It’s 25 years since Microsoft launched the first version of Windows, and what started out in November 1985 as a graphical front end for DOS has grown into the most widely used operating system. To mark Windows’ 25th, we’ve put together 25 facts about the OS to highlight some of the more memorable moments in its history.
1. The origins of Windows can be traced to September 1981 when Microsoft began working on a project entitled Interface Manager.
2. The release of Windows 1.0 in 1985 was actually two years later than planned. We'd be on Windows 8 now if they'd stuck to their schedules.
3. Microsoft supported Windows 1.0 until the final day of 2001, some 16 years later.
4. Windows 3.1, despite being first launched in 1992, found a niche role as an embedded operating system, and was still in use in 2008 by Virgin Atlantic and Qantas in some onboard entertainment systems on long-distance flights.
5. Fortune named Microsoft as the 'Most Innovative Company Operating in the US' in 1993 as sales of Windows started to rocket.
6. Many editions of Windows required endless floppy disks to install the system. For example, Windows 95 came on 13 disks.
7. Microsoft used Start Me Up by The Rolling Stones on adverts for the launch of Windows 95. The Stones were reportedly paid between $8m and $14m, but this is said to be a gross exaggeration.
8. Music was also part of the obligatory free stuff that Microsoft bundled in with Windows 95 – to be exact, a video of Buddy Holly by rock band Weezer to show off the system's multimedia capabilities.
9. Microsoft also cashed in on the success of Friends in the 1990s by commissioning a promotional video, labeled a 'cyber sitcom', featuring Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry showing off the top 25 features of Windows 95. The firm claimed it was a "fast and funny" guide to the new operating system. It was anything but.
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