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Day 7: Windows 10 on a 133MHz Pentium from 1996???

Originally encoded on September 12th, 2015 and published the same day

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what the fuck so fucking fake lame -_-

This video was a bitch to put up with for some time before I was forced to change the title in the hopes of shutting everyone up. Sheesh, you can't just read the description and appreciate the little cheat I did, can you?

Of course anything from Windows Vista and onward isn't going to run on a computer that doesn't have some kind of ACPI BIOS from 1999 or later. You can get Windows 7 to work on a Pentium 1 if you really try, but Windows 8 and 10 are a lot more strict. You can still create the impression that you're running such a new operating system on such an old computer, however. All you need is Remote Desktop Connection!

It should be expected that connecting to a Windows 10 machine from Remote Desktop Connection 5.1 in Windows 95 requires making giant sacrifices in the remote system's security. NTLMv2 most likely will not work unless you have DSCLIENT installed, you're definitely gonna have to allow SMBv1 connections, and there's probably some other default security settings you'll have to loosen. I don't remember what they are because I really could not be bothered to install Windows 10 ever again.

Windows 10

Packard Bell Legend 994CDT sort of running Windows 10, barely visible

After Windows 8 failed miserably at trying to be the new Windows 95, Microsoft settled on a bastard child of Windows 7 and 8 which ended up being called Windows 10. What happened to Windows 9? Maybe it's better that doesn't exist, as I'm sure I'd start having so much trouble finding stuff about Windows 95 and 98 online if it did.

I never installed Windows 10 on my main desktop computer, and I never will, but I did have it loaded on a then recent laptop for a year. The initial release of Windows 10 seemed okay, as it kind of returned to the old style of desktop computing even though it also tried to be so touchscreen-optimized as well.

Even back then, Windows 10 still introduced a number of new questionable practices. One of the first of these was how the upgrade was distributed. Under the assumption that most computer users are too stupid to tell the difference between a good operating system and a shit one, Windows 10 smuggled itself through mainline Windows Update channels to forcibly install the upgrade when nobody's watching. On my main workstation, I managed to avoid this completely since I had the Internet Explorer component disabled.

The sneaky upgrade naturally leads to a fundamental problem with Windows 10, in which updates are forced onto your computer even when you're busy with something, often triggering reboots. Unless you perform some kind of wizardry, you can't defer them indefinitely, only for a certain period of time. This is a terrible idea. It doesn't matter if it's a critical security hotfix that needs to be installed, you should always have the option to not install it if need be.

The price of a "free" upgrade was mandatory telemetry shoehorned into the operating system. Programs like Spybot Anti-Beacon can circumvent this, but if that kind of shit is required for all but users of Enterprise and/or LTSC, maybe the operating system cannot be trusted anyway. It is still proprietary, after all... so if you're not allowed to know what's in there and it can go so far as to beam all your activities back to Redmond, who knows what other horrors lie in there?

One day in the midst of 2016, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update randomly started installing on my laptop before I even opened it, and tied that thing up for hours before presenting me with a new bizarre look and breaking compatibility with some drivers for the laptop. That pissed me off so much that I immediately quit Windows 10 and threw Linux Mint on there. Now that I know how fucking nasty Windows 10 is, I'm never going to bother with it again, and I most certainly will not be using Windows 11, either.

That's why I've been continuing to hold out on Windows 7 for 10 years now. I would rather have more control over the operating system I use, and be guaranteed that it's not going to fuck itself up over some update. In fact, since 2020 I've turned off the Windows Update service completely in response to Microsoft's attempt to get its Chromium-based Edge browser installed on Windows 7 through there. Despite so many tech trenders telling us we absolutely cannot use Windows 7 and need to upgrade because of "security vulnerabilities", I have not been hit once with any kind of security/malware threat in the one and a half years of obsolescence.

So when does a version of Windows truly start to become obsolete? Most sane people should agree that it's not when Microsoft says it is, but it often boils down to how long major GPU vendors continue to support it. I've just learned that both nVidia and AMD are now dropping support for Windows 7, and that may be what's going to ultimately drive the majority of the remaining users away from it in the following years. It makes sense that they would be the true gatekeepers of a Windows version, save for the hackers who get Windows 10 drivers to work on Windows 7.

In the case of Windows 95, support officially ended at the end of 2001, but its viability (particularly for OSR2) could have persisted up until as early as 2003 and as late as 2006 depending on the hardware and software you'd want to use. Even the Intel chipsets going up to ICH6 seem to be technically driverless, as they are literally comprised of nothing more than plain text files following the INF format. All they really do is make some necessary adjustments to certain things so Windows 9x aligns itself with the chipsets. I imagine I could get a Pentium 4 DDR motherboard fully working with Windows 95 in that matter.

Windows 3.1x is much more of a mixed bag due to its inherent 16-bit limitations that make it totally impractical for anything beyond a classic Pentium, or Pentium MMX if you're dashing. On the bleeding edge, 1999 would've been the last year it could be considered well suppported, as it got drivers for several new video cards like the Matrox G400 as well as the all-essential Internet Explorer 5. Video driver support for Windows 3.1x was mainly targeted towards corporate environments not yet ready to upgrade to the promising Windows 2000. Still, a stubborn DOS enthusiast could build a brand new computer in 1999 with most of the latest hardware all working with an MS-DOS 6.22/WfW 3.11 duo. It's fun!

