I was hoping, that someone could help me find the name of the operating system that was originally (I guess) used on the 80286 (the later ones with 12MHz).

Before I eventually installed DOS-5.0 and later on DOS-6.2 and Windows 3.0 there was an operating system installed that was already graphical and supported a mouse:

The home screen was split into 4 parts. You could choose between

  • an editor like nano on Linux
  • a program similar to Microsofts Paint
  • a game that was a little like minesweeper but with bees
  • a learning center which was basically some kind of Powerpoint presentation

All this information is just what I remember (I guess I was around 7 or 8 years old, the computer was a gift from my aunt that worked for IBM).

I'd be super happy if I could find this OS.

  • Any chance this was OS/2 v1.1? – Mark Williams Jul 23 at 9:03
  • I don't think so, based on the pictures that I googled. But thanks for the suggestion. – fancyPants Jul 23 at 9:38
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    Sure it was an OS? The description sounds way more like demo setup for a shop or application for kids? – Raffzahn Jul 23 at 9:59
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    This website contains screenshots of a large number of old GUIS. Also check out the 'WinShells' section: toastytech.com/guis – Tim Locke Jul 23 at 13:57
  • Windows 1 had tiled windows only. – another-dave Jul 23 at 16:36

Since the computer was a gift from your aunt, working for IBM, the screen split in four reminds me immediately of the IBM PS/1’s “4-quadrant” interface:

IBM PS/1 4-quadrant interface

(The screenshot above is from IBMulator, an IBM PS/1 emulator.)

The programs launched don’t match your description, but perhaps the defaults can be changed — at the very least, the lower-left quadrant provides access to other software installed on the computer.

This wasn’t a separate operating system, it was a shell running on top of DOS. Both DOS and the PS/1 shell were stored in ROM (on early models at least) so both would start quickly.

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  • Was that PS/1 still running and being used in 2015, or is the date format with the year first (2002? 1902?) – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Jul 24 at 0:37
  • The image in your answer is a bit confusing. I would assume that the top part is the actual screen, and the bottom part is just a photo of the PS/1 hardware... but then the on-screen buttons spill over onto the PS/1 photograph at the bottom. So how does that work? Surely there was no way they were displaying high-resolution photos of the PS/1 on a PS/1, so this image must be doctored in a very confusing way. – Cody Gray Jul 24 at 3:33
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    @CodyGray To me that looks like an emulator, and the buttons outside the screen are not a part of the original UI, but controls for the emulator (I would guess Power off, Suspend, Load state, Save state and Quit) – jgosar Jul 24 at 4:40
  • @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket the screenshot comes from an emulator ;-). – Stephen Kitt Jul 24 at 6:25
  • @CodyGray see above. – Stephen Kitt Jul 24 at 6:25


By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47603601

DESQview was not a GUI - it was text-based window shell running on top of DOS and worked with "well behaved" text mode programmes. BBSs were a good example. Later versions could also switch between graphical apps but only in fullscreen mode.

It could run on a 8086 CPU as well as 80286, given sufficient memory.

Further details at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DESQview

Downside - with text-only mode, a paint-type programme would have been unlikely.

A similar candidate, but with IBM heritage would be IBM TopView

enter image description here
By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21834109

More information at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_TopView but it feels very similar to Deskview hence combining both into the same answer.

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