eBay 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.
Below is a random page from the section regarding customising the installation of Windows 3.1. If you’ve installed Windows 3.1 previously, you may recall how near the end of installation Program Manager quickly appears creating the original program groups such as ‘Main’, and ‘Accessories’ etc. with the relevant icons. The below section is a portion in regards to this and is used to determine what program groups and icons to create at that point. All of this is incorporated into a file named SETUP.INF and includes all configurable options relating to your video, network, and even which fonts to install.
Although I didn’t have the disk, I found a copy somewhere on the internet some time ago. The Windows Resource Kit comprises of several readme files and also provides a small handful of utilities similar to PowerToys for later versions of Windows.
When it comes to vintage software, sometimes it’s not necessarily difficult to find a copy on eBay or downloadable somewhere. What can be more difficult however, is finding documentation on how it’s suppose to work and what to do if something goes wrong. Books such as this are truly a handy resource.