Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 22nd May 2010 21:33 UTC
Windows "The first truly successful Microsoft Windows operating system is twenty years old today; Windows 3.0 was launched on the 22nd of May 1990 and was the successor to Windows 2.1x. The Graphics User interface (technically it was not an operating system) sat on top of MS-DOS and could run applications for the operating system from within a Window and many might fondly remember that it was available on 5.25-inch high density floppy disks. More significantly, it proved to be the perfect partner for Intel's then-new range of 386 processor, which bought protected mode and extended memory capabilities to the market."
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Blah...
by UltraZelda64 on Sat 22nd May 2010 22:09 UTC
UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

3.0 might have been the first version of Windows to actually be successful, but IMO it didn't get decent until 95. But then, since when does "success" ever correspond to "quality" in the first place? What's amazing is that it's been 20 years since the first commercially successful version of Windows, yet it took almost that long to get rid of most of the annoyances. And yet some stupid ones remain to this day.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Blah...
by Neolander on Sun 23rd May 2010 06:07 UTC in reply to "Blah..."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

3.0 might have been the first version of Windows to actually be successful, but IMO it didn't get decent until 95. But then, since when does "success" ever correspond to "quality" in the first place? What's amazing is that it's been 20 years since the first commercially successful version of Windows, yet it took almost that long to get rid of most of the annoyances. And yet some stupid ones remain to this day.

That's because each time you remove some old annoyances, there's someone to put some new ones. Maybe in order to motivate people to buy future updates ?

Eg : Win95 was somewhat stable and efficient. It could have remained light-weight. Then Microsoft integrated IE everywhere to justify its infamous presence, and it was the end. W2K had almost no built-in annoyances, it worked just perfectly well for most things. Then XP was made cartoonish, heavy as hell (including the task manager, which was just plain stupid), and full of stupid popups. And after getting somewhat usable finally, the Windows GUI was completely redone in Vista for no special reason, so that it becomes unreadable and unintuitive again...

Edited 2010-05-23 06:10 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Blah...
by UltraZelda64 on Sun 23rd May 2010 10:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Blah..."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

No, I'm talking about long-standing annoyances. Like selecting the *entire* file name during rename, extension and all, leading to loads of "are you sure--Windows might not be able to read this file" messages. You'd think an OS that depends so much on filename extensions would get it right, but it's been there for as long as I remember. It wasn't until a dud of an OS release, Vista, before this was even fixed, and tons of $$$ worth of upgrades along the way (including forced hardware upgrades).

And how about deleting a file that's in use--does Windows 7 still bitch that it won't do anything and tell you to close the file and then try again manually, instead of just doing it once all handles are closed? Don't even get me started on all the annoyances caused by poor system design that has spawned a massive money-sucking industry, anti-virus.

That, and annoyances-by-design such as warning and notifying out the ass for everything, as well as the braindead idea of *hiding* filename extensions by default. But to be fair, these particular annoyances showed up starting with Windows ME if I remember right, they haven't been there from the start. And don't say that it's good to pop up useless notifications every ten seconds and in rapid-fire at boot just to "protect" people. Sure, these last couple haven't been there forever, but they sure as hell feel like it. I see Windows 7 has cleaned up the notification mess just a little bit, which is good--now there's gazillions of third-party apps that will continue the old MS way of "never shut the hell up."

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Blah...
by vodoomoth on Sun 23rd May 2010 11:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Blah..."
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

Very true.

But the most annoying ones to me are:
- ejecting a USB device. Why can't the "eject" in the systray give the name of the volume instead of the drive unit? Come on! It's clearly easier to read "Samsung DVD/RW" or "USB Key" or "MicroSD6110" than "E:", especially when plugging the same peripheral may make it appear as "F:" or "G:" or anything else depending on what has already been plugged. Each time I have more than one removable device plugged, I need to open an explorer before knowing which is which.
- the garbage characters in the terminal due to Unicode strings not being detected and translated to the system page code. That stupid console hasn't changed since Windows95 except for the 'tab' key providing name completion.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Blah...
by DOSguy on Sun 23rd May 2010 13:42 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Blah..."
DOSguy Member since:
2009-07-27

- ejecting a USB device. Why can't the "eject" in the systray give the name of the volume instead of the drive unit? Come on! It's clearly easier to read "Samsung DVD/RW" or "USB Key" or "MicroSD6110" than "E:", especially when plugging the same peripheral may make it appear as "F:" or "G:" or anything else depending on what has already been plugged. Each time I have more than one removable device plugged, I need to open an explorer before knowing which is which.


