Windows 2.x

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Microsoft Windows 2.x
Windows 1.x Logo.png
Preliminary name
Windows 1.5
Kernel version 2.0,
CPU architecture x86
Release date 16th November 1987
Support end 31st December 2001
Preceded by Windows 1.0
Succeeded by Windows 3.x

Microsoft Windows 2.0 is the second version of Microsoft Windows, released for PCs and compatibles by Microsoft. This was the first version of Windows to provide support for overlapping windows.

Windows applications

There were some applications that shipped with Windows 2.x. They include:

  1. Calculator (CALC.EXE) – Microsoft Windows Calculator application
  2. Calendar (CALENDAR.EXE) – Microsoft Windows Calendar application
  3. Cardfile (CARDFILE.EXE) – Microsoft Windows Cardfile application
  4. ClipBook Viewer (CLIPBRD.EXE) – Used for viewing the contents of the Windows clipboard
  5. Clock (CLOCK.EXE) – Microsoft Windows Clock
  6. Control Panel (CONTROL.EXE) – Used for configuring Microsoft Windows, managing installed printers, and changing system settings
  7. CVTPAINT.EXE - Converts files created in Microsoft Paint for Windows 1.0. Required for viewing files under Microsoft Paint for Windows 2.[1]
  8. MS DOS Executive – Used for managing files and executing programs
  9. Notepad (NOTEPAD.EXE) – Uesd for editing simple MS-DOS text (.TXT) files
  10. Paint (PAINT.EXE) – Microsoft Windows Paint
  11. PIF Editor (PIFEDIT.EXE) – Used for changing settings for specific MS-DOS applications
  12. Reversi (REVERSI.EXE) – Microsoft Windows Reversi
  13. SPOOLER.EXE – The Microsoft Windows print spooler, required for managing and maintains a queue of documents to be printed, sending them to the printer as soon as the printer is ready
  14. Terminal (TERMINAL.EXE) – Microsoft Windows Terminal
  15. Write (WRITE.EXE) – Microsoft Windows Write

As with Microsoft Windows 1.0, Windows 2.x also included the Control Panel for changing system settings.

Support for new video adapters

New features in Windows 2.0 included support for VGA graphics (first introduced with the IBM PS/2 series of machines) in 640x480, 16 color mode.

Changes in MS-DOS application support

One major change from previous versions of Windows was support for the multitasking and virtual memory features of the Intel 80386 CPU, which was found in an increasing number of machines, most notably the Compaq 386 and compatibles, as well as many models of the IBM PS/2. Previously, MS-DOS applications could only be multitasked cooperatively, though Windows applications were still restricted to cooperative multitasking.

Note: That this was only available under Windows/386 - other versions of Windows were not able to take advantage of the advanced features of the 80386 processor.

Application support

The first Windows versions of Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word were designed for Windows 2.x. Third-party developer support for Windows increased substantially with this version with many shipping the Windows Runtime software with their applications, including the same Windows versions of Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word mentioned above.

Due to changes in the memory model to allow for protected mode support in Microsoft Windows 3.0, applications designed for Windows 2.1 or previous versions of Windows may not run correctly without modification, and will display an application compatibility warning message if the executable has not been specifically marked for compatibility with Windows 3.0.[2]

Examples of Windows 2.x applications that were officially tested and supported under Microsoft Windows 3.0 are Microsoft Excel (as of version 2.1c) and Microsoft Word.[3]

Expanded Memory (EMS) Support

Expanded memory (EMS) is now supported by Microsoft Windows.[4]

Legal dispute with Apple

On March 17th, 1988, Apple filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and Hewlett Packard (HP), accusing them of violating copyrights Apple held on the Macintosh System Software.[5] Apple claimed the look and feel of the Macintosh operating system, taken as a whole, was protected by copyright and that Windows 2.0 violated this copyright by having the same icons. The judge ruled in favor of Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft in all but ten of the 189 patents that Apple sued for. The exclusive ten could not be copyrighted, as ruled by the judge.


  • No information available
  • Existence doubtful
  • Information or pictures available
  • Leaked or released

Pre-release and development

Windows 2.0x

Windows 2.1x