The history of computers–Microsoft Windows

Who here likes history? Nobody? I don’t blame you. Luckily for you, I have a nice twist to this history lesson; it’s about computers. Microsoft Windows to be exact. I have a long post for you guys, because I start from the very beginning to into the future generations of Windows and what I would like to see out of the next few versions, so let’s get started.

 

 

Cute-Ball-Windows-icon

Microsoft Windows 1.1

Microsoft, 1985 (One year after Apple Macintosh Classic was released.)

250px-Windows_1.0_logo.svg

Before Windows was an operating system, it was a program for MS-DOS. It was a window manager to say, hints the odd looking icon next to the text above. The reason they called it “Windows” was because it was able to have programs open in a window. Though Windows today is pretty nice, having what we call windows, early versions of Microsoft Windows didn’t have this. Instead it had this…

windows1forpost

The cursor may seem somewhat familiar, but the rest of it doesn’t even look like Windows. Believe it or not, this is Windows. Allow me to prove…

aboutwindows1

Yes, it says “MS-DOS Executive,” but look above that, “Microsoft Windows.” It also shows you how much RAM and disk space you have free. I run Windows off a 200 MB virtual hard drive, so I don’t have to worry about space as much as the real deal users did. Windows was only available from a floppy disk. You can’t even find those anymore. Funny fact about me, I have a few. Two empty (almost empty, that is) small ones, 5 small (3.5”) and 3 large (5.25”) for “Key Fonts for Windows 3.1” (Softkey, unknown year,) 2 small for Microsoft Entertainment Pack for Windows (Windows 3.1, Microsoft, unknown year) Volume 2, 1 for Volume 1, a large for “Version 1”, 3 smalls for Microsoft Visual Basic, 2 large for the same title. Confused yet? That totals to about 13 small and 6 large, for a total of 19 floppy disk drives in my house! In 2012, that’s a bit weird. I salvage. I never even owned a Windows 3 and don’t have a floppy disk reader. Now that I’ve gotten you off topic, back to Windows 1. My opinion of it; it’s the best Windows version ever made. My joke: “Why can’t Vista be like this?”

Microsoft Windows 2.3

Microsoft, 1987

windows2forpost

The second version of Microsoft Windows was way different than it’s successor. As you can see, it’s not quite our Windows yet, but it’s getting there. The new thing here, moveable, sizeable windows. It is also the first Windows that allows you to carry your theme over to Windows 3, if you choose to upgrade at a later date. Other than a few changes, Windows remains Windows. According to Wikipedia, Apple filed a lawsuit towards Microsoft for “using Mac OS’s icons.” I have no opinion in this, as I have yet to use Mac OS. My opinion about Windows 2 is this; I like how they put the ‘”windows” in it and it has a new color scheme, but it’s just Windows 1 with some tweaks.

aboutwindows2

Microsoft Windows 3.1 (“Janus”):

Microsoft, 1992

win3

If there was ever a Windows that described the word “reimaged,” Windows 3.1 would be the version! New everything. This is one of the greatest Windows operating systems out there. If Vista is Windows 1, than 8 is Windows 3! Now you can have program groups, have a background image and say that you own an operating system named Windows, although it is still powered by MS-DOS. In the first generations of Windows, Windows 3 had the most users and programs available. For example, I own 8 titles for Windows. Some on CD, some on floppy (Oh, please don’t go through that again!) Also, Windows 3 was the first Windows OS to easily and somewhat painlessly surf the Internet. Turns out, our great friend, Mozilla Firefox was used by my family when it was still called Mozilla. Gone is Reversi, never to return to the Windows OS. But Windows 3 is one of the best operating systems I’ve used, period. (Here’s my list: Ubuntu, SuSE, Windows 1, Windows 3, Windows 8, MS-DOS.) Unfortunately, it was also the first to have the infamous Blue Screen of Ducks. (Wait, no death…)

All programs are responding

You can intentionally cause a BSoD by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL, shown above. Windows 3 is still a good operating system and I like it a lot, that’s my opinion on the OS.

aboutwindows3

Windows 95 (“Panther”):

Microsoft, 1995

250px-Windows_95_logo.svg

Windows 95 was the new Windows for everything. It was the first to have the taskbar, which defines the Windows operating system now. It was the second time Microsoft had “reimaged” Windows, and it kept happening. I never really used Windows 95 before, but it looks a lot like Windows 98, which was the first computer I used.

