Microsoft Windows DOS

From Audiovisual Identity Database

Descriptions by

Note: This was Microsoft Windows from the 1980s to the early 1990s, while the mid to late 90s is Microsoft Windows 9x, and the NT alternative and early 2000s-present is Microsoft Windows NT.

Another Note: The music and/or sounds on these screens are the sounds played by the computer at some point during the system log in. Most of the sounds are not heard on the screens themselves. The usage dates are determined by the release date of the system, up to the date that the final version of the system is released.

Windows 1.0; Windows 2.x


Windows 1.0 is the first version of Microsoft Windows, announced on 10 November 1983. The retail release was originally going to be held at some point in April 1984, but was later pushed back to June 1985, and was then eventually released to retail stores on 20 November 1985. According to Microsoft, Windows 1.0 is a 16-bit "Operating Environment" designed to run on top of MS-DOS and is not a standalone operating system. Windows 2.x is the second major version of Microsoft Windows, released in 1987. It was the first version to introduce support for enhanced features found in Intel's i386 processors. To differentiate it between the 8086-compatible version of Windows 2.x, the i386 version was sold and marketed separately under the "Windows/386" label. Two revisions of Windows 2.x exist, the original revision (2.0x) in generic "Windows" (8086/i286) and "Windows/386" variants, and a second revision (2.1x) marketed as "Windows/286" and "Windows/386" respectively. Currently, no pre-release builds of Windows 2.x are publicly available (though some have been confirmed to exist), and some retail versions remain unverified. Both systems were discontinued on December 31, 2001, along with Windows 3.0, Windows 3.1x, Windows 95 and Windows NT 3.5.

(May 8, 1985-July 27, 1989)

Screen: On a blue (or black; depending on what graphics adapter you use) background, we see two segmented copies of the 1987 Microsoft logo merging together. Afterwards, the words 'Microsoft Windows' with the version/revision number below appear, along with a copyright stamp at the bottom of the screen.


  • For the screen’s first years (1985-1987), the 1982 Microsoft logo was used instead.
  • On computers with an Intel i386 microprocessor, the “Microsoft Windows” text is extended to “Microsoft Windows/386”.
    • A similar variant for computers with an Intel 80286 microprocessor exists, with the text extended to “Microsoft Windows/286”.
  • On beta builds, the version/revision number is replaced with the build’s nickname.
  • On Developer’s Beta 1 of Windows 2.x, the screen is shifted upwards slightly.
  • The language of the screen can vary depending on which country your computer came from (France, Netherlands, Germany, etc.).
  • On build 1.33 of Windows 3.00, the Microsoft logo is replaced with "Windows 3.0" (set in a font similar to that of said logo), the version number is removed, the copyright stamp is slightly different and most notably, "Microsoft Windows" is replaced with "We Believe in Magic!".
  • OEM releases use either a modified version of this screen, or a custom one entirely.

Technique: Computer graphic animation.

Sounds: None.

Availability: Extinct.

  • Its first appearance was on the beta release for Windows 1.0, and its other betas starting with its preliminary release. It later debuted on Windows 1.01, Windows 1.02, and Windows 1.03.
  • The version with the 1987 Microsoft logo made its first appearance on Windows 1.04. Many other variants of the 1985 and 1987 versions appeared on OEMs of the whole Windows 1.0X series.
  • It later appeared on Windows 2.01, 2.02 and 2.03.
    • Many sub-variants appeared on OEMs of Windows 2.0X.
    • Additionally, the Intel 80286 sub-variant debuted on Windows 2.1.
  • It made its final retail appearance on Windows 2.11 and it's final internal appearance on build 1.33 of Windows 3.00 (albeit with the latter using a variant).
  • Some beta versions became lost media, with their only proof being their screens. Although for Windows Preliminary Release 0.50, some of it's core files were found as leftovers in Windows Premiere Edition.
  • Excluding virtual machines, computers running either version are very hard to find in modern times, especially after their discontinuation on December 31, 2001.

Legacy: One of the first startup screens to have some kind of animation accompanying it.

Windows 3.0


The earliest confirmed build of Windows 3.0 dates back to January 1989. Windows 3.0 was the first widely successful build of Windows. It included a significantly revamped interface and technical improvements to make better use of memory management for Intel processors. Unlike Windows 1.0 and 2.x, which had a very limited color palette for colored menus and window boxes with in-application graphics being monochrome (black & white), Windows 3.0 supported up to 256 colors.

(November 27, 1989-October 20, 1991)

Screen: A revised version of the previous screen, with the following changes:

  • The background color is now blue-violet (or for some graphics adapters, dark blue), with the color of the Microsoft logo being a brighter shade of said color.
  • The Microsoft logo now takes up part of the top half of the screen.
  • “Microsoft Windows” is shortened to just “Windows”, is bigger, is set in the Times New Roman font and has a gray dropshadow. There is also a small trademark symbol next to it.
  • The version/revision number is replaced with just “Version 3.0”. It is also now set in the Times New Roman font, much like the “Windows” text.
  • The copyright stamp has a slightly different order.
  • The entire splash is now in the 4:3 aspect ratio instead of the 16:9-esque one seen in the previous splash.


