Windows 3.0 is 30 Years old!

May 1990 saw the introduction of Windows 3.0, the first truly mainstream version of Windows that set the stage for computing ever since. 

Moving on from DOS

Windows 3.0 was the first version of windows to really get traction and give computer users a genuine step forward from the MS DOS days. 

MS DOS is an operating system most readers of our site would not even understand, being just a command line interface, with no mouse and no picture. 

With multi tasking starting to become an idea and companies such as Xerox experimenting with a more graphical way to interface with a computer, the time was right for Microsoft to release their third iteration of Windows to the world. 

Windows 1.0 and 2.0 had not been great success stories.  Windows 1.0 was released in a time when a mouse was not something most computer users had, or even knew how to use and also couldn’t support having one window overlapping another windows. 

While Windows 2.0 fixed the overlapping window problem but still didn’t really take off. 

Before there was a start menu, Windows would launch a thing called “Program Manager”. This had all your icons for your programs in it and you could double click the one you wanted to launch it. 

Most people found Program Manager much easier to use than the old MS-DOS system, and being a lot more intuitive led to the large scale success of the new operating system. 

You could also launch File Manager which made organising files a breeze compared with the laborious way you would need to do it in MS DOS

Microsoft included Solitaire for the the first time with Windows 3.0. The company thought it would be a good way to help introduce the operating system to people who might otherwise be intimidated by it. Windows 3.0 was virtually entirely brand new, and a quick game or two of solitaire let people get used to both the new O/S and using a mouse for the first time. 

For the trivia buffs at home, Minesweeper was added to Windows 3.1 in 1992. 

Not only did Microsoft kick off the death of the command line (at least for regular users) with Windows 3.0, but they also halted the advance of one of their major competitors, Apple. 

Up to this point Apple had been leading the way in user interface design, but the introduction of Windows 3.0 and the fact that you could by a great PC with Windows for 60% less than the cheapest Apple offering, Windows become the system of choice, and has never looked back. 

Will sales increasing, developers flocked to the platform, bringing more and more reasons for consumers to choose Windows. Titles such as Aldus Page Maker were key to making Windows the success it become in those days.  You could get real work done in Windows 30

About the Author


Mathew Taylor

For over 20 years, Mathew Taylor and his team have provided I.T. support for hundreds of local business owners. Mathew has been involved in the Goodna Jacaranda Festival for five years, and President for the past 4 years and continues to be active in the community, supporting local community groups. He is passionate about empowering young people to go beyond their circumstances and works closely with Redbank Plains SHS on delivering positive outcomes for many young people.

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