Microsoft(R) WinNews Electronic Newsletter,
Vol. 2, #4 - March 30, 1995
We have really had overwhelming response to the announcement of the
release of the Windows 95 Preview Program (WPP). There were some
concerns about the release and phone numbers listed below. We do
not want to fill up your mailboxes needlessly, but we felt getting
out this information was important. Going forward, you can expect
to receive WinNews regularly - twice a month starting in
mid-April. We also will periodically send special issues on
fast-breaking Windows 95 stories.
In this issue please find:
1. An information update on the WPP.
2. Updated phone information for select countries.
3. News regarding some recent articles from industry
publications. Many of you may have read stories regarding
the performance of our recent Betas. WinNews is providing
up-to-the-minute information regarding the performance of
current Betas and the Preview Program. This is provided
in two articles:
- Microsoft's announcement regarding the stories
- Some detailed answers to some common questions being
asked recently about the Betas
4. The original WinNews on the WPP announcement from last
(A quick note to those who sent UNSUBSCRIBE messages. We are
sending this issue as a follow up to the WPP announcement, but you
will not receive WinNews issues after this.)
Window 95 Preview Program Update
The Windows 95 Preview Program is selling out fast. However, there
are still a few units left, if you are interested in ordering
please call now. For those of you who have heard through an
industry publication that there is a "flaw", this is incorrect.
The product is architecturally sound. We are attaching our
response plus a Q&A in this issue. You can be confident that the
final beta release included as part of your Preview Program Kit
will work fine for evaluating and preparing for your migration to
Windows 95. A repeat of the original ordering information is
included below. Please note the $32 price is for the United
States, and prices will vary in other countries.
Country Updates for Windows 95 Preview Program
Here are some corrections for ordering information from some of
our subsidiaries. Each Microsoft subsidiary is responsible for
the implementation of their local Preview Program, so please refer
questions or comments directly to your local subsidiary through the
numbers provided below.
The following countries are not offering or have no Preview Program
kits available; Argentina, Sweden, Norway, Finalnd, and Denmark.
The following phone numbers are corrections from the phone numbers
printed in the previous announcement. (For all other numbers, please
refer to original invitation below)
UK call 0181-943-1133
Ireland 0044 181 943 1133
Brasil 011 251 0299
Malaysia 603 2300299
Germany 01 817 3187 (This is a fax number, please send a fax for
Netherlands 31 2505 11053 (This is a fax number, please send a fax
for more info)
New Zealand 09 308 9318 (This number is to register interest only at
Caribbean and Central America (including Puerto Rico):
809 273 3636 or 305 491 8849 (This is a fax number, please
send a fax for more info)
France (1) 6929 11 22 This is an information line, but it will not
open until April 18
United States & Canada 1-800-95 PREVIEW is 1-800-957-7384.
For Immediate Release
March 27, 1995
Windows 95 Enters Final Test Phase; Still on Target for August
REDMOND, Wash., March 27, 1995 Microsoft Corporation today
announced that the Microsoft (R) Windows(R) 95 operating system has
entered its final test phase and is on target for its August release.
Microsoft last week released Beta 3, a test version of Windows 95,
to 50,000 people as part of its ongoing controlled beta test program.
This beta version was mistakenly reported to be the final production
"Customers can be assured that Windows 95 is still on track" said
Brad Silverberg, senior vice president of the Personal Systems
Division at Microsoft. "The beta test program is doing what it is
supposed to do - help us find and fix bugs. We are committed to
shipping a quality product. Contrary to an industry report, the
architecture of Windows 95 is sound."
Beta test programs are conducted for the express purpose of
identifying and fixing remaining "bugs" or glitches in software
products. In keeping with its commitment to deliver high-quality
products, Microsoft is conducting the most extensive beta test
program in the companys history for Windows 95. Windows 95 is the
successor to Windows(R) 3.1, currently the most popular desktop
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in
software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of
products and services for business and personal use, each designed
with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to
take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks
of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Microsoft Response and Q&As to InfoWorld Articles on latest Beta of
InfoWorld has written a product review and news article on Windows 95
Beta 3 that raises some issues with the product. This document is
intended to clarify issues the articles may raise for customers.
