Happy Birthday, Windows!

Microsoft Interface Manager – excuse me, Windows 1.0 – was introduced to the world on November 10, 1983.

Version 1.0 wasn’t actually released to users until 1985, but Bill Gates showed the first version two years earlier at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

In 1983, I was still trying to be the next great bicycle racer. By late 1985, I’d quit bicycle racing and started to ask myself what I would do next. I decided on electronic music (I should have gone back to college then, instead of waiting a couple of years) and bought my first keyboard (an inexpensive consumer-grade Casio) that year. I bought an Akai AX-80 analog hybrid synth and an Atari ST 520 in 1986, and started getting involved in the local Atari user group.

I bought a Zenith all-in-one PC that ran MS-DOS from floppies in 1988 (1987? 1989?), but I did a lot more with the Atari. My earliest memory of Windows was the announcement of Windows 3.0 in 1990, which happened at the same time as a tech show in Austin where our Atari user group set up a multiplayer MIDI Maze game. (MIDI Maze was an early “first-person shooter” (FPS) game that used the built-in MIDI ports on the Atari ST to network multiple machines)

I didn’t actually work on Windows machines until I started work at Dell in 1995. I started training in tech support the week before Windows 95 was released on August 24, 1995 – but I and the other first-level techs in my class didn’t get to use Win95 until 1996. My first Windows was Windows 3.1.

Doctor Who fans have a saying – “You always remember your first Doctor.” Similarly, I will always remember Windows 3.1 (but not fondly).

Business Insider has a retrospective on Windows through the years – that unfortunately neglects to mention Windows NT 3.51, Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000. It’s as though the first part of my tech career never existed.

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