The First Computers

Dec 19, 2010 By Matthew, 13
Matthew14's picture

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!]


Vishesh's picture
Vishesh March 21, 2012 - 8:10pm

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have changed the computer generation. But I still like Apple better than Microsoft.

mukundnandini's picture
mukundnandini October 5, 2011 - 2:31pm
My mom has a Mac.Macs are my favorite computer.
Writerstime's picture
Writerstime October 11, 2011 - 6:44pm

I like macs too. Apple rocks!

kayla4's picture
kayla4 October 14, 2011 - 2:11pm

Apple Computers do rock. GO APPLE COMPUTERS!!!!

AnikaP's picture
AnikaP August 16, 2011 - 8:52am
Great article! I'm not one for technological stuff but I understood it easily!
ashleym's picture
ashleym May 28, 2011 - 4:08am

Great job! You really got your facts right! I read about this in a book!

Nikhil_2's picture
Nikhil_2 January 30, 2011 - 7:29am
Great job Bill Gates!!!!!! Nicely written article, Matthew.
zlin's picture
zlin January 29, 2011 - 11:36am
How did Matthew get that much information from?
damonc's picture
damonc May 28, 2011 - 12:20pm

im guessing the internet

Matthew14's picture
Matthew14 February 1, 2011 - 7:52am
I just have been learning about computer history for the past few years, and just recently decided to write an article about them.
Jacki's picture
Jacki January 17, 2011 - 10:24am
Nice, Matteo. Even though I am a technological dunce I could understand most of it!
Sammy02's picture
Sammy02 January 8, 2011 - 11:39pm
I agree about Bill Gates changing the course of computer history! If it was not for him, I would have been typing commands for programs, staring at a black screen with white text, programing stuff that I don't understand myself, half working and half not!
Ian's picture
Ian January 7, 2011 - 8:31am
Hey, Matthew! Great article; I didn't know half the stuff you mentioned. It was very interesting!
Armaan's picture
Armaan January 6, 2011 - 8:49pm
So ancient... in a few years we will have floating mini computers!
Matthew14's picture
Matthew14 January 7, 2011 - 7:30am
That may actually take some time. We can barely get the hovercraft to work. Anyway, floating computers will most likely be very expensive.
Matthew14's picture
Matthew14 January 6, 2011 - 10:18am
Good question. I actually learned all this information a few years ago from a bunch of different books. I only happened to decide to write an article about computers this year. And if you are wondering, I use a Windows 7.
Matthew14's picture
Matthew14 January 6, 2011 - 4:43pm
Do I know you? Judging from your username, you sound like someone I may know.
Sammy02's picture
Sammy02 January 5, 2011 - 3:28am
I constructively criticize Matthew14 for writing such a good and informative article! What's your take?
Matthew14's picture
Matthew14 December 22, 2010 - 8:27am
If anyone has constructive criticism, please tell me!
Matthew14's picture
Matthew14 January 6, 2011 - 10:16am
I'm glad you noticed that; no one else has. Whenever I join some type of online club, I like my user name to have my future age. Why? I have no idea!! I just do it. Maybe one day I will have a logical answer....
Armaan's picture
Armaan January 6, 2011 - 8:51pm
Why not put 15?
Matthew14's picture
Matthew14 January 7, 2011 - 1:26pm
When I'm 14, I guess I'll change my username to Matthew15.
kinnane7's picture
kinnane7 December 22, 2010 - 7:51am
Wow they used to be huge!!!!
Arjun's picture
Arjun December 21, 2010 - 7:28pm
Bill Gates really changed the course of computer history. Great article!