  • On builds 48 and 55, the colors of the background and the Microsoft logo are different (with the background in light blue and the Microsoft logo in a different shade of blue).
  • The language of the screen can vary depending on which country your computer came from.
  • On the IBM OEM release of Windows 3.0A, a capital "A" is added to "Version 3.0".
  • A special variant exists for Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions 1.0. The "Version 3.0" text is replaced with "graphical environment with Multimedia Extensions 1.0" (with "Multimedia Extensions 1.0" below "graphical environment with"), and below that is the logo for Multimedia PC. To make room, "Windows" is slightly shifted upwards.
    • A different version of the variant might have existed. Here, the Multimedia PC logo is slightly different. The version text is also different as it instead says “Version 3.0 + Multimedia Extensions 1.0”, and below that is “for the”, making the full text read: “Windows Version 3.0 + Multimedia Extensions for the Multimedia PC”.
  • On Windows MDK Version 59 (which is the beta version of MME 1.0), "Version 3.0" is extended to "Version 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions".
  • On the first two betas of Windows 3.1, the 0 in "Version 3.0" is replaced with a 1, making it read "Version 3.1". Starting with build 34f, a box was added below which reads: "BETA RELEASE (number)"

Technique: None.


  • Windows 3.00; Windows 3.1 builds 26-43e:
    • Startup: None.
    • Shutdown: Also none.
  • Windows MDK Version 59:
    • Startup: A door creaking. (doors.wav)
    • Shutdown: None.
  • Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions 1.0:
    • Startup: Bells jingling. (bells.wav)
    • Shutdown: Water flowing. (water.wav)

Availability: Extremely rare.

  • First appeared on build 48 of Windows 3.00
  • The normal version with the final background color made its debut on Release Candidate 2 of Windows 3.00 and later on the system itself.
  • Also seen on the Windows 3.0 Test Drive by PC Magazine, Windows 3.00a, and the first two betas of Windows 3.1.
  • It made its final appearance on Windows 3.0 for Multimedia Extensions 1.0.
    • As for the sub-variant, a screenshot of its LOGO.VGA file in Paintbrush can be seen in an issue of Serbian magazine Svet Kompjutera (World of Computers). Apart from that, it is unknown about where this screen was used. However, it is speculated that it might have appeared on either an OEM release from an unknown company or from another beta build.
  • Much like the previous screen, computers running Windows 3.0 are very hard to find in modern times, especially after its discontinuation on December 31, 2001.

Windows 3.1x


The earliest beta build of Windows 3.1 dates back to January 18, 1991. Windows 3.1 included improved system stability, expanded support for multimedia, an updated font family (now called "TrueType"), and workgroup networking.

(December 4, 1991-November 10, 1994)

Splash: Against a turquoise rectangle, there is the Windows flag from that time. It consists of 4 panels: red, green, blue and yellow in a flying black window pane with red and blue trails. Below it are the stacked words: “MICROSOFT WINDOWS”, and below that is “Version 3.1”. At the bottom of the rectangle is a copyright stamp.


  • On the incremental beta and the final beta of Windows 3.1, a small white rectangle either with the words “Incremental Beta Release” (for Incremental Beta) or “Final Beta Release” (for Final Beta) is below “Version 3.1”.
  • The language of the screen can vary depending on which country your computer came from.
  • On Windows 3.2 Chinese, the version number is changed to '3.2' and "中文版" (Chinese Version) is underneath it.
  • On Version 3.11, it says "Version 3.11" under the 'Windows' text.
  • There is a special variant for touchscreen devices. "FOR PEN COMPUTING" is added into the logo; somewhat like this: "FOR" is tilted 90 degrees counterclockwise, "PEN" is right next to "FOR". Below that is "COMPUTING", and below all that is "Version 1.0". Everything else is as is.
  • On business computers, "MICROSOFT" is tilted 90 degrees counterclockwise, "WINDOWS" is much more stretched, and "FOR WORKGROUPS" is seen below the logo. The rest is as is.

Technique: None.


  • Startup: A "Tada" sound effect used by the system, called "tada.wav".
  • Shutdown: Descending chimes, another sound effect used by the system, called "chimes.wav".

Startup Sound (Music/Sounds) Trivia:

  • In Roblox's early years (2006-2012), every time you'd complete something in a level, collect a badge or use a face changer model, the Windows 3.1 Startup would be heard, although some games on the website (such as Work at a Pizza Place) use Windows XP's "tada.wav".
  • The startup can also be heard in the second part of the Simpsons two-part episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns?".

Availability: Very rare. Seen on computers running on Windows 3.1 or 3.11.

Microsoft Windows DOS
Microsoft Windows 9x