With all of the hoopla surrounding the release of Windows 8, you may have missed the fact that the Windows operating system itself has just turned 27 years old.
These days we tend to think of the operating system world as being split between two basic camps, Apple OS and Windows, but back in 1985 the choices were far more varied. Commodore's AmigaOS was a hot new property along with DRI's GEM, and they were soon joined by IBM's long forgotten OS/2. Then of course there's the various flavors of Linux, which have kept a devoted core group of fans happy for over 30 years.
By 1985 Microsoft had already been showing early versions of Windows to the public for a couple of years, but the company kept tweaking it until the initial public release of Windows 1.01 on November 20, 1985. Some of the changes were made to combat complaints that it took too many ideas from Apple's Macintosh, but over the years their persistence paid off, and by the mid-1990s Windows OS machines dominated the home computer market.
If you follow the 27-year progression from Windows 1.01 to Windows 8, you'll discover that it's far from a straight line through eight different operating systems, and by the time you add in all of the specialized variants, there have actually been dozens of variations of the OS. Looking back at Windows 1.0 today is a bit like checking out the 1985 Radio Shack catalog. All those things that wowed us back then, the jagged graphics and tiled windows that could only sit next to each other just seem kind of quaint now. Still, it's always fun to look back.
Amazingly, Microsoft continued to support Windows 1 until the end of 2001; what are the chances that they'll still be supporting Windows 8 in 2026?
Check out the gallery to see some Windows 1 screenshots. Anyone remember Reversi?