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Microsoft Windows 1.x
Category: Abandoned Windows systems- client releases

Windows 1.0 was the only one that allowed limited multi-tasking of MS-DOS applications, focusing rather on the creation of user interaction standards, a model for application launch and a stable native application programming interface (API) for later use. Thanks to Microsoft's strong support for backward compatibility, it is not only possible to run Windows 1.0 programs on newer versions of the system without any problems, but even to recompile their source code and thus create relatively modern applications after minor rework. Windows 1.0 was often considered to be a "front-end" for MS-DOS - a term that also applied to later versions. Indeed, the environment itself was run from the DOS command line, programs written for Windows could invoke MS-DOS functions, and were themselves, as in DOS, contained in files with the .exe extension. However, the .exe files used in Windows had their own format - the "new executable" (New Executable, NE) - which could only be processed in Windows environment and which allowed, among other things, to load portions of code and data on demand. Applications were supposed to refer to the memory only through the Windows memory management system, which created a software model of virtual memory, which allowed to run applications exceeding the size of the operating memory available in the computer.


The first independent version of Microsoft Windows with version number 1.0 was released in 1985. However, it was not equipped with a wide range of features, so it was not adopted on the market. Originally the name for the overlay was to be Interface Manager, but Rowland Hanson, head of marketing at Microsoft, convinced the rest of the team that the Windows name would be better adopted. Windows 1.0 was not a complete operating system, but only an extension of MS-DOS and as such inherited all of its imperfections and problems. Additionally, the programs delivered with the early versions of Windows were rather "toys" that did not meet the expectations of corporate customers. The position of the first Windows was not strengthened by the transfer of the little-known, but then strong CorelDRAW! Windows 1.0 on a larger scale never saw the light of day. The version, which is usually called Windows 1.0 is Windows 1.01. Windows 1.00 had problems with CGA graphics cards - with a faster processor clock, the color palette switching technique synchronized the display making it impossible to work.


Another reason for limitations of the overlay's functionality were copyright issues, which were held by Apple. For example, in Microsoft's products, individual windows could only be arranged adjacent to each other and could not overlap each other. The first version of Windows also did not have a trashcan - a place where you could store files before they were finally deleted. Apple claimed to have copyrights to these solutions. Microsoft only removed both restrictions after signing a license agreement with Apple.


Quick Review:
Type of product:

OS (Operating system)

Developed by:


Release date:


End of life support date:


Minimal system requirements:

Free space on disk: 1 MB
Necessarily installed MS-DOS before

CPU: 1 MHz

RAM: 256 KB

Type of interface:

GUI (graphical)

⦁ Additional informations about files:
BETA versions (developmental, unstable) are marked in gray,
Blue - official system editions,
Green for modifications and additions (if any)

If you have trouble choosing the right version of the system to download, please refer to the markings below:

⦁ OEM- version compatible with previously purchased devices / pre-installed system on a new computer, assigned to a PC motherboard. After damage or replacement of computer parts, your license is lost

⦁ SP- System image contains a package of fixes and updates. The higher the number, the more patches and updates contained in the system. The patches are called "Service Packs".

⦁ RTM- System version released on the day of release, straight from the production line. It does not contribute anything to the operation of the license.

⦁ Retail- sales version of the program.

⦁ [Polski]- Polish language version; [English]- English language version

⦁ x86 or 32-bit - system compatible with 32-bit processor architecture. They do not support 64-bit architecture. They can use up to 4 GB of RAM.

⦁ x64 or 64-bit - System compatible with 64-bit processor architecture. Some systems (older than Vista/7) do not support 32-bit systems

⦁ x86-64- Multi-architecture edition of the program. You can choose it if you do not know what CPU architecture your computer has.

⦁ VL/VolumeLicense- A system preinstalled on company computers, this license allows you to install the same system on multiple computers and use it simultaneously.

⦁ E- System version without Internet Explorer browser.

⦁ N- System version without media programs (Windows Media Center, Media Player)

⦁ Images called: "Home/Ultimate" are actually images that contain all editions: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, Ultimate

⦁ Multi-SKU: system image with multiple edits to choose from during installation. Multi-Format system

⦁ (chk): system image checked for errors during compilation (debug)

⦁ (alt): alternative system image to be downloaded, not different from the original, it is a copy/reupload

⦁ DMF: system image saved in a floppy disk format

⦁ CD/DVD: system image saved in a format designed for compact discs and DVDs.

⦁ ESD: file from digital or commercial distribution. To use it, it must be converted to an ISO file.

⦁ File preview icon:
                      IMG- floppy disk image. You can use it in a virtual machine, or use a special program to extract files.

                  ISO/MDF- ready to burn to disk, create bootable media or use in a virtual machine. It can also be used in a program to emulate virtual drives and discs.

      7Z, ZIP, RAR- compressed archive. To access the file, use a program to compress the files, e.g: WinRAR, 7-ZIP- please use file archiver program to open it.

To quickly find the image, press [Ctrl+F] on your keyboard and enter the keyword in the search field. This will highlight the images that contain the entered keyword.

Installation of these images is intended for advanced users. The following systems are published in the BETA (test) version. The installation may be problematic, the system may not work properly. Moreover, BETA versions may be unstable with drivers, programs and operation. They may have unfinished system functions. It is recommended to test the BETA version on a VM. If you have problems with the installation I recommend to consult the Beta Archive forum.

If you are looking for activation keys for Windows [Beta] installation images, click here, or use this address.