Windows Chicago   











Windows Chicago Build 58
August 1993
screen shots

Every time I look it seems like someone has found an older build of Windows 95. This is Chicago build 58 which has recently turned up and is earlier and even more primitive than build 73.

I have said it before but I will say it again, Chicago is unique as it was really the only time in Windows history that Microsoft seems to have put significant effort and design research in to the Windows user interface. With the exception of Chicago (and perhaps any pre-1.01 version that might exist) I am really not interested in Windows alpha / betas.

For the most part build 58 looks like build 73. These screen shots mainly show the difference between the two. Please see the build 73 screen shots for more detailed information.

The system properties in this version looks a little more NT ish and otherwise has a somewhat different layout. .

What is not obvious from just looking at the screen shots is that this version of Windows is almost entirely 16 bit including the Cabinet Explorer desktop. There were many new 16-bit APIs added, as a result these 16 bit applications will not run on Windows 3.1.

This shows an "under construction" message that appears when Chicago is first stated.

The tracker program that appears minimized above is launched from the startup group and stores the users beta ID info.

I was correct about the default user interface (I speculated about this on the Chicago 73 page). The system tray in this version does not show a task list. Instead it permanently shows an embedded folder window that you can place files or shortcuts in.

The system tray buttons are mostly the same as the ones in build 73.

Another interesting thing to notice is that in this version of Cabinet Explorer each window has "folder" and "window" menus. These were removed in later versions and not present in the final Windows 95. Windows 98 kind of brought back the "folder" options with its "go" and "favorites" menu items.

Also each file folder in this version has a "parent folder" icon that will open the parent folder when double clicked.

Removing these options made it slightly more difficult to open a parent folder although this can be still done with the tool bar (by default off in Windows 95) as well as with the backspace key.

The folder settings are located under a menu item named "usability test options".

Instead of the Windows 3.1 CD player, this version of chicago includes a program called "Microsoft Music Box". Music Box is not included with the chicago build 73. Additionally the Winpad program from build 73 is not in build 58.

Finally there is a control panel in Build 58 called "Metrics"  which seems to be a much more detailed and probably experimental version of appearances properties.

Windows Chicago Build 73
Preliminary Release - November 1993
Screen Shots

"Chicago" is the code name used by Microsoft for early development version of what eventually became Windows 95. Build 73 was created in November 1993 as a "preliminary release" before beta testing began. Beta testing is a development stage where completed components are tested by designated users at special testing sites.

The Chicago Boot screen.
As it boots up little Windows logos, similar to those in the "flying windows" screen saver, appear and disappear in the background of the boot screen.

This is the desktop that appears when Windows Chicago Build 73 starts up.

IF it starts up. Being such an early pre-beta release a lot of stuff doesn't work or isn't completed and it can be very temperamental.

Some of the terminology in this version of Windows is different.

The Windows Explorer is the "Chicago Cabinet Explorer"
The task bar is the "Tray" or system toolbar.
Shortcuts are called "links".

The icons on the desktop are:

The Briefcase - An early Plus pack component optionally included with this Chicago Build.
Programs - This folder contains links to the programs installed on the system.
Recycle Bin - A link to a folder for temporary storage of files to delete. Emptying the recycle bin does not appear to be implemented yet.
My Computer - Opens an explorer window listing all drives in the system.
Network - A somewhat functional version of "Network Neighborhood"

The first thing you may notice is that there is no "Start" button! There are instead three toolbar buttons that have different functions.

The first button has window and desktop functions. There is no "programs" item on this menu, and the "Task List" option launches the Task Manager.

The second button is a "find" button. From here you can launch the find file utility or select recently opened files. The personal menu is a folder that the user can put their own files or links to files in for quick access.

The bottom of this menu displays a list of all windows that are currently open. This is the same as the task list that appears in the tray (taskbar). This is redundant but is probably meant for use when the tray is being displayed as a folder (see below).

The information button is supposed to have help on using Windows, but this is non functional.

As I already mentioned, there is no "Programs" menu item. Instead program groups are accessed by opening a "Programs" folder on the desktop. This opens folder windows that contain links to the installed programs. This provides an experience similar to Windows 3.1 Program Manager, and is more efficient because the folder windows stay open after selecting the program, unlike a program menu.

Also notice the maximize, minimize, and close window controls work the same way as Windows 3.1. In addition, minimized programs do not minimize to the tray, but instead display as boxed icons just above the tray.

As shown above, the task list menu item brings up task manger. Bizarrely, while the tray menu does not have a "Programs" menu, this version of the task manager does have one!

The Tray can be viewed as either the now familiar task list or as a folder. The idea is to keep commonly accessed programs files or links in an easily accessible location. It is by default blank, but in this screen shot some items have been copied in for demonstration.

