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The history of the PC (Windows)

Updated on August 8, 2016

The world's first Desktop Computer.

The 1950s Programma 101
The 1950s Programma 101

The IBM 1620.

IBM 1620, being tested in Seattle in 1962.
IBM 1620, being tested in Seattle in 1962.

The first computer.

Many people believe that the Programma 101 was the first "Desktop Personal Computer" produced by the Italian company Olivetti, but the first actual computer was the Simon, a relay-based computer produced by the inventor Edmund Berkley in October of 1950 for educational purposes. He described his computer as a machine and he had a vision, and that vision was, and I quote from Wikipedia:


Some day we may even have small computers in our homes, drawing their energy from electric-power lines like refrigerators or radios ... They may recall facts for us that we would have trouble remembering. They may calculate accounts and income taxes. Schoolboys with homework may seek their help. They may even run through and list combinations of possibilities that we need to consider in making important decisions. We may find the future full of mechanical brains working about us.

-Edmund Berkley

The IBM 610 was constructed between 1948 and 1957, but faulted for its speed. It cost around $55,000, so 180 Units were made. Then, the IBM 1620 was Made, and it was faster than the IBM 610. It was marketed as an inexpensive scientific computer. Then Came the Programma 101, which was made by the Italian Company Olivetti. It was launched by Pier Giorgio Perotto, and it sold for $3,200 at the time. It was launched at the 1964 New York World's Fair and it sold right away. Around 44,000 Unites were sold. Little known fact. About 10 Programma 101's have been sold to NASA and Have been used to plan the Apollo 11 landing on the moon. I quote this message from Wikipedia:

By Apollo 11 we had a desktop computer, sort of, kind of, called an Olivetti Programma 101. It was a kind of supercalculator. It was probably a foot and a half square, and about maybe eight inches tall. It would add, subtract, multiply, and divide, but it would remember a sequence of these things, and it would record that sequence on a magnetic card, a magnetic strip that was about a foot long and two inches wide. So you could write a sequence, a programming sequence, and load it in there, and the if you would – the Lunar Module high-gain antenna was not very smart, it didn't know where Earth was. [...] We would have to run four separate programs on this Programma 101 [...]

— David W. Whittle, 2006


The Programma 101

The Commodore 64 Computer

The Commodore 64 Computer, which was, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the fastest-selling computer of all time.. Its seller would've been a billionaire at that time.
The Commodore 64 Computer, which was, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the fastest-selling computer of all time.. Its seller would've been a billionaire at that time.

1970-1990s Computers

The First 1970s computers were built with intel 8008 processors. They ran on 16 KB of RAM and were the most advanced computers of their time. In 1973, they build their prototype portable computers, called SCAMP computers, which were credited as the first modern Personal Computer. Then, they created the IBM 5100 Computer. It had 16, 32, 48, or 64 KB of storage, and it sold for between $9,000 and $17,600. Next came the Xerox Alto, and that computer was designed from the start to support the GUI (Graphical User Interface), later using the desktop metaphor. In 1977, the Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) was created and mass produced. It had 96 KB of Memory for High-end Pet manufacturing. By the 1980s, Xerox had some stiff competition from Apple as Steve Jobs created the Lisa and the Apple II. Back in the PC World, The ZX 8, the ZX 81 and the ZX Spectrum was built, with the third computer being introduced. Then the Commodore 64, listed by the Guinness book of world records as the highest-selling single computer model of all time, was built. It was an 8-bit computer, with 17 million units sold. It sold for $595 at the time, so its creator was effectively a billionaire overnight.The NEC PC 98 was built, and it sold 18 million units between 1982 and 2000. It was a Japanese PC, so it was built for Japanese companies. Then, in 1985, came the famous Commodore Amiga 1000. It came with its own operating system, and used 256 KB of Memory. It was a special computer. It was one of the first computers with its own CRT Display. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, other computers have been constructed. By the 1990s, the IBM's foothold throughout the computing world has been so great, that Personal Computers have lost all meaning. In 1982, "The Computer" was described as the Machine of the year by Time Magazine.

The Amiga 1000 (1985)

The Amiga 1000, coming with its own CRT Monitor.
The Amiga 1000, coming with its own CRT Monitor.

History of the Windows OS

In the 1990s, Microsoft developed windows NT 3.1 as one of its first operating systems in the windows industry. It was a 32-bit system which had limited success thanks to the high-end power of its operating system at the time. By 1994, they made an upgrade to windows named Windows NT 3.5. It was also a 32-bit system. It was codenamed "Daytona" in reference to the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Next Came the latest version of Windows, at the time, called Windows NT 3.51. Computers that can run that operating system must have intel 486 and can support 12 MB of Memory. It can also support 90 MB of HDD. The Windows NT 3.51 was the PowerPC version of Windows NT 3.5. In 1996, Windows NT 4.0 was released. It had a graphical environment similar to Windows 95, and it was designed to run graphics that required 256 colors. Not many games were produced that could run on Windows NT 4.0, but it's next version did have games that could run on its system. In the year 2000, Windows 2000 was made, and it came with games. Games were released for Windows 2000, including Chip's Challenge, Simcity 2000, and SImCity 3000, all three of those games I have experience in. It was an upgrade to the windows franchise. It was supposed to run on 128 MB of Memory and 5 GB of Disk Space. Computers running Windows 2000 had Floopy Disks, which can add another 1.44 MB of disk space in them. In 2001, Microsoft released Windows XP, the first system to use multiple processors (but not until Service Pack 2). There were Games I used to get for Windows PC during the time I had Windows XP, including Simcity 4 Deluxe, Clive Barker's Undying, and Colin McRae Rally 2005, all of which I have played, and two of which I still play today (Clive Barker's Undying and Simcity 4 Deluxe)(Clive Barker's Undying I play on my virtual machine, and the game gives me problems). Windows XP would run on almost 512 MB of RAM and 10 GB of HDD. The next (proper) version that came out was Windows Vista, which garnered negative reviews because of its DRM technologies and its No-copyright system. Windows Vista can run on 512 MB to 1 GB of Memory and can have 40 GB of total HDD on it. That's why it garnered such negative reviews. I would never get on a Windows Vista system, and I've tried it once. Next came Windows 7, a version of windows that I used to use every day while I had my laptop. Now, I use it as a virtual machine. It the version of windows that I loved thousands of times over Windows Vista. I ran games on Windows Vista, including Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, Clive Barker's Undying, and Sim City 4 Deluxe. I also played World of Warcraft on Windows 7 as well. Windows 7 supports 1-2 GB of ram and supports 15-20 GB of free HDD space. Since I know Windows 7 so well, I'm going to say that out of my two operating systems, I think that windows 7 and Windows XP offers the same experience. Next came the mixed Windows 8. I used it more than once, and it was very confusing. It was, at times, worse than Windows Vista. Then came windows 8.1, which was an upgrade over windows 8 and required the user to install the program for extended support. Then Came Windows 10, the current version. Windows 10 provides universal apps: they provide apps on a tablet, smartphone, windows phone or other types of software. THe Suystem can run on 4 GB of RAM and 20 GB of Disk Space.

History of the Windows OS

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