Testing 1, 2, 3.0 (Microsoft Test)

A rather niche product named Microsoft Test was released back in the early 1990s, with Version 3.0a being the last of it in 1994.

Finding information about this piece of software is not easy these days, and you are more likely to find Microsoft Certification tests instead searching on Google. Basically it’s a development tool using TestBasic, a scripting language with similarities to Visual Basic. Offered mainly to software publishers, I actually hadn’t been aware of this product until the last year or so.

The point of the software was to automate keystrokes and mouse clicks to validate the results as part of regression testing. Regression testing was a method so that when additional development was made, existing software functionality was working as it should without causing potentially new unexpected bugs. This becomes more important when developing more complex software to ensure a certain level of quality control.

A developer would have this installed along side Visual Basic, Visual C++, or whatever their desired language had been.

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Using Windows 95 Kernel PowerToys

“The Windows 95 kernel team got kind of jealous of all the attention the shell team has been getting from its PowerToys, so they decided to polish off their own personal toys and make their own web page.

Mind you, the kernel folks aren’t experts at intuitive user interfaces, so don’t expect to see jumping icons and friendly things to click on. (These are the people who do their taxes in hexadecimal.)”

That’s from the README.TXT file that comes with Kernel PowerToys, with a good dose of humour.

Similar to PowerToys, the Kernel PowerToys was the smaller sibling adding a few other enhancements to your Windows 95 system. This pack however was aimed at power users.

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Using Windows 95 PowerToys


Windows 95 was the first to receive PowerToys, a collection of free tools created by some of the developers at Microsoft though was officially unsupported and testing wasn’t as thorough. In its day many users had the opinion that what PowerToys had brought should have been in Windows 95 to begin with.

At just 205 KB in size to download, over a dozen enhancements were included with various levels of usefulness. To install it’s just a matter of extracting all the files into an empty directory (folder), and running install.inf by right-clicking the file and choosing Install so it doesn’t use the default option to open in Notepad.

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eBay Purchase #3 – Mastering Microsoft Visual Basic 4.0

masteringvb40-1eBay Purchase Price: $10 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Like New

Today I picked up in the mail a shrink-wrapped copy of Mastering Microsoft Visual Basic 4.0 made by Microsoft Press. Being a Microsoft Press title and not seen one closely I was expecting more printed material, though instead the contents was no different from picking up an early multimedia software title (i.e. very little in the box).

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eBay Purchase #2 – Windows Resource Kit for Windows 3.1

wrkwin31-1eBay Purchase Price: Approx. $10 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Very Good

A book I bought on eBay cheaply, this was Microsoft’s official technical guide for IT professionals concerning Windows 3.1. Unfortunately the original disk was not included, but nevertheless is in really good condition for a soft cover.

For those who haven’t browsed a copy, at over 500 pages this book contains plenty of reference material that is not documented with your traditional user guides or help files. It gets into the nitty gritty of how the operating system works, and how it can be manipulated. An example would be how to create a customised setup installer with your own device drivers and remove non-critical files to create a lean Windows installation.

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eBay Purchase #1 – Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1

nt31as-1eBay Purchase Price: Approx. $300 AUD

Country of Origin: United States

Condition: Very Good

An eBay find from about two years ago, finding copies of Windows NT 3.1 is generally difficult, so I was pleased to grab a copy admittedly paying more than I would have hoped.

Unfortunately falling over in a cupboard the box hasn’t fared as well, though for the most part is in good condition.

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