Today marks the 31st birthday of Windows 1.0. On November 10, 1983, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates unveiled Windows 1.0 to the world. This operating system required only two floppy disks and 192KB of RAM in order to function. Windows 1.0 would ship to consumers for $99 only two years later after its unveiling.
Windows 1.0 wanted to change the way we used computers, during a time when most computers were text based. Windows 1.0 had a graphical user interface, which was a radical shift from the norm, and was met with a lot of hesitation from users and critics (sound familiar?).
Windows 1.0 came with several programs which we still use to this day — including Calculator, Calendar, Clipboard Viewer, Clock, Notepad, Paint, Reversi, Cardfile, Terminal, and Write. Windows 1.0 had an amazing interface at the time, having all windows tiled, rather than overlapping. This meant only dialog boxes could appear over other windows.
“Rather than typing MS‑DOS commands, you just move a mouse to point and click your way through screens, or ‘windows.’ Bill Gates says, ‘It is unique software designed for the serious PC user.'” Take a look at a promo below showcasing Steve Ballmer and Windows 1.0.
Back in 1983, Windows 1.0 had mixed reactions from consumers. Critics were saying the platform had potential but did not fulfill expectations. In fact, Windows 1.0 was said to be demanding when it came to system requirements and offered poor performance when running multiple applications at once. Windows 1.0 also encouraged the use of a mouse for navigation, which was something new at the time.
Windows 1.0 was trying to sell a new concept to the world — the graphical user interface. During this time, only Apple had made somewhat an impact with that environment. Interestingly enough, Microsoft wanted to make an impact in the tablet/touch space with Windows 8 to take on Apple’s iPad, but faced a lot of criticism with the operating system.
Did you know that Microsoft wanted to call it ‘Interface Manager’ but changed the name to Windows 1.0 at the last very second? “Interface Manager is the code name and is considered as the final name, but Windows prevails because it best describes the boxes or computing “windows” that are fundamental to the new system. Windows is announced in 1983, but it takes a while to develop. Skeptics called it vaporware,” Microsoft explains.
Take a trip down memory lane and take a look at the controversial Windows 1.0 in the video below. Happy 31st Birthday Windows 1.0!Further reading: Bill Gates, Microsoft