290px-Windows_95_Desktop_screenshot

I don’t have much to say about Windows 95 except for it was Windows 95-like. Winking smile I cannot voice my opinion on the OS as I have not used it.

Windows NT 4.0:

Microsoft, 1996

250px-Windows_NT_logo.svg

Again, I never used this version of Windows, but I can say it was Windows NT-like. It was a very big version of Windows, starting way back in Windows 3’s age. I chose version 4.0 because I saw no point in choosing an earlier version.

290px-Windows_NT_4.0

It looks a lot like Windows 95, so there is really no seen difference between the two.

Windows 98:

Microsoft, 1998

250px-Windows_98_logo.svg

This was the first operating system I ever used. Coincidentally, it was released 15 days after I was born! This is one of my favorite Windows operating systems, even though some would say it was horrible. It was the first for both the quick-launch bar and it was the only Windows operating system to allow you to actually have an .HTML file as you background, which could present security issues if not used carefully.

290px-Windows98

My opinion on the OS, is that is is the best modern Windows operating system released before 2000 rolled around, and that’s not because it was released on my birth month and year!

Windows Neptune (Never released):

Microsoft, 1999

If there was ever an unreleased version of Windows that I think would be a hit if it was released, it would be Windows Neptune! I like the new login screen, which makes me think of a past that never even happened.

290px-Aneptunelogon

I can’t say anything about this OS, because it was never even released! But it looks cool. Winking smile

Windows 2000:

Microsoft, 2000 (No, really?!)

Windows_2000_logo

In the year 2000, everybody thought computers weren’t going to work ever again and the world was going to end….. And then there was Microsoft, who make Windows 2000, the 7th version of Windows. Hints the name, it was released on the 17th of February in the year… wait for it…. 2000! Smile I have never really used Windows 2000, but I would say it’s similar to Windows 98.

290px-Windows_2000

It was the first Windows to introduce the blue background which, to this day, is used on the Windows classic theme. I like the new Windows Explorer design (See above) and the new little icon. My opinion on the OS is that, it’s Windows 2000’y!

Windows ME:

Microsoft, 2000

250px-Microsoft_Windows_Millenium_Edition_Logo.svg

Said to be the worst Windows OS, Windows ME came out only a handful of months after Windows 2000, and still looks about the same.

290px-WindowsME

This OS crashed all the time and was very slow. Of course, IE probably didn’t help with that. Winking smile I have never used (and don’t ever plan on using) this OS, so I have no opinion on it except for it was very bad… or so people say.

Windows XP:

Microsoft, 2001

250px-Microsoft_Windows_XP_Logo.svg

Well here it is, guys! The new era of Microsoft Windows, Windows XP! Released 11 months after Windows ME, XP gives a new look to Windows. I have used Windows XP before and suffer from a few headaches, but have never gotten a blue screen… yet. The new look comes with some new applications, including 3D Pinball, which was retired when Vista rolled around. I never really liked the OS, simply because we own a XP machine, and it is the biggest pain in the house. My sister’s Vista is better! But other users like it. If you had to choose a Windows before Windows 7, it would be XP. The new style, which I name “Luna,” didn’t last too long. Only Windows XP had it, but you can probably find a transformation pack somewhere.

290px-Windows_XP_SP3

Windows XP created a new path in personalization which Neptune tried to bring out, user images. This is a new thing that is included with the new start menu, new control panel, new Windows explorer… Shall I continue? My opinion on the OS is, if they released a SP (Service Pack) that fixed some of the bugs found in some computers, it would be up on the top Windows OSes list!

Windows Vista (duh duh duh…):

Microsoft, 2007

250px-Windows_Vista_logo.svg

Windows Vista is THE worst Windows OS. Sure, it brings out the brand new theme, Aero, which is still being used, but it still works terribly! I had a Vista (I upgraded to 8 when I got my 7) and it crashed about 20 or 30 times. The first few times it crashed was because of a faulty spyware program that suddenly became incompatible with Windows after updating my SP. That is one of the worst things about Vista; the compatibility is horrible!! It is also unstable (understatement…) and slow as a slug. Windows Vista brings not only new games (oh what am I saying,) but also brings a brand new Blue Screen of Death! Now it reboots itself!! Goodie! From Windows 3.1 to Windows XP, you had the choice to continue working with Windows. With the Aero era of Windows, you lose that ability! Now, it shows the screen, makes you wait 10 seconds, doesn’t even close your services, and reboots. Got to love fails like that.

