back to article Microsoft marks Windows' anniversary with Windows 7

Past is prologue. So said Joe Biden during a vice presidential debate slap-down to Sarah Palin after she'd chided him about him going on and on about the past eight years. It is significant, then, that Microsoft chose the anniversary of Windows to evangelize the new Windows 7 user interface with nods to Windows 1.0, Windows 95 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Was that an original from '83 or did they need 25 years to get that wrong?

    >that fire up using icons, instead of writing to multiple locations or from the start menu

    What does that mean?

    The start menu has icons, the files have icons, do they mean the icon that launches an app can only be in one place?

    That there'll be no text saying what anything is?

    I suppose that'd sort out the spelling problems.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If ever there was an illustration of "it's not what you know, it's who you know" it's Windows 1.0. Without IBM's help MS would have died a sudden and deserved death upon unveiling what was probably the worst operating system ever seriously launched by a real company. Sadly, it was bundled with increasing numbers of machines and we're all still living with the sad legacy of the result. Viral is a word that springs to mind.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So that's where all the problems began: "Rudamentary..."????

  4. Chris
    Gates Horns

    "We stole from Windows 95, XP, and Vista."

    ...and Apple, Dec, Netscape, Sun, etc. Allegedly...

  5. Paul Murphy

    Make windows7 install the size of a floppy disk. or two.

    and able to run in 640kb of memory, and boot up more quickly (on todays hardware it would be interesting to see how fast boot up would be) that would also be nice.

    I see the price stays about the same though. ($100 ­­ = £85 ?)


  6. Herby


    Always an add-on for MS-DOS, and not much more. As long as they have drive letters, and not something more informative, it will always bee that way.

    If they had actually done it "right" they would have started over, but that would take too much time/money.

    "Good, Fast, Cheap: Pick two" (enough said!).

  7. Si
    Gates Horns

    Microsoft stealing from itself?

    That's a first!

  8. Gabor Laszlo

    Also from

    Apple, Amiga, Gnome and pretty much everybody else.

  9. David

    Hope they've updated the spillchucker

    cos judging from the pic, Microsoft's spelling is pretty rudamentary.

  10. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    Gates Horns

    Interesting screenshot, but not very inspiring.

    A screen desparately short of pixels, but electing to use three lines worth of space for caption bars and menus. This is something that the Mac definitely got right. (In fact, it is possible the only thing the Mac has ever got right, ever.) There can only be one active application, so there need only be one menu bar on display, and it is not hard to merge it with the caption bar.

    Another goof is alluded to in the reference to the "MS-DOS executive" (in the document on the right). KERNEL.DLL was an absolutely stunning overlay/memory manager, giving all the benefits of virtual memory on a basic 8086 CPU. Microsoft *could* have made it available to "console-mode" applications, offering a relatively easy upgrade path (replace all your calls to malloc) but instead chose to bundle it with the GUI which is a much harder upgrade (replace all your UI code, too). If they'd done that, they'd have found that most "DOS" programs actually ran fine on their OS/2 1.x offering, and the 386's V86-mode was needed only for the most stubbornly antiquated crud.

  11. Ray Foulkes

    Delayed Christmas?

    I hope nobody is proposing to delay Christmas 2009 for a few months - I like Christmas in December...

  12. Ian Chard

    You'd think that

    Microsoft of all companies would be able to spell "rudimentary"!

  13. Dave

    And it's not just maths that's the problem...

    Looks like the Windows 1.0 spellchecker didn't pick up 'rudamentary'.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    We stole from Windows 95, XP, and Vista...

    ...and Gem. And VisiOn. And Macintosh. And Amiga Workbench. And Risc OS. And OSX...

  15. P Saunders
    Paris Hilton

    Original windows an OS? Not fucking likely....

    Did you ever try running any version of Windows lower than 95 on its own without DOS? Did it work? Then why the fuck are you calling it an OS?

    Paris, 'cause I'd like to give her one per os.

  16. Sceptical Bastard

    Plus ca change

    Quote: "The past had some really cool feature ideas you want to resurrect,"

    Yeah? Like MSDOS? Like the BSOD? Like VESA graphics? Like the desperate struggle to keep up with Apple? Like the browser wars? Like the backslash? Like the "no future in the internet" philosophy? Like Windows ME? No, forget that last one... we've just had that with Vista.

