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Arieh Warshel
Arieh Warshel is an Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
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20 November 2023

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Microsoft Windows 1.0 is released20.11.1985

Wikipedia (02 Jan 2014, 13:43)

Microsoft Windows 1.0 is a 16-bit graphical operating environment, developed by Microsoft Corporation and released on 20 November 1985. It was Microsoft's first attempt to implement a multi-tasking graphical user interface-based operating environment on the PC platform. Windows 1.0 was the first version of Windows launched. It was succeeded by Windows 2.0.


The development of Windows was spearheaded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, after seeing a demonstration at COMDEX 1982 of Visi On, a graphical user interface software suite for IBM PC compatibles.

Microsoft first presented Windows to the public on November 10, 1983. Requiring two floppy disk drives 192 KB of RAM, Microsoft described the software as a device driver for MS-DOS 2.0. By supporting cooperative multitasking in tiled windows when using well-behaved applications that only used DOS system calls, and permitting non well-behaved applications to run in a full screen, Windows differed from both VisiCorp's Visi On and Apple Computer's Lisa by immediately offering many applications. Unlike Visi On, Windows developers did not need to use Unix to develop IBM PC applications; Microsoft planned to encourage other companies, including competitors, to develop for Windows by not requiring a Microsoft user interface in their applications. Many manufacturers of MS-DOS computers such as Compaq, Zenith, and DEC promised support, as did software companies such as Ashton-Tate and Lotus. After previewing Windows, BYTE stated in December 1983 that it "seems to offer remarkable openness, reconfigurability, and transportability as well as modest hardware requirements and pricing ... Barring a surprise product introduction from another company, Microsoft Windows will be the first large-scale test of the desktop metaphor in the hands of its intended users".

IBM was notably absent from Microsoft's announcement, and by late 1984 the press reported a "war of the windows" between Windows, IBM's TopView, and Digital Research's GEM. Microsoft meanwhile had promised in November 1983 to ship Windows by April 1984, but now denied that it had announced a release date, and predicted that Windows would ship by June 1985. Deemphasizing multitasking, the company stated that Windows' purpose, unlike that of TopView, was to "turn the computer into a graphics-rich environment" while using less memory. Windows 1.0 was officially released on November 20, 1985

Version 1.02, released in May 1986, was an international release. Version 1.03, released in August 1986 included enhancements that made it consistent with the international release. It included drivers for European keyboards and additional screen and printer drivers. Version 1.04, released in April 1987, added support for the new IBM PS/2 computers, although no support for PS/2 mice or new VGA graphics modes was provided. At the same time, Microsoft and IBM announced the introduction of OS/2 and its graphical OS/2 Presentation Manager, which were supposed to ultimately replace both MS-DOS and Windows.

In November 1987, Windows 1.0 was succeeded by Windows 2.0. Microsoft supported Windows 1.0 for 16 years, the longest out of all versions of Windows, until December 31, 2001.

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