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Costly Card Shuffler: History of Windows Solitaire

April 23rd, 2008

windows-solitaire.JPGThis article by Ron Doyle proposes an interesting theory that attempts to explain the reasons behind the development of Windows solitaire and why it is still included in modern versions of Microsoft’s operating system. Having never been a Microsoft insider, I am unsure of the veracity of the author’s claim; however, if any of you happen to have additional information on this topic, such content can be posted in the comment section below.


Occasionally you may have had one of your friends comment, “My computer has become one of the most expensive card shufflers in the world!” She was referring to her husband’s and probably even her own ability to while away the hours with solitaire. Why has solitaire been in every version of Microsoft Windows since the amoeba came about?

The answer is really quite remarkable. It turns out that the beginning of the familiar solitaire game most of us have played with is not only a game, but an involved training tool. It all started in 1990 with Windows 3.0.

It is basically a computerized version of the card game that you may have learned to play as a kid. It has all of the standard rules of the card game with several options for different ways to play and score, including even the ability to change the backs of the deck of cards.

Also you should watch the “draw deck” as you play the game. Some versions of the game have a sneaky little “extra” that the programmers at Microsoft made for you. The backs of the cards are animated — just enough to make you think you may be losing your mind. For instance, if you watch the palm tree deck you will occasionally see the sun stick his tongue out at you…maybe.

OK, on to the training part and why solitaire has been in each version of Windows for all of its many variations. When Windows first came onto the market, few people had any experience with a mouse. Guess what? To play solitaire properly you have to learn and use most functions of a mouse. You have to point to the cards you wish to use. You have to click to turn over new cards. Clicking and dragging is needed to move cards to a new location. And in case you didn’t realize it, you can double click on any card that you want to go onto an Ace pile.

This was the main reason that solitaire was created for use in Windows. This is also the reason you will most likely continue to see it in Windows for the foreseeable future.

Some people who are new to computers are advised by their technologically experienced managers to actually play solitaire at work…occasionally for very short periods of time. This will improve their ability to use the mouse more efficiently in the workplace.

How would you like to learn a way to draw the cards one at a time while playing the three card draw version? Hold down the CTRL, ALT and SHIFT keys and click on the deck to draw a single card, just like you played as a kid.



2 Responses to “Costly Card Shuffler: History of Windows Solitaire”

  1. comment number 1 by: Ana

    Well, unfortunately I don’t have additional information and to be honest I have never thought about the reason why Solitaire is included in all Windows versions. But definitely this article was really interesting and got me the idea to google it :-)

  2. comment number 2 by: Automatic Cards Shuffler

    Today, an automatic shuffler uses fancy shuffling techniques- Riffles and strips in different combination that is truly amazing. The clear glass top provides a clear viewing experience for this amazing machine in action. It is pretty much easy to use and can be used by anyone in the family. These shufflers are lucrative enough for the adults to use when you are on poker tables with your friends, durable enough to hold up for the poker night and easy enough to navigate that even your child can shuffle with ease.

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