Microsoft Windows: How it All Began

by hmiller 15. January 2010 03:37

Microsoft has been extremely influential in the growth and use of computers and Internet service. Since the very early stages of computer development, Microsoft has been creating products that were adopted by software and computer designers, which promoted the growth of acceptance as a standard for operating systems (OS’s) among computer users. Microsoft holds nearly 90 percent of the market share for operating systems used today! The majority of computers sold today have a Microsoft’s operating system, Windows, installed on their computer.

Before Windows operating systems were developed, computer ran with DOS, or, disk operating system. Basically it was just a black screen with white characters and a cursor. Users would type commands or use keyboard shortcuts and prompts (like Ctrl+Alt+Delete) to perform all computer tasks.

For example, to open a program or perform a task, you would type a combination of letters on your keyboard and press “Return” or “Enter”. The program or task would open a similar page with more white characters on a black screen. You could navigate through the options with arrow keys, or type another command to exit or open another command. A cursor would indicate where you can type more commands. The display upon turning on the computer was in a linear format, so you could only perform one task at a time. Previous commands would be higher on the page, disappearing off the top of the page and new commands  displayed underneath.

You can still see and use the original DOS display format and perform tasks that can now be done with mouse clicks. To open the DOS command window, click Start>All Programs>Accessories>Command Prompt. Type “control” and push enter. This will open your Control Panel window. Close the Window

Microsoft bought MS-DOS (Microsoft-Disk Operating System) in the early 80’s, and this was the beginning of the operating systems the majority of computers use today.

GUI, or graphical user interface was a significant development that changed the way we compute. Graphics, like colors, desktop display, icons, and buttons would replace DOS text commands. Instead of typing a combination of letters and hitting “Enter”, you now just double click an icon with a mouse.

Although the first GUI display on mid-80’s computer fade in comparison to today’s high resolution, colors, and animation, it was a big improvement from the black screen with white letters! This is where the Windows operating systems we know today began.

The name “Windows” represents the transition from DOS format to GUI format. Programs and settings now open in its own frame, or window, which means that you can switch back and forth from one programs to another, and as technology improved, have multiple windows open and running at the same time.

The latest Windows operating systems are astounding and complex in comparison to their late 80’s, early 90’s predecessors. As each new system was released, computers were faster, more colorful and aesthetically-appealing, safer, and easier to use (that is, except for the time it takes to learn new methods and layouts!).

In October of 2009, Microsoft released Windows 7, a crisp, fast, safe, and elegant OS that is hardly recognizable in comparison to the first GUI operating system from 20 years ago, Windows 3.0. For more information about the versions and features of Windows operating systems, go to


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles!

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About the author

Hannah Miller is an Online Marketing Representative for - America's best provider for Dial-Up Internet Service since 1997.

Hannah has been a Customer Service and Tech Support agent for since 2007, which has supplemented her knowledge of dial-up, computers, and the Internet. The entries that are posted in this blog are professional articles relating to our industry. Email your questions, suggestions, and other comments to

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