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Unless Microsoft invented it to ensure backward compatibility in Windows

One of the main features of the emergence of Windows was its compatibility with previous versions: Although many years have passed, details are still emerging today about how well the Redmond developers have worked to ensure that in the transition from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 users can continue to use their software and games without problems.

In the past few days, one of the hosts of the Hardcore Gaming 101 podcast has come across an article written over 20 years ago by Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Stack Overflow and Fog Creek Software that tells us What Microsoft invented to make SimCity workwhich at the time was one of the most successful video games of all time, with over 5 million copies sold.

John Ross, who wrote the original version of SimCity for Windows 3.x, told me that he accidentally left an error in the program as he was trying to read the memory he had just freed. previously. It didn’t cause any problems in Windows 3.x, because the memory never went away. But here’s the huge part: In Windows 95 beta, SimCity didn’t work. Microsoft tracked down the issue and added specific lines to the Windows 95 code that checks if SimCity is running. If so, the system runs the memory allocator in a special mode that does not immediately release the memory.

For Spolsky, this is a great solution for The so-called “chicken and egg problem” between the operating system and softwarewhich can be summed up as follows: no one will buy your platform until a well-compatible program is available, and no developer will build software for the platform until it’s big enough.

It is a very valid dilemma and it is still valid today, which causes more than one platform to fail, however great the potential – think Firefox OS and Tizen (at least for smartphones). Recently, even for Microsoft itself, backward compatibility has become a problem: let’s think about how it handles Windows Phone or Windows RT.

At the time of Windows 95, Microsoft achieved the goal 100%. SimCity was one of the most famous examples, but it’s not the only one – far from it. Microsoft even developed the Compatibility Administrator, which is still available today for newer versions of Windows, where all the tricks are collected and documented.

Just use the Windows ADK (Assessment and Deployment Tools) to find out Original gems like Win95VersionLie: Final Fantasy VII, the original, crashed on any version of Windows NT, so the system checked the game on the hard drive and lied about the Windows version.

Or manually move the Horny.tif and bullfrog.sbk files to make sure the Windows 95 and 98 version of dungeon guard It works correctly in Windows XP and later. This practice is still in use: Street Fighter V requires some modifications to its DirectX application to function properly by some systems.

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