There was windows 1 and 2 which obviously bit it hard. Then Windows 3.0 came along, which all the rich bastards had. It had the infamous File Manager Program Manager duality vile as it was, it kinda worked. A nice way to see the directories we had grown to love in dos. And the path command. Woohoo!

Then windows 3.1 and 3.11 came along, still no start button, which was the major harbinger of windows 95 which had some stupid devel name like colorectal cancer. Win95 brought us the start menu. A more convenient monosyllabic answer to starting programs. We rejoiced.

The majority of really lame ui tweaks came in this era. In short order they are:

  • win 98 the angular scrolling out menu (yeepa yeepa!)
  • win 2g the fade in and the lame ass drop shadow under the mouse cursor that is about as 31337 as text based PC-TOOLS

There is my not necessarily anti-Microsoft rant of the 3 week period I like to call my biological rotospin clock valve.

CTL32.DLL was a library used in some win3.1 delphi programs which simulated there being a mysterious floating light above your left shoulder which only shone on windows UI elements...
Microsoft thought it was such a good idea, they built it into win95's GDI... and that is how "3D Elements" came to be in the "Appearance" Property sheet.... This was probably the biggest shinyness factor in win95's UI.

For most people, the thrill wore off pretty quick once they got to know windows; so microsoft decided that rather than improving usability and stability, they needed to make windows look even shinier... so they made Plus!... and IE4 with ActiveDesktop.. but that still didn't help...

In win98, microsoft introduced smooth scrolling (read: slow scrolling), menu slideout, mouseover effects for menus and gradiated titlebars (as seen in MS Office 97)... yet still hadn't managed to make any leaps and bounds in user interface design.. (okay.. the address toolbar is pretty damn cool)

But who needs stability when Win XP has Alpha Blending effects, and big shiny primary colored buttons...?

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