Try clicking with the left-mouse button on the removable devices tray icon.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Blah...
by DOSguy on Sun 23rd May 2010 13:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Blah..."
DOSguy Member since:
2009-07-27

That, and annoyances-by-design such as warning and notifying out the ass for everything, as well as the braindead idea of *hiding* filename extensions by default. But to be fair, these particular annoyances showed up starting with Windows ME if I remember right, they haven't been there from the start.


Windows 95 hid file extensions by default.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Blah...
by darknexus on Sun 23rd May 2010 21:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Blah..."
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

And how about deleting a file that's in use--does Windows 7 still bitch that it won't do anything and tell you to close the file and then try again manually, instead of just doing it once all handles are closed?


Yep, it sure does. And related to that, my top Windows annoyance (for Vista and later) is the way updates are handled. Essentially, since an update can't replace existing files, one must typically restart the system. No biggy if it contains an important system component, except what happens after that is the system will attempt to install the update on shutdown. Then will finish installing it at reboot time. Then that update will require another restart which it will do... again and again until all the updates are installed. Ridiculous, and that's not counting the infinite update/revert/update loop when an update fails. All this because of Windows' idiotic file locking. Even 2k and XP had this mostly right, even if they required too many restarts for non-critical updates at least it was only *one* restart per batch of updates.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Blah...
by PlatformAgnostic on Mon 24th May 2010 15:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Blah..."
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

I haven't observed more than one reboot for the typical monthly updates. Are you often seeing multiple reboots?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Blah...
by darknexus on Mon 24th May 2010 16:23 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Blah..."
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I haven't observed more than one reboot for the typical monthly updates. Are you often seeing multiple reboots?

Unfortunately, yes, in particular the security updates seem to do it often. I've also had an increasing number of updates that fail the first few times and loop the computer into an install/revert loop until they succeed. It's not just one machine either, I've seen it on several different configurations and with different updates. The odd thing is that I didn't see this with Vista; despite all the other problems Vista gave me it did manage to do updates properly.

Reply Score: 2

What about Windows 3.1/3.11?
by gogothebee on Sat 22nd May 2010 22:15 UTC
gogothebee
Member since:
2009-02-05

Well, in Bulgaria the first truly widespread and successful Windows was 3.1/3.11. In the mid-90s almost all 386es had c:\windows\win.exe in their autoexec.bat ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: What about Windows 3.1/3.11?
by drstorm on Sat 22nd May 2010 22:50 UTC in reply to "What about Windows 3.1/3.11?"
drstorm Member since:
2009-04-24

Actually, I think it was win.com

Reply Score: 2

gogothebee Member since:
2009-02-05

Actually, I think it was win.com:

Yes, that's true ;)

Edited 2010-05-23 05:38 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Technical detail
by dylansmrjones on Sat 22nd May 2010 22:28 UTC
dylansmrjones
Member since:
2005-10-02

Windows 3.x were not operating systems, but merely graphical shells for DOS - no matter the wording at that time by Microsoft.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Technical detail
by bhtooefr on Sat 22nd May 2010 22:47 UTC in reply to "Technical detail"
bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

That's only partially true.

Windows had its own applications, and they made their own calls that weren't anything like what DOS did.

Windows just used the underlying DOS and BIOS calls for I/O, but even then, those could be (and in WfWG 3.11, were) replaced with Windows-native drivers.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Technical detail
by Soulbender on Mon 24th May 2010 02:54 UTC in reply to "RE: Technical detail"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

So that mean KDE is an operating system too then since it uses an API entirely different from most of Linux?
Windows 3.x was not an operating system, it was a DOS shell.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Technical detail
by gnufreex on Tue 25th May 2010 22:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Technical detail"
gnufreex Member since:
2010-05-06

KDE, GNOME and X are not OSes because Microsoft & fanboys do not say so. The same reason why "Windows 3.0 is operating system".

Reply Score: 1

RE: Technical detail
by siride on Sat 22nd May 2010 23:38 UTC in reply to "Technical detail"
siride Member since:
2006-01-02

No, Windows 3.0 really was an OS. Actually, it was a hypervisor. It was crappy and buggy, but it actually performed most of the tasks of an OS. It pre-emptively multitasked DOS virtual machines and a single VM for all Windows programs. Within the VM, cooperative multi-tasking took place. DOS was used essentially as a bootloader and also for some device drivers. Memory management, task scheduling, etc. were all done by the hypervisor or the Windows/DOS environments.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Technical detail
by bousozoku on Sun 23rd May 2010 00:32 UTC in reply to "Technical detail"
bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23

Windows 3.x were not operating systems, but merely graphical shells for DOS - no matter the wording at that time by Microsoft.