290px-Windows_Vista

The new start menu is snazzy and I like the shutdown options right there on your start menu, as well as the window ribbon color being changeable, but my opinion stays the same; worst OS.

Microsoft Windows 7:

Microsoft, 2009

250px-Windows_7_logo.svg

This is the most recent release of Windows, and the only OS used to produce the content on your screen! It sports a newer taskbar, dumping the quick-launch to replace it with a new feature that has no name. It also has the show desktop button on the far right of the bar. The start menu changed a bit, now having a direct shutdown button on the menu. All else is about the same as Vista, except for the issues. it does run into some compatibility issues trying to install Microsoft Virtual PC 2007, but other than that, I have had little problems with the OS. In fact, I’m using it right now. It loses the Windows Movie Maker, to be replaced with the live version, which both of the writers of GB7 hate. I use Pinnacle Video Spin and might do a review on that one some day soon. Anyways, it’s a great OS, really kicking the full power of the Aero era.

290px-Windows_7

My opinion; I trust this OS with my life… not really. Winking smile

Microsoft Windows 8 (yet to be released):

Microsoft, 2011 (Developer Preview)

You might recall me doing a first impressions on this OS earlier in the blog’s span. This is the newest OS, planned to be released to the public in September of 2012. You can grab yourself a copy of it on Microsoft’s website, but hurry! Windows 8 expires at the end of March! The new Windows 8 dumps the start menu completely and makes a new “metro” menu for Windows. Why? Windows is going tablet now. I’m hoping they change Windows 8 to Windows Tablet, but that probably won’t happen. The new start menu is said to be based off of Windows Phone. All I know is that I don’t want that to be the future of Windows’ start menu.

290px-Windows_8_Developer_Preview_Start_Screen

This OS is very Internet-based, even asking you if you would like to use your Windows Live (MSN) account to log in! I like the new lock menu and ways to access your system. They are password, PIN or picture password. Microsoft has been reimaging Windows from the very beginning. And at Windows 8, they’ve done it again! One new thing about Windows 8 is “Rainbow.” Now your color scheme changes with your background! My opinion on the OS is that it should become Windows Tablet, and give back the start menu without a registry hack, but it will be a big hit when it goes out to the public.

What I would like to see in a Windows OS:

Ben, not released yet

I like how Windows has really come along since the very beginning, but here’s my idea of a perfect Windows… in Paint form!

WindowsNeon

As you can see, we can get pretty creative at GB7! It’s an idea! Let’s see if we can get Microsoft’s attention for Windows Neon, eh? Smile Anyways, here is what I would like to see come into play for the next version of Windows…

  • Better stability
  • Better compatibility
  • More transparency
  • New top-bar, losing the taskbar

It’s a small list, but they are good reasons. (Except for the last one. That one’s kind of a bad idea…)

That is all we have for now. I would like to thank you guys for making it this far, and I hope my next run won’t be so long. This took a few days. I got my pictures from Windows 95 to Windows 8 from Wikipedia. Other than that, no other outside sources were used. Winking smile Thanks for reading. I’ll try to make it where it’s small on the home pages so you can read older posts. Smile

Total words: 2322

Characters with spaces: 12475

Characters without spaces: 10214

Paragraphs: 69

Images: 27

-Ben

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Armagetron Advanced

Hey guys! It’s Ben!

What’s that? Why am I here? (Cause it’s my blog, that’s why!) Well, because I can’t stay away from blogging, and Brenden is probably boring you poor readers to death right now! And no, My Internet has not been fixed, but I can post to GB7., so I’m doing a post about every 2 weeks or so. Before I get into tech, I want to announce 2 things:

  • If Brenden hasn’t told you yet, (tsk tsk) GB7 now has a Facebook page! Feel free to post on out wall anytime at http://www.facebook.com/GeeksBlog7!
  • I also wanted to welcome Zara Rethman into the group! She is the first female writer. The board of administration for GB7 (Me and Brenden Winking smile needed a fancy name) were thinking about Zara joining, and a few days ago, Brenden went ahead and sent her an invitation to join GB7, so now she’s part of the group!

Now that I’ve wasted a few minutes of your life, (Mwahaha! Devil) review time!!! (This was longer on paper…)

Don’t really care about the announcements? Skip to here!

