Where Did Microsoft Windows Get Its Name From?


name-behind-windowsShort Bytes: Microsoft released its first GUI-based operating system in 1985 and it was known as Windows 1.0. Since then every successor generation of its OS has carried the name Windows. But where did the name Windows came from? Its roots are in the fundamental pillars of graphical desktops used in computers.

The very first version of Microsoft Windows was released in 1985. And since then, it has been omnipresent in most of the peoples’ digital lives as an operating system. Many of us might have thought about the question why Microsoft named its operating system Windows?

The answer is simpler than we can think. It is because the OS displays content on the screen in different Windows. Early computer operating systems had the minimalistic command line-styled interface where user operated the computers by typing different commands. Later, the need for a graphical desktop was felt. Xerox was one of the early adopters of the WIMP (Window, Icons, Menu and pointing device) concept on a desktop metaphor.

A Window can be considered as the basic component of a graphical desktop. In a GUI, programs could be used in different Windows. This also opened the door for multitasking and other functionalities in the operating systems. The Xerox Alto and Xerox Star computers featured the earliest graphical user interfaces which could be controlled using mouse pointers. But the company failed to make it big as it was mainly used internally by its employees.

The GUI on Xerox computers inspired Apple’s interface of Macintosh and the infamous Lisa, and was later adopted by Microsoft. The Redmond sailed on its MS-DOS boat until the early 1980s. The first GUI-based version of its operating system was launched in 1985 and it was named Windows 1.0 – internally codenamed Interface Manager. Microsoft actually named it after the rectangular “Windows” which were (and still) used to display content on the screen. The name was simple and broad. The trend was followed in the case of other Microsoft products like Office, Word, etc.

The name Windows has been used to represent Microsoft operating systems till date with Windows 10. The company has also used it for the operating systems developed for embedded systems and mobile devices i.e. Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile.

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