Microsoft encouraged PC users to celebrate the launch of Windows 7 by hosting their own party. We look back at the wacky ways Microsoft launched previous operating systems.

Last week saw the launch of Microsoft's highly anticipated operating system, Windows 7.

The software company made sure the OS launched with a bang, by staging worldwide events to announce its arrival.

We've taken a trip down memory lane to look at how Microsoft has launched some of its previous operating systems.

Windows 1.0

This supposedly dates from 1986 and therefore may not technically date from the launch of Windows 1.0, which shipped in 1985. But no retrospective of Windows-related stuff would be complete without it.

Windows 3.0

A clip from the Windows 3.0 coverage by Stewart Chefeit's TV series The Computer Chronicles.

It's eerily similar to Windows 7 with its description of Windows 3.0 as a reaction to Windows 2.0's lukewarm reception, its touting of 3D elements in the user interface, and the coverage of the general enthusiasm for the product.

Laptop buying advice

See all laptop reviews


NEXT PAGE: Windows 3.1 and Windows 95

  1. We look at how Microsoft has launched its OSes over the years
  2. Windows 3.1 and Windows 95
  3. Windows XP
  4. Windows Vista

Microsoft encouraged PC users to celebrate the launch of Windows 7 by hosting their own party. We look back at the wacky ways Microsoft launched previous operating systems.

Windows 3.1 (?)

From Japan, something indescribable - I choose to believe this is real and not somebody's art project.

Windows 95

More Computer Chronicles: Jay Leno doing a Windows 95/Clinton skit, a little girl who's an amazing forerunner of Kylie, and more.


Bill Gates, Windows then-chief Brad Silverberg, and a truly gigantic Windows 95 box.

Laptop buying advice

See all laptop reviews


NEXT PAGE: Windows XP

  1. We look at how Microsoft has launched its OS' over the years
  2. Windows 3.1 and Windows 95
  3. Windows XP
  4. Windows Vista

Microsoft encouraged PC users to celebrate the launch of Windows 7 by hosting their own party. We look back at the wacky ways Microsoft launched previous operating systems.

Windows XP

I shot this myself at the Windows XP launch in New York City, which took place six weeks after 9/11/2001.


It was therefore a rather somber affair-the most memorable moment by far was an unannounced walk-on by then New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani - but the only part I captured on video was Regis Philbin's wacky XP Webcam demo, which didn't work (surprise!) and ended with his sincere but confused endorsement of the new OS.

Wow, a remake! Steve Ballmer returns to Billy Mays mode, along with the equally boisterous Microsoft exec Brian Valentine, to pitch XP in what's presumably an internal corporate video.

Laptop buying advice

See all laptop reviews


NEXT PAGE: Windows Vista

  1. We look at how Microsoft has launched its OS' over the years
  2. Windows 3.1 and Windows 95
  3. Windows XP
  4. Windows Vista

Microsoft encouraged PC users to celebrate the launch of Windows 7 by hosting their own party. We look back at the wacky ways Microsoft launched previous operating systems.

Windows Vista


Japanese geeks line up at midnight for Windows Vista. Wonder how they felt after they got home and installed it?

Windows 7

Finally, the already-legendary Windows 7 Launch Party video. I still can't tell if the enthusiasm is utterly sincere or a brilliant put-on. I just know it's mesmerising.

Laptop buying advice

See all laptop reviews

See also: Windows 7 video guide

  1. We look at how Microsoft has launched its OS' over the years
  2. Windows 3.1 and Windows 95
  3. Windows XP
  4. Windows Vista