On November 20, 1985 an operating system named Windows hit the market that would go on to dominate the world with an estimated 90% market share and help makes its parent company, Microsoft, worth around $290 billion (R4 trillion).
Today, Windows turns 30 years old. To mark the event, we’ve had a palaver in the office to create a list of the standouts over the years:
10. Windows 10 is free!
While it sounded like the real-life equivalent of the plot from Kingsman: The Secret Service (in which free SIM cards are distributed and used to destroy the world) the free upgrade to Windows 10 was a massive departure for Microsoft. While other operating systems have always been free, Microsoft in the past insisted on charging for Windows. While the quality of this new OS is disputable, it is free for most existing Windows users and will remain that way until June 29th 2016. All of this is slightly tempered by the fact that many consider Windows 8 (the previous version) to be a train wreck, and the free upgrade is simply an apology.
9. The ability to delete System32 (which you should definitely not do)
A prank originating on the message board 4Chan that has perpetuated for years, involves getting unsuspecting victims to delete System32 – a vital part of a Windows PC. Deleting this file will effectively cripple a computer and render it unusable. The prank itself isn’t as important as the flexibility and customisation Windows offers. While not nearly as open as Linux, Windows still gives most users all the tools they could ever want, to do anything they could ever want.
8. The games
From the Microsoft-made classics like Minesweeper and Space Cadet Pinball, to almost every PC game in the world having Windows support, this is the operating system of choice for most gamers. Valve and its Steam store have helped in making buying and playing games on the platform an absolute breeze, and it’s one of the reasons why PC gaming is as popular as ever.
7. Internet Explorer
At one point, the OG way to browse the internet, Internet Explorer, as the happy go to for many people. As the years went on, more browsers hit the market and Window’s built-in offering seemed to get worse. Even Microsoft seems to have given up on it and created an unofficial successor in Microsoft Edge. It seems the once-venerable piece of software will remain “the browser used to download other browsers.” It’s all kind of sad, it’s like asking someone to hire their replacement, and them fire themselves.
6. The “every other version is bad” curse
- Windows 95: Bad.
- Windows 98: Good.
- Windows ME: Awful
- Windows XP: Great
- Windows Vista: “Windows ME on drugs”
- Windows 7: Probably the best yet
- Windows 8: Train wreck
- Windows 10: Train wreck recovery
We don’t know why.