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Windows 2.0

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Windows 2.0
A version of the Microsoft Windows operating system
Windows logo and wordmark - 1985.svg
Windows 2.0.png
Screenshot of Windows 2.0
Developer Microsoft
Source model Closed source
Released to
December 9, 1987; 30 years ago (1987-12-09)
License Commercial software
Preceded by Windows 1.0 (1985)
Succeeded by Windows 2.1x (1988)
Official website
Support status
Unsupported as of December 31, 2001

Windows 2.0 is a 16-bit Microsoft Windows GUI-based operating environment that was released on December 9, 1987,[1] and is the successor to Windows 1.0.


Windows 2.0 allowed application windows to overlap each other, unlike its predecessor Windows 1.0, which could display only tiled windows.[2] Windows 2.0 also introduced more sophisticated keyboard-shortcuts[3] and the terminology of "Minimize" and "Maximize", as opposed to "Iconize" and "Zoom" in Windows 1.0.[4] The basic window setup introduced here would last through Windows 3.1. Like Windows 1.x, Windows 2.x applications cannot be run on Windows 3.1 or up without modifications since they were not designed for protected mode.[5] Windows 2.0 was also the first Windows version to integrate the control panel.[2]

New features in Windows 2.0 included VGA graphics (although in 16 colors only). It was also the last version of Windows that did not require a hard disk. With the improved speed, reliability and usability, computers now started becoming a part of daily life for some workers. Desktop icons and use of keyboard shortcuts helped to speed up the work.[6] The Windows 2.x EGA, VGA, and Tandy drivers notably provided a workaround in Windows 3.0 for users who wanted color graphics on 8086 machines (a feature that version normally did not support). EMS memory support also appeared for the first time.[7]

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.[8]

Application support

The first Windows versions of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel ran on Windows 2.0.[2] Third-party developer support for Windows increased substantially with this version (some shipped the Windows Runtime software with their applications, for customers who had not purchased the full version of Windows).[4] However, most developers still maintained DOS versions of their applications,[2] as Windows users were still a distinct minority of their market. Windows 2.0 was still very dependent on the DOS system and it still hadn't passed the 1 megabyte mark in terms of memory.[9] Stewart Alsop II predicted in January 1988 that "Any transition to a graphical environment on IBM-style machines is bound to be maddeningly slow and driven strictly by market forces", because the GUI had "serious deficiencies" and users had to switch to DOS for many tasks.[8]

There were some applications that shipped with Windows 2.0. They are:

Legal conflict with Apple

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.[12] 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 in all but 10 of the 189 patents that Apple sued for. The exclusive 10 could not be copyrighted, as ruled by the judge.[2]

See also

  • DESQview 386: Multitasking text-based operating environment released at the same time that took advantage of IA-32 architecture too
  • VM/386: Multitasking operating system release in the same year, and took advantage of IA-32 architecture too


  1. ^ "A History of Windows". Microsoft. Microsoft. 2012. Archived from the original on 10 June 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "History of Microsoft". Download. February 7, 2012. Archived from the original on February 19, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2013. 
  3. ^ "The History of Microsoft Windows operating systems". Webopedia. Webopedia. January 27, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Windows 2.0". SBP Romania. SBP Romania. August 31, 2009. Retrieved August 7, 2013. 
  5. ^ Tim Robinson (August 26, 2002). "Virtual 8086 Mode". OSDev. Archived from the original on October 3, 2002. 
  6. ^ Mahesh Dabade (September 1, 2015). "History of Windows Operating System". TechTrickle. TechTrickle. Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  7. ^ Seth Sibangan (August 7, 2013). "Kellys". SlideShare. Seth Sibangan. Retrieved August 7, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Alsop, Stewart II (1988-01-18). "Microsoft Windows: Eclectism in UI" (PDF). P.C. Letter. 4 (2): 6–7. 
  9. ^ "Windows 2.0 definition". The Free Dictionary. The Free Dictionary. Retrieved August 7, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Windows 2.03". Toasty Tech. Toasty Tech. Retrieved August 7, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Windows Version History". Support. Microsoft. Retrieved July 14, 2013. 
  12. ^ "1980 - 1989: An Industrial Milestone". The Apple Museum. Archived from the original on May 7, 2006. 

External links

  • GUIdebook: Windows 2.0 Gallery – A website dedicated to preserving and showcasing Graphical User Interfaces
  • Microsoft Windows history
  • Microsoft article with details about the different versions of Windows
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