    How reassuring, however, that in an ever-changeing world some things stay the same - Bill's hairstyle and dress 'sense', for example.

  17. Jan Buys

    Nice to see those images again....

    I used to have an XT with windows 1.0 and GEM installed. We were thrilled when windows could use more than the usual DOS 640KB memory boundary.

    Oh well... happy today with win XP pro and for real work I'm happy with CENTOS linux. :-)

  18. wim

    the future is old

    I mean the future is in the older generations. Microsoft is probably aiming at all those Silver Surfers that have trouble with small icons.

  19. Anonymous Coward


    So in the ever warring quest of MS stole from Apple who stole from MS who all stole from everyone else...

    we see that a return to dashboard icons / Leopard clones can in fact be put back to Gates in the 1980's. When will people just accept that GUI's should be simple, well structured and easy for the user?

    Apple seem to have a good understanding (im not a fanboi) of what makes GUI's usable. The sparky gizmo's of the iPod Touch can obviously run on low power devices. They also have simple software installation / removal procedures. Linux has the power to enable complete customisation - often too much power for the normal user.

    I would welcome a simple blisteringly fast OS which allows me to run 95% of the applications used in daily life... and suitable customisation for the rest. Oh wait... that was the idea of the EEE + Xandros; Aspire One etc.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Windows 1.0 was NOT an OS

    > Gates unveiled Windows, the 16-bit operating system that ran on IBM PCs.

    Sheesh, I wonder how many times geeks will have to set El Reg straight.

    Win 1.0 was not an OS. It's a GUI shell for MS-DOS.

    The entire Windows 1.x/2.x/3.x and 9x/ME line are not OSes, they're just shells. The NT/2K/XP/Vi$hta/7 line, however, are.

  21. nobby

    icons? they'll never catch on

    what people really want is a proper command line. none of this new-age-hippy picture stuff.

    and what has that funny thing shaped like a box on a stick got to do with email anyway?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How times change: these days something like that would be a 4chan meme within minutes, and then pop up on failblog within a couple of months

  23. Neil Hoskins
    Thumb Up

    Thanks for the memories

    I remember that it couldn't really do much, but the idea seemed clever and the potential was obvious from the start. One thing that it would do is run dBase III; the speed slowed to a crawl, but you could then copy data from it and paste it into something else. I remember sitting there for hours doing that just because you could.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Quick note

    they also have "MS Dos Executive" listed. Are they going back to the 9x line of OSses?

    Or are they giving in to the PenguinLovers and including a powerful commandline tool?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 1.0 really an operating system?

    I thought of it more like a utility middleware that ran on MS-DOS. You could set the autoexec to start it up for the secretaries and managers, but we normally stopped it to work on the actual software. Did it have any "operating system functions" (memory management, disk management, threading, I/O pipes, etc.)? I suppose it had a clipboard, but that's certainly above the O/S. I know a later version had virtual memory allocation (that you had to manually swap in and out to the active 640K), but what did v1.0 do besides than the graphic interface?

  26. CeeJay

    "The past had...

    ...some really cool feature ideas you want to resurrect,"

    Yay! Bring back File Manager!!!

  27. Kenny Millar
    Gates Horns

    rudimentary task bar and big icons

    Oh, you mean a DOCK - now where have we seen that before?

    Isn't it time MS decided to innovate rather than immitate?

  28. Anonymous Coward

    "Windows, the 16-bit operating system"

    No, no, no. Please do not perpetuate this fallacy.

    Windows, until Windows 95, could not be classified as an operating system - it was a GUI layer on top of MS-DOS. (And with some coaxing, a little luck and a favourable wind, PC-DOS and FreeDOS too)

    Even the later Win9x streams functioned in this way, bootstrapping a DOS 7.x layer then running DOS extenders to move everything into the higher memory areas.

    Mine's the one with the Workbench disks in the pocket.

