Microsoft has been around for a long time – well over 20 years now. During that time, the software giant has produced many different versions of its flagship operating systems, ranging from DOS to the pending Windows 7.

In a recent TechRepublic Photo Gallery, “A Retrospective of Windows Packaging: Paper or Plastic,” Greg Shultz takes a closer look at the retail packaging associated with those operating systems. Windows, and all its various incarnations, has seen a particular pattern development with regard to its packaging. Visual clues and iconic clues you may not have realized even exist are intended to guide us toward our best choice of Windows OS.

As I looked over the Photo Gallery, I began to realize that I still have almost all these boxes on my shelves at home. I guess you could say I am keeping them in a personal library, like some do with books. Is this a common practice for IT people?

See how many of the packages you recognize in Greg’s Photo Gallery and tell us which of them are collecting dust on your shelves or in your basement/attic. Why do we keep these things?