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Windows at 25: from a laughing stock to world dominance

Windows 1.0 users recall their experiences

Microsoft released the very first version of Windows nearly 25 years ago, but the chances are you don't remember it. We talk to some Windows 1.0 users who recall their experiences.

Hewitt remembers there being major excitement over the Windows 3.0 graphical user interface, saying the company he worked for at the time bought 30,000 licences.

Hewitt was recently attending Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference at the company headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Another PDC attendee, software developer Julian Easterling of Marriott International, also remembers using Windows 2.0.

"Windows 2 was, I believe, still in DOS," Easterling says. "Windows 3 was the first GUI one that I remember seeing."

Windows 2.0 was released in 1988 and Windows 3.0 in 1990, but at that time Easterling was a bigger fan of IBM's OS/2.

"I preferred OS/2 back then. I thought it was a much better operating system. I think it was better technically," he says.

"Although it didn't have a nice graphical user interface, from a programming standpoint I think [OS/2] was a lot better," Easterling continues. "Of course, Microsoft had marketing behind it and really took over."

At PDC, some Microsoft executives also recalled their first impressions of Windows, which occurred many years before they started working for the company.

When asked if he remembers the first time he saw Windows, Microsoft official Paul Bryan says with a laugh, "Probably, but I don't know if I want to remember".

Bryan's been with Microsoft for 12 years, now serving as a Windows Phone product manager.

Bryan says he thinks Windows 3.1 provided his first Windows experience, while he was an undergraduate in computer engineering. Bryan had used mainframes and workstations, but Windows provided a new type of usability.

"Just the whole graphical user interface was a very different experience," he says. "That was the first one I had used. I had not used Macs, and I'd used other text-input interfaces."

NEXT PAGE: Switching between systems was frustrating

  1. Windows 1.0 users recall their experiences
  2. Excitement over Windows 3.0
  3. Switching between systems was frustrating

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