Windows Longhorn build 3683

Build of Windows Longhorn
OS familyWindows NT
Version number6.0
Build number3683
Build labLab06_N
Compiled on2002-09-23
Expiration date
Timebomb2003-09-18 (+360 days)
Media Center Edition
Product key
About dialog
LH3683 Winver.png
TCB.png TCBGallery.png BA.png

Windows Longhorn build 3683 is a Milestone 3 build of Windows Longhorn. It is currently the earliest available build of pre-reset Longhorn, which was originally leaked on 19 November 2002 by the beta group xBetas,[1] with their branding visible in the setup handle and in a modified wallpaper present within the install media (advertising for their now long-gone IRC channel).

This build is one of the earliest to introduce the blue Plex theme, which would be used all the way up to Milestone 6. Builds from this timeframe are also notable in that the window captions are centered when the Plex theme is enabled, which is reminiscent of early Windows versions and which was also later used in Windows 8, Windows 8.1, up to some earlier pre-release builds of Windows 10. The Windows flag on the Start button has been changed to monochrome white in order to fit in the new theme. The login screen was changed to include a clock in the top-right corner and to use a silver and dark blue color scheme, although it still gets to keep the same overall layout as in Windows XP. Windows Explorer was updated with a new Plex-styled task pane and new templates for the My Documents and My Pictures directories. A new file copy dialog has been implemented, although it doesn't use Avalon. The fold/unfold buttons have been added to Windows Explorer when the Show in Groups option is enabled.

A preliminary version of the Avalon user interface framework is included and is used to implement the new Windows Sidebar and Desktop Properties. The Sidebar is empty upon enabling and similarly to later builds, it can be combined with the taskbar, which enables a new Start button design also found in later builds. A new virtual desktops feature is also accessible from the Sidebar. Desktop Compositing Engine is also included with this build, although it is quite unstable and is only known to work on real hardware. When enabled, it renders open windows with a translucency effect.

NFO file[edit | edit source]

NFO contents[2]

       ///   ///    /////////  ////////// ///////////     ///      ////////
       :+/   :+/    :+/    :+/ :+/            :+/       :+/ :+/   :+/    :+/
    +:+:+/+:+:+/+:+ +:/    +:/ +:/            +:/      +:/   +:/  +:/
       +#/   +:/    +#/+:++#/  +#++:++/       +#/     +#++:++#++/ +#++:++#+/
    +#+#+#+#+#+#+#+ +#+    +#+ +#+            +#/     +#+     +#+        +#+
       #+#   #+#    #+#    #+# #+#            #+/     #+#     #+# #+#    #+#
       ###   ###    #########  ##########     ##/     ###     ###  ########
                  ___  ___  ___   _   __   _   _  _  _      _  _  ___ 
                 | o )| __||_ _| / \ / _| / \ | \| || |  ()| \| || __|
                 | o \| _|  | | | o |\_ \( o )| \\ || |_ ||| \\ || _| 
                 |___/|___| |_| |_n_||__/ \_/ |_|\_||___|L||_|\_||___|
                       #BETAS - The finest Betas Channel/Group 
                      on /irc.Elite-IRC.Net

              |               !!!           ___                    
              |.===.       `  _ _  '       /\#/\          >X<      
              {}o o{}     -  (0 0)  -     /(o o)\        (o o)     
  |    - Release :     Microsoft Longhorn Alpha Build #3683                   |     
  |    - Filename :    LH_3683_Betas.ISO                                      |    
  |    - Supplied by : ThunderRiver              - Type : M$ OS               |           
  |    - Packaged by : ThunderRiver, #Betas crew - Image Format :RAR/ISO      |             
  |    - Archives 529 Mb                         - Date : 11/18/02            |           
  |     -Review :                                              |           
  |  Hardware requirements : PII 300 Mhz, 256 Mb, SVGA card, 1.5 gig space    |
  o------------------- R E L E A S E   N O T E S -----------------------------o           
         Lately, general public has been saying that #Betas doesn't have LH, 
         and tons of crap just because others did such a so-so job on their 
         divx video (yo where the heck is the ISO?). Well, you asked for it!! 
         So we did it ;)~~~ Please note it is still in Alpha stage, so you may 
         experience constant crashes. This release is mainly to fulfill your 
         curiosity as well as showing off our commitment to the public 
         regarding the existence of Windows Longhorn. Now you have the ISO, 
         take it and Enjoy!

