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A Little Windows History

As you surely know, Windows is a graphical user interface (GUI) and operating system (OS) that is the heart and soul of your computer. Although Windows was once a toy (I remember when people bought Windows mainly because of the graphical word processor and paint program it included), it’s now an essential element in your computing experience.

When Windows first hit the market in 1985, it actually was a shell that sat upon the increasingly shaky foundations of MS-DOS. Early versions were frequently used as menuing systems for launching MS-DOS programs, because programs that actually required Windows were quite scarce for several years. In fact, to help promote Windows as a platform for programs, Microsoft distributed a “runtime” version of Windows with some of the early Windows-based programs such as Aldus PageMaker (now an Adobe product). Users who didn’t have a full version of Windows needed to install the runtime version before using the program. The runtime version of Windows was launched when the application (such as PageMaker) was started and provided Windows menuing and print services, and closed when the application was closed.


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