  29. Rob Beard
    Jobs Horns

    OSX Dock


    There's proof in that screen shot that Apple stole the idea for the OS X dock from Microsoft's Windows 1.0 (and Windows 2.0, 3.0, 3.1).

    Can't say I really played with Windows 1.0 (I had an Atari ST at the time) but I do remember at college back in 1994, they had Pagemaker running on Windows 2.0. The funny thing is, Windows 2.0 ran as an application in Windows 3.1!

    It was slow, but kinda funny putting Windows 2.0 in a Windows 3.1 DOS Box window. Wasn't really much use though.


  30. Sampler
    Gates Halo

    Posting this from a windows 7 machine

    Though not sure what they're talking about with large icons - most so far seem smaller than the laptops pre-installed vista icons - which I kinda liked, vista's icons always seemed too big after using XP for so long.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    For a blast from the past..........

    ...............bring back Microsoft Bob!!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This would be good.

    A button which switches all the stupid "we're trying to look clever" shit off.

    I've been reading the comments on all these threads, and today my opinion is that most techies posting complaints fit into three camps.

    1. I want a server which I also use to read emails.

    2. I want it just to work and be fast.

    3. I want a Mac.

    I personally want to chose what the machine does. I can't understand why with Vista that I had to use, I was sitting there reading a document, but the disk was trashing away.

    Oh. I also want 32GB of ram, that caches C:\Program files, C:\Windows and C:\Documents and Settings. (or C:\Users if you've mental health issues.) Think

    ([HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management]


    "LargeSystemCache"=dword:00000001) on Steroids.

    I notice Dell is offering XP as an additional cost option. You've got to buy vista, but we'll charge you a bit more if you're never going to use it. This says it all, users are prepared to pay more for an old product bundled with something they hate, than they would for a new one. Dell have conned the world into paying £10 more for XP than Vista. What does this say for the brains of your average school leaver?

    How can anyone charge £10 extra to use an old operating system, just so you can if you want, install a new operating system you don't want, which is going to be replaced in under a year?

  33. George Gardiner

    dressing up

    Windows 1 - 3.1 = Clown Suit for DOS

    Windows 7 = Clown Suit for IE

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Old is the new New

    Does this mean no ribbon bars? Oh please let it be true! I frickin' HATE ribbon bars! "Hmm," muses the MS designer "let's make the user do 1,000,000 mouse clicks for a simple action. And, lets have the options take up 100% more screen real estate than necessary. All this will drive bigger monitors, needing bigger graphics cards, bigger PCs and thus new versions of Windows."

    I also detest the way Windows does stuff automatically. It should wait until I bloody well tell it what to do and stop popping up damned dialogs whenever I connect USB storage (or whatever). It should also allow me to force the ejection of a USB device (or at least deign to tell me what is using it) so that I can remove it. Plug 'n play may fat, hairy arse (that was not an invitation).

    At least, unlike Linux, Windows has consistent dialogs. What is it with the FOSS lot and not agreeing the order for ok/cancel save/discard/cancel? Jesus Christ guys, it's not rocket science. I thought the FOSS was big on standards? Not with the UI it seems. Get it sorted.

    If FOSS would fix their UIs so they are consistent, fix their network share browsing (the fact that this STILL does not work is staggering), fix how crap gets installed (why the hell do I need to create a launcher for everything?) and provide a GUI for tasks rather than having to hack config files and reboot constantly (e.g. configuring a newly attached USB device) then it may well be a goer. These are simple things guys; really, really simple. Low hanging fruit. Big bang for your buck. Shit that makes peeps happy.

    Having said that, Linux IMHO is still leagues ahead of Vista. I have a Ubuntu 8.10 on a 1gb P4 laptop that bitch-slaps two core, 4gb Vista boxes into a cocked hat. And that's with the lappy running eye-candy.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Windows 3.11 on a Pentium 4...

    Yes, I friend of mine installed Windows 3.11 on a Pentium 4 2,4GHz (with 128MB or less of RAM, I guess, so it wouldn´t crash, perhaps). That was the only time I have ever seen a pseudo-OS running so fast.

    It also crashed so fast too, you couldn´t believe.