         We will be releasing newer builds as time goes on, so cross your 
         fingers and wait ;)
  o------------------- I N S T A L L   N O T E S -----------------------------o           
       1.) Unpack to hard drive                                                                    
       2.) Burn the image to CD and install
       3.) Use any Windows.NET RC1 key to install and activate
           If you don't know where to get the key, please sign up at
       4.) Enjoy! 
       P.S. You can only install Longhorn by choosing the upgrade option. 
            The CD is originally non-bootable; thus you can’t choose
            fresh install. 
       Tip! If LH seems to run too slow, you can un-install WinFS From the 
            Add/Remove Windows components. Thus, it should  greatly increase 
            your system speed if not double it :D
  o---------- Brought to you by the crew at #BETAS ELITE-IRC -----------------o    

New features and changes[edit | edit source]

Setup[edit | edit source]

Although this build still uses the i386-based installation method used in previous versions of Windows (and as such still utilizes the same minimum requirements as Windows XP), the ability to install Windows by invoking winnt.exe from MS-DOS has been removed, and attempting to do so will result in the following deprecation notice, even if the /I_am_TedM debug parameter is passed over to the command line:

Thank you for trying to install Windows Longhorn 2004 using DOS 1985.

Installing Windows using WINNT.EXE is no longer supported. Please refer to http://winweb/setup/winntexe.htm for further information.

This removal is likely attributed to development of the then-new Windows Imaging (WIM) format, which had been in the works from as early as March 2002.[3]

That being said, the winnt.exe implementation was only dummied out, not removed entirely; thus, a six-byte patch can allow winnt.exe to work again: patch the 3 bytes at offset 0x885 and the 3 bytes at offset 0x88B to 90 90 90 to NOP out the call to the setup failed function and the jump past the actual implementation.

Avalon[edit | edit source]

This build includes an early version of Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), codenamed Avalon, which unlike versions found builds later than 3713, is built against the original .NET Framework 1.0 and can therefore be installed on Windows XP or other systems supported by the framework.

Windows Trust Manager[edit | edit source]

This build features the new Windows Trust Manager, which can be seen when launching a copy of mytvapp.container obtained from a later build, for example. In this case, it does nothing more than asking the user for permission to install the aforementioned app.

WinFS[edit | edit source]

An early revision of WinFS, referred to as "Windows Future Storage" in services.msc and in the "Windows Components Wizard", is also included in this build, but very little in the way of a user interface was included, and as such it appeared to early testers to be nothing more than a service that consumed large amounts of memory and processor time. In reality, WinFS is responsible for a few of the new features found in this build, such as the "My Contacts" library and Pivots. Thus, disabling WinFS will make it impossible to open the aforementioned library, as well as accessing the Pivots functionality.

Windows Explorer[edit | edit source]

  • Windows Explorer features a huge number of enhancements: three new buttons have been added to the toolbar, namely Zoom, through which it is possible to change the size of the icons in the current folder; Details, which acts as a toggle for the new preview pane; and Pivots, which allows grouping of items such as pictures or music by a specific property, such as "Music Grouped By Album". It should be noted that when selecting a pivot, the system will not filter the contents of the current folder, but it will rather filter the content of the whole hard drive.
  • A new breadcrumb bar has taken the place of the traditional address bar and the tasks pane on the left has changed as well: other than featuring a new background which fits the new Plex theme, it also includes a new "Find" section with a TextBox, through which it is possible to filter the contents of the current folder. A new Explorer Bar called "Media" has been added, however it fails to load a non-existent page called "Media Places". The media controls are shown, however. A few new options are also available in the "Folder Options" dialog, such as "Check box select".
  • The "New" context menu allows the creation of two new items, namely "Photo Album" and "Playlist".
  • The previously mentioned "My Contacts" library can be enabled via "Customize Start Menu" dialog. It is possible to create new contacts through its context menu, but this feature is very rudimentary, and once created it is possible to edit just their name and e-mail address. Double-clicking a contact will open an IM window.
  • A friendlier version of the more advanced Device Manager, the "My Hardware" folder, appears by default in the Start menu.