You all know about Tron and all that stuff, right? If not, you are not a geek! (Oh wait, that’s LEGO and Star Wars… Never mind.) Anyways, one of the most famous parts of Tron is the light-cycle racing. Well, I found out about this great tri-platform program called Armagetron Advanced (AA, because typing the whole name is tedious.) TRI-PLATFORM: [Tri-Plat-Form] Works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, even though OS X is Linux. In this well-built game, you race around on your light-cycle and try not to be “dumped.” One great thing about AA, is that it has network game functions! This means you can sign in to the server and see a bunch of different games, all with random people from around the world. One thing that is a bit hard to preform, but pays off in the long run, is edit the source code, as AA is open-source. I don’t mean download the source code and make edits to the whole program, I mean opening up a .CFG file and putting in your own data. You can change maps, AI names, game settings and a bunch more! Maps are built in .XML format, so please don’t ask me how to make one, as my last attempt ended in failure.

AA

As seen above, I have version 0.2.8 right now. I haven’t updated in a while, so there may be a newer version. Winking smile

History:

I know, history? Ugh! I hate history! Well, I couldn’t find anywhere else to put this, so I put it here. AA was based off of Tron Legacy, but that was not the first instance of this style of game. According to the readme, the first instance was Blockade from 1976. The first home version was SNAFU for the Intelevision system in 1981 and the next was Surround for the Atari 2600. Either way, the game is great!

I like the game’s menu system and I like the snazzy 3D camera angles, too! There is also a nice little console for you to type commands in. The gameplay is smooth on most operating systems, but I see a major speed-up on Windows as opposed to Ubuntu. (Somewhere from about 100 on Windows and 50 on Ubuntu.)

The whole game is brilliant and I’ll be sure to keep playing for ages to come, and I hope you do too! To grab yourself a copy, go to http://armagetronad.net/.

I want to apologize about the sad state of the blog lately. We hope to get posting again soon, so stay tuned, guys! Smile

-Ben

DOSBox

If you have used MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) and have switched to Windows, you might be missing some of those old games you used to play on DOS. Sure you could install them (or try to at least) on Windows and probably end up with a crashed computer, or you could use what is called DOSBox. It is a free program that allows you to install and use DOS programs, including games! It is only at version 0.74, but it’s going to get better. You can even run Windows 3.1 in DOSBox, that is, if you want to. You have to use a certain command to mount the folder with your games in it. This is my command:

mount C: C:\dosgames\

I store my games and programs for DOS in the folder dosgames at the root of my hard drive. You can add this line of code to your “AUTOEXEC.BAT” file, which is actually just part of your settings, which is one thing that needs completed. This is what I see when I start DOSBox:

DOSBox default screen

Pretty nifty, no? DOSBox has so many great features, it would take so long to get into them all, but since I’m in a battle on how many pictures you can cram into a post, I will go into the ones I know.

IMGMOUNT

This is an interesting feature of DOSBox. You can mount .IMG files to use for files or to boot from. An IMG file is a Virtual Floppy Image, mostly used in emulators and virtual machine host applications, such as Virtual PC, VMWare or VirtualBox. You have to do a little something special to get the file in DOSBox, but it’s worth it.

Wrong way to import files into DOSBOX

Right way to import IMG files into DOSBOX

As you can see, it’s kind of advanced, but now that I’ve mounted that, I can do this!

What I do with my spare time

It’s Windows 1! No? Lame…

Anyways, that’s how you do it.

BOOT

This command does just what it says it does, boots. You can load in .IMG files and I think .RAR and .VHD files, too! This is how it works:

BOOT

Yes, it’s the right command, but it has an issue booting .VHD files, so I’m just going to close DOSBox. If you guys caught it, I’m trying to boot into OS/2. If you don’t know what that is, it’s older than you.

(Right now, I’m at the record of 5 pictures! Not done yet!)

Additional features

DOSBox comes with some other features, like a keymapper and movie recording! Here’s a picture of that keymapper I was talking about:

DOSBox keymapper

Nice? Well, that’s all there is to know about DOSBox for now, so I’ll end us off with a screenshot of what I use DOSBox most for:

Windows 3 in DOSBox

Smile Thanks for reading guys! I have reached a new record for the blog, 7 images! Have fun catching up, Brenden! Winking smile

-Ben