View Full Version : Windows 1.0 compatibility

October 14th, 2017, 08:08 PM
I know this may seem to be a simple question, but before I spend a lot of resources, I want to suss out some of the possible downfalls between various hardware/software combinations. Of course, most everyone in these forums know me and my history with the various PCís, the IBM 5150, 5160 and more recently, my own IBM 5155 Portable. It is the Portable that I want to discuss.

I know Windows 1.0 works on both the PC, and XT models, so it should work fine on the Portable. However, what seems a given, often isnít, and unforeseen issues arise which can be more trouble to resolve than if left alone with better options, especially since my own 5155 runs primarily on single sided floppy. :confused1: The portable does have a CF adapter in lieu of a hard disc, so I want to make sure all the bases are covered. Currently, I have the computer running a copy of Norton Commander as an operating system (if thatís right terminology), but I want to try something a bit different.

Thatís where I am right now. So, are there any issues that I should know about? Also, is it better to run Windows 2? What are some of the pros and/or cons of using one version of windows over another?

October 14th, 2017, 09:04 PM
Norton-Commander is not an OS, it's just a user interface. Your OS is stilll MS-DOS, and that also does not change when you install Windows 1.0/2.0, they are only graphical user interfaces.

From hardware side the IBM 5155 Portable should not be anything special, just CGA, the only thing which could be special, is the mouse you plan to use with Windows, if it's a bus-mouse you may need extra drivers for it, but a serial mouse will work out of the box with these Windows versions.

October 14th, 2017, 09:10 PM
Single sided floppy drives will be a slight issue since all the install media was on double sided disks. Windows 2 went out mainly on high density disks. Don't bother running Windows off floppies; the amount of disk swapping to use anything but the tiniest of documents will drive one crazy.

Windows 2 is Windows 1 with overlapping windows, some bug fixes, improved drivers, and (in Windows/286 2.11) the ability to take advantage of EMS and the high memory area. Most of the improvements won't matter to a PC Portable but Windows 2 will not reduce the memory available noticeably. There were a lot more Windows 2 applications than Windows 1 applications. I don't know of any Windows 1 application that did not work on Windows 2. One interesting aspect of Windows 2 from an IBM perspective was that Windows 2 will run Topview applications in the same multitasking fashion as Windows apps.

Windows on a CF card emulating hard disk is a fairly nice system with reduced lag every time the system needs to reload code segments. With 640k of RAM, Windows will do the discard, free, load code segment dance a lot.

October 14th, 2017, 09:47 PM
Having a CF card makes it easier to use another system to install programs on. Windows 2 as mentioned will run Windows 1 programs.
I personally think windows 1 and 2 suck but will run ok on your system.

Another "OS/GUI" you can try is Geoworks. EvilDragon runs that on his model 25.

October 14th, 2017, 09:50 PM
Wait a minute, a IBM 5155 Portable should have double sided drives, shouldn't it?

The 5155 is just an XT stuffed in a portable case, so there really should not be any compatiblity issues. With 640k and sufficient hard drive space you will be able to run Windows 1, 2, 2/286 or 3.0. (Windows 3.0 will run in real mode, but there are virtually no applications besides 1.x and 2.x applications that will run in real mode). You will be limited to CGA graphics, and you will need a serial mouse. Windows 2 does have a larger application base, including the first Windows ports of Microsoft Word and Excel.

If you are thinking of using it as a shell for DOS programs, forget it. The UI is primitive, slow, and takes up a lots of RAM and hard drive space.

If you are looking for a different menuing system/file manager then you might consider some other DOS programs such as Brown Bag Software's Power Menu, or Norton Desktop for DOS. There are piles of others.

October 14th, 2017, 10:45 PM
If you do decide to try Windows 2 with larger DOS applications, read the section on PIFs carefully. For most large DOS applications, the best option is to set the application to full screen and memory desired to "-1." This combination will cause Windows to swap itself almost completely to disk leaving only a small stub* behind. Bit slow writing 500+ kB to disk and completely kills multitasking but that is the only choice to run DOS graphics programs under Windows 2 without multiple megabytes of EMS. With enough EMS, it could do large page franes and toss all of Windows or the DOS programs into EMS and thereby swap much, much faster.

Similar advice goes with DesqView and TopView too. DesqView is better in all respects than TopView though.

I think later versions of GEM would do a similar swap out in order to launch a DOS program. No background or windowed DOS applications under GEM, not even ridiculously tiny ones.

Visi-On would not launch DOS applications at all. It might be about the only program to catch on that the 5155 is not a 5150. It had very secure programming that prevented it from running on anything other than an XT with CGA.

* I think the minimal stub was about 20kB; Windows 1 had a more extreme 160 kB which Windows 2 cut down on slightly when permitting task switching. For comparison, Norton Commander eats up about 100 kB and even tiny DoubleDOS needs about 50 kB. Some numbers taken from a quick check of ComputerWorld to confirm fading memory.