Real long-time readers may remember that a couple of years ago I came across a site that told you (now since removed, alas).
However, this version of Windows was so cut down that the only applets that were included were Minesweeper and Notepad – you didn’t even get Program Manager. It was also completely useless on many new machines as it didn’t support disks formatted as FAT32.
But now some Chinese dudes have created a(scroll right down to the bottom of the page). DOS 7.10 is the version that sits under Windows 98, and with a few handy TSRs (Terminate and Stay Resident programs, remember those?) support for FAT32, long filenames and even USB devices is possible.
As you can probably imagine, I just had to try this out for myself, and amazingly it does all work just fine – I had a usable Windows environment, including luxuries like Program Manager, Clipbook Viewer, PIF Editor and Calculator. Control Panel was also included but some of the panels, like Printers, didn’t work. I was able to browse my FAT32-formatted C drive with no problems and my USB mouse worked as well. I’d have shown you a screenshot or two but it didn’t have Paintbrush so I couldn’t save bitmaps and nothing I have seems to be able to open the CLP files that Clipbook Viewer saved, not even IrfanView.
Update: I ran it again and took a photo of the screen.
There is one major downside, however, and this is bootup time. For a start, floppy disks aren’t the fastest things in the world, and to make it worse Windows is actually in a zip file which has to be extracted to a RAMdisk first. In all, bootup took around 10 minutes, though since it was running from memory the OS was lightning fast. Although that also might be because it was running on a 2.2Ghz Intel Celeron processor and not a ~25Mhz Intel 386 processor as was the norm when it was originally released.
Update: A little alteration to the batch file that starts Windows meant that I got the bootup down to around 4 minutes. I now have the batch file copy the zip file to the RAMdisk before unzipping it rather than unzipping from the floppy, which speeds things up greatly.
And incidentally 10 minutes is not the longest I’ve had to wait for a computer to load – one of the computer labs at the university had a 266Mhz beast with 64MB of RAM loaded up with Windows XP Pro. I think that took 15 minutes before it was usable, although that did include logging onto the network.