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Thread: Suggestions for Late 80s/Early 90s Windows Programs?

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    Stuck in the Past Shining Hero The Jackal's Avatar
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    Pc Suggestions for Late 80s/Early 90s Windows Programs?

    I like to try out old software, mostly because I find some of it is still useful and well, I find it fun, but my knowledge of pre-Windows 9x systems is lacking. I usually use the Internet Wayback to scour around for old programs, but most sites archived are from '98 and onwards, and thus nearly all the Windows software I can learn about is mostly from that time frame; anything older seems to either be very hard to find scraps of information on or has been lost to time.

    I mostly test some of these programs in VMs, but with Winevdm, I can test them out on modern hardware like this. Long story short, I don't know if this is the right forum to ask this, but I know a few folks on here are pretty knowledgeable with computers so I'd though I'd try:

    Do you know of any programs from the late 80s to early 90s that mainly ran on 16 bit Windows machines? Windows 1 to 3.x. Media players, audio players, graphic editors, file managers, whatever you can remember. Anything you suggest would be a great help to me. Cheers.

    Thank you and apologies for the rambling post.

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    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    I think most people are already familiar with it, but the screensaver After Dark comes to mind.

    That was truly massive on Windows 3.1 and I remember all of the spin-offs like the Simpsons and Star Trek.

    Kids nowadays probably can't grasp the concept of going to a store and paying money for a screensaver, but After Dark sold like crazy.

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    Raging in the Streets Blades's Avatar
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    There's a lot. What kind of user are we talking about?

    Early Windows is more popular now than it ever was. Windows 3.x was buggy and didn't run all that well for anything serious.

    You have to consider what type of person used computers back then. Only businesses (number crunchers) really used early Windows, mostly for Excel and Word. Winamp was probably the first usable audio player for the average end user, except for bundled drive software that played audio CDs, but that was already late '97. It still sounded awful. My father's workstation that he occasionally took home was an IBM PS/2 that didn't even have a sound card, though it did have a very vocal modem.

    Windows audio was unusable for audio production (musicians) until the early 2000s when Digidesign (Pro Tools) became interested in the platform and released the very first serious audio production card for Windows PCs called the Audiomedia III IIRC. It came bundled with a ported from Mac version of Logic Audio 2.5 (again IIRC). This card was for serious production and still didn't work very well from what I read.

    WordPerfect was still popular after it stole Wordstar's momentum.

    Graphic artists used Macs almost exclusively, not because they prefer it like today, but because there was no choice. That's how Apple got away with charging whatever they wanted back then. Photoshop, Quark, and Pagemaker were only available on Mac.

    General developers back then used Unix, which ran on specialized machines. Windows 95 changed everything in 1995, by converging and moving away from specialized machines and loads of software made the jump from Mac/Unix/SGI to Windows that created the world we see today.

    Most software back then, unless it was Office or something similar, had a better version on Mac. Photoshop, Quark, Logic Audio, etc.

    There is a plethora of information in old Infoworld and Computerworld magazines, all freely available and searchable on Google Books. Most of this old software is available for free on Vetusware.com if you don't already know.

    Hope that helps you.

    Also Netscape!

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    AKA Mister Xiado Master of Shinobi Raijin Z's Avatar
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    WinMod is a good media player for Windows 3, at least as far as chiptunes go. Never tried to play WAV or MP2 in it, never mind MP3. A system that struggles to run Duke3D isn't something I want to stress test. The UI is a little stupid, though. You have to put files into a playlist to play them. No just opening one file and auto-playing it like you would with Winamp.
    Cthugha is a neat CD player visualization deal for DOS. Haven't used it since like 1998, though, as the only system I have with DOS installed is allergic to CD drives.
    Paint Shop Pro 3(.11) for Windows 3 was what got me into digital art. It's nagware, but you can hack its executable to shut it up forever.
    A full install of VisualBasic 3 or later contains plenty of documentation and tutorials for making your own Windows 3 software. I used it to make an icon editor, but alas, lost all my work when my disks died the death.
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    The Gentleman Thief Baloo's Avatar
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    https://archive.org/details/vilebox

    All of the Carmen Sandiego games already set up in Windows 3.1 running in DOSBOX. Illegal as hell, but a big part of my childhood. I used to play all of the ones with the FMV with the Chief, which were a little bit outside of the realm you're talking about, but the other ones on here are fun as well. You can also get the setup to run in Linux if you simply copy over the Dosbox files into the .dosbox folder and change the config file to automatically mount and run windows 3.1.

