What was your first operating system?

I am really interested in knowing the first operating system that you have used. Let's remember the good old times! 🤓

For me, it was Windows 95 in my school's computer lab in year 2000, probably. I was so excited about "My computer". I was damn curious about this folder.

Comments (309)

Siddarthan Sarumathi Pandian's photo

My first OS has to be Windows 98. It was a self assembled computer and it costed my parents about 45,000 INR. They made around 20K INR combined at that point of time, but my father was crazy about the personal computer and he was saving for a long long time to get one.

While my father dabbled with some C++ on it, the only thing I did was play Roadrash and Dave and browse the internet from time to time. Can't believe 19 years has passed already since the release of one of the world's best Operating Systems. Of course, my father tried dual booting the computer by installing Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional for reasons best known to himself.

A few years passed and then came XP. :D Just when you had thought 98 couldn't be bettered, MS amazed the world with XP. It's been a long time since I used a Windows computer, but I think I am indebted to Bill Gates and Microsoft for placing a computer in every kid's room in the 90s.

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Prabakar Karuppasamy's photo

Senior Software Engineer

windows Xp

Gergely Polonkai's photo

Does a C64 count? If so, that was my first. However, I’m not that old; 286 machines were already available at the time, we just couldn’t afford it.

Fast forward few years, and we bought our first IBM XT; it had a nifty 8088 processor in it. It had MS DOS 5.0 on it, and I loved it so much.

However, by the time I actually started to learn programming, our home computer was a 286 (this was around the 486 era). It had MS DOS 6.22 (I still have the installer disquettes (yes, floppies); I wonder if they still work). I used DOS Shell on it, and Norton Commander (sometimes Volkov, it was much smaller), and a bit later, Microsoft Windows 3.1 (for which I still have the floppies). Oh, and I will never forget my mom’s face when I first tried what the FDISK program can do…

It’s funny to write about all these OSes on my notebook, which has more CPU power and RAM inside that all my childhood computers altogether (including my first AMD Duron machine that I bought, with 512MB of RAM) in a box smaller than my first programming book.

Mike Chilson's photo

Dating myself here.... As a teen I learned to program on an Atari 800XL

Was loads of fun. Got my first paying programming job on that machine. Wrote a starfield simulation for the end of show credits for a cable TV show. :-) Went on to get a degree and now have over 30 years experience in everything from C++ to Ruby on Rails. :-)

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Mike Chilson's photo

Ruby/Rails/Sinatra & R Developer

Older than dirt. :-)

Mario Giambanco's photo

Technically, the first computer I used was an Apple 2 GE back in 3rd or 4th grade. But our first computer came with MS DOS 5 and Windows 3.1.

We had a Radio Shack TRS 80 way back in the day - that was my first experience with programming, but I didn't know I was programming (just reproducing what was in some book) and I don't think dad thought it would lead to an entire career for me. Had to save programs to a cassette tape and it hooked up to a TV, haha.

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𝗗𝗮𝗿𝗸 𝙥𝙖𝙡𝙚⠀𝓅ℯ𝒶𝒸𝒽's photo

mine was WinXP SP2 pro 32bit, loved it, played many games in it. My pc was assembled as pentium d, 256mb ddr2(later upgraded by adding 1GB more), 80GB hd(added 160GB later), 32mb integrated graphics, it played gta vice city and san andreas, once installed win 7, worked smoothly

Oldest I've seen installed somewhere was in my school, some computers were having win98 and win95. <3

Brian LeRoux's photo

Not sure if the TRS-80 had so much of an operating system as it was just sort of a stateless BASIC interpreter. Hours upon hours of painstaking copying code from a physical magazine GONE when powered down. It was plugged into a really bad colour tv. Eventually I got a cassette tape backup! 💾

Dave Ross's photo

It's so great seeing all the 8-bit love in this discussion!

