Setting Up Microsoft BackOffice 2.0 (Part 3)

snaserver2-iconThroughout the 1970s and 80s, computer terminals such as the IBM 3270 crept up in office environments allowing staff to easily retrieve data from the company’s mainframe. Mainframes tend to come with a hefty price tag and due to significant investment and mission-critical functions, are subject to much less frequent changes. Whilst the computer terminals gradually were replaced with PCs, the mainframes often remained. The protocol for communications lived on (e.g. as TN3270E) allowing emulation of the original computer terminals themselves.

In Part 3 I’ll be checking out Microsoft SNA Server included with BackOffice 2.0, following from Exchange Server and Internet Information Server some time ago. SNA refers to IBM’s proprietary Systems Network Architecture dating back to 1974. SNA Server was superseded by Microsoft with Host Integration Server in the early 2000s.

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File Manager Returns

filemanager-largeiconThis isn’t something I’d expect from Microsoft, and it must have been a bit of a flashback for Ian Ellison-Taylor.

File Manager, once the default file management tool during the heyday of Windows 3.x and NT has come back to life for Windows 10. Now available in open source under a MIT license, two variations of the source code have been published on GitHub. The only dependency is for the Visual Studio 2015 C++ runtime to be installed on your PC.

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Setting Up Microsoft BackOffice 2.0 (Part 1)

boffice2setup-1As shown in an earlier post, eBay Purchase #9 – Microsoft BackOffice Server 2.0, is a suite of server based products to run with Windows NT. This is a rather high-level overview of setting it up, with installing Windows NT 3.51 Server and using Exchange Server 4.0 to be looked at first.

Here I’m using Oracle VirtualBox 5.1.26 on Windows 10. Initially the process is rather straight forward with installing Windows NT, though the BackOffice applications need more tinkering.

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eBay Purchase #9 – Microsoft BackOffice Server 2.0

msboffice2-1eBay Purchase Price: $60 AUD

Country of Origin: United States

Condition: Very Good

Long since discontinued, BackOffice was a suite of server orientated products in combination with Windows NT aimed at business. Originally released with Windows NT 3.5 Server included, the final version had Windows 2000 Server.

This particular version is 2.0 released in April 1996, and was the last to include Windows NT 3.51, just four months prior to NT 4.0. I grabbed this copy among some other newer versions of BackOffice from the same seller. The postage was pricey given their size and weight, though finding complete copies of these isn’t that easy.

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pcAnywhere32 & 3 ThinkPads

For trialling out pcAnywhere32 with the parallel port cable, with me are two ThinkPads for the exercise. The one on the left is a Pentium II 380Z running Windows NT 4.0, and beside it is a Pentium 380D running Windows 98 SE.

pcanywhere-thinkpads-1

ThinkPad 380Z on the left, ThinkPad 380D to the right.

For this I’ll be using the 380Z as the host, while the 380D will be the remote. Well so I thought…

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eBay Purchase #8 – Symantec pcAnywhere32 7.5

pcanywhere75-1eBay Purchase Price: $25 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Very Good

Just recently I picked up a complete copy of pcAnywhere32 7.5 remote access software. The good news is the manuals are in excellent condition, and the original parallel port cable is included which can often go missing. The bad news is that out of the four floppy disks for the software itself, the second disk couldn’t be imaged due to bad sectors. Fortunately I could retrieve this elsewhere.

Symantec’s strategy in the late 1980s and early 1990s had been one of company acquisitions. One such acquisition was announced in August 1990 with the purchase of Peter Norton Computing Inc. who had a stronghold in the DOS disk utilities space. Symantec retained the Norton branding and had done so for a number of years.

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Windows Vision

I came across an image of a CD from the internet recently titled Microsoft Windows: A Vision for the Future that dates back to 1997. Unsure who this would have been distributed to, though I suspect it was circulated around with IT professionals, partnered vendors, and so forth for the UK market. The purpose was to show Microsoft’s strategy with their Windows product line over the coming years in a nutshell.

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eBay Purchase #5 – Microsoft Windows NT 3.1

nt31-1eBay Purchase Price: Approx. $60 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Very Good

I guess as a follow-up to my previous post about running Windows NT 3.1 under Oracle VirtualBox, I thought to share how this OS looks in the physical sense as it was a challenge to obtain a copy.

This particular retail box was still in shrink wrap for 20-odd years, and therefore the contents was intact. The sticker on the box in regards to a special offer, was aimed at existing Windows or OS/2 users to purchase at a reduced price. Continue reading