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DOS Timeline ~ Part One ~ 1980 to 1993

A History of Microsoft MS-DOS and Windows (and its main competitors) on the 8086 Processor family

The Origins of MS-DOS ~ Articles by Tim Paterson, original author of DOS

NOTE - Other (minor) versions of DOS & Windows exist, This list is based on major versions plus items observed or reported
Updates other than NT Service Packs are available via the
PowerLoad Resource Pages

Note - Any changes listed continue on to later versions:




 Major Changes or Remarks

 December  1980


 Microsoft buys non-exclusive rights to market Pattersons Quick & Dirty  Operating System from Seattle Computer Products (Developed as 86-DOS)
 (Which is a clone of Digital Researches CP/M in virtually every respect)
 July  1981


 Microsoft buys all rights to 86-DOS from Seattle Computer Products, and the  name MS-DOS is adopted for Microsoft's purposes and IBM PC-DOS for  shipment with IBM PCs    (For Computers with the Intel 8086 Processor)
 Q3  1981

 CP/M 86

 Digital Research release CP/M 86 for the Intel 8086 Processer
 Mid  1981  PC-DOS 1.0  Pre-Release PC-DOS produced for IBM Personal Computers (IBM PC)  Supported 16K of RAM, ~ Single-sided 5.25" 160Kb Floppy Disk
 August  1982  PC-DOS 1.1  OEM PC-DOS for IBM Corporation. (First Release Version)
 September  1982  MS-DOS 1.25  OEM Version for Zenith Computer Corporation.. (Also known as Z-DOS) This  added support for Double-Sided 5.25" 320Kb Floppy Disks. Previously the disk  had to  be turned  over to  use the other side
 Q4  1982

 CP/M Plus

 Digital Research release CP/M Plus for the Intel 8086 Processer
 March  1983  MS-DOS 2.0  OEM Version For Zenith - This added support for IBM's 10 MB Hard Disk,  Directories and Double-Density 5.25" Floppy Disks with capacities of 360 Kb
 March  1983  PC-DOS 2.0  OEM PC-DOS for IBM Corporation. -  Released to support the IBM XT
 March  1983  MS-DOS GUI   Microsoft first announces it intention to create a GUI  (Graphical User Interface)  for its existing MS-DOS Operating System. Microsoft also introduces its first  mouse, "The Microsoft Mouse", including card and software, for US$200. A  major tool in its GUI Development Program. (Windows is Born)
 November  1983  MS-DOS 2.01  OEM Version for Wang Computer Corporation.
 November  1983  PC-DOS 2.1  OEM PC-DOS for IBM Corporation. -  Released to support IBM PCjr PC
 November  1983

  Microsoft Windows for MS-DOS

 Microsoft formally announces Windows 1.0, but does not have a working  copy!  Microsoft shows Windows to IBM, but IBM is not interested in such an  unfinished product.
 November  1983

 Digital Research

 Meanwhile, Digital Research debuts its GEM GUI for the IBM PC at Fall  COMDEX 1983, and also debuts its first multiuser and multitasking  version of  CP/M, Concurrent CP/M (MP/M) for the Intel-based IBM PC.
 December  1983  MS-DOS 2.11  OEM Version for AT&T, Bull & Sony. - Support for foreign and extended  characters was added.
 Notes  >>>>

 "DOS Menu"

 There were also a number of Retail/Freeware Menu or Shell Programs  becoming  available  for DOS to help the novice user and shield him from the  'raw' command  line! Prompting Microsoft to speed up its GUI development work!
 Early  1984  MS-DOS 2.25  OEM Version for Unknown Computer Manufacture. (Possibly Zenith)
 September  1984  MS-DOS 3.0  OEM Version for Various Manufactures.- Support for High-Density 1.2 MB  Floppy Disks and 32 MB Hard Disks was added. - No extended partitions.
 September  1994  PC-DOS 3.0  OEM PC-DOS for IBM Corporation
 November  1984  MS-DOS 3.1  OEM Version for Various Manufactures. Network support was added.
 >  1985  DOSPlus 1.0  Digital Research release DOSPlus 1.0 as a follow on from CP/M Plus
 March   1985  Dr GEM 1.1  A small number of Computer Manufactures start to bundle 'GEM' DOS  Manager by Digital Research (Who also published DR-DOS) It stands for  Graphical  Environment  Manager Details & History
 September  1985  Dr GEM 1.2  Digital  Research release 'retail' GEM version 1.2
 November  1985

