The Windows splash screen is dead - long live the splash screen

Microsoft Windows has been around longer than Mark Zuckerberg, and we have the splash screens to prove it.

Quick question: In what year was Microsoft Windows 1.01 released? Here's a hint: Vinyl was still the material of choice for recorded music.

If you said 1985, you are correct. That's right, we are approaching the 30th anniversary of Microsoft Windows. I doubt anyone using Windows 1.0 back then would have made the bet that Windows would be the dominate operating system for personal computers in 2011.

I started to reminisce about the long string of Microsoft Windows versions and remembered that Greg Shultz put together a gallery of all the Windows splash screens throughout the years. As a DOS batch file master, I shunned the first few versions of Windows in favor of the old command-line way of doing things. My first Windows version was 3.0.

However, in many ways, using Windows 3.0 qualified you as an early adopter. I remember working for a company in the early 1990s that purchased brand-new PCs running Windows 3.11 for Workgroups. The first thing the employees did every morning was open the command prompt — essentially we ignored the GUI. That is, except for me — I eventually convinced my bosses that the work we were doing could be done more efficiently if we used this Windows stuff instead of a DOS prompt.

Seeing the Windows 3.11 splash screen in Greg's gallery awakened those memories. To show what a different time it is we live in, consider that Windows 8 may not have a splash screen at all because it takes only about 10 seconds to load. Change really is the only constant.

Were you an early adopter of Microsoft Windows? Do you recognize the Windows splash screens from the gallery? What version of Windows was your first version of Windows?

About Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.

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