December 8th, 2003, 09:22 AM
In the earlier version of Windows, was it actually stable and efficient?
I guess I'm wondering if Windows was like AOL in my opinion. (AOL used to be a great ISP, then gained popularity, then crapped out)
December 8th, 2003, 12:05 PM
The oldest Windows I have running is 2.03 on a 286. It is perfectly stable, but does not do very much At the time Norton Commander (?) was a much better interface IMHO.
Version 3.x was where Windows really kicked off. This is actually quite a stable product SO LONG AS YOU GIVE IT ENOUGH RESOURCES. In my experience, you can run Win 3.1x and Office 4.3 quite happily, so long as you have 32Mb of RAM.
I recall that a typical desktop of the day would have 8Mb of RAM and would be prone to crash if you were working on a large document and/or running Excel at the same time as Word. One of the "trade secrets" was to load Excel before Word, and it ran a lot more stably.
In those days I recall paying £108 ($175) for an 8Mb memory strip. I believe that the instability was a hardware issue as I have seen Access/Excel/Word apps running for over a year without crashing on a PI/75Mhz with 32Mb of RAM.
Win95 was a bit of a "dog's breakfast", as it ran out of development time and was rushed onto the market. I am sure that some of you will have seen old desktops with USB ports that were built for WIN95...........only the very last builds (1212) had even limited support for USB
NT 4.0 was also rushed, and had to borrow stuff from the Win95 team. it was supposed to be DOS free, but if you look in the Windows System32 file (yeah...the 32 bit file) you will find 4 Quickbasic files (.bas) that are a hangover from DOS 5.0
I guess that things have not improved much since then, but they have become much more complex.
I personally think that Win2K is pretty good, but it is really NT5, so M$ have had long enough to get it "right"(ish)
I have yet to form an opinion on XP, as I have had problems with it that were probably of my own making. I have seen others using it quite happily in a home environment.
I am inclined to agree with your comment about AOL, I think that they grew too big too quickly. With Windows I think it became too complex too quickly. However, we have to accept that both are commercial products and have to compete and survive in a commercial environment?
just my £0.02
December 8th, 2003, 02:41 PM
I started on Windows 3.1, and it was a good and stable product. At least, once it was set up right. I know my setup had problems because I was connected to a printer, and wanted a mainframe screen and a clock all running at the same time.
Then they introduced 3.11 "Windows for Workgroups", where they started getting them networked. I think that everything went downhill from that point onwards. NT, in it's early stages, was better - more reliable. But it was also very memory hungry. As nihil has pointed out, when memory was £100 for 8M, this was an issue - but give it the resources and it worked OK.
It seems that the more Windows has been expected to do, the more unstable it has become. This is probably because the basic OS model was not up to the demands that are currently put on it, but there is too much invested in the windows user base to change it.