24 Years Ago : The Launch of Windows 1.0

Today it has exactly been 24 years ago since Microsoft launched it’s first version of the Windows Operating System (pfieww..I was only 9 on that date) : Windows 1.01

Because of this 24th birthday of Windows I would like to share a video with you. And of course, just like most fo the hilarious Microsoft video’s on Youtube, it’s featuring Steve Ballmer who is trying to sell you Windows 1.0! In that time Windows wasn’t much more then a graphical layer of MS DOS.


Windows 1.0 Features


Windows 1.0 offers limited multitasking of existing MS-DOS programs and concentrates on creating an interaction paradigm (cf. message loop), an execution model and a stable API for native programs for the future. Due to Microsoft’s extensive support for backward compatibility, it is not only possible to execute Windows 1.0 binary programs on current versions of Windows to a large extent, but also to recompile their source code into an equally functional "modern" application with just limited modifications.[3]

Windows 1.0 is often regarded as a "front-end to the MS-DOS operating system", a description which has also been applied to subsequent versions of Windows. Windows 1.0 is an MS-DOS program. Windows 1.0 programs can call MS-DOS functions, and GUI programs are run from .exe files just like MS-DOS programs. However, Windows .exe files had their own "new executable" (NE) file format, which only Windows could process and which, for example, allowed demand-loading of code and data. Applications were supposed to handle memory only through Windows’ own memory management system, which implemented a software-based virtual memory scheme allowing for applications larger than available RAM.

Because graphics support in MS-DOS is extremely limited, MS-DOS applications have to go to the bare hardware (or sometimes just to the BIOS) to get work done. Therefore, Windows 1.0 included original device drivers for video cards, a mouse, keyboards, printers and serial communications, and applications were supposed to only invoke APIs built upon these drivers. However, this extended to other APIs such as file system management functions. In this sense, Windows 1.0 was designed to be extended into a full-fledged operating system, rather than being just a graphics environment used by applications. Indeed, Windows 1.0 is a "DOS front-end" and cannot operate without a DOS environment (it uses, for example, the file-handling functions provided by DOS.) The level of replacement increases in subsequent versions.

The system requirements for Windows 1.0 constituted CGA/Hercules/EGA (listed as "Monochrome or color monitor"), MS-DOS 3.1, 384K RAM (512KB recommended), and 2 double-sided disk drives or a hard drive.[4]

Windows 1.0 runs a shell program known as MS-DOS Executive. Other supplied programs are Calculator, Calendar, Cardfile, Clipboard viewer, Clock, Control Panel, Notepad, Paint, Reversi, Terminal, and Write.

Windows 1.0 does not allow overlapping windows. Instead all windows are tiled. Only dialog boxes can appear over other windows.

Windows 1.0 executables, while having the same .exe extension and initial file header as MS-DOS programs, do not contain the so-called MS-DOS stub which prints the "This program requires Microsoft Windows" message and exits when the program is run outside of Windows. Instead, the file header was formatted in such a way as to make DOS reject the executable with a "program too large to fit in memory" error message.

From the beginning, Windows was intended to multitask programs (although this originally only applied to native applications and for many versions the multitasking was co-operative, rather than preemptive).

Originally Windows was designed to have the pull-up menus at the bottom of windows, as it was common with the DOS programs of the time; however, this was changed before the first release.

Source : Wikipedia