expectations. In particular, they felt that Windows 1.0 put too much emphasis on mouse input at a time when mouse use was not yet widespread; not providing enough resources for new users; and for performance issues, especially on systems with lower computer hardware specifications. 

Despite these criticisms, Windows 1.0 was an important milestone for Microsoft, as it introduced the Microsoft Windows line. On December 31, 2001, Windows 1.0 was declared obsolete and Microsoft stopped providing support and updates for the system.

The original Windows 1 was released in November 1985 and was Microsoft’s first true attempt at a graphical user interface in 16-bit.

Development was spearheaded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and ran on top of MS-DOS, which relied on command-line input.

It was notable because it relied heavily on the use of a mouse before the mouse was a common computer input device. To help users become familiar with this odd input system, Microsoft included a game, Reversi (visible in the screenshot) that relied on mouse control, not the keyboard, to get people used to moving the mouse around and clicking onscreen elements.

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