Summary of Key Issues
Contrary to the news article written by InfoWorld, Windows 95 is an
architecturally sound product. InfoWorld did find some bugs which is
expected, and desired, since this is the point of our testing
pre-release code. We are fixing the bugs submitted by InfoWorld as we
do with the bugs submitted by our over 50,000 beta test sites. Many
of the bugs InfoWorld submitted have already been fixed post Beta 3.
The vast majority of our beta testers are having a good experience
with the product. Based on our internal measurements and feedback
from beta testers, we are on track to meet our quality goals and
ship in August. Customers should be reassured that Microsoft is
committed to shipping a quality product.
InfoWorlds review misses the point of Windows 95. Windows 95 is a
great product that in conjunction with our partners will move the
computer industry forward and allow customers to do new, powerful and
exciting things with their computer. Unfortunately the review
focuses on rare cases and mis-reports others. We are committed to
fixing the bugs found as part of their review. At the same time,
it is incorrect to make broad, sweeping generalizations about
Windows 95 based on bugs in beta code. The product is
architecturally sound. The Q&A document below provides detailed
clarification for customers. The responses are listed in order of
the issues raised in the product review.
Detailed Responses to the InfoWorld News Article
Issue: "What was publicized as the largest beta program in history
failed to turn up a fundamental architectural flaw in Windows 95 that
causes the operating system to freeze when multitasking a few 32-bit
applications....The flaw means that not only is the much-touted final
beta not the final beta, but also that two years into the development
cycle Microsoft has failed to execute on its promise of a
multitasking operating system that can run 32-bit multithreaded
Response: It is not an architectural flaw, it was a bug that we had
already found and fixed. We also delivered a copy of the fixed beta
to InfoWorld before this article was published. Windows 95 can
multitask 32-bit applications well. The specific bug that InfoWorld
hit in the Beta 3 release was in running out of system resources
while running a specific 32-bit application, the Microsoft
Network (MSN) client. The MSN client is currently also in beta
release and has not been fully tuned yet. Currently the MSN client
creates 3 threads of execution per window which is opened on the
screen. Each one of these threads also creates a local message
queue. Thus, each MSN window opened in this untuned state creates a
larger load on the system than normal 32-bit applications. The MSN
client will reduce its resource consumption in future betas.
Even though MSN is not yet fully tuned, we have alleviated many of
these problems in the releases after Beta 3 by moving large portions
of the window class structure and the local message queue structure
out of the systems local 64KB heap and into the 32-bit heap. As a
result, we significantly increase the number of 32-bit applications
which could be run simultaneously. Our internal tests show that with
the Beta 3 release you could run, for example, 8 copies of 32-bit
Microsoft Excel for Windows 95. With the bug fix, Windows 95 can now
run 17 copies of 32-bit Excel for Windows 95. Most users will never
run into these limits while doing their day-to-day work.
Issue: "The problem stems from Windows 95s method of memory management
..User Resources...can be completely consumed after only a few 32-bit
applications are opened."
Response: This is not accurate. Windows 95 dramatically increases
system resources and provides the capability to run many more
applications than under Windows 3.x. In addition to the 32-bit
improvements described above, these increased system resources also
benefit users of existing 16-bit applications. For example, under
Windows 3.1 you could only run 7-8 copies of Word for Windows 6.0.
Under Windows 95, you can now run 18-19 copies of Word for
Issue: "Although all applications call on the Windows Class Structure,
multithreaded, 32-bit applications such as Word for Windows NT, Excel
for Windows NT, and the Microsoft Network, make heavy use of the
Windows Class Structure and will quickly exhaust the limited resources
of the 64KB heap."
Response: This is not accurate. Not all applications make heavy use
of the window class data structure. In fact the vast majority of them
dont. The Microsoft Network (MSN) is one specific 32-bit
application that uses more system resources than average because
the current MSN beta creates a local message queue per thread.
