A Reflection on Windows

Microsoft Windows, a name that has become synonymous with personal computing around the world. With features such as Paint, the Start Menu and Solitaire, even the most technophobic members of society recognise its name. With the recent preview of its latest iteration, Windows 10, perhaps it’s time to have a look back at where it all started in 1985.

The original Windows 1.01 © Flickr
The original Windows 1.01 © Flickr

Back to the Future, Margaret Thatcher and The Smiths, all synonymous with the 1980s, but what  many don’t realise is that on the 20th November 1985, Windows 1.0 was released. Following on from Apple’s Macintosh a year previously, the two kickstarted a revolution in computing, leading to the technological world we know today.

Windows in the 1980s was a vastly different affair to the modern versions we all love (or hate) today, with blocky boxes and bright gaudy colours, the early versions of Windows almost remind me of Windows 8 without the need for a touchscreen. If you wanted to know when things really started getting good, let’s visit 1995, with (you guessed it) Windows 95. This really was the foundation for the Windows of today, with the introduction of that all important Start Menu, 95 was for many an introduction to computers at home.

Fast forward to 2001 and we’re in familiar territory with Windows XP. The rolling green hills, Clippy – that happy little paperclip that seemed intent on helping you in Microsoft Office, and 3D Pinball were highlights of this release, alongside all of the technological advancements. Windows XP is often considered Microsoft’s best release, and support was only dropped in July of this year, a full 13 years after it’s original  release.

Vista in 2007 was considered a flop by many. With bugs, compatibility issues and glitchy effects, it let down the strong reputation left by XP. However, just a few years later in 2009, we had what Vista should have been, Windows 7. Bold, simple and easy to use, Windows 7 regained Microsoft’s title as a reliable software company, and although it has since been succeeded, 7 is still the go to operating system for many – even the University’s computer systems still run it.

Windows 8 was, similarly to Vista, a flop. With low adoption rates, the disappearance of the start menu and a return to the bright flashy colours of the 1980s, Microsoft was trying to hard to make Windows fit into the world of tablets AND traditional computers. Unfortunately for them, it didn’t work. However, this cloud does have a silver lining, as Windows 8 has paved the way to it’s 2015 successor Windows 10 (according to Reddit user cranbourne, Microsoft decided to forgo Windows 9 on account of legacy code from third-party apps running checks for Windows 9x).

The all new Windows 10 © PCWorld

 Windows 10 promises the return of the Start Menu we all know and love, with the best parts of Windows 7 and 8, a combination of colourful tiles and a normal desktop. We’re yet to see how its received by the public upon its release next year, but this time, Microsoft may have once again cracked it.

Andrew Dodson

Feature Image: Soft32


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