Donations to the Microsoft Archives: Pens, CDs, and paperweights

Among other responsibilities, the Archives department preserves Microsoft history, be it old hardware, old software, old documentation, or ephemera. Last year, one of my colleagues was cleaning out his office because he was moving to Granada, and of the junk he was going to throw out, the Archives asked me to save the following:

  • Windows NT Workstation 3.51 for PowerPC (box and CD)
  • Windows NT Workstation 3.51 for Alpha AXP (CD only)
  • Documentation for two internal UI libraries from over a decade ago
  • Word 97/Excel 97 Service Pack 3 for Alpha AXP
  • Microsoft Excel promotional pens
  • Windows 95 launch event commemorative paperweight
  • MSN 8 commemorative gold master CD and ship gift box
  • MSN Internet Access promotional booklet and CD (unopened)
  • An official CD of an internal build of a 1999 user interface project that was later abandoned (although its spirit survives in Windows XP).
  • The official CD of pictures from the Windows XP RTM party (unopened)
  • A lava lamp prize from an internal promotional campaign

and my favorite

  • An HP RPN calculator which was issued to employees as part of the standard office equipment (back in the day).
Comments (39)
  1. Spike says:

    I still have one of those "I Downloaded" T-shirts that were sent to IE3 very early adopters.

    I still have it because I don’t wear it very often!

  2. Along with the HP calculator there were 2 more pieces of standard equipment given to new employees in the Office team in 1994 – a stopwatch to measure how well your feature performed and a copy of the Intel i486 reference manual.  Unfortunately those didn’t survive to make it to Raymond and the archives.

  3. Frederik Slijkerman says:

    I still use a HP RPN calculator almost daily. A few years ago, a new 33s model came out that’s not as good as the old 32s (of course), but still better than anything else. It sure beats Windows Calculator. :-)

  4. Thom says:

    I threw away my "I downloaded" t-shirt not over two years ago after it finally developed a hole along a seam.  It was a sad day because I really loved that shirt.  I wore it several times a week year round and was amazed at how well it held up.  

  5. asymtote says:

    Was the HP calculator a 16C?

    The 16C is still a great programmers calculator. It’s a real shame it was discontinued. However apparently it has fans at Apple as the iPhone includes the best emulation I’ve seen.

  6. James Schend says:

    I keep a TI-85 at my desk and use it all the time. (Well, a couple times a week at least.) Same calculator I’ve had since 10th grade math, and it’s worked like a champ every day.

    Whether you own a HP or a TI calculator is probably some kind of generation-gap indicator. :)

  7. Brian says:

    I believe it was an HP 32S –

  8. Cameron says:

    I still have a 15C that I keep at the office and use occasionally.  Even though the math I need now isn’t nearly as complicated as it was back in school, RPN is still great for one thing — people have long since stopped asking to borrow it. :D

  9. Michael Stum says:

    Speaking of promotional pens, T-Shirts and Paperweights: Does anyone remember that promotional Music CD that MS made in 1993(?) for Office? It was called "YOO!" and was some sort of rap/funk mix that was popular at the time. (Yoo standing for "Year of the Office").

    Maybe it’s good that this has gone into oblivion mostly, but it’s a somewhat interesting promo item :-)

  10. peetm says:

    Is there any chance that the Archives Department has a copy of the boxed set of audio tapes that were played at what I believe was called ‘Windows on the World’ – recorded in NY around the time of Windows 1?  Speakers included John Butler, Mark Cligget, Mark Taylor, Steve Balmer, and some more.

    I had a set of these tapes, but, they’ve gone missing :-(

  11. AsmGuru62 says:

    For me most intresting piece is that abandoned GUI project.

  12. JamesNT says:

    I would also love to see the abandoned GUI project.

    I would also love to see the pictures from the official RTM party.  I remember when a friend of mine who used to work at a big company, that shall remain nameless, attended a big launch party for that company’s new product.  Later on we were looking at pictures of the party on another guy’s camera.  He forgot to take off the pictures of his making it with one of the higher-up’s wives.


  13. anony.muos says:

    Does the archive department store the "Home range" software? Why doesn’t it "sell" these to antique collectors? I still want the following products to complete my MS collection:

    • Microsoft Liquid Motion
    • Microsoft A.I. Puzzler

    • Microsoft Music Central

    • Microsoft Complete Baseball

    • Microsoft 500 Nations

    • Microsoft Isaac Asimov’s The Ultimate Robot

    • Microsoft Julia Child: Home Cooking with Master Chefs

    • Microsoft International Soccer 2000

    • Microsoft Picture It! Publishing Platinum 2002

    • Microsoft Beyond the Limit: Ultimate Climb

    • Microsoft Reader’s Digest Complete DIY Guide

    • Microsoft Multimedia Strauss: Three Tone Poems

    • Microsoft Composer Collection

    • Microsoft Complete NBA Basketball

    Apart from these, I claim to own ALL MS products, goodies, tools, powertoys, downloads which have been productized (not the internal ones).