New file copy conflict resolve dialog[edit | edit source]

This build has a new file copy conflict resolve dialog, it can be enabled by setting the DWORD value NewResolve to 1 in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer.

It will show huge icons of both the source and destination file and will let the users choose if they want to skip or overwrite the file.

Briefcase introduction[edit | edit source]

This build contains a briefcase introduction dialog, which can be opened by running rundll32 syncui.dll,Briefcase_IntroW.[4]

Sidebar[edit | edit source]

This build features the sidebar, which is disabled by default and can be enabled in the "Taskbar and Start Menu Properties" dialog. Among its options, there is the possibility to toggle its transparency as well as side, other than an "Unlock bar" option in order to resize it and a "Taskbar" one, which is an early implementation of a combined taskbar and sidebar: upon clicking it, the taskbar will disappear and a new Start button will appear at the top of the sidebar; currently open applications will not be displayed though. The sidebar includes several tiles already, which are the equivalent of the gadgets that would much later be seen in Windows Sidebar, such as Clock, DesktopManager (a functionality that would have not made it into a final Windows version until Windows 10), MFU, Quick Launch, Search, SlideShow and UserTile. When the sidebar contains tiles and is set to be minimized, a second tray will appear in the taskbar, showing the icons of the added tiles. Clicking each icon will open the flyout of its associated tile, if it has any.

Hidden sidebar tiles[edit | edit source]

"People" sidebar tile[edit | edit source]

This build features a normally hidden People sidebar tile. It can be enabled by changing the following values in the registry:[5]

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Digital clock sidebar tile[edit | edit source]

Another hidden sidebar tile, included in this build is a digital clock tile, which also can be enabled by changing the following values in the registry:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Game manager[edit | edit source]

This build contains an early prototype of a game manager. Game Definition (GDF) files are recognized by Explorer, and a sample file can be downloaded here.[4] Additionally, it's possible to open a "My Games News" window by running mgui /news general.[6]

Desktop Compositing Engine[edit | edit source]

Contrary to popular belief, this build already contains Desktop Compositing Engine, but it is unstable and only renders window transparency. It is only known to work on real hardware, and it lacks a user interface as well. It can be enabled on the next startup by adding the following registry key and restarting:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\DesktopComposition]

Alternatively, DCE may be started or stopped on request by substituting "StartupOptions"=dword:00000001 with "StartupOptions"=dword:00000002 in the reg key above. After restarting the computer, DCE may be started by entering rundll32 user32.dll,StartDCE in a command prompt window and stopped with rundll32 user32.dll,StopDCE. After stopping DCE it is helpful to drag a few open windows around to redraw the screen.

Avalon-based Display Properties[edit | edit source]

This build also includes a new Avalon-based display settings applet, which can be accessed by right clicking the desktop and then selecting "Properties". However, this applet is largely incomplete; only the "Desktop Background" and "Use Classic Display Control Panel" options work (the earlier option is partially broken), while "Scale and Resolution" and "Display Connection Settings" crashes the applet and Theme and Screen Saver applets and "More Information" option of Display Connection Properties only lead to a screen saying these components are under construction.

In the Desktop Background, one can select to choose a solid color background, gradient background, rotate to different images (this functionality was under construction) or even make picture collages. The option to change images on the desktop periodically would eventually be a feature that would come in the final release of Vista. Gradient backgrounds made by the applet will be created as a bitmap file named "Wallpaper1".

Media Center[edit | edit source]

Much like other Milestone 3 builds, this build contains an early version of the Media Center components, codenamed Freestyle. The components can be added from the Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel under the name of "Freestyle". Once installed, restart the computer to complete the installation. This changes the boot screen, altering the "Professional" text to "Freestyle", while the About Program banner changes from "Professional" to "Media Center Edition". The Media Center application itself is heavily broken, and crashes shortly after launching.

