Proto:Windows 95

From Misc Data Digs

This page details one or more prototype versions of Windows 95

Windows 95 marked a drastic change, bringing over 32-bit app compatibility, Plug'n'Play, longer filenames, and a much more familiar UI to home users. However, the journey to get there is fascinating.

Build 58s (August 1993)[edit | edit source]

Win95Build58s-MenuButton1.png Win95Build58s-MenuButton2.png Win95Build58s-MenuButton3.png

  • The start menu's functionality is instead split between three different menus. These are, from left to right...
    • The System menu allows the user to run program and open the Task Manager. The list of programs is represented in the Task Manager, rather than being part of the start menu.
    • The Search menu, which is for searching functions and bringing up recently opened programs and documents.
    • The Help menu, which brings up Windows Help and an early version of the About box.
  • An early form of the Windows Explorer, called the (File) Cabinet, is present in this build.
  • The windows still function more like Windows 3.1, with no close button, but containing minimize and maximize buttons. Similarly, the command button is present on the left-hand side.
  • When a program is minimized, the program is represented with a floating rectangle containing the icon and name.
  • In the properties window, the last changed and last accessed dates can become corrupted if the year is bigger than 1999 (i.e. 07/10/21 displays as "07/10/<1" instead).
  • When a shortcut is present, instead of a curved arrow on the bottom left, it's indicated with >> appended to the end of the file name.
  • A bug occurs when switching between 256 color wallpapers in that their palettes can get corrupted when previewing them.
  • If installed alongside Windows 3.1, there is a feature hidden in which the user can switch between 3.1 and 95. To access this, the user needs to modify WIN.INI on the system's main drive.
  • A function to create scraps is present in the Explorer, but one cannot open these.
  • Properties for the File Cabinet are empty.
  • No previews for the screensavers, instead featuring the icons.
  • Dr. Watson, a fault detector, is included in this build.

UI Elements[edit | edit source]


When beginning the OS, this message appears.


Task Manager, simply called tasks, not only shows running processes, but also doubles as a way to navigate directories at this point. When more than a few programs are opened, a new column is created.


The reboot screen for this build.


The Control Panel, largely containing things borrowed over from Windows 3.1.


The File Cabinet's about screen, where it already uses the Explorer name.


Shutdown prompt, which is in a window in this build.

Graphics[edit | edit source]


Bootup screen, which would be the basis for the boot-up screen until Build 189. Windows logos flash into place.

  • At this point, several wallpapers from Windows 3.1 are brought over, but with two new ones inserted.

Chicago 58s and Win32c.png

A unique wallpaper. A variation of this would be included until Beta 2.


The self-explanatory default wallpaper.

Unused Graphics[edit | edit source]


Present inside SYSLOGO.RLE is an even older boot-up screen reminiscent of Windows 3.1. Note that the Jaguar Genuine Parts background is weirdly a part of the image.

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

  • On boot-up, the build will complain about a missing NETWORK.DRV.
  • No properties shown for the local drive, though the layout is already present.
  • The build contain remnants of an earlier installer based heavily on Windows 3.1.
  • Contained in the files for this build is WNDSURF1.AVI, a small test movie containing a short clip of someone windsurfing. It may have been scrapped for its small size of 160x120.
  • Several additional DEC device drivers.

Build 73f (November 1993)[edit | edit source]

  • In response to Build 58s being inexplicably leaked among the early warez scene, this build and many others after this require a site ID and password.
  • Title bar windows are now bolded, like the final version.
  • Several components are being updated to use the 32-bit Windows API.
  • Windows now minimizes programs in the taskbar.

Graphics[edit | edit source]

  • The file cabinet icon is now replaced with a computer icon.


A new wallpaper, called CONSTRCT.bmp. The keyboard in the image is a Gateway AnyKey with the Gateway logo removed.

Chicago Construction 73f.png

A new WIP warning message included in this build.


Shutdown screen, which was used until Beta 2.

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

This build contains the following files:

  • VGALOGO.RLE, which is the logo from Windows for Workgroups 3.11
  • WINPAD.EXE, a scheduling application meant for an unreleased embedded device.
  • INDEOV.DRV, an Intel Indeo driver file

Build 81 (January 1994)[edit | edit source]


  • The Start button is introduced in this build.
  • The close button is now added to the windows.
  • The System Monitor is included.
  • Dr. Watson is removed.
  • When shutting down Windows, it now refers to itself as Chicago in the title bar.

Build 89e (March 1994)[edit | edit source]

  • The older setup app (SETUP31.exe) is removed.
  • Paint has been redesigned for Windows 95 for the first time.
  • Pressing Ctrl, Alt, and Delete no longer shows the reboot prompt, instead showing the Task Manager.
  • Hints slide into place on the taskbar, if no program is opened.
Build 73-81 Builds 89e-189
Win95Build81-MyComputer.png Win95Build89e-MyComputer.png

Some perspective gets added to the "My Computer" icon and it's no longer on a blue screen.

Build 99 (May 1994)[edit | edit source]

  • When installing through the setup program, the default directory is set to WINDOWS instead of CHICAGO.
Builds 58s-81 Builds 99-122
Window95Build58s-Network.png Windows95Build99-NetworkNeighborhood.png

The Network icon returns to the desktop, with a new icon. Instead of being a globe, it's now a computer with a window behind it. Also, it's now called "Network Neighborhood" like the final version.

