Windows 2.0

Aug 31, 2009

The second version of Microsoft Windows appeared on the 1st of November, 1987, which meant a significant improvement to the original version. This one made Windows based computers look more like a Macintosh. This is why, in 1988, Apple Computer did not approve of such a resemblance and filed another lawsuit against Microsoft, claiming that Microsoft had broken the licensing agreement from 1985.

Basically, Windows 2.0 enabled windows to overlap each other, unlike Windows 1.0, which only displayed tiled windows. Few people know that actually the tiled windows from version 1.0 were a limit artificially imposed because of lawsuits from Apple Computers - in Windows 1.0, the dialogs and drop down menus were in fact also overlapping windows.
Version 2.0 also introduced the window manipulation terminology of "Minimize" and "Maximize" as opposed to "Iconize" and "Zoom" from Windows 1.0, plus a more elaborate mechanism of keyboard shortcuts which meant that shortcut keys were identified by underlining the character that, in conjunction with the "Alt" key, would cause them to be selected. Meanwhile, file management tasks were still managed by use of the MS-DOS Executive program, which was more list driven than icon oriented.

The first Windows versions of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel ran on Windows 2.0. At this stage, third party developer support for Windows increased substantially, for example some were shipping the Windows Runtime software with their applications, for customers who had not purchased the full version of Windows. However, most developers still maintained DOS versions of their applications, as Windows users were still a distinct minority of the market.

As for the lawsuit filed in 1988, Microsoft claimed in their defense that the licensing agreement actually gave them rights to use Apple features, which was, of course, the truth. Microsoft won after a four years court case. Apple claimed that Microsoft had infringed on 170 of their copyrights. The court said that the licensing agreement gave Microsoft the rights to use all but nine of the copyrights, and Microsoft later convinced the courts that the remaining copyrights should not be covered by copyright law. Bill Gates strike back at Apple claiming that they had taken ideas from the graphical user interface developed by Xerox for Xerox's Alto and Star computers. On June 1, 1993, Judge Vaughn R. Walker of the U.S. District Court of Northern California ruled in Microsoft's favor in the Apple vs. Microsoft & Hewlett-Packard copyright suit. The judge granted Microsoft's and Hewlett-Packard's motions to dismiss the last remaining copyright infringement claims against Microsoft Windows versions 2.03 and 3.0, as well as HP NewWave.

Until the third Windows version would appear on the market, personal computer users could experiment with the Windows 386, which introduced a 32 bit protected mode kernel and virtual machine monitor. This basically meant that the hardware parts of the PC were linked in a safe mode to the software operating system thus enabling applications to run imitating a real machine. For the duration of a Windows session, it created one or more virtual 8086 environments, which allowed the execution of real mode applications that were incapable of running directly in protected mode, and provided device virtualization for the video card, keyboard, mouse, timer and interrupt controller inside each of them.

An Interrupt controller referred to an asynchronous signal from hardware indicating the need for attention or a synchronous event in software indicating the need for a change in execution. The user-visible consequence was that it became possible to preemptively multitask multiple MS-DOS environments in separate windows, although graphical MS-DOS applications required full screen mode.

Next articles in this series:

1. The beginnings
2. First steps in operating systems
3. Windows 1.0
4. Windows 2.0
5. Windows 3.0
6. Windows 95
7. Windows 98
8. Windows Me
9. Windows 2000
10. Windows XP
11. Windows Vista
12. Windows 7
13. Windows 8