My first interaction with a computer was in the second grade. My teacher had been taking a night school programming course and the staff wheeled in the school's new – and only – computer, an Apple II. She put the disk in and booted it up, and there was an ASCII picture of R2D2 along with a beep-boop rendition of the Star Wars theme. I was hooked, and I was determined to learn how to make a machine do that. I read lots of "programming for kids" type books and played around with the Apple at school until we got a Commodore 64 at home.

Computers back then were pretty simple. There wasn't really an "operating system" in the traditional sense. That changed with software like GEOS which implemented something approaching a proper OS kernel (with drivers for peripherals!) on an 8-bit micro.

I loved GEOS. It had a text editor called GeoWrite that used proportional fonts. GEOS 2.0 included a new thing called a "spell checker". I did so many school projects in GEOS.

When I went to high school, we got a Packard Bell with a 20MHz 386sx processor and a 40mb hard drive. It came with MS-DOS 4.1, which was ok. MS-DOS 5.0 was a huge step up, and MS-DOS 6 took it further.

I saved up my cash for Windows 3.1 when it came out. I remember my mom driving me to Egghead Software to pick it up and asking why I needed a graphical operating system and how it would make the computer different. I think she was surprised I was spending money on something besides a game or a word processor and genuinely didn't understand how this one piece of software was going to make the other software I owned better.

I called my first BBSes on MS-DOS, but I took my first steps on the Internet in Windows 3.1, using Trumpet Winsock and a 9600 baud modem.

Those were magical times. I still tinker with Commodores and Apple IIs. Half my office is filled with old computers, books, and other tech memorabilia. But I also love how far we've come, and there's so many exciting developments in the tech world today I can't stay focused. I just want to experience it all!

kolibriiii's photo

My First OS was TOS 1.04 - The Computer was an Atari ST which my father bring Home from work, his Boss got a new one and gifted to him the Atari ST with some games like Donkey Kong....amazing time! I think this Computer had a Motorola Processor, the floppies drive was in the keyboard (cool).

Chris Stephens's photo

Mine would have been Commodore KERNAL on my old Vic-20 back in about 1980 :)

Dave Ross's photo

Building the web since 1996. Full-stack developer, feral & abused cat socializer, tech history buff. Director of Engineering at 10up.

Bonus points for spelling KERNAL correctly!

Aakash Bhowmick's photo

My first computer was BBC microcomputer that had Acorn OS ( I think so ). First proper OS ( that others might have heard of ) was Windows 3.1 which ran on top of MS-DOS.

Kashish Grover's photo

My first operating system was Windows 95, and I used it for the first time back in 1998 when I was 3.

My dad got a PC custom built for himself in his office. He didn't even have a monitor back then. It was just a black and white CRT TV with an external VGA card.

He used to take me to his office every once in a while and I would use MS Paint or play those 8 bit games on it. I strongly believe that to be the seed of whatever I am today as a tech enthusiast and a Software Engineer. :)

Bogdan Ciubotaru's photo

Basic. Man, I am old...

j's photo

"my first" as I was using my brothers PC was DOS :D with novel dos so we could utilize the COM ports for a network :D

Edgar Fahrenheit's photo

Teaching and Programing

Hard times, but good.

Joe Clark's photo

TRS 80 in school, but MS DOS on an IBM PCjr at home as my first one back in the 80s.

Ben Buchanan (200ok)'s photo

First OS I used was an early version of DOS on my mum's XT. First on a computer of my own was AmigaOS on an Amiga 600. Although I really only used them for games and writing assignments, so they don't feel like they count.

First OS I properly got to grips with, customised and messed with, was DOS with the 4DOS extension and Windows 3.11 for when I needed a GUI.

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Remco's photo

>>> from dutveul import me

Long live 4dos!

Marco Alka's photo

The first OS I used was Windows 95, which ran on my first computer, which I assembled together with my father back in 1996. I was 4 y/o then :) I had a separate card for my mouse, because the MoBo didn't have mouse support...