Build 116 (Beta 1; June 1994)[edit | edit source]

From this build onward, all of the installation files are now in Cabinet files.

  • Features a multithreaded demo on the start menu.
  • No icons for the programs, documents, settings options on the start menu.
  • Exclusive to this build is DECPORTS, a program used to configure internet and printer ports.
  • No option to restart to DOS
  • A fix for SimCity for Windows 3.1 is implemented

Graphics[edit | edit source]


A new wallpaper is added.

Build 180 (September 1994)[edit | edit source]

Builds 99-122 Builds 180-189
Windows95Build99-NetworkNeighborhood.png Windows95Build180-NetworkNeighborhood.png

More detail is added to the Network Neighborhood icon and the computer is now pixeled in 3/4 view.

  • The Recycle Bin is called the "Wastebasket".

Build 189 (September 1994)[edit | edit source]

  • The operating system is now properly known as Windows 95.
  • Explorer is now called EXPLORER.EXE instead of CABINET.EXE or CAB32.EXE.
  • The start menu now has Microsoft Windows branding and icons for things like Programs, Documents, and Settings in the Start menu.

Graphics[edit | edit source]


The Windows 95 boot-up and shutdown screens are far from final, bearing a greater resemblance to earlier prototypes.


The setup screen is largely similar, but the message is centered and has a different font.

Build 216 (Beta 2 RC; October 1994)[edit | edit source]

  • The command prompt now properly reports Windows 95.
  • A timebomb is setup for the first time, which is activated by IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS.
  • The Recycle Bin returns to its final name.
  • Backup Agent is now included

Graphics[edit | edit source]

Builds 89e-189 Builds 216-Final
Win95Build89e-MyComputer.png Win95Final-MyComputer.png

The "My Computer" icon finally gets rendered in 3/4 view.

Builds 180-189 Builds 216-Final
Windows95Build180-NetworkNeighborhood.png Windows95Final-NetworkNeighborhood.png

Another computer in 3/4 view and a link between the two computers is added in place of a window, likely because the "window" metaphor might have been lost in non-Indo European languages.

Builds 73-? Builds 216-Final
Windows95Build73-Briefcase.png Windows95Final-Briefcase.png

The Briefcase returns, using its final art and losing its metallic looks.

Builds 73-? Builds 216-Final
Win95Build116-Netwatch.png Win95Final-Netwatch.png

The Netwatch icon is completely redrawn.


Present only in this build is a flag waving animation.

Sounds[edit | edit source]

File:Win95Beta2-clicker1.ogg File:Win95Beta2-clicker2.ogg File:Win95Beta2-clicker3.ogg

A few clicking sounds, exclusive to this build.

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

  • This build includes SKIING.AVI instead of WNDSURF1.AVI.

Build 224 (Beta 2; October 1994)[edit | edit source]

  • Although a check/debug version is available, it normally fails to boot due to a missing USER32.DLL file.

Build 302 (December 1994)[edit | edit source]

  • The Start button is inexplicably changed by a frustrated Microsoft employee to say "Ship It!".

Build 311 (January 1995)[edit | edit source]

  • The beta site ID/password scheme used since Build 73f is removed.

Build 331 (February 1995)[edit | edit source]

  • The feature to switch between Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 is dropped.
  • The Microsoft Network link is now included on the desktop, albeit with a very different icon.
  • Strangely, the games aren't included in this build.
  • The welcome movie is present here, but uses different music.
  • The CD includes the music video for Good Times by Edie Brickell and a trailer for Interview with the Vampire. The latter would be replaced with a trailer of Rob Roy by Build 474.

Build 337 (February 1995)[edit | edit source]

Build 331 Builds 337-435
Win95Build331-MSNIcon.png Win95Build337-MSNIcon.png

The Microsoft Network link now has the logo that would be used in the final version's icon.

  • The boot-up screen now largely resembles the final version, albeit with the boot-up animation being represented by red arrows on the bottom.

Build 347 (Beta 3; March 1995)[edit | edit source]

Builds 216-? Builds 347-Final
Win95Build216-BackupAgent.png Win95Final-BackupAgent.png

The Backup Agent icon now has a proper icon.

Builds 216-? Builds 347-?
Win95Build216-MediaView.png Win95Build347-MediaView.png

The Media Viewer icon also now has a proper icon.

  • The boot-up screen now has blue arrows.
  • The Jungle (called Nature here), Musica, Robotz, and Utopia sound themes are all included.

Graphics[edit | edit source]

Win95Beta3-arrow 1.pngWin95Beta3-arrow 2.pngWin95Beta3-arrow 3.pngWin95Beta3-arrow 4.pngWin95Beta3-arrow 5.png

In this build, the cursor can come in five different colors; white, green, magenta, red, and yellow.

Build 440 (April 1995)[edit | edit source]

Builds 337-435 Builds 440-Final
Win95Build337-MSNIcon.png Win95Final-MSNIcon.png

The MSN icon now has a globe underneath it, plus a square around it.

Build 468 (May 1995)[edit | edit source]

  • The famous Microsoft sound is finally included.

Build 474 (May 1995)[edit | edit source]

  • The music video for Buddy Holly by Weezer is included for the first time.
  • The skiing video is also removed from the CD.