    Is there really that much software that was specifically designed for Windows 3.1? I thought everything was basically either a DOS compatible or a Win95 backwards-compatible to Windows 3.1.
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    There's almost no Windows software from the 1980s worth using, Windows did not really catch on until version 3.0 in 1990. It got a lot better by 1993, when you could install WfW 3.11, Microsoft Word 6 for a WYSIWYG editor and get online with NCSA Mosaic. It ran OK even on a 386, provided you had 4 MB of RAM.

    Win 3.x was mostly aimed at businesses so there's not a ton of exclusive games, although the Civilization port is really good for the time. Empire Deluxe is really fun if you can get a few friends together on your 3.x machines and play over the network

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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    Win 3.x was mostly aimed at businesses so there's not a ton of exclusive games, although the Civilization port is really good for the time. Empire Deluxe is really fun if you can get a few friends together on your 3.x machines and play over the network
    Metal Marines did get a Win3.x port, which heavily relied on having multiple windows open.

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    The Cat in the Hat Shining Hero NeoVamp's Avatar
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    I know you said programs and not games, but no Win 3.11 experience is complete without Simcity for Windows 3.11


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    Look into the archive for this keyword "cd-rom magazine" and you can select by year so you won't get Windows 95 and newer stuff.
    https://archive.org/search.php?query=cd-rom%20magazine
    I did try for "CD-ROM magazine" which was a magazine that was all about CD-ROMs, of which I've only read some of the issue but never had the discs. Those issues are about CD-ROM software in general, but would be a good starting point when looking at software in general. Also take a look at computer magazine scans from prior to 1995 and be on the look out for ad pages, as well as the back-section classifieds areas that had the software sales lists to get ideas.

    Otherwise, if you are thinking about physical media to find this old software, then dig through the CD bins at thrift stores to find old discs.
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    Stuck in the Past Shining Hero The Jackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    I think most people are already familiar with it, but the screensaver After Dark comes to mind.
    Cheers, added to the list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    Hope that helps you.
    Wow, that's a lot. I'll take a look at it detail tomorrow, bit late here, but thank you Blades, some really great stuff here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raijin Z View Post
    WinMod is a good media player for Windows 3, at least as far as chiptunes go. Never tried to play WAV or MP2 in it, never mind MP3. A system that struggles to run Duke3D isn't something I want to stress test. The UI is a little stupid, though. You have to put files into a playlist to play them. No just opening one file and auto-playing it like you would with Winamp.Cthugha is a neat CD player visualization deal for DOS. Haven't used it since like 1998, though, as the only system I have with DOS installed is allergic to CD drives.Paint Shop Pro 3(.11) for Windows 3 was what got me into digital art. It's nagware, but you can hack its executable to shut it up forever.A full install of VisualBasic 3 or later contains plenty of documentation and tutorials for making your own Windows 3 software. I used it to make an icon editor, but alas, lost all my work when my disks died the death.
    Thanks Raijin, really liking the sound of WinMod. I've got PSP 5 installed on my W10, but I'm always on the lookout for older version of software, so I'll hunt down that one as well.

    @Baloo, Axel, zyrobs, Neovamp: Games recommendations are welcome, thank you. And thank you for mentioning Mosaic, def added that to the list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tripredacus View Post
    Look into the archive for this keyword "cd-rom magazine" and you can select by year so you won't get Windows 95 and newer stuff.https://archive.org/search.php?query=cd-rom%20magazineI did try for "CD-ROM magazine" which was a magazine that was all about CD-ROMs, of which I've only read some of the issue but never had the discs. Those issues are about CD-ROM software in general, but would be a good starting point when looking at software in general. Also take a look at computer magazine scans from prior to 1995 and be on the look out for ad pages, as well as the back-section classifieds areas that had the software sales lists to get ideas.
    Ah, thank you very much. That's actually sound advice, cheers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tripredacus View Post
    Otherwise, if you are thinking about physical media to find this old software, then dig through the CD bins at thrift stores to find old discs.
    Thanks, but I don't think I'm going have much luck with that over here in the UK - I've worked in charity shops and they put most of that stuff up online for sale on their Ebay page for inflated prices.