Since then, the only Windows I didn't install on my computer is Windows ME, and I don't even feel bad about it. Though, as most of you might know, Gentoo Linux became my primary OS during the past few years (mainly because of the rise of telemetry data and deliberate data collection)

Todd's photo

Software Security Engineer

Oh God, Windows ME was what I learned to program on initially, LOL!

You definitely dodged a bullet.... Or should I say about 3909083 BSODs.

Jazz's photo

Mine was something calling CPM. I think I used it for some Pascal stuff. To move files I believe the command "pip" was used.

Later went on to DOS 2.3 and using luggable Compaq portables. In which I booted from floppy, and proceed to boot DBase III+ from floppy.

My age clearly is showing.... :(

Cletus Ajibade's photo

Mine has to be Windows 98. I used it back then to do some typing on Microsoft Word. I remember there used to be computer centers/shops where you would go to have your documents typed for you or you do it yourself for a fee. Not so many people had computers then in Nigeria, so such computer shops were popular back then. I'm talking about the days when diskettes were a major storage media.

I later moved to using Windows XP, thanks to a friend of my uncle who got a Dell PC which came with XP; it was such a beauty. I can still remember "My Computer" as a very popular go-to menu on the start button. Oh my, XP had a very lovely desktop and wall paper :). I started programming on XP back then in HTML and CSS and later Java and Microsoft SQL Server 2000. Then SQL Server had a tool called Enterprise Manager, I think it's now called SQL Server Management Studio.

Those where the days when young boys would stay with the PC coding non-stop. Can you imagine coding Java on Notepad and running your code through command prompt? Oh boy, those were the hard times of coding. If not for the myriads of IDEs and tools that have made programming easier today, programming would have been a less productive venture for anybody.

We have really come a long way, and I am thankful for those days, and despite learning coding the hard way, I stuck with it till today and I'm still going to be here for a very long time. I am much more productive in this career today thanks to the great programmers and engineers who have contributed a lot to this field and have made it a much more enjoyable career. It's a challenge to young engineers and programmers like me to also have the future and the upcoming generation in mind. We are to write good and clean code, build maintainable systems and develop solutions that will affect lives positively.

Finally, I say thanks to Microsoft for transforming Africa by the Windows OS. It really pioneered all the great innovations happening today.

Sai Kishore Komanduri's photo

My first operating system was MS-DOS, in School. It was 1997. I was in third-grade. I remember learning LOGO; how computers maintain time, etc, etc... But best of all we used to play a lot of DOS games — Dangerous Dave, Bumpy, Prince of Persia.

Fast forward a couple of years, my dad got a Pentium II; it came with Windows 95! Ah, sweet nostalgia!

Todd's photo

Software Security Engineer

Nice! My dad had a TOSHIBA laptop back in that day which came with Win 95 too. Funny thing is standard laptops costed like $4,000 back then.

Russ ツ's photo

My first OS was the Commodore 64 BASIC which had an impressive cassette reader and a blazing fast 300 baud modem!

Dave Ross's photo

Building the web since 1996. Full-stack developer, feral & abused cat socializer, tech history buff. Director of Engineering at 10up.

"Costs less, does more!"

Edward Harned's photo

In 1969, an IBM System360/40 with 128k of memory, using DOS. Not DOS/VS, not MSDOS, just plain, simple DOS.

Ant Stanley's photo

DOS 3.1 on an IBM compatible PC my dad got us when I was 7. Only 3 kids in my year at school had computers. It had a Hercules graphics card, and a 20MB hard drive. We could play Space Quest and Prince of Persia on it, so we were happy.

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Shaun Botsis's photo

I loooved space quest, also had a great run with Kings quest. :)

Arth Tyagi's photo

Ok, so I was born in 2003, and the first operating system I got to use when I was completely aware of what I was doing was in 2007, it was Windows XP, it was the most used operating system back then, I mean literally everyone was using that at that point of time in India, as I grew up I came across various other operating systems like the Vista, then the Win 7, I had never owned a machine running MacOS myself until 2016 when I was in 8th grade, my Dad brought me a Macbook, it was the slim new design, that was the time I got used to the MacOS and as it turns out I loved it so much, that to this day I use the MacOS( Mojave(latest-build)) being a Java Developer, the only difference is that I use the MacBook Air for most purposes,( believe me, it works just fine, don't let those fancy YouTube reviewers get in your head and tell you that it's a bad machine, cause it's not). When I got to do some of the Windows-only task, I use the October build of Windows 10 on my mom's laptop, which by the way is a portable yet powerful Hp- Revolve 810 ( EliteBook ). But back to the question, my first operating system was Windows XP.

