It is 1994 and you just bought a Gateway desktop PC

These are your desktop wallpaper options. Jason Scott has uploaded them to flickr for posterity.
The Gateway System Version 4.2 CD-ROM included a pile of custom desktops for you to use with your Windows 3.1 system. This harkens back to when Gateway was a much more cow-oriented company. (Did you know they used to legally threaten companies that had any cow spots on their ads or webpages?)
Gateway 2000 1994 Desktops [Jason "Textfiles" Scott's photostream via Qt3]

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17 Responses to It is 1994 and you just bought a Gateway desktop PC

  1. David Carroll says:

    From an obscure tech/gardening blog you may not be familiar with (sniker) ;{)

    BBGadgets: Some—But Not All—of the Horrible Motherboard Box Art We Found

  2. styrofoam says:

    I still think that a Pentium Pro overclocked from 200 to 233, along with a 4MB Matrox Millenium and 8x CLV Plextor CDR is pretty much the height of computer technology.

    It hurts to think I’m Thirtymumble years old.

  3. J France says:

    I used to look at the 486DX2-50V from behind my FPU-less 68LC040 processor with envy.

    Then remind myself that I was using Mac OS, so nyer, and get on with it.

    Not alot has changed.

  4. danbob says:

    I absolutely remember these. A Gateway P5-75 (a Pentium running at 75mhz with 16mb of RAM and a 1gb HDD) replaced my family’s positively ancient IBM clunker in early 1995. The cow in the spacesuit operating the laptop was the default, I think.

    For what it’s worth, that disk also had a few music videos and TV ads, in an attempt to show you why it was a good idea to spend a frankly absurd amount of money on a “multimedia” PC.

  5. my first desktop PC was Compaq but it nowadays it looses its reputation and quality day by day,I’ll definitely check this brand to replace it……..

  6. Valhallan says:

    Boy, that brings back the memories. My first PC was a Gateway 486DX2-50V (yes, a screaming 50Mhz AND the math coprocessor)that I bought from them in the spring of ’93. On top of the base computer, at about $2300 with 128Mb RAM, 340Mb HD, and 15″ monitor, I shelled out $450 more for a video card with 1Mb of VRAM, a couple hundred more for a CD-ROM, and yet more for a modem that could move data at the impressive rate of 9600kbps. As obnoxious as the prices seem now, it was downright cheap compared to the 1993 Macs offering similar capabilities. I was a Mac guy in college, and would be a Mac guy today if their stuff hadn’t been so pricey. Thankfully, Gateway wasn’t pushing those godawful screensavers then, but they were making a big deal of the fact the company had been “born in a barn,” and the box it came in was white with big black cow spots. We had that computer for seven years before it gave up the ghost, and it was my faithful pathway to the then-new World Wide Web, and my son’s introduction to computer gaming.

  7. elisd says:

    My first windows PC (my family had an Apple IIe before that) had that spacecow as the default wallpaper. I remember the salesguy on the phone telling my Father that its 650MB of hard drive space was enough to store everything we’d ever want to put on a computer.

  8. David Carroll says:

    I remember these hideous graphics(IMHO IANAGraphic Artist). What about the ones that popped up during ATI all in wonder card installs? They looked especially great for the 3 minutes that you saw them in 16 color VGA mode during the install.

    When I retired my all in wonder card, I shot it several times with a nail gun.. Felt real good…..

  9. Anonymous says:

    Van art from another time and place…

  10. David Carroll says:

    One of the first office PC’s I used was a Compaq XT with a 20meg drive running QDOS (an MS-DOS clone). It took the staff about two years to half fill it with correspondence and spreadsheets. There were thousands of documents and about a dozen major applications on that box and it still only took up 10megs or so…

  11. styrofoam says:

    I worked in the Gateway engineering department from ’95 – ’98. A few notable events that occured during this tenure was the migration to windows ’95 and the ditching of the “2000” from the brand name.

    As a result of these two events, I have the video for “Buddy Holly” still burned into my brain (It was part of the multimedia experience within the 95 rollout) and I own a bunch of cow-spotted pocket protectors and a few coffee mugs that were offloaded when the rebrand happened.

    I realy dug that company, I was sad to see them sold to Acer.

  12. Rob Beschizza says:

    There’s a collection of awful video card box art here somewhere.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I too worked for the Cow-Spotted company from 1993-1997 and I worked just 2 cubicles away from the two primary folks who created these fine pieces of artwork. In fact, I still have a painting done by Jean Guy Richard in my basement.

    And since I maintained the System CD for a number of years and still have an array of them (as well as my original P-90 from the first week they were released and still has the “Pentium bug”. Maybe I should put all of that stuff into a big box along w/ my stack of plastic cow-spotted cups from the lunchroom and bury it in the back yard as a time capsule. :)

  14. Halloween Jack says:

    These should go in the Museum of Bad Art. I think that Gateway thought, for a while, that they were the new Apple–that it was as much about the brand as it was about the computers themselves; the one time that I went to a Gateway store in the 90s, they were selling a black-and-white cow-patterned leather jacket that only Andrew Dice Clay could love.

  15. Clay says:

    Expressionist landscape surfing cow furry with jalopy speeding toward palm trees. Did I dream it all?

    Fifteen years. Another world.

  16. Jake0748 says:


  17. Anonymous says:

    A surfing cow is a sexy cow.

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