 Microsoft Windows 1.01

 Microsoft announces the Retail shipment of Microsoft Windows, a GUI which  extends the features of the DOS operating system. Windows  provides users with  the ability to work with several programs at the same time and  easily switch  between them without having to quit and restart individual  applications. (Retail  Price was US$99) Screenshots
 December   1985  PC-DOS 3.2  OEM PC-DOS for IBM Corporation. ~ Support for 3.5" LD 720Kb Floppy Disks
 >  1986  DOSPlus 2.0  Digital Research release DOSPlus 2.0 - Forerunner to DrDOS
 >  1986


 Amstrad & KayPro bundle 'GEM' software with MS-DOS 3.1
 April  1986  MS-DOS 3.2  First Retail Release of MS-DOS ~ Support for 3.5" LD 720Kb Floppy Disks
 August   1986  Windows 1.03  Microsofts second release, - MS-DOS version 3.2 support added


 Windows DDL Volume 1

 Microsoft Windows Device Driver Library Volume 1
 Additional support for display devices, printers, and pointing devices added
 April  1987


 Microsoft announces MicroSoft Operating System/2 (MS OS/2) a new personal  computer operating system. It has been designed and developed specifically to  harness the capabilities of personal computers based upon the Intel 80286 and  80386 microprocessors. This is the first product to be announced as a result of the  Joint  Development Agreement between IBM and Microsoft announced in August  1985.  -  Intended Replacement for MS-DOS
 April  1987  Windows 1.04  - IBM Personal System/2 support added
 April  1987  MS-DOS 3.21  OEM Version for Kaypro & Zenith Computer Corporations. (And others)
 April  1987  MS-DOS 3.3  MS-DOS 3.3 introduces support for more than one logical drive per hard disk.  Logical drives are treated as completely separate disks under MS-DOS, even  though they may occupy the same physical hard disk. Plus 3.5" HD 1.44MB Floppy Disk Support + Real Time Support for the  'new' CMOS clock
 April  1987  PC-DOS 3.3  OEM PC-DOS for IBM Corporation. Added support for PS/2 Computers
 April  1987

 MS OS/2 - 1.0

 Microsoft & IBM OS/2 Version 1.0 Released
Click here for OS/2 History, Sub-Versions and Resources
 Mid  1987  DOSPlus 2.1  Digital Research release DOSPlus 2.1 - Last release before DrDOS 3.31
 October  1987

