Windows 1.0 Alpha Release

Alpha Release
Build of Windows 1.0
Alpha Release
OS family
Architecturex86 (16-bit)
Works inPCem
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 31 January 1985.

System requirements[edit | edit source]

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

Installation[edit | edit source]

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:


Issues, fixes and enhancements[edit | edit source]

  • Unlike DR5 and even later builds of Windows 1.0, the SETVER command will not work with this build of Windows, it has to be running on DOS 2.x or 3.00.

Exiting Windows[edit | edit source]

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

Moving dialog windows[edit | edit source]

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. You cannot move the window completely outside the boundaries, though, as one pixel of width/height will always stay inside and allow you to grab the window.

Switching display drivers[edit | edit source]

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 | edit source]

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 | edit source]

Mouse cursors[edit | edit source]

The normal arrow cursor is different 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. The reason for these differences compared to other display drivers in Alpha and DR5 is unknown.

The standard arrow cursor changes to the up-arrow one when pointing to title bars, menus and some other UI elements. The up-arrow cursor was extensively used for similar purposes in very early builds from around Fall COMDEX 1983 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 | edit source]

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 | edit source]

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 identical to the version seen in photos from the May 1985 issue of French computer magazine Science & Vie Micro.

The file PAINT.H from the Windows 2.11 OEM Binary Adaptation Kit suggests that Paint was originally created around June 1984:

 *	Modification history:
 *		6/19/84   dhm	Created
 *		6/26/84   dhm	Moved constants from palette.h
 *		6/27/84   dhm	Added selection structures
 *		7/31/84   dhm	Went to single window format
 *		10/23/84  dhm	Changed mouse input to be above 256

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

Interesting line[edit | edit source]

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"

Color support[edit | edit source]

Similarly to earlier releases, the Alpha Release internally supports color but only ships with monochrome drivers for CGA, EGA and Hercules. Community member jb881122 has ported the 16 color VGA/EGA driver from Windows 2.11 OEM Adaptation Kit to this build, which makes it possible to use this build in color.[2]

Windows 1.0 Alpha Release running in color

Earlier compiles[edit | edit source]

On 5 April 2019, an alleged screenshot of a 28 December 1984 compile of the Alpha Release was posted to BetaArchive.[3] 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 28 January 1985 and purportedly came on five floppy disks. So far, no proof has been provided for the authenticity of either compile.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]