Windows 1.0 Alpha Release

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Alpha Release
Build of Windows 1.0
Alpha Release
OS family
Architecturex86 (16-bit)
Compiled1985-01-31
Timebomb
Works inPCem
86Box
VARCem
TCB.png TCBGallery.png BA.png

Windows 1.0 Alpha Release is a pre-release build of Windows 1.0. Although visually similar to Development Release #5, it features support for running DOS applications under Windows, a monochrome EGA display driver, as well as stability and API improvements. It's also the last known build to include the source code of sample applications, as the May Beta moved them to a separate package. According to a comment in the WININST.BAT file, it was compiled on 1985-01-31.

System Requirements[edit]

WININST.BAT lists the hardware and software requirements during installation:

The following equipment is required:
            o IBM XT or AT
            o 512 K memory.
            o Floppy disk configured as DRIVE A:.
            o Hard disk configured as DRIVE C:.
            o IBM Color graphics card, Hercules Graphics Card,
              or EGA graphics card with monochrome monitor
            o External console connected to COM1: ( debugging ).
            o Microsoft mouse ( bus or serial ) or mouse with
              Microsoft compatible mouse driver (mouse.sys)

The following software is required:

            o MS-DOS 2.x or 3.0

Unlike DR5, the SETVER command will not work with this build of Windows, it has to be running on DOS 2.x or 3.00.

Installation[edit]

Much like in DR5, installation is done with a batch file, WININST.BAT, that must be copied to your hard drive and started there. Follow the on-screen instructions, when you reach the display adapter selection screen, choose the display adapter you're using (either CGA, Hercules or monochrome EGA). The batch file will start Windows for you the first time, to start it later you need to run the following commands:

PATH C:\WINDOWS\BIN

CD WINDOWS\TEST

WIN

Issues, fixes and enhancements[edit]

Exiting Windows[edit]

When running on DOS 2.x, this build may hang on a black screen when you try to exit Windows.

Cursor issues[edit]

The normal arrow cursor appears somewhat glitched when a Hercules display is used. The cursor for the icon area is an empty black square instead of the proper cursor when a monochrome EGA display is used.

Moving dialog windows[edit]

Standard dialog windows impose cursor boundaries on their own borders, so that you can't move the mouse outside the dialog. However, you can still grab and move the dialog window around, but the cursor boundaries will not move along with the window. This can result in dialog buttons being out of reach, leaving you with no way to close the dialog.

Switching display drivers[edit]

This build includes a utility for installing the desired display driver, which runs at the end of installation. You can choose between CGA, Hercules and Monochrome EGA drivers. If you want to change the driver later, go to the C:\WINDOWS\INSTALL folder and run INSTALL C:\WINDOWS\TEST, then choose the new driver you wish to install.

Running DOS applications under Windows[edit]

To make sure DOS applications work as good as they should under Windows, C:\WINDOWS\TEST must be added to the PATH system variable as well. This ensures the relevant PIF file in the TEST directory is found and used.

Interesting findings[edit]

Up-arrow cursor[edit]

This build changes the standard arrow cursor to the up-arrow one when pointing to title bars, menus and some other places. The up-arrow cursor was extensively used for similar purposes in very early builds from around Fall COMDEX 83 time, but appears to have fallen out of use by the time DR5 was made. The Beta release that followed the Alpha stops using it again.

Use of the SHIFT key[edit]

This build keeps all uses of the SHIFT key from DR5, as well as adding a new one. Holding down the key while hovering over an application icon will display its name.

Windows Paint[edit]

On 2019-09-29, a BetaArchive member discovered that PAINT.EXE was present on the second installation disk at some point, but was deleted for unknown reasons.[1] It can be undeleted using the UNDELETE command in DOS. It appears to be very similar to the version seen in photos from the 1985-05 issue of French computer magazine Science & Vie Micro. The copyright string inside the executable is Microsoft Paint (c) 1984 Microsoft Corp. by Dan McCabe, et al., which suggests Paint was created sometime after DR5 towards the end of 1984.

The default configuration file (USER.PRO) associates .MSP files with PAINT.EXE.

Interesting line[edit]

In the file FONTTEST.C on disk #3, there is a funny line that includes all letters from the English alphabet:

#define Alphabet (LPSTR)"Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz. ABCDEFGHIjKLMOPQRSTUVWXYZ"

Earlier compiles[edit]

On 2019-04-05, an alleged screenshot of a 1984-12-28 compile of the Alpha Release was posted to BetaArchive.[2] This has later been revealed to be taken from a private video of what is claimed to be another earlier compile of the release, which was compiled on 1985-01-28 and purportedly came on five floppy disks. So far, no proof has been provided for the genuineness of either compile.

Screenshots[edit]

References[edit]