Microsoft Windows is 25 years old

November 20, 2010

Windows has hit the 25-year milestone, with Microsoft having released its first effort, Windows 1.0 on Nov. 20, 1985. How different would the world be today had this momentous day in history not occurred?

Windows has changed the world. Seriously. The operating system now used on around 90 percent of all computers brought computing to the masses, delivering all the technical bullshine and jargon in a way that everyone could understand. Basically, Windows has managed to take computing out of the realm of the uber-geek and to the proles.

This was no mean feat because before Windows 1.0 there was MS-DOS, which while providing the computer and its user with the ability to communicate with each other, offered it in such a way that the mainstream would never go for it. Windows, however, added a new layer, a graphical user interface (GUI) which allowed programs to be operated with a mouse without the need for text commands.

Windows 1.0, originally codenamed Interface Manager, was, to put it bluntly, a bit lame. But it was the start of something which would go on to revolutionize the world.

It could be argued that had Windows not existed then another company would have provided an alternative GUI to fill the void. Maybe so, but there’s no guarantee it would have taken off in the same way. And had personal computing not become mainstream then we probably wouldn’t have the Web as we know it now. Which, for me at least, is a pretty scary thought.

Windows has evolved an incredible amount over the years. Not every new release has hit the mark, and it wasn’t until Windows 95 (which recently celebrated its 15th birthday) that the elements we now know and love came to exist. However, we now have Windows 7, which is an absolute triumph and Microsoft’s best release to date.

Windows 1.0 to Windows 7 took 25 years, and hit some bumps along the way, but the fact that Windows is still dominant says a great deal about how important Windows has been over the past quarter of a century.

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