Windows 2.0x

  (Redirected from Windows 2.0)

Windows 2.0 is a major release of Microsoft Windows, a family of graphical operating systems for personal computers developed by Microsoft. It was released to manufacturing on December 9, 1987, as a successor to Windows 1.0.

Windows 2.0x
A version of the Microsoft Windows operating system
Logo of Microsoft Windows 2.0x versions
Windows 2.0.png
Screenshot of Microsoft Windows 2.0
OS familyMicrosoft Windows
Source modelClosed source
Released to
December 9, 1987; 34 years ago (1987-12-09)
Latest release2.03 / December 9, 1987; 34 years ago (1987-12-09)
LicenseCommercial software
Preceded byWindows 1.0x (1985)
Succeeded byWindows 2.1x (1988)
Support status
Unsupported as of December 31, 2001

Codenamed Nixa, the product includes two different variants, a base edition for 8086 real mode, and Windows/386, an enhanced edition for i386 protected mode. Windows 2.0 differs from its predecessor by allowing users to overlap and resize application windows, and the operating environment also introduced desktop icons, keyboard shortcuts, and support for 16-color VGA graphics. It also introduced Microsoft Word and Excel, and integrated the Control Panel, while the developer support increased substantially.

Noted as an improvement of its predecessor, Microsoft Windows gained more sales and popularity after its release, although it is also considered to be the incarnation that remained a work in progress. Due to the introduction of overlapping windows, Apple Inc. had filed a lawsuit against Microsoft in March 1988 after accusing them of violating copyrights Apple held, although in the end, the judge ruled in favor of Microsoft. The operating environment was succeeded by Windows 2.1 in May 1988, while Microsoft ended its support on December 31, 2001.

Release versionsEdit

The operating environment, codenamed Nixa,[1] came in two different variants with different names and CPU support.[2][3] The basic edition supported the 8086 mode of the 80386 microprocessor.[4] It would be later renamed to Windows/286 with the release of Windows 2.1 in 1988.[5] Despite its name, the variant was fully operational on an 8088 or 8086 processor, although the high memory area would not be available on an 8086-class processor; however, expanded memory could still be used. IBM's PS/2 Model 25, which had an option to ship with a "DOS 4.00 and Windows kit" for educational markets, shipped Windows with 8086 hardware.[6]

The other variant, Windows/386 was available as early as September 1987,[3][7] pre-dating the release of Windows 2.0 in December 1987.[8] It was much more advanced than its other sibling. It introduced a protected mode kernel, above which the GUI and applications run as a virtual 8086 mode task. The variant had fully preemptive multitasking,[7]: p.2  and allowed several MS-DOS programs to run in parallel in "virtual 8086" CPU mode, rather than always suspending background applications. With the exception of a few kilobytes of overhead, each DOS application could use any available low memory before Windows was started.[9] Windows/386 ran Windows applications in a single Virtual 8086 box, with EMS emulation.[3] Windows/386 also provided EMS emulation, using the memory management features of the i386 to make RAM beyond 640k behave like the banked memory previously only supplied by add-in cards and used by popular DOS applications. There was no support for disk-based virtual memory, so multiple DOS programs had to fit inside the available physical memory; therefore, Microsoft suggested buying additional memory and cards if necessary.[10]

Neither of these versions worked with DOS memory managers like CEMM or QEMM or with DOS extenders, which have their own extended memory management and run in protected mode as well. This was remedied in version 3.0, which is compatible with Virtual Control Program Interface (VCPI) in "standard mode" and with DOS Protected Mode Interface (DPMI) in "386 enhanced" mode.[3][11] Microsoft ended its support for Windows 2.0 on December 31, 2001.[12][13]


Aldus Pagemaker 3.0 on Windows 2.0

Unlike its predecessor, Windows 2.0 allows user to overlap and resize application windows.[14][15][16] It has also introduced desktop icons, keyboard shortcuts, and the terminology "minimize" and "maximize", as opposed to "iconize" and "zoom" which was used in Windows 1.0.[17][18][19] Support for 16-color VGA graphics, EMS memory, and new capabilities of the i386 CPU in some versions were also added.[16][20] Windows 2.0 is the last version of Windows that ran solely on floppy disks.[16]

