In 1987, Microsoft released its next version of Windows, the 2.x series. Unlike 1.x, Windows now had the ability to overlap and resize windows, it had a system box in the upper left of the window controls and minimize and maximize buttons in the upper right corner. Furthermore, Windows 2.x offered the possibility to quickly navigate through the system by using key combinations and has support for PS/2 devices in later versions.

In total there were three different versions in the 2.x family: 2.03 (1987), 2.1 (1988) and 2.11 (1989). Sometimes the normal Windows 2.xx is referred to as Windows /286 and the name Windows /386 is used for a version capable of addressing memory higher than 640 kb. Unlike the others, this version is started with “win86” or “win386” instead of the normal “win” command.

In order to run Windows 2.x, you would need a 286 processor with 512 kb of Ram. Also, it is necessary to have MS-DOS installed, but be aware that 2.x only works on DOS versions from 3.x to 5.x, although sometimes it even starts using 6.x.

To pass a judgement on this Windows series, I’d say that it is quite suitable or old 286 and 386 computers with limited RAM and hard disk space, but it would be wise to switch to 3.x or Windows ‘95 in case of a 486 CPU.

Because the amount of software that has been written for 2.x is quite limited, it is a rather useless operating system and never got really popular.