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This article is about "Personal Computer World", a British computer magazine. For the unrelated U.S. magazine, see PC World (magazine). For the unrelated British retailer, see PC World (retailer).
Personal Computer World; 'new look' issue from November 2005

Personal Computer World (usually referred to as PCW) (February 1978 - June 2009) was a long-running British Computer magazine.

Although for at least the last decade it contained a high proportion of Windows PC content (reflecting the state of the IT field), the magazine's title was not intended as a specific reference to this. At its inception in 1978 'personal computer' was still a generic term, and did not refer specifically to the Wintel (or 'IBM PC compatible') platform; in fact, such a thing did not exist at the time (the original IBM PC itself would not be launched for another three years). Similarly, the magazine was unrelated to the Amstrad PCW.



PCW was founded by the Yugoslavian-born Angelo Zgorelec[1] in 1978[2]. PCW’s first cover model, in February 1978, was the Nascom-1, which also partly inspired Zgorelec to launch the magazine.[3]

PCW went monthly from the second edition. Zgorelec was publisher for the first 16 issues, and then went into partnership with Felix Dennis before selling the title to VNU. The magazine was owned by Incisive Media, which announced its closure on 8th June 2009.

Personal Computer World April 1987 issue

As the magazine was launched four years before the first IBM PC (reviewed in the magazine in November 1981) the magazine originally covered early self-build microcomputers. It later expanded its coverage to all kinds of microcomputers from home computers to workstations, as the industry evolved. Regular features in the earlier years of the magazine were Guy Kewney's Newsprint section, Benchtests (in-depth computer reviews), Subset, covering machine code programming, type-in program listings, Bibliofile (book reviews), the Computer Answers help column, Checkouts (brief hardware reviews) TJ's Workshop (for technical junkies), Screenplay for game reviews and Banks' Statement, the regular column from Martin Banks[4].

The cover style, with a single photo or illustration dominating the page, was adopted soon after its launch and continued until the early 1990s.

PCW eagerly promoted new computers as they appeared, including the BBC Micro.[5] The magazine also sponsored the Personal Computer World Show, an annual trade fair held in London every September from 1978 to 1989.

The magazine underwent a major reader marketing push in 1992, resulting in its circulation figure rising from a middle-ranking 80,000 to more than 155,000 at a time when personal computing was becoming hugely popular thanks to Windows 3.1 and IBM PC clones flooding the market. PCW battled with rivals Computer Shopper, PC Direct, PC Magazine and PC Pro for several thousand pages of advertising each month, resulting in magazines that could run to over 700 pages.

The magazine typically came with a cover-mounted CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, the latter containing additional content. Although the magazines themselves were identical, the DVD version cost more than the CD-ROM version.

During a brief period in 2001, the magazine was (effectively) sold as 'PCW' as part of a major overhaul of the magazine design and content, but this abbreviation was dropped from the cover after just a few issues. The content also reverted back from having been a bit more consumer electronics focused to return to its roots.

The magazine changed (both in terms of style and content) on many occasions after its launch. The last major change took place with the November 2005 issue, when the magazine was relaunched with an updated look (including glossier paper and a redesigned layout), new features, fewer advertising pages, and a slightly higher price tag.

Editors of the 1990s include Guy Swarbrick, Ben Tisdall, Simon Rockman, Gordon Laing and Riyad Emeran.


The magazine was closed in June 2009, with owners Incisive Media quoting poor sales and difficult economic climate for news stand titles. At the time of closing, its audited circulation figure was a mere 54,069[6] Its last issue, dated August 2009, was published on June 8 2009.[3] This final issue made no mention of it being the last one, and advertised a never to be published September issue. Subscribers saw their subscriptions shifted to PCW's sister magazine, Computeractive.

At its close PCW featured a mixture of articles, mainly related to the Windows PC, with some Linux and Macintosh-related content. The news pages included reports on various new technologies. Other parts of the magazine contained reviews of computers and software. There was also a 'Hands On' section which was more tutorial-based. Advertising still made up a proportion of its bulk, although it had diminished somewhat since its peak in the 1990s.

The website continues, but currently consists of an aggregation of news and analysis from other websites, and does not appear to contain any original reporting or analysis.


  1. ^ "About the authors", Article retrieved 2006-11-24.
  2. ^ "Founding Father", Personal Computer World (via Article retrieved 2006-11-24.
  3. ^ a b Gordon Laing, Personal Computer World magazine: 1978-2009 - An Obituary (from a former Editor's personal perspective)
  4. ^ The PCW index 1978-June 1989
  5. ^ The Register, 11 June 2009, RIP Personal Computer World
  6. ^ ABC (Google cache)01-Jan-2008 to 31-Dec-2008

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