Windows 3.0 build 14

Build of Windows 3.0
OS family
Works in
TCB.png TCBGallery.png BA.png

Windows 3.0 build 14 is the earliest available build of Windows 3.0. It was distributed on two 1.2MB 5.25" floppy disks, which refer to the build as "Microsoft Windows Pre-Release Version 0.1". It can only run on a 386 or better machine with a specific version of DOS, as not using the correct version will cause Windows to either crash, or refuse to launch the shell. It is speculated that this release was heavily rushed, on the basis of an improvised batch file installation script (similar to that of Windows 1.0 DR5 and the Alpha Release) as well as a lack of accessories and applications included in both Windows 2.x and in later builds of Windows 3.0. Deleting WIN.INI will reset the color scheme to the Windows 2.x default.

Physical floppies as distributed by Microsoft

Interestingly, this build shows a watermark in the bottom right corner of the desktop, which says "Windows v3.0 Debug Release 1.14". This particular feature has already been removed by build 55 and didn't reappear until a few years later with the checked/debug release of Windows 3.1. The rest of the branding remains unchanged since Windows 2.1, because the entire shell was ported from that version.

The build was shared by BetaArchive member RubyTuesday in 2015 after discovering that their neighbor had owned the build in question.[1]

Noticeable differences compared to Windows 2.1x[edit | edit source]

  • Title bar text is no longer set against a black background.
  • Context menus drop a shadow.
  • The included WIN.INI file has a commented-out DeskPattern option. Removing the semicolon for one of both DeskPattern options enables a desktop pattern which was later to be found in the "Desktop" control panel.
; Thatches
;   DeskPattern=248 116 34 71 143 23 34 113
; Gray Diamonds
;   DeskPattern=0 8 20 42 85 42 20 8
  • It has an improved memory management and runs in protected mode.[2]
  • The easter egg present in Windows 1.0 and Windows 2.x has been stubbed out and no longer functions.
  • System errors messages appear in the center of the screen without a titlebar.[3]
  • New kernel exports are present:[4]
    • AllocCSToDSAlias
    • AllocDSToCSAlias
    • AllocSelector
    • FreeSelector
    • PrestoChangoSelector

Task Manager[edit | edit source]

This build's control menus contain a reference to the Task Manager as well as the Ctrl+Esc keystroke. However, it does not appear to be implemented in this build.

Installation[edit | edit source]

This build requires at minimum a 386 processor, with MS-DOS 3.x (COMPAQ's version 3.31 is recommended) installed. The script will alert you that you need to manually add the instruction to load HIMEM.SYS to your CONFIG.SYS file. Unlike the final release, this build is started by running the executable WIN386.EXE. Should the MS-DOS Executive hang, raise the maximum amount of file handles in CONFIG.SYS (a minimum of 40 is recommended) by adding FILES=40 to it or modifying the existing setting.

Earlier compiles[edit | edit source]

The following text was found in WINOLDAP.MOD from build 55:

Microsoft Windows Old Application Support Module (

It is likely that the file comes from an earlier compile of this build, compiled on 20 January 1989.

Bugs and quirks[edit | edit source]

  • Due to WINOLDAP.MOD being missing from this build, Windows is not able to run any external applications designed for Windows 2.x, such as Microsoft Word or Excel.
  • WIN86.COM to start Windows in real mode is present, but it throws an error when launching and will return back to DOS.
  • This build does not have any boot screen. Instead, a debug warning appears for a brief time upon launching the shell.
  • This build only comes with an EGA display driver. It does not ship with VGA, CGA and 8514/a drivers, and does also not work with the ones from Windows/386 2.11, nor with the ones from Windows 3.0 build 33, and will either hang on the compatibility warning or throw back to the DOS prompt.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Setup[edit | edit source]

Interface[edit | edit source]

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]