The First Computers

Dec 19, 2010 By Matthew, 13
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The very first computers came out in the early 1970’s. At first, they were just used to compute problems. It took a lot of learning for a scientist just to learn how to “speak” to a computer!  Despite some of the amazing things computers did, they had awful problems.

First, just one computer could take up a whole office section! Second, these old computers required enormous amounts of energy, and occasionally broke down. Third, these computers were very expensive. Only high-tech labs could afford to keep computers.


In the 1990’s, a new computer came out. It was known as a PC, or Personal Computer. It was stated that everyone could use it…….if you knew DOS language! DOS is an old operating system in which you type in commands on a black screen. This is an example of what you would type in order to launch you favorite computer game, let’s say Tetris:

mount c c:\Tetris     (enter)
mount c:                  (enter)
CD Tetris                (enter)
Tetris.EXE              (enter)

Seems easy?  Well let me tell you this: typing a DOS command is very difficult!  Those commands that I just gave were easy! So as you can see, in order to use your DOS PC back then, you would need a manual and would need to study it like a textbook. Another interesting fact, was that you commanded DOS by only a keyboard! There wasn’t even a mouse yet! Over the next years, DOS became more widely accepted, but was still very hard to use. But then came a genius, Bill Gates.


Windows, the program you may be using now to read this article, was at first just a program that could be used with DOS. After buying and installing Windows, you would be asked to launch Windows. Back then, all Windows did was make commanding your DOS computer much easier. Windows would show everything in nice neat spaces, and give information on lots of your programs. Of course, Windows was still just a program, not an operating system yet, so when you turned your computer on, you would have to give it the command to start Windows.  But soon, Windows became so popular that when you started your PC, Windows would automatically start! This means that DOS is still controlling everything you are doing on the computer right now!!!  DOS will never really disappear.


Soon Windows had some competition. Apple brought out its first operating system, Macintosh, or also know as a Mac. The Macintosh was very successful, and is still used today. In fact, you may be reading this article with a Macintosh. The difference between a Mac and a Windows PC, is that a Mac is not run with DOS in the background! Unfortunately, I’m not an expert in Macs, so I can’t give you much info here.

Other Operating Systems

There are many other operating systems across the world, but just for your information I will list a few here. Versions are all listed in chronological order.

WINDOWS : Versions: Windows 3.0, 95, 98, 3.5, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7

Mac: Mac OS, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Mac 10, Mac OS X

Linux:  [Editor: The Youngzine server runs Linux!]