real windows 1 premiere

It’s halfway through the year 1985. After many delays, the “Windows” software project you are working on STILL isn’t quite done yet. Promises were made for a mid-summer release. So what do you do?

You slap “Premiere Edition” over the the words “Beta Release”, put it on some pretty looking production-quality floppy disks, and pass it out to developers.

Later that year the final version is done and on store shelves. The old betas get stuffed aside, and the old disks reformatted to store more important things like popcorn.

Who would have thought that many, many years later a bunch of fanatics would be obsessed with this obscure pre-release?

Things were crazy enough someone even created a fake version. It was just Windows 1.01 with some strings and the boot logo changed, but the fanatics were so desperate they accepted the fake as real…

Until a former Microsoft employee stumbled on this crazy mess and provided the real thing.

So lets take a look at it

If you want to grab a copy, you can get it over at WinWorldPC.com: Windows Premiere Edition

A few installation notes: You can run it under DOS 5 or later if you use SETVER to set the version for WIN100.MID to 3.31, and you can use a PS/2 mouse using a Windows 2.01 driver (downloadable at the link above).

From a user interface standpoint, it really isn’t much different from Windows 1.01. But seems to share more in common with the May 1985 beta, a beta that was already floating around.

The first thing you might notice is that it defaults to a monochrome color scheme, even in EGA resolutions. This is the same behavior as the May 1985 beta.

Double clicking the System Box closes an application. This is what one would expect, but in the May 1985 beta it just brings up the system menu.

Premiere Edition also omits several development test programs including: BOXES, PUZZLE, SPECTRUM, and PALETTE.

Premiere Edition does not yet include Write.

Driver files have an EXE extension, the same as the May 1985 and earlier betas. In Windows Premiere Edition, the core Windows file is called “WIN100.MID”. In the May 1985 beta and earlier it is “WIN100.EXE” and in 1.01 it is named “WIN100.BIN”.

Windows Premiere Edition will run some third party Windows 1.0x applications.

Larger applications will just crash and burn. The smaller ones that do run are rather unstable, especially after running for a while. This suggests a certain level of API stability, but clearly with many bugs and improvements not yet fixed.

The may 1985 beta will not run Windows 1.0x applications at all.

The important thing is that unlike the fake version, there are many code differences visible in the behavior and the executable binary files. Furthermore, the level of completeness places it squarely between the May 1985 beta and 1.01.

Just to be perfectly clear: This is not Windows “1.00”!. This version is NOT FINISHED! Or even close to a release candidate. It is clearly only intended for developers.

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