Microsoft Windows Turns 25

November 17th, 2010 by Benj Edwards

Windows 25th Anniversary - Windows Through The Ages

On November 20th, 1985, Microsoft released Windows 1.0. Back then, it was just a fancy graphical shell that ran atop MS-DOS. But over the years, it evolved into a full-fledged OS that dominated (and still dominates) the PC desktop.

To celebrate 25 years of Windows, I recently crafted a slideshow for PC World titled “Windows Through the Ages” and another for Technologizer called “Windows Oddities.” The latter article is the latest in my Oddities series for that site.

If you get a chance, I hope you can take a look. They were fun to make, and I think you guys will enjoy them — even if you’re not a big fan of Windows.

And let’s face it: I’m not sure anyone is a “fan” of Windows. Most of us just use it because it’s there and it works. But if you have more passion for Microsoft’s OS than that, feel free to let us know. Speaking of that, this looks like a good chance for a discussion topic.

Anniversary Discussion Topic: Overall, do you think Windows has been good or bad for computing in general? Explain.

Previous entries in Benj’s “Oddities” series:
Nintendo Entertainment System Oddities
Super Mario Oddities
Game Boy Oddities

16 Responses to “Microsoft Windows Turns 25”

  1. PS3D Says:

    I knew something sucked about today.

  2. Benj Edwards Says:

    If you dislike Windows that much, it’s actually Saturday (the 20th) that you have to worry about. 🙂

  3. PS3D Says:

    Right, it is Saturday. Whoops. Actually, today wasn’t that bad…

  4. SirPaul Says:

    Honestly, I would have preferred to see the Amiga, or possibly OS/2 to have succeeded, but I suppose Windows was ok. It had its good points and its bad… More bad than good, it seems, but that’s just me.

    *ponders looking for his OS distribution discs again to put on Virtual PC*

  5. Daniel Says:

    Nice writeup, thanks for posting.

    As I mentioned in a previous comment, operating systems are a fascination of mine. I really enjoy GUI galleries, and you give a nice walkthrough of the various versions.

  6. jdiwnab Says:

    One thing that struck me from those screenshots was how little some of the admin tools really changed. The disk utility seen in one of the early NT screenshots looks just like the one in XP. I haven’t done much with Vista/7 so I don’t know if it is still the same. The only difference was the window frame styling.

    Over all, I think that I have a love/hate thing with windows. So many things run only on Windows that you have to have it. Once setup right, and baring other people messing it up, it’s not that bad. But I think that there are portions of it still dragging it’s feet on being a modern OS. In some ways, they should ditched the 9x branch in favor of NT, rather than integrating them.

    In general terms, Windows made computers accessible to many people. Suddenly relatively cheap computers had an easy to use UI. I know there where others, but we are generalizing here. This made them accessible and people dived in. But they did this without understanding. This gave Windows a near monopoly over desktop OS’s, and let them drive people where they wanted, even if it was poorly planned (user permissions, for example).

  7. softe Says:

    believe it or not, i still have a 640 running windows 3.1 lol
    i have that just for word processing for my wife 🙂
    am i nuts or what?

  8. tsbol Says:

    I have a cousin great guy but hes been using the windows 95 classic desktop with the blue color background for 15 years. He is now using W7 but the idiot changed to classic view and blue background and classic taskbar ,, Im like he should have just used XP 64 bit. He has COCD ,, computer obsessive compulsive disorder.. I tell him he needs meds he says hes fine. Oh also the douchebag turns off cleartype fonts one of the amazing features of the Microsoft OS since XP til now 7. I think 7 is the best OS of all time including MAC OSX and Linux blue hat. Thanks

  9. softe Says:

    hey tsbol, why dont you mind your own business and leave your cousin alone, everyone in life has a way of doing things and he happens to do it his way, i mean its not like he reboots his PC 400 times a week and has driver installation on his mind 24/7

  10. tsbol Says:

    hey softe mind your pown business. Its not like your the douche bag cousin, so chill relax, You whore

  11. mercatfat Says:

    woah, drama.

    i typically expect new things to suck, at least at first. i didn’t expect much from Windows 7, and kept a partitioned install of XP on the computer as well. it took me a few months, but now i’m only finding myself going to XP when i absolutely have to. 7 actually runs faster on the same hardware, and is just as if not more reliable.

