Windows 1.0 Alpha

Windows 1.0 was the first release of what eventually made it onto almost every desktop computer in the entire world. Many of you are probably unaware of this release from 1985; conceived from ideas found in the original Lisa/Macintosh and Xerox Star system, Windows 1.0 was Microsoft's attempt at a graphical multitasking operating environment for the IBM PC.

The earliest known appearance of "Microsoft Windows" was in a 1983 Byte Magazine, and it was heavily promoted at the Fall 1983 Comdex. It was marketed as a response to GUI environments such as Digital Research GSX, VisiCorp Visi On, and Apple Macintosh, although the first completed release was not until late 1985.

Windows 1.0x features co-operative multitasking, tiled windows, ability to launch and integrate with DOS programs, runs on top of existing DOS, supports 8088 based PCs with IBM CGA, Hercules Monochrome, and IBM EGA video.

It was followed up by Windows 2.x.


Release notes

The Windows Alpha is very rough and incomplete, similar to DR5. It also includes development tools and source samples.

Installation instructions

This version will ONLY run under DOS 2.x or DOS 3.0. It performs an internal check to confirm the version. Therefore tools like Setver will NOT work. DOS 3.1 and later, as well as DOSBox/FreeDOS will NOT work. If you use 3.0, use IBM PC-DOS 3.0.

To install, put the fist disk in drive A:, copy the Wininst.bat to C:, then run it from drive C:.

This version supports CGA, Hercules Monographics, and Monochrome EGA.

It expects a Microsoft Bus or Serial Mouse. But it also supports operation with an MS-DOS mouse driver, enabling other kinds to work - a feature that was later dropped.

Product type
Release date
Tue Jan 29 1985
User interface
Download count
279 (4 for release)


Download name Version Language Architecture File size Downloads
Microsoft Windows 1.0 (Alpha) 1.0 Alpha Prerelease English 395.3KB 4


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