Most applications do not use or need a separate message queue per
thread. As described above, this puts an increased load on the
Issue: "Microsoft has a fix that shifts the Windows Class Structure
into a 32-bit memory address space above the 64KB heap. Microsoft
used a similar strategy last December to extend resources of the GDI
Response: This is correct we have fixed the problem. As mentioned
previously, Windows 95 can run many simultaneous 32-bit applications
well today. Moving the window class structure was not a fundamental
architectural change. The reason we did not do it for the Beta 3
release of Windows 95 is because we were unsure if any existing
16-bit applications made assumptions about the location of this
structure. If so, our moving this structure would have made any
such existing application fail. Since that time we have learned
that there are no compatibility problems to moving this structure,
and we have done so in the post-Beta 3 releases, even before we
knew about the InfoWorld Article. We provided a new version of the
Windows 95 beta with this fix to InfoWorld before this article
Detailed Responses to InfoWorld First Looks Review
Issue: "When you install Windows 95 over an existing copy of DOS and
Windows it inherits all of the network drivers, device drivers, and
utilities that are loaded in your CONFIG.SYS, AUTOEXEC.BAT, AND
SYSTEM.INI files - even the ones it wont need or cant work with.
I left in all of my memory manager, network, CD-ROM, and Sound
Blaster drivers, even though Windows 95 properly sniffed out and
loaded its own drivers for these features. Redundancy like this
wont always bring Windows 95 down, but it will eat up a lot of
conventional RAM for DOS sessions"
Response: We leave these drivers in for backwards compatibility
reasons. This means that, unlike under OS/2, all users can continue
to make use of all devices on their machine, even those for which
Windows does not have a specific driver. The drivers which are
absolutely safe to remove, such as the CD-ROM drivers, some network
drivers and various third party memory managers are automatically
commented out of the old initialization files. Other drivers which
are needed for backwards compatibility are not touched. For example,
Windows 95 will automatically remove Novells real-mode NETX client
from the system and replace it with a protect mode replacement,
thereby saving 97K of conventional memory. It will also
automatically remove the real-mode MSCDEX CD-ROM drivers and
replace them with protect mode CDFS drivers for most CD-ROM drives,
thereby saving 45K of convential memory. Also, knowledgeable users
can go back in at a later date and possibly remove other redundant
real-mode drivers if they wish to gain even more conventional memory.
Issue: "Unfortunately, the RAM most precious to Windows 95 is the tiny
portion it allocates for Windows resources. Thats one reason Windows
95 will prove to be as unreliable as Windows 3.1."
Response: This is blown way out of proportion. Most people will
never run into any system resource limitations under Windows 95. In
fact, Windows 95 significantly improves in this area over
Windows 3.1. For example users can now run not only all of the
applications in the entire Microsoft Office Professional suite,
but also many other major applications simultaneously, such as
Lotus 1-2-3 for Windows and WordPerfect for Windows.
Issue: "I quickly ran out of resources on my 486 with 32MB of RAM
when simply running the 32-bit version of Microsoft Word for
Windows 6.0 and exploring the Microsoft Network."
Response: This statement needs clarification. First, as mentioned
previously, Windows 95 runs a number of 32-bit applications well.
The scenario mentioned above should present no problems for customers.
Second the Microsoft Network (MSN) is one specific 32-bit application
that uses more system resources than average due to the fact that it
is not fully tuned yet. Also, as mentioned previously, the systems
data structures which were stored in the 64K local heap for the Beta 3
release have been moved to the 32-bit heap. Versions of the beta
with this fix included were given to InfoWorld before this story was
Issue: "This beta is unusable when using 4MB of RAM. It is
uncomfortably slow on my 33-MHz 486DX with 8MB of RAM. And it is
excruciatingly slow on a 25-MHz 486SX with 8MB when it runs of a disk
compressed with Stac Electronics Inc.s Stacker because the compression
forces Windows 95 into using real-mode disk access."
Response: Our beta testers tell us otherwise. Internal tests
performed on industry standard performance benchmarks tell us
otherwise. Specifically, standard performance tests such as
Winbench and Winstones show that Windows 95 is roughly as fast or
faster than Windows 3.1 on a 386DX with 4MB RAM or better for
conducting the same set of common tasks. Also our beta testers
confirm these test results from their own personal use. Between the
Beta 3 release and the final product release we will also continue to
tune our performance. We will work with InfoWorld to ensure that
there is not a bug which is affecting their performance.
