Microsoft Windows 3.x

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Was the first major Graphical User Interface written for the IBM personal computer. Although the first version of Windows became available in 1985, it did not become popular among personal computer users until around 1990.

A Graphical User Interface often referred to as a GUI (pronounced “gooey”) uses graphical pictures (icons) as well as pull-down menus to allow you to control and communicate with your computer.

Before Windows was written the only operating systems available were character-based or those operating systems like DOS, where you had to memorize and type a series of keyboard command (not very user friendly)

With the creation of Windows you could tell your computer what to do by simply clicking on pictures (icons) that were shown on your computer screen. Instead of typing, you used a device known as a mouse to select a graphical picture (icon) on the screen. If clicked once or twice on that icon, the program activated or function would be initiated.

To start a word processing application, for instance, you might select (and click) an icon showing a picture of a printed page. When and icon was clicked, the commands needed to communicate with your computer were performed behind the scenes by Windows. This obviously made using the computer much easier and computers sales began to soar in a special kind of way.

Note: Although Windows 3.X was considered an operating system is really was not. It was merely a graphical shell used to shield the computer user from the keyboard commands of DOS. Windows 3.X could not run without DOS installed on the computer. It actually sat atop of DOS kind of like the body of a car sitting on top of the chassis.
How Many Different Versions?

The first generation of Microsoft Windows came in five different versions. They were:

Windows 3.0

Windows 3.1

Windows for Workgroups 3.1

Windows 3.11

Windows for Workgroups 3.11

This entire first generation of Windows is referred to collectively as Windows 3.X.

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