    But damn, the thing was blistering fast. It rebooted in 5 seconds or less. The BIOS loadup was 2/3 of the total boot time, from hitting the switch to a moving mouse on screen. (Of course, he ran a point-of-sale software, that wouldn´t run on Win 95 or latter.)

    That was the only time I thought ANY Windows could be really FAST!

    In fact, it took more time to type WIN on the command prompt than the booting itself, (once you had shut it down, and wished to load it again). So, out of lazyness, just kicking the reset button would do the trick. Too bad only special lightweight flavors of Linux can do that today. Even my cell phone takes 10 seconds to boot, and it ain´t a crappiphone, it is a regular cheap-ass candybar phone.

    Mine is the one with 13 beige 1.6MB floppies in the outer pocket.

  36. James Pickett


    "using a rudimentary task bar and big icons."

    I hate it already.

  37. Mark Dempster

    For all those calling Windows a Shell... exactly does that differ from the GUIs in use on Linux?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark Dempster

    Not much. What's your point? Have you heard someone calling GNOME an operating system?

  39. David Kelly
    Thumb Down

    @AC re: Win 3.11 on P4

    "In fact, it took more time to type WIN on the command prompt than the booting itself, (once you had shut it down, and wished to load it again). So, out of lazyness, just kicking the reset button would do the trick. Too bad only special lightweight flavors of Linux can do that today. Even my cell phone takes 10 seconds to boot, and it ain´t a crappiphone, it is a regular cheap-ass candybar phone."

    Er, you do know that by running "win" you're loading a GUI, not booting an OS. Akin to "startx" on a Linux box.

    As for your phone, do you have any idea what processor is in it? Even the iPhone only has a 620mhz proc, is it any wonder that it doesn't boot as fast as loading a lightweight GUI on a 2400mhz machine!??

  40. Bill Gould
    Gates Halo

    MS Win

    First mass market GUI, ergo all other GUIs "stole" from them.

    As for Win being a shell: Yes. Just like OSX and Gnome, etc.

  41. Mikey

    Why all the complaining?

    I love how people burble on about how MS rip off everything and anything to include in their OS. Isnt that called 'picking what works and what people like, and utilising it for the users benefit'? It would strike me that very little in the OS work these days is truly original, and most of the time, that which is generally doesnt tend to work as well as people hope it will.

    And it has to be said , that most of the complaints and whining does seem to originate from people who dont use windows anymore, and take every opportunity to spew bile against it instead of just getting on and using whatever it is they use now. If you've changed, why keep railing on about something that has no impact on you anymore?

    Remember, for every complaint here, there are probably 20-30 users who have had little or no bad experiences with the same product. Its a shame they arent as vocal as the Macolytes or the Church of Linux members.

  42. James Silver badge

    Re: Interesting screenshot, but not very inspiring.

    "This is something that the Mac definitely got right... There can only be one active application, so there need only be one menu bar on display, and it is not hard to merge it with the caption bar."

    And it apparently wasn't too hard to patent that idea either.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Mulberry Bush

    Windows 7, oh no, here we go again; how much RAM will it need, what speed processor?

    Will my apps run on it? I want to play a particular game and it's only supported on Windows 7, so I need to change my entire computer just to run it.... my current operating system will shortly be obsoleted so I won't have any choice but to upgrade to Win 7, and I'll be forced to buy a new motherboard so I can get a faster processor to run the flipping thing...

    Here we go again

    As time goes by, the more I think about migrating to Linux, and running Windows under emulation.

  44. John Colby

    Not more ****ing icons!

    I am sick and fed up with icons. I'm currently involved transferring the Faculty from Office 2003 to Office 2007 and we have to learn a whole new language - of pictures. Whatever the size they take up just too much screen real estate. What's wrong with text? nice, simple, unambiguous WORDS, dammit!

    Why can't people just learn to READ!

  45. Edward Rose


    @Rob Beard

    It took a few times to stop reading Pacemaker!

    @Mark Dempster

    I've never heard anyone call X Windows and OS.

    @AC, I hate FOSS GUIs.

    Good speech, well made. There are some beautiful inconsistancies and it can be quite annoying tweaking configs.

