To Windows or not to Windows


Pues eso… un poco de nostalgia comparativa de las primeras versiones de Windows:
Imágenes y textos tomados de: Creating the Windows 8 user experience que al final ha pasado a ser casi un "calco" del original, cuando mi intención era ponerte unas pocas imágenes, en fin…


Windows 1

Windows 1 was released in 1985, and it was designed for drastically different scenarios than what people use PCs for today.

3 windows appear in a grid layout. Along bottom of screen are icons for a disk, a calculator, a paint program, and 2 more icons.

The first version of Windows was a rough graphical shell around DOS, intended primarily to be used with the keyboard. A mouse was strictly optional and very few PCs had one.



Windows 3 and 3.1

The first commercially successful version of Windows was Windows 3, released in 1990. It featured a totally new interface, centered on a new shell called Program Manager for launching, arranging, and switching programs.

Program Manager and File Manager windows float over a series of icons on the desktop

File Manager was the most important new program in Windows 3, used for managing files and drives. This upgrade bet big for the first time on most users having a mouse, and knowing how to use it to click on the colorful, large (for the time) 32×32 icons. Many reviews were critical of the release because to use it effectively required one of those oft-criticized mice.



Windows 95

Windows 95, released a few years later in August of 1995, included a substantially reinvented user experience. Many of the constructs that are still present in Windows 7 were introduced in this version—the Start menu, taskbar, Explorer, and the desktop—but in very different forms.

Windows Explorer open on the desktop, Start menu shows programs in a flyout menu.

Although we think about these user interface elements as familiar today, at the time, they were radically different from how anyone had used a PC before. The Start button was so undiscoverable that, despite having the word Start right on it, bouncing “<– Click here to begin” text had to be added to the taskbar after early test releases so that people could figure out how to get started using the programs on their PC.


Windows XP

Windows XP was released to PC manufacturers on August 24, 2001. It represented another important evolution in the Windows user interface.

My Documents window and Windows Media Player window float over a desktop background image of a green hillside and blue sky. Start button appears at lower left.

By 2001, people were using their PCs more every day. Typing and managing files, which doesn’t require the web, remained a critical percentage of the time people spent using a PC. Yet collecting and consuming information and media—especially music, photos, and videos—was on the verge of becoming mainstream. (Even then, early digital camera sales were still just one quarter of film camera sales, and would not eclipse them for another three years.) People were spending more time on the PC web browsing and doing mail, in addition to the document-focused productivity scenarios around which Windows 95 was developed.


Windows Vista

In 2006, Windows Vista substantially changed the visual appearance of Windows, introducing the Aero visual style. Aero gave the appearance of highly-rendered glass, light sources, reflections, and other graphically complex textures in the title bars, taskbar, and other system surfaces. These stylistic elements represented the design sensibilities of the time, reflecting the capabilities of the brand-new digital tools used to create and render them. This style of simulating faux-realistic materials (such as glass or aluminum) on the screen looks dated and cheesy now, but at the time, it was very much en vogue.

Image of Analog Clock gadget on desktop, with a window overlaying it with semi-transparent edges.

Aero was designed to help people focus less on the window chrome itself, and more on the content within the window. It draws the eye away from the title bar and window frames, and towards what is valuable and what an app is about.

And of course, the Start menu changed again, most notably by making it possible to press the Windows key (introduced in Windows 95) and then just start typing to search from anywhere in Windows. (This welcome innovation is one we’ve kept in Windows 8, expanding it to search even within apps.)

Of course, as with every change along the way, some people expressed reservations about the changes.


Windows 7

Windows 7 was released in the fall of 2009, and a number of the key aspects of the UI were significantly transformed. While many of these changes centered on an overhaul of the taskbar, significant modifications were also made to the Start menu, windowing, and to the logical organization of files on the PC.

Start button, with IE, Windows Explorer, and Windows Media Player on Taskbar. 3 instances of IE shown above taskbar (activated on hover)

Notably, launching and switching between programs were brought together in the new taskbar. Icons in the taskbar were made bigger and more touchable. The Start menu was changed to focus on launching only the programs you use less frequently, as no program can be pinned to both the taskbar and the Start menu. This marked the start of a transition where we were looking to remove the archaic distinction between starting a program for the first time and returning to a program that was already running. It is interesting to consider how odd it is that we trained ourselves to look one place for a program the first time it is running, and a different place once it is already running.

Windows 7 also was the first mainstream non-phone OS to introduce multitouch support into the base OS. Although tablets on other platforms have followed suit, Windows 7 was the first shipping OS to embrace multitouch in the platform. Along the way, we learned a great deal about the limitations of trying to use touch to navigate Windows when so much of the existing interface, and virtually all of the existing programs, were specifically designed to be used with mouse and keyboard.

Although some people had critical reactions and demanded changes to the user interface, Windows 7 quickly became the most-used OS in the world.


Windows 8 user experience

But as we move closer to general availability of Windows 8 and beyond, to a time when all of your favorite apps are available and represented by tiles, suddenly your Start screen will become a personalized dashboard of everything you care about. Your whole computing experience has the potential to be encapsulated in one view. A view that you organize and control.

Start screen with 16 live tiles

Even content from within apps can be pinned to Start: people, mail folders, accounts, websites, books, albums, singers, movies, clients, sports teams, cities, etc. Everything you care about is efficiently available and up-to-date at all times. Tiles are the future and fit the way people look for fresh content in apps and websites.


Pues ya está…

Nos vemos.

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5 respuestas a To Windows or not to Windows

  1. Yelinna dijo:

    Una cosa loca que leí por ahí:
    en Windows XP se pueden cerrar las ventanas haciendo doble click en el ícono de la esquina superior izquierda. Esto es porque en Windows 3.11 éstas se cerraban haciendo click en el ícono ubicado en el mismo lugar.

  2. elGuille dijo:

    ¡gracias por el comentario! otra cosa más que apuntar 😉

  3. XaEl MaLo dijo:

    Pues lo de cerrar ventanas desde el icono superior izquierdo lo vengo haciendo desde Windows 95 (en Windows Vista hasta 8, dado que ya no hay iconos en ese extremo debes dar clic casi en el vértice de la ventana) pero es un muy buen apunte para aquellos que no lo saben.
    Tantos recuerdos en tan pocas imágenes, por un momento me sentí viejo 🙁

  4. elGuille dijo:

    En Windows 8 (escritorio) sigue estando el “famoso” icono… y yo debo ser más viejo, porque lo recuerdo del Windows 3.x y el VB con el famoso “menú del sistema”… #enfin…

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