Category Archives: Microsoft

The Future That Never Was

Microsoft OS/2 2.0 SDK Pre-Release 2, June 1990 In 1990, the strategic PC operating system of Microsoft and IBM was not DOS, not Windows, but OS/2. The first 16-bit OS/2 was initially released in 1987 with a reduced feature set, … Continue reading

Posted in 386, IBM, LAN Manager, Microsoft, OS/2, PC history, Pre-release | 75 Comments

From the Annals of Preprocessor Hackery

Over the last few days I’ve been slowly attacking the source code for 386MAX, trying to build the entire product. One of the many problems I ran into turned out to be quite interesting. There are several (16-bit) Windows components … Continue reading

Posted in 386MAX, C, Development, Microsoft | 25 Comments

VDS: Borne out of Necessity

In July 1990, Microsoft released a specification for Virtual DMA Services, or VDS. This happened soon after the release of Windows 3.0, one of the first (though not the first) providers of VDS. The VDS specification was designed for writers … Continue reading

Posted in 386, Documentation, Microsoft, PC history, Windows | 10 Comments

This Code Smells of Desperation

A few weeks ago I had the questionable pleasure of diving into the math exception handler of WIN87EM.DLL, the Windows 3.1 math emulator and FPU support library. Actually WIN87EM.DLL appears to have been first shipped with Windows 3.0, and the … Continue reading

Posted in Bugs, Microsoft, PC architecture, x87 | 19 Comments

Retro-Porting to NT 3.1

In another useless project, I decided to find out why even trivial programs created with the Open Watcom compiler refuse to run on Windows NT 3.1. Attempting to start an executable failed with foo.exe is not a valid Windows NT … Continue reading

Posted in Development, Microsoft, NT, Watcom | 12 Comments

Retro-Porting to OS/2 1.0

A few weeks ago I embarked on a somewhat crazy side project: Make the Open Watcom debugger work on OS/2 1.0. This project was not entirely successful, but I learned a couple of things along the way. The Open Watcom … Continue reading

Posted in Development, IBM, Microsoft, OS/2, Watcom | 10 Comments

A House of Cards

As one step in the development of the Windows 3.x/2.x display driver, I needed to replace a BIOS INT 10h call to set the video mode with a “native” mode set code going directly to the (virtual) hardware registers. One … Continue reading

Posted in Bugs, Development, Microsoft, Windows | 49 Comments

Win16 Retro Development

Several months ago I had a go at producing a high resolution 256-color driver for Windows 3.1. The effort was successful but is not yet complete. Along the way I re-learned many things I had forgotten, and learned several new … Continue reading

Posted in Debugging, Development, Microsoft, Windows | 25 Comments

Antique Display Driving

Here’s a preview of something I’ve been slowly working on, bit by bit: That screenshot surely looks a little funny. That’s because it is Windows 1.04 running with a heavily modified 256-color Windows 3.x display driver, using resources from a … Continue reading

Posted in Development, Microsoft, Windows | 36 Comments

Where Did CP852 Come From?

In the 1990s, a lot of my documents were written in code page 852 (CP852), also known as PC Latin 2. This code page is sometimes called “Eastern European”, which is a bit misleading, given that it does not cover … Continue reading

Posted in DOS, I18N, IBM, Microsoft, OS/2, PC history | 47 Comments