    As for rebooting, there is only one time you need ever do that. When you replace the actual kernel (which set up properly; ie server; can be years between. .ko)

    But, back to your first point, remember that all this software is made by techies for themselves (no matter how they dress it). So, sticking to a standard like that is not in their best interests, and is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Shame really.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark Dempster

    >For all those calling Windows a Shell...

    > exactly does that differ from the GUIs in use on Linux?

    It doesn't, X-Windows and the window manager are just apps on Linux.

    Linux is the OS, X (or whatever - there's actually a heck of a lot of whatevers) is a GUI style shell.

    It's not hard to understand.

    I don't see why they have an issue with it though.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @For all those calling Windows a Shell...

    Just so happens that there's a real operating system under the GUI. Linux itself actually is the name of the kernel - the core of the operating systems itself. The GUI is just that - a GUI on top of the OS. It is perfectly possible to run a Linux system with out a GUI, and that is in fact done on purely server systems - why would you need a GUI on a file/print/mailserver?

    You seem to be confusing a GUI with an operating system. An OS provides an infrastructure for the user's program to run on top of. The GUI is just a convenience for the user - it is NOT the OS.

    In the case of Window up to Windows Me, the real operating system was MS-DOS. If you didn't have MS-DOS on your system, you couldn't use Windows.

    Windows NT was the first real Windows operating system. On top was still a graphical layer for the user, but underneath it was a real, complete, multi-user operating system that was light years ahead of DOS - though just catching up to the Unix systems.

  48. Cameron Colley

    RE: For all those calling Windows a Shell...

    It doesn't. But nobody who knows anything about software calls KDE, Gnome, Enlightenment or even plain X an operating system.

    Am I the only one who thinks that Windows and Linux are, in some ways, converging? With Windows coming out in command-line only server versions and actually having a sudo type command and Linux getting OSs that are usable by most people and can be made funky looking too?

  49. Red Bren

    @Mark Dempster

    It doesn't. That's the point. The GUI should be an application that you can choose to run like any other, not a integral resource hog that you can't disable.

  50. Doug Glass


    Bend Over, Here It Comes Again.

  51. Rick Giles


    Who dares speak out against the Church of Linux?! Tux will not be pleased.

  52. Kanhef


    "'Good, Fast, Cheap: Pick two' (enough said!)."

    Somehow, the folks at MS managed to pick none.

  53. David Kelly


    "Remember, for every complaint here, there are probably 20-30 users who have had little or no bad experiences with [Windows]"

    Yeah and most likely 27 of those 30 users don't have a clue that there are better alternatives and the remaining few who've heard of them have never tried them. Ignorance is bliss eh!

  54. Chris iverson

    I love flamewars

    Windows 1,2,3.x,95,98,me = shell over DOS. Conclusion: WE GET IT

    MAC OSX: Shell over BSD, Conclusion: just like Windows of Yore, WE GET IT

    KDE, GNOME, etc: Shell over your favorite flavor, Conclusion: just like the other 2, WE GET IT.

    In conclusion we understand that these are shells which issue command to the underlying OS layer. Yes they are separate, please quit acting like the readers of this fine rag don't understand that these are separate entities. And to our dear hacks, please in the future refrain from calling the shells listed above operating systems as to prevent the geeks from requiring a lager to calm themselves down.

    Thank you

    Now time to fire up my NT box to figure out what the hell I did to my while trying to figure out what my roomie did to my mac causing it to fail to boot, better yet might as well sell it since im starting to look like a geek

  55. Anonymous Coward

    1 & 7 kind of look the same from a distance.

    I wonder if M$ are going to try this out on the real world b re-releasing Windows 1 as Windows 7 and saying how much faster everything is. Granted you won't be able to run anything on it, but it will be faster than Vista.

  56. jake Silver badge

    @Chris iverson

    > KDE, GNOME, etc: Shell over your favorite flavor,

    No. Those are window managers ... They are the user interface to the X Window System, which is "the shell that runs on Linux", more properly known as the X server.

  57. mark jacobs
    Paris Hilton

    @All of you

    Windows is a productivity killer. But it's a pretty one. Like a girl can seduce you with eye candy to her hollow core, so can any OS!

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