In regard to Stacker compression, it is true that Windows 95
uses real-mode disk access to serialize all the disk activities.
This is done for compatibility reasons and is a great benefit for
customers that dont want to change what they have to run Windows 95.
Customers also have the choice of using protect mode disk drivers for
compression, such as the DriveSpace compression drivers supplied in
the box, which provide faster performance. Stac Electronics can also,
and likely will, write their own protected mode disk drivers which
will provide faster performance for Stacker customers.
As a comparison to OS/2, Windows 95 is faster than OS/2 Warp
in every standard industry benchmark test. In the example below, we
ran the Windows Magazine set of 16-bit Word and Excel macros at the
same time to simulate a multitasking scenario. Note that Windows 95
is faster than all other competing operating systems even in beta.
Word and Excel Windows Magazine macros - Total time score for 3 runs,
OS/2 Warp default3335587102
OS/2 Warp fastload3365547025
OS/2 Warp separate VMs348failedfailed
Issue: "My copy of cc:Mail Remote for DOS works fine as a foreground
application, but it simply times out and fails to exchange messages
when I run it in the background even when I set the CPU idle
sensitivity for the DOS session to its lowest setting."
Response: This is a known bug in the beta of Windows 95 and has
already been fixed in the versions after the Beta 3 release.
InfoWorld had a version with this fix included before this story was
Issue: "OLE performance in Windows 95 is horrendous. Typing within a
Word for Windows OLE object thats embedded in a Microsoft Excel
spreadsheet under Windows 95 is a torturous experience. This is
clearly a Windows 95 problem, because I can run the same 32-bit
versions of Word and Excel under Windows NT and not experience this
lag-time typing problem in OLE objects."
Response: We have been unable to reproduce this specific problem
in-house, nor have any other beta sites reported this specific
problem. Weve asked InfoWorld for more information on their
particular configuration but they have been unable to supply that
yet. If it is simply a bug in InfoWorlds particular machine
configuration we will investigate it and fix it before the final
shipment of the product.
Issue: "Every time I restarted Windows 95, it couldnt make up its
mind about how it wanted to log me into the network. I started it up
one time and it asked me for a password for each server I use and it
automatically remapped drives the way I had them setup last using the
Network Neighborhood utility. Then the next time I started Windows
95, it asked me just once for my password and ran my Netware log-in
script and mapped the drives according to that."
Response: From the best we can tell with the information given to us,
the reviewer may be confused as to the expected behavior. A user can
specify which entity, in this case NetWare preferred server, to log
on to the network. If the preferred server is available at startup,
the user will be authenticated on the network and will not be prompted
when trying to connect to any shares available via the preferred
server or any servers that the user has saved passwords for in the
password cache. This facilitates a rapid logon and easy access to
network shares without compromising network security. If the server
is unavailable at startup time, the user can log into Windows but
will get prompted every time they try and access a specific share
accessible to them via their preferred server. If this behavior is
different than what InfoWorld is experiencing, we will be happy to
investigate further and fix this if it is a bug.
Issue: "And the relatively easy-to-use desktop is perhaps the biggest
improvement over Windows 3.1 although it falls short of both the
Macintosh desktop and the OS/2 Workplace Shell in depth and
Response: The writer is clearly expressing personal opinion.
Microsoft has conducted a variety of research that shows OS/2 and
even Macintosh users are more proficient using Windows 95 to
accomplish a set of common tasks as compared to conducting those
tasks using their own operating system. For example, we conducted
pilot tests for existing Macintosh and OS/2 users and compared those
to the same people running Windows 95 for the first time. The tasks
each user had to complete were isomorphic, meaning that users never
repeated exactly the same tasks but rather completed sets of tasks
which were functionally identical. The mean times (in seconds) to
complete the tasks for the Macintosh users are given in the table
below. These numbers are an aggregate of beginner, intermediate and
GroupMacintosh baselineWin 95, first try
Win 95, second tryWin 95, third try
For OS/2 users, we conducted a similar test with a group of
intermediate to advanced existing OS/2 Warp users (We could not
find enough novice users to test). The mean time (in seconds) to
complete the tasks is given in the table below:
GroupOS/2 Warp baselineWin 95, first try
Win 95, second tryWin 95, third try
It is also interesting to note that of our sample group of
intermediate to advanced OS/2 Warp users, over 2/3s of these
subjects stated that, after the tests were completed, they preferred
the Windows 95 user interface over Warp.