 MS LAN Manager

 Microsoft releases LAN Manager, (Local Area Network) a LAN operating  system add-on that runs on both  MS-DOS and OS/2.
 November    1987  Windows 2.0  Microsoft releases Microsoft Windows 2.03 (Retail Packaging however may show  it as Windows 2.0) offering compatibility with  existing  Windows applications and  a  new visual appearance compatible with Microsoft  OS/2 Presentation Manager.  In addition to the new visual appearance,  it uses a  system of overlapping  windows, rather than tiled windows. Windows  2.03 also includes significant  performance enhancements and improved support for expanded memory  hardware. Screenshots
 >  1988  Windows/286   Version 2.03 ~ When Windows/386 was released, Microsoft renamed Windows  2.03 to Windows/286 (For the Intel 286) for version consistency, And labelled all  further production accordingly. However it was not replaced by Windows/386, As  both versions were aimed at different processors. Therefore Version 2.03 can be  found labelled under both descriptions.
 February  1988  MS-DOS 3.3Plus  Extended MS-DOS for Selected OEMs
 March  1988  MS-DOS 3.3T  Modified MS-DOS 3.3 for Tandy (Radio Shack) Computers as TandyDOS
 April  1988  MS-DOS 3.31  Extended Version for Various OEM Manufactures.
 May >  1988  DrDOS 3.3x  Digital Research release DrDOS 3.31 (No version 3.0  recorded) followed  by a series of OEM  versions.  3.32, 3.33, 3.34, 3.35, 3.40, 3.41 & 3.42  Some releases include a version of GEM Desktop (Called ViewMAX)
 July  1988  MS-DOS 4.0  This version provided XMS support, support for partitions on hard disks up to  2.10  GB and a graphical shell. ~ It also contained a large number of bugs and  many  programs refused to run on it.
 July  1988  PC-DOS 4.0   OEM PC-DOS for IBM Corporation. (IBM buy rights to future versions of PC-DOS)
 August   1988  Windows/286   Version 2.10 ~ Intel 286 Optimised Edition
 August  1988  Windows/386   Version 2.10 ~ Intel 386 Optimised Edition (Introduces HIMEM.SYS Driver)
 October  1988  MS OS/2 1.10  Microsoft and IBM announce the delivery of the jointly developed  Operating  System/2 (OS/2) 1.1 with Presentation Manager. Presentation Manager  is the  graphical user interface (GUI) for the OS/2 operating system. This is the  second  major release of the Standard Edition of OS/2. (LAN version also released)
 November  1988  MS-DOS 4.01  Major Bug Fix for MS-DOS 4.0 (Core Files almost completely rewritten)
 November  1988  PC-DOS 4.01   Major Bug Fix for PC-DOS 4.0
 December  1988  DrDOS 4.41  Digital Research release DrDOS 4.41 (No Version 4.0 released!)
 March  1989  Windows/286  Version 2.11 ~ Intel 286 Optimised Edition
 March  1989  Windows/386  Version 2.11 ~ Intel 386 Optimised Edition
 April  1989  MS-DOS 4.01a  Minor update to MS-DOS 4.01 to include better support as Larger Hard Drives  become available. A File Update is also released to support MS-DOS 4.01
 April  1989  Dr GEM 3.13  Last retail release of GEM by Digital Research
 April  1989  MS OS/2 - 1.10EE  Microsoft and IBM OS/2 1.10 Extended Edition released, with LAN Manager.
 June   1989

 IBM OS/2 - 1.20

 IBM OS/2 1.20 released.
 May  1990  Windows 3.0  Microsoft announces the immediate, worldwide availability of Microsoft Windows  3.0, This version offers dramatic performance increases for Windows  applications, advances in ease of use and  aesthetic appeal, and straightforward  integration into corporate computing  environments Network Drivers also made  available.  Screenshots   IBM start to offer Windows 3.0 as a PS/2 Option
 May  1990  DrDOS 5.0  Digital Research release DrDOS 5.0 - First Retail Version
 September  1990    IBM and Microsoft agree to end their development relationship.
 April  1991  IBM OS/2 - 1.30  IBM OS/2 1.30 released.
 October  1991  Windows 3.0a  Maintenance Release of Windows 3.0 focusing on specific problems
 April  1991  MS-DOS 5.0  This was a major upgrade. It allowed parts of DOS to load itself in the high  memory area and certain device drivers and TSRs to run in the unused parts of the  upper memory area between 640K and 1024K. This version also added support  for IBM's new 2.88 MB floppy disks. An improved BASIC interpreter and text  editor were included, as was a disk cache, an undelete utility and a Hard Disk  partition-table backup program . After the problems with MS-DOS 4, it also  provided a utility to make programs think they were running on a different version  of MS-DOS.(SETVER) ~ Restores confidence in DOS after  v4.x  disaster.
 June   1991  DrDOS 6.0  Digital Research release DrDOS 6.0 Adds disk compression, disk optimizer, etc.
 June  1991  PC-DOS 5.0  IBM PC-DOS 5.0
 June  1991  MS-DOS 5UG  MS-DOS 5.0 Upgrade Edition for all earler versions (First Upgrade Version)
 October  1991

 Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions Version 1.0

 OEM Windows 3.0 with MultiMedia Extensions v1.0.  This version of Windows  was probably a standard version of Windows 3.0a and Microsoft Multimedia  Extensions Version 1.0 being  released as an OEM Multimedia CD-ROM only.  IBM list Windows 3.0 MM as an option for PS/2 Computers


 Tandy Modular Windows

 Tandy Modular Windows was an OEM Special GUI for Tandy Corp.'s Video  Information System (VIS) Multimedia Player. It was essentially a Windows 3.0  Core Program, But  without any Microsoft Desktop Accessories, Drivers, or a  number of other features. (Not to be confused with Windows 3.0 MultiMedia)
 Q3  1991

Windows NT Program

 New Technology Development Program - NT Operating System was first  intended to be based on OS/2 Technology but was later changed to Windows
 Q4  1991  MS-DOS 5.Oa  This was a minor update for MS-DOS 5.0 which dealt with possibly catastrophic  problems with UNDELETE and CHKDSK. A File Update  is also released
 Q4  1991  MS-DOS 5aUG  Replaces MS-DOS 5.0 Upgrade (Details as for MS-DOS 5.0a)
 February  1992  PC-DOS 5.0.1  PC-DOS 5.0 Rev 1 (Possibly an update for same reason as MS-DOS 5.0a)
 April  1992  Windows 3.1  Microsoft ships Microsoft Windows 3.1 with over 1,000 enhancements. The new  version created unprecedented user demand with over one million advance orders  placed worldwide. ~ 386 Enhanced Mode with minimum 4MB RAM - Operates  in Standard Mode with 2MBs - Added support for Truetype Fonts  Screenshots
 April  1992  Win 3.1UG  Windows 3.1 Upgrade for Windows 3.0 Users. (Full Version marked Upgrade!)
 June  1992

IBM OS/2 - 2.0

 IBM OS/2 version 2.0 released. (Microsoft withdraws support for OS/2)
 September  1992  PC-DOS 5.0.2  PC-DOS 5.0 Rev 2 - To correct errors with Windows 3.1 (EMM386.EXE)
 October  1992

 Windows for Workgroups 3.1

(WfWG 3.1)

 Microsoft announces the worldwide availability of Microsoft Windows for  WorkGroups 3.1 (WfWG) which integrates networking and workgroup  functionality  directly  into Windows 3.1. The product allows common activities of  sending  electronic  mail, scheduling group meetings, sharing files and printers,  managing  calendars, and  working together on groups projects. It can provide  networking  capabilities on its  own, or it can be used as a client on an existing  local area  network. Screenshots (Unlike NT, WfWG is still a MS-DOS GUI)
 October  1992  WfWG31AD  Windows for Workgroups 3.1 Add-On for MS-DOS Users
 October  1992  WfWG31AW  WfWG 3.1 Add-On for Windows Users - This package is for machines that  already  have Windows version 3.1 installed. It upgrades Windows by  adding  those files required for the new features  of WfWG 3.1 (Uses Compliance Checking)  
 Q4   1992

 WindowsNT BETA

 Windows New Technology - First BETA Testing of Windows NT ~ Microsofts  first true 32bit Operating System.
 March  1993  MS-DOS 6.0  This was a catch-up with Novell's DR-DOS 6. It added a disk-compression utility  called DoubleSpace, a basic anti-virus program and a disk defragmenter. It also  finally included a MOVE command, an improved backup program, MSBACKUP  and multiple boot configurations. Memory management was also improved by the  addition of MEMMAKER. A number of older utilities, such as JOIN and  RECOVER were removed. However DOSSHELLwas still included.
 March  1993  MS-DOS6UG  MS-DOS 6.0 Upgrade Edition for all earler versions from 3.3 onwards.
 March  1993  6.0 Supplemental  Microsoft released a Supplemental Update of Earler Files removed from v6.0
 May  1993

