1990

Windows 3.0

Windows 3.0

Microsoft ships Windows 3.0. Compatible with DOS programs, the first successful version of Windows finally offering good enough performance to satisfy PC users.

1991

The AM386

The AM386

AMD introduces the AM386 microprocessor family in direct competition with Intel’s x86 processor line.

Visual Basic

Visual Basic

Microsoft announces Microsoft Visual Basic for Windows.

Floptical Disks

Floptical Disks

Insite Technology begins shipping its 21MB 3.5-inch floppy disk to system vendors. The drive uses “floptical” disks, using optical technology to store data.

1992

1.8″ Form Factor Hard Drives

1.8″ Form Factor Hard Drives

1.8-inch form factor hard drives appear, weighing only a few ounces and delivering capacities up to 40MB. A 1.3-inch hard drive, about the size of a matchbox, is introduced.

The cost of purchasing a 200MB hard disk drive drops below $200, or less than one dollar per megabyte. Crystal holograph memory is introduced.

1993

Microsoft Windows 3.1

Microsoft Windows 3.1

Microsoft reports that the number of licensed users of Microsoft Windows now totals more than 25 million, making it the most popular graphical operating system in the world.

Intel Pentium

Intel Pentium

Intel’s new Pentium processor allows computers to more easily incorporate real-world data such as speech, sound, handwriting, and photographic images.

1994

Windows 95

Windows 95

Microsoft announces Microsoft Windows 95.

Iomega Zip Drive

Iomega Zip Drive

Iomega Corp. introduces its Zip drive and Zip disks, floppy disk-sized removable storage in sizes of 25MB or 100MB.

1995

Internet Explorer 2.0

Internet Explorer 2.0

Microsoft ships Internet Explorer 2.0.

Java

Java

Sun introduces Java, a programming language designed to run on all operating systems.

IBM MR Heads Technology

IBM introduces lightning-fast disks with new MR heads (Magneto-Resistive). Before this, the head technology was called thin film heads.

1997

The Ultra-DMA Interface

Quantum introduces the Ultra DMA interface.

IBM GMR Heads Technology

IBM announces the world’s highest-capacity desktop PC hard disk drive with new breakthrough technology called Giant Magnetoresistive (GMR) heads. Pioneered by scientists at IBM Research, GMR heads will be used in IBM’s Deskstar 16GP, a 16.8GB drive. This brings down the cost of storage to 25 cents per megabyte.

1998

The DVD-RAM

The DVD-RAM

The DVD-RAM drive debuts. 5.2GB rewritable capacity on a double-sided cartridge, enough to hold a full-length 2-hour Hollywood movie.

1999

IBM MicroDrive

IBM MicroDrive

IBM introduces the MicroDrive, the world’s smallest and lightest hard disk drive, revolutionizing the portable device industry, including PDAs, digital cameras, laptops and MP3 players. The MicroDrive used most often in portable devices fits 340MB in a 1.7×1.4-inch case – enough for more than 55 high-quality, 2-megapixel digital photo images. It weighs less than a double-A battery.

2000

Microsoft Windows 2000

Microsoft Windows 2000

Microsoft Windows 2000 requires 100MB for a full installation.

2001

Windows XP

Windows XP

Microsoft ships Windows XP. It’s the first fully 32-bit operating system targeted for both business and home consumers.

2003

The Athlon 64

The Athlon 64

AMD introduces the Athlon 64, the first 64-bit processor targeted for use in home computers.