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Microsoft Downplays Windows 1.0

Windows 1.0 got off to its auspicious start on Thursday Nov. 10, 1983, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Invitations to the launch were sent to the press in a box with a squeegee. The header read: "For a clear view of what's new in microcomputer software please join Microsoft and 18 microcomputer manufactures for a press conference…"

But, like many versions of Windows that would follow it, the first release didn't ship until two years after that fateful press conference, leading many to refer to it as "vapor-ware." Finally, Microsoft released Windows 1.0 in November of 1985 at Comdex.

When it comes to Windows 1.0, Microsoft prefers not to look that far back and has no apparent plans to celebrate its pending 25th anniversary. When we reached out to Microsoft to talk about its first rendition of Windows, the company declined to make anyone who was there at the time available. "We are focusing our anniversary efforts on the Windows 7 first birthday so unfortunately we won't be able to provide a briefing from someone [from] the Windows 1.0 days," a spokeswoman for Microsoft said in declining our request.

Of course, that anniversary is coming next month on Oct. 22. But we want to hear your recollections of Windows 1.0. Drop me a line at

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 09/10/2010 at 1:14 PM

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Reader Comments:

Mon, Sep 13, 2010 Erik de Ruijter Amsterdam

Did use it on the testbench, being an 'XT' PC with a 8088 processor and a later added whopping 10 Mb harddisk; though these tests in 1985 were purely with diskettes. 1.0 did fare not badly, roughly on par with direct competitor Digital Research GEM and me-too product IBM TopView. Only started applying Windows (and GEM) in business around 1987, when the 'killer apps' PageMaker for Windows and Ventura Publisher for GEM were released; Windows 2.0 (aka -286) time. Word for Windows 1.0 was also there by that time but mainly used in conjunction with PageMaker, all standard wordprocessing was WP for DOS and the odd MS-Word for DOS user.

Fri, Sep 10, 2010 Bill Powers New York

Was Windows 286 before or after Windows 1.0, because I was introduced to Windows 286 in 1987 and was able to use a 9-pin serial mouse.I was just wondering which came first... Oh, and by the way... for troubleshooting... give me DOS anyday... Thanks

Fri, Sep 10, 2010 MS Guy

They should ask that guy who was the original product manager for Windows to talk about it. I think he's still there at the company - he's in this video:

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