Note that the sample sizes used in the Macintosh/OS/2 studies were
intentionally small because the studies were for internal use only.
Test results for Windows 3.1 users performance on Windows 3.1 and
Windows 95 used a larger sample size (25 per group) and are
Issue: "Shortcuts still get confused if you move the files they point
to another directory - and get hopelessly lost if you move them to
another drive. The only improvement in this beta is that Windows 95
will always ask you before redirecting a shortcut to the wrong file.
But it ends up pointing to the wrong file nonetheless."
Response: This statement is not correct. Shortcut tracking when the
target is moved works properly, and does not open the incorrect file
unexpectedly without some sort of a warning message. We have said all
along that shortcut tracking works on local drives, not when the
targets are moved to a different local or network drive. Shortcuts
are based on an open architecture that makes them very powerful for
linking to a variety of data types. For example, shortcuts can point
to not only files, but also specific paragraphs within a particular
file, files or servers on the network. In fact, when shortcuts point
to files on a network server that currently isnt connected to your
remote machine, Windows 95 will automatically dial the appropriate
access phone number in order to re-establish that connection.
Shortcuts can even be extended to connect to objects on the internet,
for example to a favorite places location. They are far more
flexible than anything else out on the market today.
Issue: "As far as compatibility, Windows 95 did run every application
I threw at it but not flawlessly. To name a few of the experiences:
cc:Mail for Windows cause frequent General Protection Faults; cc:Mail
Remote for DOS repeatedly displayed long lines of extraneous letters
when addressing mail; and Lotus Notes for Windows warned me it
wouldnt run properly and then couldnt find most of the servers on
Response: Microsoft is not familiar with any problems running
Windows 95 with these applications. Lotus Corporation visited
Microsoft campus a few weeks ago and they ran through their entire
test suite for their applications without problems. This is the same
test suite they run before they ship their applications and we
jointly did not find any problems with Windows 95. However, if there
is a problem that is particular to InfoWorlds configuration, we will
work to understand it and fix it in the final product.
Issue: "Corporate users will gain more headache than advantages for
the investment in time and hardware it will take to move from
Windows 3.1 to Windows 95."
Response: Corporate accounts and industry analysts tell us the
opposite. Windows 95 provides three very compelling benefits to
Reduce Support Cost via an easier to use interface, plug and play
support for hardware, built-in, integrated networking, and
greater system reliability.
Increase Control over the Desktop via integrated desktop security,
and remote administration capabilities/ tools. With the
registry, adminstrators can remotely manage PCs through
standard desktop management interfaces such as DMI, SNMP, and
Improved User Productivity through faster print, disk and network
i/o, 32-bit multitasking and multithreading, and built-in
communications and information access features.
Industry analysts such as the GartnerGroup, Stamford CT, estimate
that Windows 95 will reduce the Total Cost of PC Ownership on the
order of $1,180/year per user over a 5 year period and pay for itself
in 3-6 months of moving to Windows 95.
Issue: "As for the resource problems in particular, Microsoft claims
it can fix them by moving the Windows class out of the 64KB user heap
and into the 32-bit address space. They even hand-delivered me a
later build to prove it. This build does indeed seem to let you do
more before you run out of resources. But theres a problem with
this strategy. Operating system architecture is a delicate balance
of design decisions. When you probe them in one place, they tend to
pop out in another. And this later build is far less stable than the
Response: As InfoWorld confirms, later builds of Windows 95 do
improve the system resources for 32-bit applications. Contrary to
their claim, these changes are not destabilizing. The product is in
beta and continues to improve and become more stable as we move to
finalize it. We will ship a quality product when it meets our
internal criteria and based upon feedback from our beta testers.
