In November of 1985 Microsoft released for sale Windows version 1.0 which ran on top of DOS 3.0. Windows will reach its 25th anniversary on November 20th of 2010 and Windows 7 will reach its 1st anniversary on October 22nd 2010.
It is interesting to note that the two least successful versions of Windows did not have numbers associated with them. Both Windows ME and Windows Vista never achieved the level of adoption of previous versions like Windows 3.1, 3.11, Windows 95 and Windows 98 and 98SE and the still widely used Windows XP. Yes I know XP is not a numbered version but after ME an Xtra Push is just what Windows needed and still holds about a 60% market share.
This begs the question of what the next version will be named: Windows 2012, Windows 2013, Windows 8 and my favorite based on the success of Windows 7 is Windows 7 Second Edition or Windows 7 SE. But whatever the successor to Windows 7 is named and how innovative it might be, the ultimate fate is in the hands of marketing, cost to upgrade and ease of migrating from earlier versions and Microsoft please don’t make a big mistake and leaving Windows XP out of the upgrade path.
What would I like to see in the way of improvements?
1) Product key accounts. You store your key in a personal and secure Microsoft account. If you ever lose or have the sticker fall off the bottom of your laptop, simply log in to your account and retrieve the key or keys associated with each Microsoft product you have purchased. Microsoft should look no further than Symantec’s key management for there AV software as a guide.
2) Elimination of OEM versions. All manufactures must install the same retail version a consumer can by at the store. Now if you ever buy a computer and later the motherboard fails after the manufacture’s warrantee has expires, you are not stuck with a useless series of numbers and letters called an OEM product key.
Who then handles the support, add a 5 character prefix that identifies the source such as a computer manufacture, store bought product, MSDN, TechNet, MSDAA, Volume license and so on. As to what level of privacy, well I’ll leave that up to the legal department. But consider this; appliances, televisions and other things covered under a warrantee and the manufacture wants you to register using your name, address, phone number, email address, model and serial number.
3) A means for users to assign CPU cores to specific task categories. By the time the next version of Windows arrives we could well see processors with 12 or more cores.
4) There are 45 Control panel “Items” when ‘View by’ is set to: Large or Small Icons. The category view however only provides 8 categories and 17 subcategories. Would be nice if all the items where included in the list by category view.
5) Better backup and restore features AND associated documentation.
6) Disk Management and the ability to recognize and take advantage of SSD drives. Provide the ability to choose a “Full” format during an install, an option that is not part of Windows 7.
7) Better touch screen integration between Windows, MS Office and other products.
8) 3D Desktop and taskbar: The further a program avatar is towards the rear, the fewer resources it consumes when in use.
9) Give the manufactures of hardware an incentive to write device drivers and any necessary software for their older but widely used products. Printers and scanners would be a good place to start.
10) In place upgrade from Windows XP to the next version of Windows. How you say, well provide the user with a non activating version of Vista. This way you can perform an “In place” upgrade from XP to Vista and then from Vista to Windows 7 (if required), or from Vista straight over to the new version of Windows.
The cost of purchasing a computer: I though it would be interesting to list the cost and performance of a PC at that time and every five years thereafter to the present day. As a side note 1985 was also the year that Gateway computers was founded, then known as Gateway 2000.
I contacted Gateway (my thanks to Lisa Emard, Gateway Media Relations) and she was able to provide the cost for a 1988 Gateway (which I’ve included in the list below), as it gives a good idea as to how much PC prices dropped when sold by what were then called ‘IBM Clone’ manufacturers. Note that Gateway stated “Completely IBM Hardware and Software Compatible” as not all PC clones were 100% compatible back then. Also by 1988 the Intel 386 processor was king of the hill and a 16MHz 386 PC cost about $3,600.00. Note: The cost of the year 1985 was derived from various articles on the web. Pricing for all other systems (except 1988 as stated above) are based on actual advertisement from that time period, mostly in the Fall of each year.