The operating environment is shipped with fifteen programs,[16][21] and it also introduced graphical programs Microsoft Word and Excel, in order to compete against the then-reigning competitors WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3.[14][15] Besides Aldus Pagemaker and CorelDRAW,[22] there were not a lot of Windows-compatible applications available for Windows 2.0, although the developer support increased substantially.[15][16][18] Most developers still maintained DOS versions of their applications, as Windows users were still a minority of their market at this period of time.[14] It is also the first Windows version to integrate the Control Panel and program information files.[1][23][24]

IBM licensed Windows's GUI for OS/2 as Presentation Manager, and the two companies stated that it and Windows 2.0 would be almost identical.[25]

System requirementsEdit

The official system requirements for Windows 2.0 include the following.

Minimum system requirements
Windows 2.01[1][4][26] Windows 2.03[26][27]
CPU 80286 or 80386 processor 80286 or 80386 processor
RAM 512 KB of memory 512 KB of memory
Storage Two double-sided floppy disk drives or a hard disk Two double-sided floppy disk drives or a hard disk
Video EGA or VGA adapters EGA or VGA adapters
OS MS-DOS 3.0 or higher MS-DOS 3.0 or higher
Mouse A Microsoft-compatible pointing device is recommended, but not required A Microsoft-compatible pointing device is recommended, but not required

Windows 2.0 was still dependent on the DOS system and it still hadn't passed the 1 MB mark in terms of the random-access memory.[24][28]


Windows 2.0 is considered to be an incremental improvement of its predecessor, although, it is also considered to be the incarnation of Windows that still remained a work in progress.[15][29] Due to its improvements, Microsoft Windows has gained more popularity after its release and its interface is considered to be easier-to-manage.[16][30][31] CNET considers that Windows 2.0 wasn't too furbished in comparison with its predecessor.[32] BYTE magazine listed the variant as among the "distinction" winner of the BYTE Awards in 1989, describing it as a "serious competition for OS/2" as it "taps into the power of the 80386".[33]

The operating environment costed $99.[34] Sales of Microsoft Windows reached one million in 1988, and by January 1990, it had reached less than two million, although Windows 2.0 was not widely used.[35][36] It was succeeded by Windows 2.1, which was released in the United States and Canada in May 1988.[37]

