THROWBACK THURSDAY: Windows, how you’ve grown

The first version of Windows came on one floppy disk. Not that it did much, but it’s pretty amazing the journey that Windows has taken in its 30 years of life on this planet. I mean, look at how cute it was when it was young!

ZDNet (which, back in 1985 was called PC Magazine and published on paper) has a slideshow of Windows throughout the ages. Check it out. The funny thing was, looking at all these OS’s side by side, I got a little nostalgic. I sort of miss the rather straightforward way that Windows 3.1 didn’t try to be everything to you. It just gave you a way to run apps graphically, and it did that pretty darn well. I also found the screenshot of Windows Vista to be more attractive than I remembered, even if the OS itself was kind of a pile of garbage.

More than any other piece of software, Windows has really defined how we’ve looked at our personal computers over the last 30 years. Sure, there’s Mac OS and Linux and now the smartphone OS’s, but each of them is inevitably compared to Windows in terms of usability and power. And Windows has done surprisingly well, despite a few clunkers like WindowsME, Vista, and the original Windows 8. I am pretty surprised to say that I like Windows 10 better than any of the versions that came before, although there are a few UI tweaks I wish were built in. I miss the transparent window frames from Windows 7 “Aero” and I know I can hack the registry to put them back, I just haven’t gotten round to it.

And you know, Microsoft is saying that Win10 is “the last” version of Windows, that from now on it’s all going to be incremental updates. That’s fine, as long as they keep growing and evolving.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 7,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.