1985 IBM PC AT – Approx. $6,000.00 8Mhz Intel 286 processor 512KB RAM 1.2MB 5.25 inch floppy disk 20MB Hard Drive 14” EGA Color Monitor – 640x350 resolution (64 colors) - $800.00 MS DOS 3.0 and Windows 1.0 Serial & Centronics Printer ports IBM Dot Matrix Printer – $595.00
1988 Gateway 2000 Model A12 - $1,995.00 12 MHz 80286 Processor (Switchable to 6) 1 Meg 0 Wait State RAM (100 NS) 1 – 360K Floppy Drive and 1 – 3.5” Diskette Drive (Made by Teac) 40 MB Seagate ST251 Hard Drive 1-Parallel and 2-Serial Ports 101 Key Enhanced Keyboard (Keytronic) 14” Samsung EGA Monitor (640 x 350) with Sigma Designs Autoswitch EGA Card 200 Watt Power Supply and Battery Backed-Up Clock Calendar 8 Expansion Slots (6-16 Bit, 2-8 Bit) and Space for 5 ˝ ht. Storage Devices Completely IBM Hardware and Software Compatible, 1 Year Warranty Not included in the above package was Windows 2.0 – Price $100.00
1990 Gateway 2000 - $5,295.00 25MHz 486 4.0MB RAM 1.44MB 3.5 inch and 1.2MB 51/4 inch Floppy Drives 150MB Hard Disk 16 Bit VGA card with 512K RAM 14” Monitor DOS 3.3 and Windows 3.0 CD-ROM Purchased from Tiger Direct - $800.00 HP DeskJet 500 – List Price $729.00
1995 Gateway 2000 P5-133 - $3999.00 133MHz Pentium processor 256K Cache 16MB EDO RAM 1.6GB 9ms DMA Mode 2 EIDE Hard Drive, 1.44 Floppy 17” CRT Monitor + 64 Bit Matrox Millennium with 2MB WRAM 6X EIDE CD-ROM, 16 Bit sound card and Speakers with subwoofer 28.8 Fax/Modem Windows 95, MS Office95
2000 – Dell 8100 Series - $3,248.00 1.5GHz Intel Pentium 4 Processor 128MB Rambus 400 MHz RDRAM Memory 80GB Ultra ATA-100 (5200 RPM) Hard Drive 19” CRT Monitor, 64MB AGP-4X NVIDIA GeForce2 Graphics 12X DVD ROM and 12X CD-RW Drive Digital Sound Card, Surround sound speakers with Subwoofer, 56K V90 WinModem Windows ME Printer, HP DeskJet 990Cse (2400 x 1200 dpi on photo paper, 17 pages per minute) - $399.00
2005 - Gateway FX-400XL - $3,179.96 3.0GHz Intel Pentium D (Dual Core) Processor 2.0GB (2048MB) DDR2 SDRAM Dual Channel Memory 500GB (Two 250GB Serial ATA II drives, 7200 RPM) and 1.44 Floppy drive 21” Widescreen High-Definition LCD Flat Panel display 16x Double Layer DVD+/- Read/Read/Write and second DVD-ROM drive 256 MB NVIDIA GeForce 7800 Graphics with DVI and TV Out Integrated Intel 7.1 Sound with Logitec Z-2300 THX Speakers, 56K data/fax modem Integrated Broadband Ethernet (10/100/1000 Gigabit) Network interface. Windows XP SP2 with Backup CD, Price includes 3 years part/labor/tech support plan Printer, HP Photosmart 8250 (4800 x 1200 dpi, 31 pages per minute) - $199.99
2010 - Dell Studio XPS 8100 - $2992.96 3.06GHz Intel Core™ i7-880 (Quad Core + HT) processor (3.06GHz) 16GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz 1.5TB, 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache 24.0" Dell ST2410 Full HD Monitor with VGA cable ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024MB GDDR5 Dual Optical Drives: Blu-ray Disc (BD) Burner (Writes to DVD/CD/BD) and DVD+/-RW Bose Companion 3 Series II Multimedia Speaker System KeyboardLogitech Cordless Desktop MX 5500 Revolution MouseLogitech Anywhere Mouse MX Windows 7 Professional, 64bit, English Printer, Dell V715w Wireless All-In-One Printer (33 ppm in black and 30 ppm in color) - $139.99
If you are interested in more detailed information of how Windows matured over the years see the article published Computer Hope: http://www.computerhope.com/history/windows.htm Plus the first twenty at PC Mag.com. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1868492,00.asp Some PCs may have included some minor additional hardware, software and service contracts included as part of the advertised configuration but are not listed in this article. Printers were priced as a separate item. Windows was usually an option in the early years. Today Windows 7 has replaced Vista and XP. But XP still holds about a 60% market share as Windows 7 starts to celebrate its 1st anniversary.
Note: Configurations are for high end or near top of the line systems available for a given year, except for gaming computers which have their own unique and very costly price structure), therefore some PC configurations may have cost more or less than the prices shown above. Today’s entry level Desktop PCs can cost as little as $300.00 and can go easily over $5,000.00 if you want all the bells and whistles that gamers need. Laptops one the expensive and exclusive domain of a few lucky business types are now hold the lions share of all computer sales.
Inflation factor $6,000.00 in 1985 is the equivalent of about $11804.74 today! $3,999.00 in 1995 is the equivalent of about $5575.15 today. $3,179.96 in 2005 is the equivalent of about $3464.14 today. Source: The Inflation Calculator at: http://www.westegg.com/inflation