    Also, slightly related topic: does anyone have any suggestions for running DOS applications on modern hardware, besides DOSbox? DOSbox is good and all, but it's a little complicated getting a shortcut working with it (okay, it's not hard to do, but it's tedious having to create one for each program). I'm thinking something that you can just point the exe at to run it like I have Winevdm so I can quickly test programs without a fuss:


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    AKA Mister Xiado Master of Shinobi Raijin Z's Avatar
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    Oh, remembered the name wrong. It's Mod4Win.
    https://www.bitchute.com/video/UDDDZsDTFXH7/
    Skip to about 18:28 to see it in action. My VGA capture device SUCKS at capturing audio. And video.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeoVamp View Post
    I know you said programs and not games, but no Win 3.11 experience is complete without Simcity for Windows 3.11
    Would rep again if I could - no Win 3.x experience is complete without SimCity!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tripredacus View Post
    Look into the archive for this keyword "cd-rom magazine" and you can select by year so you won't get Windows 95 and newer stuff.
    https://archive.org/search.php?query=cd-rom%20magazine
    I did try for "CD-ROM magazine" which was a magazine that was all about CD-ROMs, of which I've only read some of the issue but never had the discs. Those issues are about CD-ROM software in general, but would be a good starting point when looking at software in general. Also take a look at computer magazine scans from prior to 1995 and be on the look out for ad pages, as well as the back-section classifieds areas that had the software sales lists to get ideas.

    Otherwise, if you are thinking about physical media to find this old software, then dig through the CD bins at thrift stores to find old discs.
    Is this the same magazine that had the website cd-rom.com? Back in the mid 90s they had a public FTP with a claimed 500 GB of RAID 5 storage, mostly shareware, demos, utilities stuff like that. Sadly it's no more.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jackal View Post
    Also, slightly related topic: does anyone have any suggestions for running DOS applications on modern hardware, besides DOSbox? DOSbox is good and all, but it's a little complicated getting a shortcut working with it (okay, it's not hard to do, but it's tedious having to create one for each program). I'm thinking something that you can just point the exe at to run it like I have Winevdm so I can quickly test programs without a fuss:
    I would stick with DOSBox but use a menu system from within DOS. I like PowerMenu Plus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Jackal View Post
    Also, slightly related topic: does anyone have any suggestions for running DOS applications on modern hardware, besides DOSbox? DOSbox is good and all, but it's a little complicated getting a shortcut working with it (okay, it's not hard to do, but it's tedious having to create one for each program).
    PCem and 86box, but those are harder to use than DOSbox. There's NTVDMx64, but I've no idea how well that works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeoVamp View Post
    I know you said programs and not games, but no Win 3.11 experience is complete without Simcity for Windows 3.11

    https://archive.org/details/SimCityWindows95

    Apparently there is a 32-bit version for Windows 95 that works with a specific installer file as instructed in the comments. I just tried it in WINE and it works great!
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    Stuck in the Past Shining Hero The Jackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raijin Z View Post
    Oh, remembered the name wrong. It's Mod4Win.
    https://www.bitchute.com/video/UDDDZsDTFXH7/
    Skip to about 18:28 to see it in action. My VGA capture device SUCKS at capturing audio. And video.
    Nice, loving the GUI on this one. Cheers Raijin.

    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    I would stick with DOSBox but use a menu system from within DOS. I like PowerMenu Plus.
    Thank you, I'll take a look at that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silanda View Post
    PCem and 86box, but those are harder to use than DOSbox. There's NTVDMx64, but I've no idea how well that works.
    NTVDM sounds exactly what I'm after, thank you.
    EDIT: Tried NTVDM, it kept opening cmd windows asking for admin permission, even though I ran the install batch file as admin. Think I'll try something else.
    Last edited by The Jackal; 07-02-2020 at 12:36 PM.

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