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Programming Windows: Cairo, a Road Not Taken (Premium)

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Windows NT was released in 1993 and was described by First Boston as “the most aggressive piece of software ever written by mankind.” That sounds hyperbolic. But it was, in some ways, an understatement: While many saw NT as some future successor to MS-DOS, Bill Gates and Microsoft viewed NT as nothing less than the future, a “universal interface” between all computers. Microsoft’s goal for NT was simple, and it amounted to the chant I later heard at the firm’s Redmond campus: “NT EVERYWHERE.”

Before NT could be a ubiquitous engine for Microsoft’s future, however, it needed to be improved, as early versions were slow and incompatible with most hardware peripherals. And so Microsoft improved NT alongside the DOS-based versions of Windows in the mid-1990s, releasing the second major release, Windows NT 3.5 (“Daytona”), in September 1994. And then a minor update focused on PowerPC and called Windows NT 3.51 shipped in May 1995.

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