 Windows for PEN  Computing 3.1

 Microsofts first attempt at a GUI for Palm and Organiser type small computers. It  used a cut down version of MS-DOS 6.0 & Windows 3.1 with a PEN Driver Set.
 Note  1993  Dr PalmDOS  Digital Research base their PalmDOS on CP/M with GEM ViewMAX
 June   1993  PC-DOS 6.1  IBM starts to number PC-DOS in series with MS-DOS
 Q3  1993  NovellDOS 7.0  DrDOS sold to Novell who release it as NovellDOS 7.0 with NetWare
 July  1993  WindowsNT 3.1  Windows NT - Designed for Business & Networking Use - Not dependent on  MS-DOS - Uses its own NTFS Bootstrap to install. (Released on 3.5" Disks)   Link Site Abandoned - New Screenshots to Follow



 Windows NT Service Packs

 After the release of NT 3.1 Microsoft began a series of Service Pack Releases,  which included Updates, Patchs as well as New or Updated Network Drivers. The Last  known Service Pack for Windows NT 3.1 was SP-3 (Dated October 1994)
 November  1993  MS-DOS 6.2  Extra security was built into DoubleSpace following complaints of data loss.  A  new disk checker, SCANDISK, was also introduced, as well as improvements to  DISKCOPY and SmartDrive (DOSSHELL was removed to the Supplemental Disk Set)
 November  1993  MS-DOS62UG  MS-DOS 6.2 Upgrade Edition for all earler versions from 3.3 onwards.
 November  1993  MS-DOS62SU  MS-DOS 6.2 Step-Up for 6.0 Users Only (MS-DOS Step-Up differs from  Upgrade in that it is limited to earler 6x versions only and contains file updates not  complete copies of application files other than IO.SYS & MSDOS.SYS)
 November  1993  6.2 Supplemental  Microsoft released a Supplemental Update of Earler Files removed from v 6.2  Including DOSSHELL which was removed from 6.2 & later versions.
 December  1993

 Windows for Workgroups 3.11

(WfWG 3.11)

 WfWG 3.11 contains the complete software package for machines that do not  have Windows Operating System version 3.0 or 3.1. It contains all the WfWG  software, including Windows 3.1 functionality, file sharing, printer sharing,  network dynamic data exchange (DDE),  Microsoft Mail, Microsoft Schedule+,  Microsoft At Work PC Fax, Remote Access Services, 32-bit file and disk  access, and advanced security. Screenshots
 December  1993  WfWG311AD  WfWG 3.11 Add-On for MS-DOS Users.
 December  1993  WfWG311AW  WfWG 3.11 Add-On for Windows Users -This package is for machines that  already have Windows or WfWG version 3.1 installed. It  upgrades Windows or  WfWG 3.1 by adding those files required for the new features of WfWG 3.11.
 December  1993   MSClient 3.0  Microsoft Client for MS-DOS version 3.0 (Network Add-On for MS-DOS)  
 December  1993  Windows 3.11  With WfWG Compatable Core Files, SVGA & updated drivers Screenshots  Windows 3.11 was never marketed as such, It is a Service Release of Windows  3.1 only - The only way to check you have it was to click the 'About' Box
 December  1993  Win31 Updates  Microsoft also made available 2 updates for Windows 3.1 to bring it upto  Windows 3.11 standard ~ 3.11 Core Files and SVGA Driver Updates.
 December   1993  PC-DOS 6.3  Replaces PC-DOS 6.1

Goto DOS TimeLine Part Two ~ 1994 to XP

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Contents Copyright - M Comerford ~ PowerLoad 1999-2005 All rights reserved