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.

  • 1
    Any chance this was OS/2 v1.1? Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 9:03
  • I don't think so, based on the pictures that I googled. But thanks for the suggestion.
    – fancyPants
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 9:38
  • 3
    Sure it was an OS? The description sounds way more like demo setup for a shop or application for kids?
    – Raffzahn
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 9:59
  • 3
    This website contains screenshots of a large number of old GUIS. Also check out the 'WinShells' section: toastytech.com/guis
    – Tim Locke
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 13:57
  • Windows 1 had tiled windows only.
    – dave
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 16:36

2 Answers 2


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.

  • Was that PS/1 still running and being used in 2015, or is the date format with the year first (2002? 1902?) Commented Jul 24, 2020 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. Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 3:33
  • 7
    @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
    Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 4:40
  • @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket the screenshot comes from an emulator ;-). Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 6:25
  • @CodyGray see above. Commented Jul 24, 2020 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.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .