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73

The short version is that Windows became the de facto operating system thanks to Microsoft’s business acumen (or shenanigans, depending on your point of view), marketing, skilled developers, a strong focus on backwards-compatibility, and the success of MS-DOS. The success of Windows in general can be traced back to the success of Windows 3.0, which has ...


34

At that time, developers at Microsoft were still dreaming the dream of version independent management of libraries, so newer, more powerful libraries could replace older, less powerful or buggy libraries - and best of all, deduplication of code. Think how bad it is today, there were dozens of different Visual C++ runtime libraries are installed on each ...


32

The other answers include a lot of sound historical information about how Windows evolved into its dominant role on PC's in both the home and business environment. But I think the most fundamental, simplest, "Occam's razor" answer is that consumers never had to make a choice. It was PC manufacturers that chose Windows as the default OS, not users and ...


24

Real PIFs are indeed “only” configuration files, but they are executable: running a PIF will run the corresponding program, with the configuration specified by the PIF. This can be used as-is: a “real” PIF can be sent to a user, and if that user runs it, the commands specified in the PIF will be run; starting with VMM 4.0 (Windows 95), PIFs can even include ...


18

I believe the game is Max & Sparky. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQn3gF7RM4U It is: an isometric exploration/platform game with hazards given away with laundry advertainment compatible with Windows 3.1 and 95 associated with Skip available in Greece Internet Archive gives the following description: Isometric MS-DOS game on CD-ROM, with an ...


17

David Simunič maintains a website dedicated to Windows 1.0, which includes lists of third-party software for it. I don't believe he hosts the software itself, but knowing the names of packages may make it easier to track them down. The only software from the list that I've personally installed and used is Micrografx In*a*Vision.


16

It's great to look back at a technology developed nearly 30 years ago and say "whoa, those are poor design decisions". OLE, and then COM answered questions that were apparent in early Windows. In particular the first thing it attacked was the problem of "DLL Hell" and how to package components from multiple vendors that could be consumed by multiple ...


15

How exactly did Windows become the OS of the home PC? Is it true that the Windows OS, at it's core was originally designed to simply be the OS of the terminals of the windows server architecture. No. Windows started out as a GUI component of DOS - eventually hiding DOS beneath. Anything like a windows server architecture was only devloped way later. In ...


13

Short answer: to ensure smooth transition from COM-less OLE 1 to COM-based OLE 2. Slightly longer answer: the foundational use case for COM was OLE2. OLE2, as well as OLE1 before that, was based upon the idea that server applications register themselves in a common repository so that OLE client applications can find them without foreknowledge about the ...


13

Internet Archive holds a repository of retrocomputing software, some runnable in browser emulations. Searching for "Windows 2.0" and "Windows 1.0" software yields some hits for applications, including CD-ROMs of shareware collections. (The keyword search is imprecise and also locates software for later versions of Windows, but you may ...


13

If you change the lengths of strings in a binary, or indeed move any part of a binary around in any way, then you’re likely to break it: offsets to the data (and code) that the program expects to find are stored in the binary, and won’t be adjusted when you alter it. Thus changing text (or anything else, including code) while preserving the lengths is ...


10

Microsoft's COM library storage was a poor use-case, and an even poorer implementation, of what was all the rage in academic computing research around that time - Object Storage. As you have noted, it sounds good in principle, but creates a host of new problems in real-world usage. This resulted in it being somewhat grotesque, in that it provided a "cure" ...


7

Adding or removing some text has the effect that things coming later in the EXE file are now found at a different absolute location, machine code as well as the EXE file format rely a lot on absolute locations. So, it's important to keep the exact same byte length of the file. So, replacing characters is mostly safe (if you're sure that the bytes are really ...


6

The history of windows goes back a long way. Windows 1.0 was released in 1985 and was simply a graphical interface for MS-DOS. This was neither revolutionary nor uniquely Microsoft, but a trend at that time. For example, GEOS appeared in 1986 and was the same thing for the C64. There was also GEM and a couple others. Since the development times on these ...


6

The first version of Windows to support out-of-the-box DVD playback is Windows XP Media Centre Edition*, which was created specifically to target the HTPC fad that you mention, and it also has some special hardware requirements. The only mainstream versions of Windows to play DVDs without additional software were Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate, and ...


