Stephen Tolouse’s reminiscences of Windows 95 RTM day

Stephen Tolouse (known around Microsoft as "stepto", pronounced "step-toe") from the Microsoft Security Response Center reminisces about Windows 95 RTM.

Stephen mentions that "the build numbers were artificially inflated to reach 950". There's actually a technical reason for this inflation, which I intend to write about when I have the time to give the topic the treatment it deserves.

Comments (12)
  1. Jay B says:

    I tried to read it… but white text on black background really screws with my eyes.

  2. Jimbo says:

    Let me guess, Jay, you’re not a Linux person? :)

  3. JS says:

    "I tried to read it… but white text on black background really screws with my eyes."

    If you’re using Firefox, try View -> Page Style -> No style.

  4. :: Wendy :: says:

    About a ‘rag & bone’ merchant living with his adult son

    Does UK comedy influence the ‘nicknames’ used within Microsoft?

    Raymond – what’s your nickname?

  5. Miles Archer says:

    you tease!

  6. hskoglund says:

    I’m curious as well, and this is just a wild guess, but those were the heydays of DLL hell. For example, one DLL file that I remember "fondly" was ctl3dv2.dll.

    Could it be that the build number of Win95 was set to 950 (i.e. high enough) to effectively disambiguate the DLLs in that system from versions of the same files in WinNT 3.1 and 3.5x?

  7. Randolpho says:

    Wendy, I’m guessing that "stepto" stems from the guy’s name: [Step]hen [To]louse.

    Although I was amazed to learn that Sanford and Son was a cheap american knockoff. ;)

  8. :: Wendy :: says:

    Rache [Ra]mond [Che]n


    The Raymond Chen


    [ ] (awestruck silence)

    other? mymind will be boggling with possibilities all weekend… …well at least for one minute…

  9. Stepto says:

    Yeah it’s a combination of my name. I’ve been with Microsoft since april of 94 and my contractor email alias was a-stepto, then became stepto when I was hired 1.95. People started caling me stepto right about then and the name stuck.

    I had no idea there was a technical reason for increasing the buil number so I look forward to the explanation.


  10. "I tried to read it… but white text on black background really screws with my eyes."

    If it’s glare that’s the problem, the brightness and contrast of your monitor may be set incorrectly. Try using a photographer’s test pattern to calibrate your monitor – it makes everything better, not just the extreme cases (there are plenty of test patterns for gamma and brightness/contrast to be found through Google).

  11. dave says:

    "Technical reasons for build number being adjusted".

    As a Windows NT user since 3.1, I simply and uncharitably assumed that the Windows 95 release engineers were trying to look cute at the expense of perverting a simple technical notion — i.e., the build number is a number that is incremented at each build.

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