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A Brief History of Microsoft Windows

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With the newest version of Microsoft Windows, Windows 7, on its way, it's a good time to take a look back at all the different versions of Windows Microsoft has made available over the years. In this article, Easy Computer Basics, Windows 7 Edition author Michael Miller is your tour guide for 25 years of Windows: from Windows 1.0 to Windows 7.

Windows has a long history.

It's been almost 25 years since Microsoft released the first version of Windows, and more than 15 years since Windows began to dominate the personal computer desktop. Of course, given all the technological changes that have occurred in the past 25 years, today's version of Windows bears only a passing resemblance to Windows 1.0. And that's a good thing.

That first version of Windows was pretty rudimentary. Yes, it was a tad easier on the eyes than the then-reigning DOS operating system, but it wasn't any easier to use. In fact, if you didn't have a mouse—which few users did back in 1985—it was actually harder to use than DOS's type-and-enter command-line interface.

Building on work conducted at Xerox PARC labs and then adapted for the Apple Lisa and Macintosh computers, Windows was a graphical user interface that Microsoft grafted on top of its existing DOS operating system.

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