Nathan Budd's photo

MS Dos. It was my grandad's computer, and had a 3.5 and 5.25" drive. I used to play Commander Keen on it!

Mohit's photo

windows 10...

Danish ALI's photo

Back in 2002-03 Grade 8-9 it was a DOS based OS I don't know the name it was something before Windows 98, I only remember it had old Turbo C like interface after running a command on CLI and from there I could choose Price of Persia game :P which I used to play whenever the teacher wasn't there, and on my first PC Pentium-1 133Mhz 64MB 8GB lolx my personal first was Windows 98 can't forget that window ever !!!! Nostalgic

Sonia GarMar's photo

C64 was my first computer back in 1983 (I was 10 years old) But I don't think it counts as an OS. So my first real OS was the DOS version that ran on my next computer, the IBM XT.

Zaven Rell's photo

Windows 3.14

Windows_3.11_workspace.png

Finley Corrigan's photo

My first OS (on my personal computer) was Windows 8, which I only had for around 3 months before moving to Windows 10...

Yes, I'm young.

Femi Ojo's photo

Windows Millennium Edition

Gregory Anthony Baryza's photo

I don't know if my first OS had a name. It was the macro-assembled monitor for the IBM 1401 in 1970. It provided for transitional services from one batch program to another. The first "real" OS I used was a few years later, the Master Control Program (MCP) for a Burroughs 5500.

Sattar Hummatli's photo

1) Mine was MicroDOS (Soviet OS) on Korvet computer when I was child in 1990.

2) Second was Windows XP in 2006 when I was a student.

Steven Ventimiglia's photo

Windows for Workgroups 3.11 running on a 286/12 with a 9600 baud external Zoom (modem).

Cipto Hadi's photo

My first OS is MIcrosoft DOS ^_^, back at about 1993-1996. The app that is still remembered till now is Wordstar

Todd's photo

DOS and Winodows 95.

Ilango Rajagopal's photo

My first OS was Windows 98. My dad bought a computer when I was 9 years old. It had cost him around 45,000 INR. It came with a 128 MB RAM, around 900MHz Intel Processor and a 20GB hard drive. The only use we had for it was movies and music for my parents and games for me and my brother.

We spent our days playing Prince of Persia, Road Rash, Dave etc. Although I didn't even know what programming was or what it could do at that time, I did frequently experiment with settings inside the computer and in the BIOS menu and see what they did. This caused the system to crash, hang a few times.

When my dad upgraded the PC to a bit more RAM and hard drive, I installed XP in it and it was mind blowing.

I use Arch Linux all the time now and Windows is reserved just for gaming (some things never change :D).

cedric simon's photo

My really first OS was a basic interpreter on Oric-1.

Then, my first real computer was an Atari 520 STe if I recall correctly. Best computer I ever had.

I remember dumping the memory in binary to find the mouse pointer and redraw it on the fly ^^ (in GFA basic). It was the best moment of programming for me.

Since then, I program for a living, but the blast is passed. Though some languages give me some good feels sometimes too (lisp, elixir, haskell).

Todd's photo

While on the subject, who remembers the crappy old iMacs which were round with that big handle on them and froze multiple times per day?

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Todd's photo

Software Security Engineer

Siddarthan Sarumathi Pandian No wonder you Indians were so efficient and skilled back then... :P

Chester Friesen's photo

My first OS was CP/M on an Osborne 1 in 1982.

