Microsoft Windows after 25 years: A visual history

Windows has come a long way since 1985. Where will it go next?

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Windows 3.0: Popularity begins to rise

Release date: May 22, 1990

Windows gained popularity with version 3.0, which had an overhauled graphical user interface with an improved set of Windows icons and graphics in 16 colors. In addition to improving memory management, Microsoft completely rewrote the application development environment. "The popularity of Windows 3.0 grew with the release of a new Windows software development kit (SDK), which helped software developers focus more on writing applications and less on writing device drivers," Microsoft says.  Windows 3.0 also included that classic time-waster, Solitaire, and September 1990 saw the release of Microsoft Office for Windows, a bundle including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. (Microsoft Office for Macintosh had been announced a year earlier).

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[ See also: The greatest Windows tips of all time]

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