  14. MeEnglishKnowGood says:

    Did anybody else have to look up what "ephemera" meant?

  15. Daniel Colascione says:

    Speaking of calculators, the Emacs RPN calculator (GNU Calc) is among the best I’ve used on a computer. It can do algebraic and symbolic manipulation, solve equations, graph functions with gnuplot, and do other nifty things.

  16. Tim says:


    Ephemera is girlish stuff, right?

  17. Tim says:


    Ephemera is girlish stuff, right?

  18. Neil says:

    How well did this internal promotional campaign work if the winner of the lava lamp doesn’t actually want it?

  19. Ken says:

    @Neil –

    Who said he didn’t want it? He could have gotten years of use out of it…he may not have wanted to transport a delicate glass object thousands of miles to a country where he would have to deal with different power standards to get it to function.

  20. Ethan says:

    Will they take my old MS boxes and manuals off my hands? I think I have a copy of Windows/386 box, manuals and floppies somewhere. Protected mode – woo hoo!

  21. Ulric says:

    Apart from these, I claim to own ALL MS products

    Do you own Microsoft Softimage|3D 3.5?

    A 14,000$ Microsoft product from 1996.

  22. Jim says:

    Gee – I wonder if my Chicago Beta Buddy shirt is still at the bottom of the drawer? Not that I’m likely to fit into a medium these days!

  23. Blake Coverett says:

    When moving the last time I rediscovered a promotional Microsoft serial mouse, with a transparent body allowing you to see the circuit board and ball/sensor assembly.  Not just serial, but it has a matching DB25 adapter.

  24. Jax184 says:

    By any chance would there be interest in what I think is the first microsoft mouse? I own one that’s nearly rectangular, with 2 green buttons and a metal ball. I also have the custom 8 bit ISA interface card it plugs into (It has a 9 pin DIN connector instead of the later round InPort) – this appears to be it.

  25. Jax184 says:

    Err, that should be 9 pin d-sub connector, not DIN. I shouldn’t be reading blogs at 3 AM.

  26. GL1zdA says:

    I just received my Alpha PC today :) I already have Windows NT 4.0 for Alpha and the beta of Windows 2000 for Alpha, but i can’t find anywhere VS 6.0, Word and Excel for it (i don’t want to run it through FX!32). I know VS 6.0 for Alpha was available on MSDN AA, but unfortunately the oldest version to which my MSDN AA account gives me access is the .net 2003 one. Do you know where I could get this software? Maybe MS should consider a hobbyist program just like HP did with OpenVMS?

  27. CW says:

    I have a WinFS polo shirt, can’t be many of those about.

  28. @GL1zdA:

    I have an Alpha and the development tools. I think I have VS6.0. If you get in touch with me, I’d be glad to find a loving home for my Alpha artifacts. xenon at arcticus dot com.

  29. 640k says:

    I have a ms clock, sent to msdn subscribers a few years ago. And av Visual Basic.Net tshirt, with some US cities+dates on the back.

  30. Yuhong Bao says:

    "I know VS 6.0 for Alpha was available on MSDN AA, but unfortunately the oldest version to which my MSDN AA account gives me access is the .net 2003 one."

    That is because of an issue with the JVM. See this:

  31. GL1zdA says:


    Thanks for reply. I PM’ed you.

    @Yuhong Bao

    Oh, the infamous JVM issue, how could I have forgotten it…

  32. Randy Orrison says:

    How does one get in touch with the archives to find out if they want stuff?  I’ve got a few things, including a shrink-wrapped Office 95 Technical Beta 2.  (And for "someone" above, I also have Music Central 96 and Readers Digest DIY.)

  33. anony.muos says:


    Yeah I have Softimage before it was sold away. Don’t ask me how I got it though. ;)

    @Randy Orrison and others

    The above product list is what I DON’T HAVE. If anyone has anything from that list, I’d gladly buy it from you for the retail price. Can you contact me please at my email address (some1anywhere) and the domain is gmail. Randy Orrison, I really need Music Central 96 and Readers Digest DIY.

  34. Neil says:

    What are you proposing to compile using VS6 for alpha?

  35. someone else says:

    someone should look at ebay.  I just searched and saw two versions of Microsoft Complete NBA Basketball for less than $1 each…

  36. GL1zdA says:


    I don’t know yet, but I would probably write something benchmark like, something that would show differences between x86 and AXP. It was always said that the Alpha’s are superior to Intel processors and now I can check it myself, because the hardware is not so expensive anymore.

  37. MarcelDevG says:


    You say you have everything? (but the list).

    Do you have Microsoft Original Adventure for the TRS-80 & Microsoft Basic Compiler 1.0

    I have, and I have never heard someone else having it.


  38. Kevin Eshbach says:

    Your colleague should put the stuff up for sale on eBay and mark’em as rare.

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