Timeline of computing 1980–1989

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This article presents a timeline of events in the history of computing from 1980 to 1989. For a narrative explaining the overall developments, see the related history of computers and history of computer science.

Computing timelines: 2400 BC–1949, 1950–1979, 1980–1989, 1990–1999, 2000-present.



Tim Paterson's DOS 1.0 was 4000 lines of assembler.


MDA (Monochrome Display Adapter, text only, introduced with IBM PC.

MS-DOS 1.0, PC-DOS 1.0.

Microsoft (known mainly for their programming languages) were commissioned by IBM to write the operating system, they bought a program called 86-DOS from Tim Paterson which was loosely based on CP/M 80. The final program from Microsoft was marketed by IBM as PC-DOS and by Microsoft as MS-DOS, collaboration on subsequent versions continued until version 5.0 in 1991.

Compared to modern versions of DOS, version 1 was very basic. The most notable difference was the presence of just 1 directory, the root directory, on each disk. Subdirectories were not supported until version 2.0 (March, 1983).

MS-DOS was the main operating system for all IBM-PC compatible computers until Microsoft released Windows 95. According to Microsoft, in 1994, MS-DOS was running on some 100 million computers world-wide.


At introduction the fastest version ran at 12.5 MHz, achieved 2.7 MIPS and contained 134,000 transistors.


Introduced with the IBM XT this version included a Unix style hierarchical sub-directory structure, and altered the way in which programs could load and access files on the disk.

PC-DOS 2.1 (for PCjr). Like the PCjr this was not a great success and quickly disappeared from the market.

MS-DOS 2.11, MS-DOS 2.25
Version 2.25 included support for foreign character sets, and was marketed in the Far East.

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Timeline of computing 1950–1979