Stjepan Zlodi's photo

MS-DOS 3.30 on 41MB Seagate HDD with 32MB max. partition size limit and "640 kB ought to be enough for anybody".

Michał Nierebiński's photo

I can’t recall. It was Amstrad CPC operating system. Then it was one of Commodore 64’s cartridge system. A few years later: MS DOS 6.22

Stevan Marjanovic's photo

Mine was Windows XP. Currently using Ubuntu :D

Sebastian's photo

First response :)

Installed OS‘s on my first computer back in 1993 (uhh very Long Time ago :-0) were MSDOS5 alongside with Windows 3.11 and IBM OS/2 Warp.

Jeffrey Poore's photo

Commodore DOS (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_DOS). It was really before the time of Operating Systems as we know it. You didn't start a computer and load an OS, you started your computer and it ran the bios which gave you a simple command prompt and that was it. Starting programs usually involved loading them off of disk, and to do that, you basically had to tell it what hardware device to load things from, so you basically issued this command:

LOAD . ,8,1

Then about 10 minutes later something would start running, like King's Quest or such. It also had cartridges like an Atari, so I played a number of games that way.

Dario Fumagalli's photo

I'll never forget that day, my 12th birthday.

I had a brilliant year at school and my parents wanted to reward me.

They knew I loved those "videogames" of old. Back then, we had those ancient console things like Pong / Tennis / Squash / Pelota. My little cousin had a Mattel Intellivision, an incredible piece of technology back then.

So, they went to one of the handful electronics shops in town and purchased me a Commodore VIC 20. A true masterpiece of technology, with "vast amounts" of memory (all of 3583 bytes!).

The vendor did not tell them this was not a videogame.

When I opened it and connected it to the TV, I could not find a way to start any game. VIC 20 came with a true break-through idea: a massively simple and illustrated manual that would teach BASIC even to a rock. At the end of the manual itself, there were several pages with simple video-games source code.

Yes, it was normal - back then - to spend 4 hours manually copying a source code from a written book into a computer. A computer with no storage, every time you powered it off, all was lost.

This "write source code" thing, got me hooked with computers. Forever.

Shortly after, I put together my little savings and purchased a Commodore cassette recorder and later, a massive 8 kilobytes memory cartouche.

Since then, I have learned so many languages and technologies, from VAX to XENIX, from Commodore 64/128/16 to Apple II. From (some days worth of) AS400 to military systems. One hit concepts like NeXT and BeOS and staying workhorses (DOS / Windows / Linux).

However... I'll never forget that feeling of manually entering HEX machine language codes in my VIC 20... type "sys 2081" and see my first language machine routines and videogames run. Stuff I, now 13 old, imagined and created out of thin air, stuff that simply did not exist before. A young boy could create - alone - a whole video game including "high res" graphics, sound effects and music.

VIC 20 and Commodore 64 were huge influencers, there have been whole generations of developers born of those magnificent machines of old.

aber camel's photo

The first operating system I used in 2000 was Win98. Technology was very developed by looking at those years.

unblocked

Ryan Pereira's photo

My First OS was windows 95. I used it for almost for 7 years. It had a floppy drive and would give shocks every now and then. It had a Pentium 4 processor and 128MB RAM.

Paweł's photo

It was some kind of UNIX (not Linux). I used it to access Internet at my dad's workplace back in 1998 or something. It wasn't until 2000 that I saw Windows for the first time.

Michael Amay's photo

My mom bought a windows xp computer when I was in the 5th or 6th grade. I used to play mostly online games. I'm a mac user now, but I do prefer windows 10 or 8 if I had the money to buy another pc.

Vijay Khatri's photo

Mine was Windows xp

Andreas Urbanczyk's photo

Windows 95 / 98. My first touch with Windows was actually 3.11 but it wasn't my computer.

David Schuetz's photo

My first was Windows 3.1. This was probably 1994. We had a few games, a word processor, and a card making application, no Internet. As well as a dot matrix printer. My sister and I used the card making application for party invites, Christmas cards, and even cards for our parents for whatever occasion.