If prompted for the second disk, it should be pointed to the I386 directory of the installation media.

Start Page[edit | edit source]

This build, along with the other Milestone 3 builds, contains a new Start Page feature, appearing to be a prototype of a different OOBE to replace the one used in Windows XP. By default, it is not accessible, but Stanimir Stoyanov provided the original Start Page Launcher which can be used to open the Start Page.[7] Due to its earliness, it only contains four tiles that are nonfunctional, being E-Mail, Calendar, Quick Launch, and PromotionsTile.

Login screen[edit | edit source]

The Welcome login screen now has the ability to require the user to press Ctrl+Alt+Del to log in to the system. Previously, this was only possible when using the classic login screen.

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Bugs and quirks[edit | edit source]

DiskPart[edit | edit source]

DiskPart does not work and will tell the user that This version of diskpart is not supported on this platform.

OOBE[edit | edit source]

The out-of-box experience may take up a much longer time to initialize unlike other builds.

Explorer[edit | edit source]

  • When logging in, Windows Explorer will be fairly un-responsive for several minutes.
  • Logging off has a chance of crashing Windows Explorer.
  • Deleting the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\WebView will disable the details pane in Explorer and enable the Windows XP-style task pane instead.

Sidebar[edit | edit source]

  • Often, switching to a virtual desktop will fail if the virtual desktop has at least one open program.
  • When combining the taskbar with the sidebar, balloons will still pop at the same place as where the taskbar would be at if not combined with the sidebar.

Applications[edit | edit source]

Paint crash
  • Task Manager allows the user to terminate critical system processes.
  • Paint and mshta.exe crashes on exit with a memory could not be "read"error.
  • As with later builds of Longhorn, this build is incompatible with a number of applications that require Windows XP or earlier due to the kernel version. Many of these compatibility issues can be resolved by running applications in Windows Compatibility Mode or by editing the CSDVersion key located in the Windows Registry.
  • Some installers that rely on Windows Installer may incorrectly say that this build is x64.
  • Outlook Express has a broken pane close button and the bitmap shown in the About box is not properly displayed.

Media Center[edit | edit source]

Once installed, it is impossible to uninstall Media Center. The only way to uninstall this is to reinstall Windows.

Upgrading[edit | edit source]

File copy error when upgrading from Windows XP
  • On some software configurations, upgrading from Windows XP can result in setup reporting that a file is missing in C:\$WIN_NT$.~BT. The filename will always start with the letter 'a' followed by a random string of seven alphanumeric characters, but the file extension will always be .sys. This can be fixed by expanding any valid .sys file into the C:\$WIN_NT$.~BT folder.
  • When upgrading from a clean install of Windows XP Service Pack 1 and higher, the system will be upgraded to the Media Center SKU. However, most branding will not be updated, and will still say Professional.
  • It is not possible to upgrade from Windows 98 or Windows Me due to the folders win9xupg and win9xmig being missing, however an upgrade can be performed by re-adding these folders to the install CD from a Windows XP CD with the missing folders.
  • On some machines, setup will crash the system on registering components. When the system reboots, setup will restart. However, it will fail to find several files (mainly during Installing Start Menu Items) despite the files being in the correct location.
  • Some drivers may cause a BSOD when booting to the desktop. This can be fixed by booting into safe mode, uninstalling the malfunctioning driver and then reinstalling the driver.

Control Panel[edit | edit source]

In Display Properties, the Luna theme is referred to as Plex.

Internet Explorer[edit | edit source]

Downloading a file will cause Internet Explorer to crash. Additionally, the download animation is broken. This does not affect downloads from a FTP site when the file is drag-and-dropped to the desktop.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Sidebar[edit | edit source]

Desktop Manager[edit | edit source]

Windows Explorer[edit | edit source]

Display Properties[edit | edit source]
Themes[edit | edit source]
Media Center Edition[edit | edit source]

Setup[edit | edit source] images[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]