The First Windows Review Ever

Vista users are ecstatic about Windows 7, but what about all the fourteen hardcore users who bought Windows 1.0 after reading the first review ever in Byte's December 1983 issue? Here are the highlights:

• Microsoft Windows is an installable device driver under MS-DOS 2.0 using ordinary MS-DOS files.

• Complete compatibility with MS-DOS means that Windows will at least let you run any application that runs under MS-DOS.

• In the worst case, Windows will turn the fill display over to an MS-DOS application and return you to your place in Windows.

• During normal use, Microsoft Windows displays one or more [tiled] windows, each with a different application.

• The "session-control layer" becomes the equivalent of the empty desktop where you can manipulate files. The available commands appear near the bottom of the screen.

• To see the available applications programs, you either use the mouse to position the cursor on the command "Run" or type the letter "R." Windows lists all the applications programs as commands, and you point at the desired program and click the mouse to run it. You could also type the appropriate letter instead.

• In this case, the program that's run is "uncooperative" - that is, it doesn't do everything through MS-DOS system calls, sometimes going beyond the operating system to write directly to the hardware addresses such as those of screen memory.

• ...the transition from the uncooperative program to a "smart" one that can live happily in a smaller window and share the screen with other programs that take full advantage of Microsoft Windows. The smart program is Microsoft Word.

• Pointing at the PEN commands on the command bar at the bottom of the screen has brought the display of the menu of pen sizes and patterns. You select sizes and patterns by using the mouse to point at one of the boxes shown in each list, then pointing at the "OK" box

Why anyone bought this piece of useless crap is beyond me, no matter that the article argues that "the desktop metaphor and the mouse present attractive concepts, but Apple's Lisa or IBM's PC XT running Visi On exceeds the budget of the average personal computer user." Well, that's exactly why I had an Apple II and then got an IBM XT. Users thought the same. In fact, Windows 2.0 (Windows 286-which I had) was almost as bad as 1.0. It wasn't until Windows 3 that the operating system gained some traction, and it wasn't until Windows 95 when it really became a big success. [Toastytech]