Windows 1.0 Premiere Edition

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Microsoft Windows Premiere Edition
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Microsoft Windows Premiere Edition is a pre-release of Microsoft Windows 1.0. It was sent to key players in computer industry by Microsoft to prove that their product wasn't vapourware. Before releasing the official version, 1.01, the memory management code had to be completely rewritten, which should be the key difference between Premiere and 1.01. The build that was leaked in 2008 which still remains available on several places, is a known fake. In March 2014, BetaArchive user trueyanksfan claimed to have the real floppies, and also posted a photo of them. On 2014-12-18, the disk images of the real Premiere Edition were released by the BetaArchive user Alias, through mrpijey.

Microsoft FTP

An image of a PC running this build is present on Microsoft's public FTP server, however there are doubts about its legitimacy. It is usually argued that the image is too clear, bright, and flat to be a genuine photograph of that specific monitor.

Photo from Microsoft FTP

Info from Tandy Trower

In his The Secret Origin of Windows article, Tandy Trower, the project manager for Windows, described what the Premiere Edition is.

But by the early summer of 1985, we were still not close to being done, so Steve [Ballmer] declared we should release a preliminary release that I dubbed the Premiere Edition, which we provided to key application vendors, analysts, and members of the press for feedback and in partial fulfillment of Ballmer’s promise to ship the product that summer.

Because Windows release was postponed several times, some people began to called it a vapourware, a piece of software whose release is promised but never actually followed through. This lead Microsoft to make the decision of releasing a preliminary release before it's finished, which they called Premiere edition.

In the same article, he also mentions that:

Then just at the point I was starting to feel more optimistic about wrapping things up the architect of the memory management code told me he found a critical defect in its design and would need to re-write it, basically rendering all testing to date useless.

Additionally, he discusses the release of the rewritten Windows 1:

By November , we had finished testing and come up with a solid release. [...] That release, being after the earlier “Premiere” release, was known as version 1.01.

That implies that there was not any clean 1.00, making 1.01 the first truly public release (Premiere Edition was only sent to key players in computer industry as mentioned before).

Leaked build

Screenshot of the fake leaked build

The version that was available on BA FTP and that is still available on several other places has been confirmed to be fake. The reasoning is:

  • Microsoft developers stated that the entire memory management was rewritten between Premiere Edition and Windows 1.01, yet the Premiere Edition kernel is bytewise identical to 1.01. Even the smallest code change would indicate that this version was different, but nothing is changed between this PE and 1.01 despite developers claims.
  • The version provided to BA had WRITE.DAT (a file meant for Write) included, but the leaker stated it was a "mistake" and that Write was there only as an experiment. Write is not referenced in the PE setup either. It was later removed in a re-upload, but the fact that it was tampered with from the start raises questions.
  • The leak originated from betaguy224, who has a questionable past of providing fake material.

Trueyanksfan's floppies

On 2014-03-16, a BetaArchive user named trueyanksfan claimed he has the original floppy disks. Later on, he also posted a photograph depicting four 5¼" installation disks with "Premiere Edition" clearly written on them.

A few months later, on 2014-09-12, he posted an update, revealing disks 1-3 were overwritten and only disk 4 survived. He also posted a screenshot, claiming that the dates of the files are near end of October 1985.

Alias' copy

On 2014-11-29, BetaArchive member Alias, who was an intern for Microsoft in 1985, posted a picture of the full disk set and the build running on his IBM PC XT. Alias has since shared the genuine article of Windows 1.0 Premiere Edition with the community.

InfoWorld article

In the Issue 26 Volume 7 of the InfoWorld magazine from 1985-07-01, an article called "Microsoft Ships Windows" was presented. This article describes what seems to be the same thing as Tandy Trower, from the release date to some details (like being given out to "software developers" and "independent software vendors"). However, it doesn't mention the name "Premiere" anywhere, and it's entirely possible that the screenshot is completely unrelated and comes from an older Windows 1.0 Beta version.

External links

Windows 1.0 Premiere Edition topic on BetaArchive
The Secret Origin of Windows by Tandy Trower, 2010-03-08 11:41 on Technologizer
InfoWorld Issue 26 Volume 7, 1985-07-01 on Google Books

Other sources

Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews (1993), Gates, New York: Doubleday, ISBN 0385420757 (a snip talking about premiere)