Microsoft Windows 1.0, the original Windows, before Windows 10,
before Windows NT, and Windows 3.1 came Windows 1.0.
Legend has it that it was so behind the Commodore Amiga and
Apple Macintosh that Microsoft quietly recalled this
version of the Operating System and started again.
Wikipedia says otherwise and history has surely demonstrated the
popularity of the Microsoft Windows platform.
There is so little information available about the grand-daddy
of all Microsoft Windows operating systems. We thought that we
should start a page on the information we have gathered over time.
It is alleged that Bill Gates saw competitors running graphics
windows systems and decided that Microsoft need to take a slice
of that pie.
describes how Bill Gates was wondering
around COMDEX 1982 and saw VisiCorp's Visi On graphical interface
and spied a new business opportunity.
Microsoft Windows 1.0 was launched to the public in November 1983
to mixed reviews.
Technology press at the time declared the War of the Windows
on the IBM was on.
Critics at the time felt that Windows 1.0 was too demanding of
electronic equipment of the time but considered the platform to
Running Microsoft Windows 1.0
It is difficult to obtain an original boxed copy of Windows 1.0
on the auction market.
You can, however, load up a virtual
Windows 1.0 PC
in your browser. Or alternatively, watch the video.
Notice: Video is served by Internet Archive. Please refer to the Internet Archive copyright and privacy policies.
Microsoft Windows 1.0 GUI programs
Windows 1.0 runs a shell program known as the MS-DOS Executive
and mainly provides mouse functionality.
Interestingly, it is claimed that Windows 1.0 is not
As with more modern versions of this ubiquitous operating system,
a number of programs were supplied, including
Calculator, Calendar, Clipboard Viewer, Clock, Notepad, Paint, Reversi, Cardfile,
Terminal and Write. We are not aware of any third-party developer
applications that ran exclusively on Microsoft Windows 1.0.
Microsoft Windows 1.0 Source Code
We believe in the power of digital preservation to save our
software heritage. So much of our digital heritage in the form
of software, websites and personal data gets destroyed or
washed away in the current Internet digital tsunami that it
is easy to lose our heritage. Jason Scott gives a good interview
with VICE on
personal digital archiving.
It is our opinion that the Windows 1.0 source code is of cultural
importance and the source code should be made public and possibly
even released under an
open source license.
We are also hopeful that the
Apple Lisa source code
will be released as well.
We would like to see the Microsoft Windows 1.0 source code, all development
files and records, software development kits, documentation and
marketing material re-released in a heritage pack.
There is precedence for releasing the source code for Microsoft software.
The Computer History Museum
is our preferred source for many historical source code archives.
It was the Computer History Museum that released the source code for
MS-DOS v1.1 and V2.0. The link to the source code can be found in
Computer History Museum
Once these files were release, Microsoft made the MS-DOS source
code and executable files available on
We can imagine that the purist wanting to build the code from the
fully original source would start with a fresh compile of MS-DOS
to run Windows 1.0 from.
If you are not in need of compiling the code direct from the source,
then we think the best place to download the production version is from
Microsoft Windows 1.01 Disks
Microsoft Windows 1.01 was the first public release of MS-Windows.
There is a stunning project where you can run Microsoft Windows 1.01
directly within your browser at
The website contains the complete directory listings across the five distribution disks.
These disks are listed below.
Disk 1. Microsoft Windows - Setup
Disk 2. GDI and WIN Build
Disk 3. Printer drivers and Fonts
Disk 4. Applications
Disk 5. Microsoft Write
Microsoft Windows 1.0 Applications
As with every Windows distribution since 1985,
Microsoft has distributed a standard set of applications.
These applications promote the desktop concept
and are orientated towards general computer productivity.
The standard applications are listed below.
calc.exe - Windows Calculator
calendar.exe - Calnder program
cardfile.exe - a simple card style database
clipbrd.exe - simple text clipboard
clock.exe - make your i286 an expensive desk ornament