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1982 or early 1983
Microsoft begins developing a graphical user interface that runs on top of MS-DOS.
Sometime in 1983
The interface, to be released as part of Microsoft's Multi-Tool line of products, is shown to select members of the press. The design is later changed from overlapping to tiling windows, while the command bar at the bottom of the screen is replaced with a dedicated menu bar for each window.
November 10th 1983
The product is announced under the name "Microsoft Windows". A brief demonstration for the attendees shows the new tiling interface.
November 14th 1983
A demonstration is held for InfoWorld staff at Microsoft's offices.
November 29th 1983
Windows is shown at the Fall COMDEX 83 by Microsoft and several computer manufacturers. The release date is originally set for April 1984.
Late February 1984
Microsoft holds a technical seminar for software developers and hardware manufacturers. The release date is pushed back to May.
The UI recieves minor changes, most notably a new scrollbar design, and there is now only one help button on the right side of the status bar at the top of the screen.
March 23rd 1984
Windows is demonstrated at the West Coast Computer Faire. According to Microsoft's John Butler, the user interface has changed since last fall and will now support custom fonts. The new release date in May is confirmed.
Late April 1984
Windows currently occupies around 70 kB of system memory, with the target memory use being 50-60 kB, and recommended total memory size being 192 kB.
It's clear that Windows still needs a lot more work before it's ready for release. The release date is changed again to fall 1984. Application developers recieve their first software development kits, including a pre-release version of Windows. At the Spring Executive Conference in Phoenix, Microsoft's president John Shirley predicted that Windows will run on 80% of MS-DOS computers by the end of the year. Windows is shown at the MICRO-EXPO in Paris on May 24th.
June 12th-29th 1984
Atron Corporation held several technical seminars, where they demonstrated their PC Probe and Software Probe programs running on pre-release versions of Windows.
June 26th 1984
At the Boston Computer Society's general meeeting in Boston, Tandy demonstrated Windows (and other software) running on its Model 2000 computer.
Developers continue to recieve monthly releases of the development versions. The UI is further tweaked as some features are dropped, such as the status bar at the top and the trash can feature. Microsoft also announced it will port Windows to their XENIX operating system as well.
Several ads show Windows running on the Tandy 2000 in color. The PC version is to remain monochrome for now. A version running on AT&T's PC6300 is also announced.
Early October 1984
The launch of Windows at Fall COMDEX 84 is cancelled and the release date delayed yet again to June 1985.
31st October 1984
The final development release (DR5) is made and distributed to developers shortly after.
Late 1984 or early 1985
Windows memory usage has increased to around 156 kB, so the recommended total memory size was raised to 256 kB. But Microsoft hopes they can still bring it back down to 192 kb eventually.
Tandy Trower joins the Windows development team as the fifth and final product manager. Scott McGregor, Windows development architect and manager, leaves.
31st January 1985
The Alpha release is made and distributed to developers shortly after. It includes mostly stability improvements and support for running DOS applications under Windows.
Between February and May 1985
A preliminary beta release is made. It looks much like the Alpha, but includes new and improved applications, such as Cardfile and Paint.
8th May 1985
The second Beta release is made and distributed to developers shortly after. It was apparently also ported to non-PC-compatible computers, such as the RM Nimbus PC-186. It features significant improvements to the UI and the included applications. The SDK is distributed separately. The press believes a final release is close.
Despite Microsoft's best efforts, Windows is still not quite ready. Steve Ballmer therefore decides to release a "Premiere Edition" to partially meet the summer 1985 deadline.
30th July 1985
The Premiere Edition is made and distributed to select members of the press. It looks much like the beta with some additional improvements. Around this time, a critical defect in memory management code is found, requiring a complete rewrite and restart of the testing procedure. Windows is delayed for the last time to fall 1985.
Tulip Computers ships a pre-release version of Windows with their PC compatible machines.
14th November 1985
The final build, branded as version 1.01, is made. Retail floppy disks will be ready the next day.
20th November 1985
Windows 1.01 is finally released in retail stores after more than 2 years of development. Initial reception is mixed. Microsoft holds a roast event for themselves to celebrate the completion of Windows.
Version 1.02 is made. It only features additional localizations and minor updates to applications. It is only released in Europe.
Version 1.03 is made. It added additional drivers and included various updates. It's a universal release, available in the US and elsewhere.
Version 1.04 is made. Support for IBM's new PS/2 line of computers is added, as well as additional fixes. This is the last release before version 2.0 came out later that year.
31st December 2001
Windows 1.0 is out of support after 16 years, a record for Windows releases.