I've stuck to Windows 7 for so long, largely because my past experiences with Linux on the desktop haven't been satisfactory enough. My last attempt to jump off of Windows was in late 2019 when I gave FreeBSD a spin on a spare rig. It's a great operating system, but you walk a futile road if you want to do a lot of the things you really need with that.

Artix Linux displaying neofetch and the Razorback site

When I'm ready to build a new computer, I don't think I will have much of a choice in the long run. I could go ahead and snatch a copy of Windows 10 LTSC, but I don't believe it'll do me any favors, really. So, the obvious solution must be tried once more. As I've been writing this, someone's been helping me get Artix (Arch without systemd) set up in a virtual machine. I'm gonna be spending more time evaluating this and see if I can really look past all the nerds screaming ARCH IS THE ONLY GOOD OPTION IN THE WORLD AND MY PACKAGES AEIOUQWERTYUIOP thanks to the distribution being a rolling release Alder Lake should be fully supported by the time I migrate if it happens.

Until that point comes, I'll still be sticking around here. The fact that Alder Lake can offer a 16 core CPU and a discrete GPU is a huge deal for me. I hate having beefy monster testosterone GPUs in my computers.

My Windows 95 Verdict

With Hardcore Windows 95 out of the way, it's time for me to give Windows 95 a review. Of course, you might already know what I think of Windows 95 given I gave it an extra slice of life with Windows 95D Lite.

I can say with absolute certainty that Windows 95 is the last version of Windows that ever delivered so much to the benefit of all users without compromise, and the last version that ever will be. I'd want to put Windows NT 4.0 right next to it, but underneath its shell, it doesn't match Windows 95 on device management, software compatibility, and general viability for home usage; lackluster DirectX support comes to mind.

The Windows 95 shell was well on the road to perfection. Its seamless unification of the Program and File Managers is something we take for granted now, but back then it had to be like lifting such a heavy burden off the user and giving them wings. Although a Program Manager-based Windows is amusing to use for a while, it gets super tedious if you're actually wanting to do serious work. Having a small, persistent button that lets you run any program or open some document without much effort is an absolute necessity, as you're definitely going to be having at least one program maximized. Switching between open windows is also decryptified, as they're all listed in the taskbar and can be quickly selected.

Another critical interface optimization makes use of a second mouse button that's always been there, but sorely neglected by many programs up until Windows 95. The right mouse button allowed users to summon a context menu anywhere in an instant, and perform a wide variety of actions from copying and pasting items, creating a new document, adjusting the properties of a hard disk or the desktop, and sending a file directly to a floppy disk. There are more tedious ways to do all these things, of course, but that's the beauty of it: you have many ways to get the same job done, and you decide what works best for you.

If anything, the Windows 95 shell was almost there; all it needed was better sidebars for Explorer windows and "Save As" dialogs, better consistency in applying folder settings for auto arrange, folder opening behavior, and what not, and back/forward buttons in the toolbar so as to really encourage its use. The lattermost could be found in Nashville, but it also scraps the Up One Level button and never carried over anywhere.

Windows 95 still has a number of 16-bit related limitations, although these seem to only be concentrated in certain programs like Notepad and Program Manager... yes, that is still there if you want it. Apart from that, it's more resilient than Windows 3.1x, and most definitely Mac OS. Yeah, everyone loves to mock Windows 95 for being so crash-happy, but classic Mac OS had no memory protection the whole way through! One time I froze an iMac just by unplugging the mouse! There was still a chance that a faulty program could bring all of Windows 95 down, but that was much less the case than before.

Most of the nightmares that may have been experienced when using Windows 95 really stem from badly written drivers or improper BIOS settings 90% of the time, and that's something that can apply to any operating system. As I said earlier, it's a miracle that Windows 95 works so well given its MS-DOS foundation.

Another great benefit of Windows 95 over its predecessor is its ability to automatically detect any kind of device and load the driver for it. Unfortunately, Windows 95 only comes with a very small set of drivers, which is to be expected given Plug and Play was still a very new thing. Manual driver installation isn't too much of a hassle, although installing AGP cards in OSR2 seems to require instaling a driver for something under "Other devices" rather than just replacing the driver in the display properties. Slipstreaming drivers into Windows 95 is pretty difficult, but as soon as that's done and out of the way, the convenience potential for this operating system really starts to show itself.

Even on slow 386 computers, Windows 95 tends to be my operating system of choice for old computers. All you really need is a good sum of RAM for the system (being mindful not to go over what the board's L2 cache can address, if applicable) and a large enough hard drive. Although it's relatively simple to get a more optimized configuration of MS-DOS 6.22 installed without the need for floppy disks, Windows 95 is just more straightforward for everything I need.

Unless you're using my trusty modification, do be prepared to install a lot of updates by hand if you really want to be able to run a lot more software. Most users have preferred to run Windows 98 since it comes with a lot more application and driver support out of the box, but I will be talking more about why I don't anymore after Hardcore Windows 98 is covered here.

Windows 95 lives on in all of us.

...what about the "mystery"?

Oh, you mean that theme from Microsoft Plus? I remember it being used on one computer or two many years back, but never used it extensively myself. It's an intresting theme for how its own startup sound samples that of the standard-issue one.

Oh, shit, okay, that drawing, of course. Now, let me go on about something completely unrelated. Why do you insist I continue making videos for YouTube? Don't you know that there is an idea for something out there that you don't know you want?

Also, there is an invalid name in the credits.