Happy Birthday Windows

Windows 1.0, the original 16-bit operating system, was released on 20 November 1985 and today marks its 23rd Birthday.

55 programmers developed the system in a year, making the 1st edition a break from the norm in terms of usability. It enabled users to use a mouse to navigate the system and use its various functions and applications that were included.

Applications included were a set of desktop applications (MS-DOS File Management Program), a calendar, card file, notepad, calculator, clock and telecommunications programs allowing users to manage their day-to-day activites much like a PDA does today. It also allowed users to switch between programs without needing to quit and restart them.

The OS itself had 256 colours ability, re sizable windows, a reserved area of minimized programs (the original concept of the task bar) and the ability to customize the appearance of windows. Microsoft began to include what we now call a "Control Panel" in its first version of Windows (1.x). It came with a lot of interface controls that are still seen in versions of Windows today such as text boxes, radio buttons, scrolling bars and menu items.

In the interface of Windows 1.0, windows can be maximized, minimized or tiled. The active windows cannot be overlapped instead of tiled. There is no option to cascade windows, so it is inconvenient to show more windows at the same time.

Microsoft announced the idea of windows in spring 1983. But the first version of Windows, Windows 1.0 was not released until November 1985. Windows 1.x is based on MS-DOS 2.0. Due to the hardware and software limitations of MS-DOS 2.0, it was not successful compared to later versions of Windows such as Windows 3.1. However, Microsoft did have a good chance to market the operating system at fast
developing IBM compatible computers. Speaking of marketing, Microsoft's screaming CEO, Steve Ballmer, got behind a camera and recorded a hilarious advert for Windows 1.0. Shouting on the video, Ballmer gets excited about Windows Write, Windows Paint, Notepad and a clock feature! Thankfully even Paint has been updated these days with the introduction of the ribbon user interface in Windows 7. Checkout Ballmer's advert below. Also worthy of a special mention is Rafael Rivera, the author of Within Windows. Rafael is famous for creating UX theme patches for Vista and XP and recently unlocked the superbar in Windows 7. Rafael was born on the exact same day as Windows 1.0 was released. Happy Birthday Rafael & Windows!

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