Chapter 4 - A Bug's Life

Ok, sometimes I forget that I’m a fair amount younger than some of my colleagues (don’t tell them I said so). It doesn’t come up very often but when your boss calls you into his office with a suggestion for the next chapter of the story you’ve been writing and he starts talking about MS-DOS and the changeover to Windows in the 90s, it becomes fairly apparent. It becomes even more apparent when your boss has to take a moment to ask himself: “Wait, how did MS-DOS work again? What did it look like?” But here I am. MS-DOS to Windows, how bad could it have been?

So, first off, MS-DOS looked wildly different from Windows. If you’ve ever accidentally opened Command Prompts you know what I mean. White text on black background with lines and lines of commands used to access data (you had to memorise all of those.) This obviously meant barely any graphical interface (no pretty pictures, only text) and no mouse input either, just keyboard commands. This was replaced by Windows, which started out as a graphical overlay for DOS operating systems in 1985. But the real change came during the mid-90s when version 3.1 launched as the first version that ran as a completely separate product, paving the way for many innovations in operating systems to come.

But enough technobabble, you came here for laughs. So how did everyone react to this change? Well, to quote a long-eared amphibian character from a movie released around that time, they were “in big doodoo dis time.” Picture this, a bunch of old ladies needing to learn how to use a mouse to “click” on a button displayed, thumbing at the screen with sweaty fingers to make this Windows thing work. A torrent of Pastel bugs appeared in an instant with the change from Pastel Partner version 3 on MS-DOS to Pastel Partner version 4 on Windows. Hot thingamabobs (I wanted to use “hot damn” but Microsoft Word objected), that must have been a sight to behold. Everything was stuffed plain and simple. Poor Preferred Solutions had to build Rome in a day, with an army of the above-mentioned old ladies holding torches and pitchforks right outside the front door.

But they survived. Windows became the cutting edge of operating systems (many many pretty pictures) and Pastel products changed to accommodate the new dawn of technological innovation. It just shows you; a bug’s life is short lived but a legacy lasts forever.