When did the 'x' button to close the window come to be used?

In Windows 11, you can close the window by clicking the 'x' icon in the upper right corner of the window. Also, on macOS Ventura, you can close the window by clicking the red 'x' button at the top left of the window. SF writer Lauren Walker explains the origin of the design of 'x' = 'close window' in UI.

X to Close. The origins of the use of [x] in UI… | by Lauren Archer | re:form | Medium


The design of 'close the window when you click'x'' is a concept that can be said to be almost standard in computers, and is used in various GUIs. For example, Windows 10 Explorer has an 'x' in the upper right corner, and clicking this closes the Explorer window.

Also, in the web browser Firefox, there is an 'x' at the top right of the window, and there is also an 'x' at the right end of the tab.

The 'x' design can be seen not only in application windows, but also in web services. For example, to close the information window of the image clicked in Google's image search, click '×' in the upper right.

Windows has the highest share of users at the time of article creation. However, the Windows 1.0 window released in 1985 did not have an 'x' button.

I can't find the 'x' button in the Windows 2.0 window either.

Windows 3.0 windows did not have an 'x' button as well.

It was Windows 95 that the 'x' button first appeared on Windows windows. In Windows 95, 'Minimize (_)', 'Maximize (□)', and 'Close (X)' buttons are prepared in the upper right corner of the window, and in later Windows, these three are standardly placed in the upper right corner of the window. It became

However, in fact, in the development version of Windows 95, although the minimize button and the maximize button were arranged, there was no 'x' button. In other words, the 'x' button was adopted just before Windows 95 was commercialized.

Windows 95 was developed with the goal of `` making it easy for beginners to use computers '', and as a result it came to be used in companies and homes around the world, and Windows occupied an overwhelming share until now. It has become an OS. By adopting the 'x' button in the product version of Windows 95, it can be said that the concept of 'x' = 'close' has become a global standard. According to Mr. Walker, it seems that the 'x' button was adopted in Linux's

X Window System after Windows 95 appeared.

According to Mr. Daniel Oran, who was a development member of Windows 95, told Mr. Walker why the 'x' button was adopted in the product version of Windows 95, it was released in 1989 and is also based on macOS It is said that he referred to NeXT's OS '


According to Mr. Walker, the 'x' button was adopted on Mac after MacOS X. When you hover the cursor over the red button in the upper left of the window, an 'x' is displayed.

In Mac OS Classic before Mac OS X, although the close button was placed in the upper left of the window, there was no 'x' notation. Below is the screen of Mac OS System 1.

Even Mac OS System 2 does not see 'x'. So, will NeXTSTEP be the first UI to adopt the 'x' button?

Looking at the window of Xerox's workstation 'Xerox 8010 Star Information System' released in 1981, long before NeXTSTEP, there is a button 'Close' but no 'x'.

Even in

VisiOn , a GUI-based operating environment released in 1983, the 'x' button is missing.

There is no 'x' button in the GUI environment '

Graphics Environment Manager (GEM)' window developed by Digital Research for DOS-based computers in 1984.

However, in the window of

Atari TOS , which is the OS for the 8-bit computer 'Atari ST' series released by Atari in 1985, an 'x' button is arranged. Below is the screen of version 1.0 of Atari TOS, you can see that there is an 'X' button in the upper left of the window. As far as Mr. Walker has confirmed, this Atari TOS is the oldest example of a button with an 'x' notation for the purpose of closing the window on the computer's GUI.

As to why Atari TOS has an 'x' button, Mr. Walker speculates that 'Atari may be an example of borrowing Japanese culture.' The company name Atari itself is said to have been taken from Go terminology by Nolan Bushnell, the founder of the Nihon Ki-in, who is a first-ranked Go player. Walker points out that it is possible.

In Japan, 'x' is considered negative and '○' is positive, but in the United States, 'x' often has a positive meaning. A typical example is the PlayStation controller. Until PlayStation 4, '×' had the meaning of cancellation and '○' to decide, but in PlayStation 5, '×' was decided in the form of matching to the United States, '○ ” has been changed to cancel. In other words, Mr. Walker claims that the combination of the 'x' symbol with the action of 'closing' the window was influenced by Japanese values.

Mr. Walker said, 'It was probably Atari TOS that the '×' first appeared in the GUI, probably influenced by the customs of 'x' and 'maru' in Japan, and Windows 95 was just before Thanks to the mass adoption of Windows 95 around the world, the 'x' became the standard symbol for 'close' and dominates the design of today's software, applications and web services. It has become,” he argues.

in Software,   Web Application,   Design, Posted by log1i_yk