Issue: "Since Microsoft has known about the resource problem for some
months now, I have to question why it is trying this "fix" on one of
the most fundamental aspects of the architecture after the release of
what it is calling the "final" beta."
Response: Moving the window class structure is not a fundamental
architectural change. The reason we did not do it for the Beta 3
release of Windows 95 is because we were unsure if any existing
16-bit applications made assumptions about the location of this
structure. If so, our moving this structure would have made any such
existing application fail. Since that time we have learned that there
are no compatibility problems to moving this structure, and we have
done so in the post-Beta 3 releases. We provided a new version of
the Windows 95 beta with this fix to InfoWorld before this article
WINNEWS FLASH: WINDOWS 95 PREVIEW PROGRAM - March 23, 1995
Dear WINNEWS subscriber,
With all youve read and heard about Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 95, we
hope youve learned that Windows 95 will help organizations lower
their PC support burden, provide more control over the desktop, and
make users more productive.
So how can you prepare to put Windows 95 to work in your organization?
First continue to read WINNEWS for the latest Windows 95 information.
Additionally, we are making some units of the Windows 95 Preview
Program available for those customers trying to prepare their
organizations for the migration to Windows 95. Since the Preview
Program kit includes pre-release software it is meant for computing
and IS professionals. Nevertheless we anticipate greater demand for
this program than we will be able to accommodate. So for those people
unable to obtain a copy we apologize in advance and will keep you up
to date on the latest information via WINNEWS.
Participants in the Windows 95 Preview Program, will receive:
-A prerelease version of Windows 95 along with information to
evaluate the product and plan your migration. For example, the
Windows 95 Feature Review will familiarize you with all the new
product features, and the Corporate Deployment Guide shows you how to
put them to work in your organization. Use the Demonstration Kit
presentation and materials to show management why the migration makes
good business sense. The Windows Resource Kit lists tools you need
to train yourself and others, and the WINNEWS on-line service will
help you stay up to date with the latest developments.
To get local pricing information and enroll in the Windows 95 Preview
Program please call the phone number on the next page that is
applicable for your country. Note that orders can only placed in the
country you are located in. So for example if you reside in the
United Kingdom you must call the number in the United Kingdom and
cannot order a unit from the United States. Review the terms and
conditions below to make sure this program is right for you.
Windows 95 Preview Program Terms and Conditions:
Since the Preview Program contains prerelease software and is not
returnable, there are several points you should be aware of before
- System Requirements: Windows 95 requires a minimum of a 386DX
with 4 MB of RAM.
- License: The Preview Programs license enables you to use this
software until one month after the final product becomes available in
stores. Only the registered Preview Program participant is eligible
- Support: Limited technical support will be provided for the
duration of the Preview Program, and will be discontinued at the time
your license expires. Since the support staff will be ramping up for
retail availability of Windows 95, the response times may be longer
- Warranty: Since this is prerelease software, there is no warranty
associated with it, and Microsoft cannot be held responsible for any
problems resulting from the use of this product.
- Lifetime: The prerelease Windows 95 software has a limited
lifetime and will expire approximately one year after the final
product becomes available. The exact date and details will be
provided with your Preview Program Kit.
- No Discount: The price of the Preview Program Kit covers the
costs of the materials, implementation and support for this program,
and cannot be applied towards the purchase of the final released
- Recommended Use: Since this is prerelease software, we recommend
using it on a secondary machine. Or, if you plan to use it on your
primary machine, we recommend backing up all of your existing data.
Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery upon receipt of order by
Windows Preview Program Phone Numbers
Australia008 062 062
Caribbean/PR and Central America
or (305) 491-8849 (This is a fax # for
Czech and Slov089-3176-1199
France(1) 6929.11.22 (This is an information line, but
it will not open until April 18)
Germany01-817-3187 (This is a fax # for more information)
Greece01 - 68 06 775 through 01- 68 06 779
Italy(0039) 2 7039 8359 - (0039) 144001999
Netherlands31 2505 11053 (This is a fax # for more information)
New Zealand09 308 9318 (This is only to register interest at
Portugal(351) 1 - 4409200
Spain 1 803 99 60
Switzerland155 59 00
Uruguay (54-1) 814-0356
1995 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
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