    the fact alone that if I want to find any program on my computer, that i can just hit the start key on my keyboard, type the first 3-5 letters and then have it pop up is just amazing to me.

    i will admit that i hate that the OS clumps windows of the same program together by default, but that’s easy enough to change. i’m sure that’s better for most people.

    i love os x, but 7 alone makes me pretty much a fanboy. XP eventually made that pretty easy too, but not quite the way 7 did. XP took two service packs to get to awesome status. 7 hasn’t needed one.

    i love OS X, but i still find it awkward if you didn’t grow up with it. after using Windows since 3.1, losing things like an obvious Windows-style right click is just weird to me. then again, power users right click a hell of a lot more than the average dude.

  12. Benj Edwards Says:

    Wow — we haven’t had an argument on here for years now. I find the whore/nonwhore Windows debate invigorating.

    But seriously, I enjoy Windows 7 more than I expected, although it’s still annoying to me that they changed the appearance and location of almost every single dialog box, explorer window, and settings window between XP and Vista.

    I personally think Win 7 was much more well received than Vista because 1) it has a better name, 2) the default background and advertising color scheme doesn’t look like a puke swirl, and 3) it’s easy to turn off the UAC the first time it bugs you. Oh yeah, the new task bar is much nicer than Vista, although I’ve switched to the XP-classic taskbar/window style just for comfort as I transition over. There’s nothing wrong with sticking with what you’re used to — in my case, it helps me get work done faster. To each his own, my friends.

    I have another computer on which I keep all the default Win 7 appearance settings (I enjoy that too), and I also use Mac OS X and various Linux distros on a regular basis, so one does not always have to choose either/or in the world of computers. We can all live in harmony, right?


  13. Bob Says:

    My first 16 bit micro was an Amiga 500+, circa 1991, but like most people, we were forced to use Windows at school. At that time, it was still Windows 2.0 on a lot os the school PCs. After being exposed to Amiga OS2.0, Windows 2 felt like a massive step backwards. Things didn’t improve much when the school upgraded to Windows 3.1 a few months later. It felt really bizarre using a niche computer that was years ahead than the mainstream in terms of how powerful and flexible it was.

    I suppose that early exposure to a different OS rubbed off. I’ve never even contemplated buying a Windows PC. Every version I’ve used has felt like a slightly behind the times technology. Even today, when I switch back from OSX 10.6.5 to XP, it feels like a retrograde step… Mind you, XP is 10 years old now and I haven’t tried Vista or Win7 yet. But I can’t ever see myself owning a Windows PC.

  14. Bob Says:

    For a while, my Dad was working from home using a Compaq 486SX. Quite a nice machine, but it was crippled with only 8Mb of ram and a really slow modem intended for faxing only (so the internet was out of the question). But the worst part was his employers had preloaded the machine with some soft of hideous Windows enhancing software that ran on top of the Windows 3.1 Program Manager (Can’t remember the name now).

    It was laid out like a filing cabinet and was designed to make everyday tasks much easier – the reality was somewhat different though. It was an utter pain to find stuff, ate ram for breakfast and was just bad news.

    So one weekend I added an extra 8Mb or Ram, removed the Filing Cabinet program manager thing and installed Calmira. Worked like a charm after that. 😀

  15. Jason Scott Says:

    Most inaccurate use of the word “fancy” ever.

  16. BDD Says:

    I bought a Macbook Pro for the main purpose of running Windows XP and OS X on it. Some of my Fenix development tools only run under Windows, and I find that the emulators I run do so better under Windows. But for daily, non-gaming and development use, it’s OS X all the way for me.

    Back in the early 90s to early 00’s, I messed around with every Windows release that came out; from 3.0 to XP; and found many interesting and fun things about all of them. I swing all different ways with regards to computers and operating systems. I just love messing around with new and interesting aspects of all of them, regardless of what platform they’re part of. The religious wars that fester on annoyingly are just stupid, and a lot of it is based on marketing. All that this stupidity tells me is that people are sheep that watch too much damn TV.

    It’s simple, use what works for you. Or, if you’re a geek like me, have fun with all of them, as there’s a lot to discover.

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