The boxes said "Operating environment", not operating system.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Technical detail
by kedwards on Sun 23rd May 2010 01:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Technical detail"
kedwards Member since:
2009-04-25

You are correct, from Windows 1.0 through Windows 3.XX, those were operating environments. Windows 95 was the first of DOS based Windows version considered an operating system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_3.1x
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operating_environment

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Technical detail
by flanque on Sun 23rd May 2010 02:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Technical detail"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

Agreed. My original 3.5" disks say that too.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Technical detail
by siride on Sun 23rd May 2010 04:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Technical detail"
siride Member since:
2006-01-02

By the time of Windows 3.1, it seems like the distinction is blurred. Windows 3.1 used DOS as a bootloader and for some file access operations (and could even bypass those). Otherwise, it handled interrupts, memory management, task management, etc. in 32-bit protected mode. It may not be the best architecture, but it really sounds like a real operating system not merely a graphical shell or operating environment.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Technical detail
by kedwards on Sun 23rd May 2010 09:03 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Technical detail"
kedwards Member since:
2009-04-25

By the time of Windows 3.1, it seems like the distinction is blurred. Windows 3.1 used DOS as a bootloader and for some file access operations (and could even bypass those). Otherwise, it handled interrupts, memory management, task management, etc. in 32-bit protected mode. It may not be the best architecture, but it really sounds like a real operating system not merely a graphical shell or operating environment.


Windows 3.1 still relied upon DOS very heavily. It wasn't until Windows For Workgroups 3.11 that brought over some of the 32bit features that were in Windows 95. WFW 3.11 still required DOS for a few DOS drivers like CD-ROM and SCSI support. It was considered just an operating environment because DOS was required to be installed(and booted) first before you could install(and boot) Windows 3.XX.

http://pclt.cis.yale.edu/pclt/OPSYS/WFWG311.HTM

Edited 2010-05-23 09:12 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Technical detail
by Laurence on Mon 24th May 2010 07:26 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Technical detail"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26



Windows 3.1 still relied upon DOS very heavily. It wasn't until Windows For Workgroups 3.11 that brought over some of the 32bit features that were in Windows 95. WFW 3.11 still required DOS for a few DOS drivers like CD-ROM and SCSI support. It was considered just an operating environment because DOS was required to be installed(and booted) first before you could install(and boot) Windows 3.XX.

http://pclt.cis.yale.edu/pclt/OPSYS/WFWG311.HTM

The same could be said for Win95

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Technical detail
by kedwards on Mon 24th May 2010 09:03 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Technical detail"
kedwards Member since:
2009-04-25


The same could be said for Win95


Not really. The Windows 95 boot sequence may look the same as DOS, it is actually quite different. IO.SYS in Windows 95 is 32bit and has CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT commands built-in. IO.SYS is in charge of loading MSDOS.SYS(a text file with boot option flags) and the Registry. CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT are optional in Windows 95(because the commands are already built into IO.SYS) and can be used to load 16bit DOS drivers if a Windows 32bit driver doesn't exist. Lastly IO.SYS automatically loads(unless you tell it otherwise) WIN.COM.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc751413.aspx

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Technical detail
by Laurence on Mon 24th May 2010 11:46 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Technical detail"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Well I seem to recall a number of drivers (sound in particular) not working unless they were defined in AUTOEXEC.BAT.

I'm pretty sure this wasn't just for DOS backwards compatability - but then it's been ~13 years since I've last installed drivers on Win95....

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Technical detail
by dylansmrjones on Sun 23rd May 2010 08:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Technical detail"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Not in Denmark it didn't.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Technical detail
by toast88 on Sun 23rd May 2010 07:20 UTC in reply to "Technical detail"
toast88 Member since:
2009-09-23

Well, no, wrong.

Windows 3.x had it's own memory management, device drivers, ran DOS in VM86 machines, had it's own network stacks, had a scheduler, used protected mode and even was able to run 32bit code (with Microsoft's Win32S). I don't what so many guys makes them think that Win 3.x was not a true operating system?!. You may read the definition in Tanenbaum's "Modern Operating Systems".

Windows 95 wasn't so much ahead of Windows 3.x with Win32S. It just had a new shell and many of the previous extra features of Windows 3.x right built in.

Adrian

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Technical detail
by dylansmrjones on Sun 23rd May 2010 08:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Technical detail"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

All DOS-applications (incl. Windows) had their own memory management in reality, due to the primitive nature of DOS.

Many applications, particularly games, had their own network stacks, used protected mode and what not and were 32-bit (using extensions).

Windows up to Windows ME were merely applications running on DOS. You could at best call Windows a meta-application ;)

Back in the days Windows 3.x wasn't considered an OS in itself. It was an environment running on top of DOS, with little difference from other environments running on top of DOS.

According to your definition Theme Hospital was an OS (not entirely incorrect - most applications had to solve the tasks of an OS due to limitations in DOS).

