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Xerox 8010 Star Information System

Xerox 8010 Star Information System

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Xerox Corporation began development of the Xerox 8010 Star Information System in 1977, using concepts from their Alto computer (a research computer completed in 1973 but never commercially available). First marketed in 1981, the hardware consisted of a processor, a two-page-wide bit-mapped display (making it possible to display graphics), a keyboard, and a two-button cursor control device called a "mouse." The introductory price was $16,595 for a single workstation which included the basic software.
With the 8010 Star Information System, Xerox envisioned a workplace where technology would allow the creation of complex document formats; simplify the integration of charts, graphs, and mathematical equations; and make the data immediately accessible using ethernet local area communications networks.
The Xerox 8010 Star had a number of "firsts" associated with it --
-first system to include a mouse,
-first employ a graphical user interface where the user navigated by clicking icons rather than typing commands, and
-first to incorporate folders, file servers, and email.
This personal workstation was designed for offices and business professionals who created, interpreted, managed, and distributed information. The systems development team sought to make the electronic world seem more familiar and user friendly thereby requiring less training. The user interface depicted functional areas of the office by creating electronic pictorial representations (icons) of the objects in an office: documents, folders, file cabinets, mail boxes, calculators, etc. Developers designed the user interface before the software was written or the hardware was built. The pointing device called a "mouse" eliminated the need for skilled keyboard commands. The commercial release of the mouse and the graphical user interface is often associated with the Apple "Lisa" computer which was introduced two years after the Xerox 8010.
The Xerox 8010 was a remarkable piece of technology for its time. Despite this, the majority of users did not understand its full potential. Over time, every one of Xerox's innovative ideas became a core part everyday computing. In August 2006, PC World rated the Xerox 8010 Information System #3 on their list of the 25 greatest PCs of all time.
The specifications for the Xerox 8010 were:
- custom processor based on the AMD 2900 bit-sliced microcode programmable microprocessor
- 384 KB (expandable to 1.5MB) of real memory
- 10, 29 or 40 MB hard drive
- 8-inch floppy drive
- 17-inch display with a display resolution of 1024x808 monochrome
- 2-button mouse
- ethernet networking
- "Pilot" operating system
- "Star" desktop software
Optional software included:
- Advance Graphics
- Equations
- Record Processing
- Communications
"Spring ′81 Is a Season for Hardware," InfoWorld, June 8, 1981, pages 1 & 39.
"News, " InfoWorld, Mar 4, 1985, page 21.
"Xerox Tries Maclike ′Star′," InfoWorld, May 20, 1985, page 19
"Industry Innovations: the best and the brightest, " InfoWorld, Oct 26, 1998, page 14.
"The 25 Greatest PCs of All Time, The Complete List," PC World, August 11, 2006, page 14.
(Last accessed 10-24-2018)
Currently not on view
Object Name
Computer Keyboard
keyboard with mouse
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
average spatial: 10.2 cm x 50.8 cm x 22.9 cm; 4 in x 20 in x 9 in
overall: 57 in x 31 in x 39 in; 144.78 cm x 78.74 cm x 99.06 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Xerox Corporation, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Computers
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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