Legal conflict with AppleEdit

On March 17, 1988, Apple Inc. filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, accusing them of violating copyrights Apple held on the Macintosh System Software.[38] Apple claimed the "look and feel" of the Macintosh operating system, taken as a whole, was protected by copyright and that Windows 2.0 violated this copyright by having the same icons. The judge ruled in favor of Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft on all but 10 of the 189 graphical user interface elements on which Apple sued, and the court found the remaining 10 GUI elements could not be copyrighted.[14][39]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Timeline Journey of Windows 1 to 10 the story of 31 years". Reality Views. August 2, 2016. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  2. ^ Byte. Vol. 15. McGraw-Hill. 1990. p. 131.
  3. ^ a b c d Necasek, Michal (June 21, 2011). "Windows/386 2.01". OS/2 Museum. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Apple Takes on IBM". PC Magazine. Vol. 6, no. 20. Ziff Davis, Inc. November 24, 1987. p. 170. ISSN 0888-8507. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  5. ^ "High-Impact Graphics". PC Magazine. Vol. 7, no. 16. Ziff Davis, Inc. September 27, 1988. p. 38. ISSN 0888-8507. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  6. ^ "Microsoft Windows/286". Old Computer Museum. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Ray Duncan (September 1987). "Microsoft Systems Journal". Microsoft Systems Journal. Microsoft. pp. 1–15.
  8. ^ "A History of Windows". Microsoft. 2012. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016.
  9. ^ "Microsoft Windows/386". Old Computer Museum. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  10. ^ "Windows 1.0". Web Zone. 2011. Archived from the original on September 27, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  11. ^ "New EMM386.exe fixes problem receiving NMI in protected mode". Microsoft Support. November 15, 2006. Archived from the original on September 27, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  12. ^ "Obsolete Products". Support. Microsoft. July 25, 2011. Archived from the original on August 14, 2005.
  13. ^ Cowart, Robert (2005). Special edition using Microsoft Windows XP home. Brian Knittel (3 ed.). Indianapolis, Ind.: Que. p. 92. ISBN 0-7897-3279-3. OCLC 56647752.
  14. ^ a b c d "History of Microsoft". February 7, 2012. Archived from the original on February 19, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  15. ^ a b c d "A Brief History of Microsoft Windows". InformIT. August 3, 2009. p. 2. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Hofer, Marc (December 16, 2004). "Windows to the world: a brief history of this popular user interface". Media Informatics and Human-Computer Interaction Groups of the Department of Informatics of the University of Munich. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  17. ^ Beal, Vangie (January 16, 2012). "The History of Microsoft Windows operating systems". Webopedia. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  18. ^ a b "Windows 2.0". SBP Romania. August 31, 2009. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  19. ^ Mahesh Dabade (September 1, 2015). "History of Windows Operating System". TechTrickle. Archived from the original on November 4, 2015. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  20. ^ Molina, Brett (June 24, 2021). "From Windows 1.0 to Windows 10: A history of Microsoft's signature PC software". USA Today. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  21. ^ "Windows 2.03". Toasty Tech. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  22. ^ Shinder, Thomas W. (2003). MCSA/MCSE managing and maintaining a Windows server 2003 environment: exam 70-290 study guide and DVD training. Debra Shinder Littlejohn, Jeffrey A. Martin. [Rockland, Mass.]: Syngress. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-08-047925-5. OCLC 55664320.
  23. ^ Gibbs, Samuel (October 2, 2014). "From Windows 1 to Windows 10: 29 years of Windows evolution". The Guardian. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  24. ^ a b "Windows 1.0 to 10: The changing face of Microsoft's landmark OS". ZDNet. November 19, 2015. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  25. ^ Alsop, Stewart II (January 18, 1988). "Microsoft Windows: Eclectism in UI" (PDF). P.C. Letter. 4 (2): 6–7.
  26. ^ a b "Windows: what's next". PC Magazine. Vol. 24. Ziff Davis, Inc. November 8, 2005. p. 136. ISSN 0888-8507. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  27. ^ "Windows Version History". Support (4.0 ed.). Microsoft. September 23, 2011. Archived from the original on November 7, 2006.
  28. ^ "Windows 2.0". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  29. ^ Martin, James (November 20, 2013). "Microsoft Windows 1.0, where it all began". CNET. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  30. ^ Nonis, Susith (August 30, 2021). "Different versions of Windows". MonoVM. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  31. ^ O'Regan, Gerard (2016). Introduction to the history of computing: a computing history primer. Switzerland. p. 220. ISBN 978-3-319-33138-6. OCLC 953036113.
  32. ^ Cooper, Charles. "Windows 1.0: The flop that created an empire". CNET. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  33. ^ "The BYTE Awards". BYTE. January 1989. p. 327. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  34. ^ Rosenthal, Morton (January 11, 1988). "The raging battle between the spreadsheets". Computerworld. Vol. 22. IDG Enterprise. p. 33. ISSN 0010-4841. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  35. ^ McCracken, Harry (May 7, 2013). "A Brief History of Windows Sales Figures, 1985-Present". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  36. ^ "Definition of Windows 2.0". PC Magazine. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  37. ^ The Facts on File dictionary of computer science. John Daintith, Edmund Wright, Inc Facts on File. New York: Facts On File. 2006. p. 240. ISBN 978-1-4381-0939-8. OCLC 234235258.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  38. ^ "1980 - 1989: An Industrial Milestone". The Apple Museum. Archived from the original on May 7, 2006. Retrieved May 7, 2006.
  39. ^ "Apple Computer v. Microsoft Corp., 35 F.3d 1435 (9th Cir. 1994)". Law Resource. Retrieved April 20, 2018.

External linksEdit