The good, the bad and the awful: a history of Windows ads

It's Windows 7 Week on TechRadar
It's Windows 7 Week on TechRadar

Like all major products spanning multiple decades, Windows has spawned multiple versions and many advertising efforts. Some good, some bad.

The recent "I'm a PC" and "Life without walls" campaigns have been a success while many marketeers would surely argue that 1995's "Start me up" Windows 95 campaign was brilliantly executed.

But then, there's always the ones they'd rather you forget about; and we've got plenty of those in this list. Here's the best and worst of Windows ads down through the years.

Windows 1.0 - Ballmer goes ape (the first time)

Ballmer obviously thought the best way to sell Windows 1.0 was to have himself shouting at the camera and asking "How much do you think Microsoft Windows is worth?" before finally declaring at the top of his voice "No, its just $99! That's right, $99!" Nobody else did, but everyone was too scared to tell him.

Windows 2.1 - The rapping office worker

It doesn't get much better with this, the bizarre story of an under pressure office worker turning to Windows to get her out of a jam. The original 12 minute promo was sent to retailers, though this is an edit. Sounds innocuous enough? Well, that's until you get to the most bizarre rap in the world.

Windows 3.1 - bizarre Japanese castle

Quite what is going on here is beyond us. It's a Japanese ad, set in a castle and some bloke is shouting "Windows!" all the time. Worth a watch. Once.


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.