5

Background: Windows NT was the basis for all Microsoft Windows "Server" Operating Systems that had that name. Previous iterations of MS networking products were mostly add-on device drivers for simple file sharing. There was also the complete line of Windows Desktop OS's from Windows 1 through Windows Me that were marketed for both home and business use. The ...


5

Ignoring MS-Net, Microsoft has marketed server systems since 1987: first LAN Manager, based on OS/2, then in 1993 Windows NT 3.1 Advanced Server, and then the various Server editions of successive Windows NT and Windows 2000 releases, which gave way to Windows Server. MS-DOS 3.1 and later, and all versions of Windows, have been able to integrate with these ...


5

Here is the solution I found. This probably isn't the only possible solution, but the only one that worked so far. Feel free to contribute, as it's likely imperfect The guide generally assumes the computer can boot off your device. The workaround to boot off USB will be posted, but it might be easier to just stop at this point if the computer cannot. Note: ...


5

The upward-pointing arrow does indeed maximise the window, and the downward-pointing arrow minimises it. The “minus” provides access to the window menu; double-clicking it will close the window. The menu for an application window is this: The menu for an MDI document window (such as a program group in Program Manager) is this: Applications can add their ...


5

There is no other way to find it. The registry exists for COM. Other things use since Win 95. A COM server may be already running or on a different computer. There needs to be a way to tell programs where the files are and on what computer. ActiveX uses COM and is a type of COM server. It was also the marketing name for COM more generally but no longer. ...


5

I worked on some of that stuff at the time. Microsoft Transaction Server was a big deal and we used it in some major apps. By registering a DLLs interface in the registry, you did not need the physical file on your machine and could call into a library running on another machine. COM/DCOM was basically Microsoft's version of CORBA.


5

Note: The following method was found through trial-and-error and backtracking the steps the installers require. The emulation is done via PBEmulator, not vs_emulator / DeviceEmulator (Recommended) Get a Windows XP VM. Windows 7 is possibly supported, but no solid evidence so far Download and install eMbedded Visual C++ 4.0 - download @ archive.org ...


4

The user experience on NT 3.1 was very much the same as Windows 3.1. In fact you might not even notice during a casual use of it. Here is a web site that shows a number of screen images of NT 3.1 to give you a taste of it: NT 3.1 Screen Images OS/2, especially the earliest versions clearly showed the similar roots with NT. That same site has OS/2 v1.1 ...


4

Indeed, often apps made for PPC and WinMobile work frawlessly on WinCE. But sometimes they simply don't work, or don't install. There is a way to force install PPC/WM apps onto WinCE, yet there is no guarrantee the apps would work afterwards. In fact, the weird thing about WinCE is that sometimes apps designed for WinCE do not work on the platform I ...


3

PIF files still used as a bodyless-malware. For example, in Windows 10x86, where you have a DOS VM, that help running a 16-bit code, executing pif file will run the DOS Virtual Machine, where the malware command of a pif-file can be executed in DOS regime. Also, for example, for the *.lnk file the thing is to put a string of a malware script into a file ...


3

The example in the original question isn't completely true. If a 32-bit Win32 application crashes in both Windows 95 or Windows NT4 / Win 7 that program will crash and nothing else will be affected. Now there surely are some bugs in the Win95 Win32 API that could be used by a program to crash the whole system, but that's not the focus here. It's not that a ...


3

To contradict the premise of your question, it was is not always necessary to use the registry in order to use COM. In-process COM objects are created by loading the DLL which implements them, calling DllGetClassObject (passing the GUID for the object) to obtain a factory object, and calling that factory object's CreateInstance method. If you know the ...


2

One of the things that I discovered fairly quickly when coming to the Windows environment from a formal UNIX environment was that using the registry was not a good idea for most things. They might have had good intentions with COM, but it created more problems that it solved as far as I was concerned. For any sort of critical software, I would always ...


2

COM provides an abstraction layer where you access "components" through "interfaces", and the calling program doesn't need to know whether it is talking to a DLL loaded into its own process, a program, a system service or a remote server. This allows you to implement components that run at a different permission level than the calling program, a common ...


2

NT 3.1 was the first version of Windows I ever used. As far as I recall, I was using it on some 60 MHz Pentium and on a DECpc AXP 150 ("Jensen"). I worked for DEC at the time, and was working on an NT-based project. My experience is from the viewpoint of a programmer who was new to both Windows and to PCs (in fact, it was only the emergence of NT that ...


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