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Technical detail
by toast88 on Sun 23rd May 2010 12:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Technical detail"
toast88 Member since:
2009-09-23

Windows up to Windows ME were merely applications running on DOS. You could at best call Windows a meta-application ;)


Hmm, so VMM32.VXD is just a fake file and not what Microsoft calls the virtual machine manager, which runs in 32bit protected mode with a flat memory model? I think the Platform SDK clearly says something else. VMM32.VXD (on older Windows version win386.exe) is the actual kernel and takes control over the whole hardware (provided that you're running in protected mode). Please see [1]. I cannot find the exact place in the MSDN Libary anymore, but it seems that Microsoft has removed that from their online documentation. The documentation can be found in the "MSDN Library 6.0" which came with Visual C++ 6.0 back then.

I know those famous games that used the DOS extender (DOS4GW), but [2] states that running on Windows 95, it still ran on the DOS box so still on top of the VMM32 kernel and using VM86. The DOS extenders used DPMI to access protected mode features, IIRC.

Anyway, I don't want to argue. I have left Windows in 1998 so I'm not really an expert anymore, all I remember are the words from the SDK documentation from Microsoft. I could also ask one of my friends who is a wine developer and certainly would know but what the heck ;) .

I still think that Windows 3.x _in_ protected mode qualifies to be a fully fledged operating system. I wouldn't bet on that for Windows in real-mode, however.

Adrian

[1] http://support.microsoft.com/kb/174018
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOS4GW

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Technical detail
by Soulbender on Mon 24th May 2010 02:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Technical detail"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

And yet it required DOS to work.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Technical detail
by BluenoseJake on Sun 23rd May 2010 19:35 UTC in reply to "Technical detail"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Kinda like X Windows, even today.

Edited 2010-05-23 19:35 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Technical detail
by Soulbender on Mon 24th May 2010 02:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Technical detail"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Indeed, and we don't consider X, KDE and GNOME operating systems.

Reply Score: 2

itportal.com
by project_2501 on Sat 22nd May 2010 22:56 UTC
project_2501
Member since:
2006-03-20

That page that's linked to - it must have about 10% of its areas as content - the rest is adverts and junk.

Amazing. The content to ads ratio gets smaller and smaller.

Edited 2010-05-22 22:57 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: itportal.com
by sedrules on Sun 23rd May 2010 07:23 UTC in reply to "itportal.com"
sedrules Member since:
2006-01-16

At least it was not a top 20 slide show.

Reply Score: 1

this must be as important as pac-man
by s-peter on Sat 22nd May 2010 22:57 UTC
s-peter
Member since:
2006-01-29

I wonder why this didn't make the top page at Google... Even if you just consider Solitaire, it must have been more popular than Pac Man. ;)

Reply Score: 2

Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

I wonder why this didn't make the top page at Google... Even if you just consider Solitaire, it must have been more popular than Pac Man. ;)


More widely used, perhaps, but more popular? I think not... Pac Man was an iconic arcade game, Windows merely a piece of software that let people run Word and Excel...

Reply Score: 3

Arg!
by Ensue85A on Sat 22nd May 2010 23:10 UTC
Ensue85A
Member since:
2009-07-10

Windows 3.11 for workgroups was the first Windows version I had. It was given to me with an old 286 laptop, from my mentor. That was 1995. I hated it, but I used it anyway. My neighbor showed me a taskbar program written in BASIC that helped a lot.

Long live Emperor Gates......

Reply Score: 1

RE: Arg!
by facerw on Sun 23rd May 2010 01:31 UTC in reply to "Arg!"
facerw Member since:
2005-07-07

I personally though WFWG 3.11 was much better on a 386 system than Windows 3.0 was for a 286. I had both and really found Win 3.11 to be much superior.

Seems like a long time ago. Man I'm getting old

Reply Score: 3

My first OS
by oguie on Sun 23rd May 2010 05:15 UTC
oguie
Member since:
2006-01-11

Maybe I was just an impressionable ten year old kid, but I loved that OS.

Now I'm posting this from RHEL 6 Beta, but that OS was my red pill into the world of IT.

Reply Score: 1

286
by angelochoa on Sun 23rd May 2010 07:32 UTC
angelochoa
Member since:
2006-11-20

The 286 was the first with protected mode. I don't remember if windows use it back then.

Reply Score: 1

Thanks Microsoft
by Amix on Sun 23rd May 2010 09:40 UTC
Amix
Member since:
2006-10-18

Thanks for Windows 3.0, thanks for Windows 95, ME, XP, Vista and now Win8... Gives me a good reason for keeping going on with AmigaOS ^^

Reply Score: 3