The familiar "Task List" on the tray had only just recently been implemented. Earlier versions of chicago only had the "Tray as folder" and looked like the above screen shot. In these versions, all task switching  was done through the Task Manager which performed the functions of the modern Task Bar. This explains why the functionality of the Win 9x Task Manager was greatly enhanced from Windows 3.1 yet in Windows 95 it is rarely even used.

Files and links can be placed on the desktop.

The way you create links (shortcuts) is different. To create a shortcut you right click on a file and click "Link" then right click on the place you want to create the shortcut and select "link here".

The New Folder option does not seem to work and other new items can not be created from this menu.

Interestingly the right click menus on the desktop include a "Task List" option that starts the task manager.

Here is an interesting graphic that appears when "help-about" is selected in some explorer windows. (it doesn't work in some places)

The Chicago Cabinet Explorer is the "big thing" in windows chicago and later versions of  windows. It finally enables users to manage files similar to the way the Macintosh and Lisa were doing it back in 1983.

There are several names used inconsistently for "Explorer" in this version of Chicago. In some places it is "Chicago Cabinet Explorer", "Cabinet Explorer", "Chicago Explorer", just "Explorer", or "Windows Explorer".   There seems to be no relation to the compressed "Cabinet" archive files used by Windows 95 and later. In fact this version of Chicago is not compressed in to installation files. Since it is probably not clear to some people it also has nothing at all to with "Internet Explorer", which is not present at all in Chicago or the original Windows 95.

In this version of Chicago there is no Explorer.exe, it is instead a file called Cab32.exe. The documentation references a 16-bit Cabinet.exe that preceded the 32 bit version.

All the different folder views are present. The control panel is now an explorer window too but has some of the Windows 3.1 control panel items.

Printers and dial up also use a folder view. Apparently this had only just been completed as the documentation included warns to use the old Print Manager instead, but using that from control panel actually displays a message to use the printers folder instead.

Surprisingly the network is explorable with Cabinet Explorer.

"Find" is activated from the second button on tray. It mostly works like final version but there aren't any tabs for advanced search options.

The enhanced help system is present in chicago but most of the new help topics are not present.

This version of Chicago is bundled with most of the Windows 3.1 accessories such as Card file, Terminal, Write, and Paint.

The "System" control panel, and the "Desktop" control panel.

The Desktop Properties does not yet include the tab for the color appearances. Also note the diamond radio buttons.

The Drive Properties control panel and an early device manager.

Chicago, and therefore Windows 95, despite what some people believe, was built on top of Windows 3.1. Here it really shows through. This is the same networking subsystem from Windows 3.11 for work groups. It even uses the same network drivers. For a comparison see this windows 3.11 screen shot

The TCP/IP support seems to be incomplete as it does not have DHCP or working DNS support and winsock seems to be  broken or incomplete. It is enough to access remote file shares though.

Chicago includes its own version of MS-DOS that it runs on top of. It tries to hide the fact it is DOS by combining and renaming the "MSDOS.SYS" and "IO.SYS" files to "WINBOOT.SYS".

Here is another interesting feature that got dumped. Here is an application called "WinPad" that appears to be a personal scheduler. From what I can tell this was supposed to be used in portable devices but was too bloated for the time.

Instead of "WordPad" chicago has "WritePad" which appears to be an early version of WordPad.

Pressing ctrl-alt-delete produces this message. Is that you clippy?

Most modern 32 bit apps won't run, but some 16 bit ones will. Note that since Winsock doesn't work this will only browse local files.

Shutting down is a little different. There is no reboot or restart option here. When it shuts down it actually exits to DOS but displays a graphical shutdown screen over it.

One more thing... I found this graphic in a file called SYSLOGO.RLE. An earlier boot screen I guess. Interesting and weird.

Microsoft Windows "Chicago" beta-1
screen shots

Microsoft's Chicago Beta-1 operating system from around May 1994. 

Interesting things:

  • Some screen shots appear to be from earlier versions of chicago than others.
  • We can add another name to the "Inbox","Exchange" (client), "Windows messaging" confusion - it was originally called "Info Center".
  • Some versions of the start menu had an arrow on them indicating which direction the menu would open.
  • No icons or product name in main start menu yet.
  • Some controls still do not have 3d appearance. 
  • There are different icons in many places.
  • Diamond shaped option buttons.
  • Many dialogs rearranged in the final version.
  • No mention of including any web browser!

The Desktop: Neat, Clean, and Logical

After you boot into Chicago, you are presented with the new Chicago desktop (see Figure below).  Itís neat and clean with only a few graphical objects on the screen.  Itís like moving into a new office before you have the chance to really get it messy.

Figure 5.  The Chicago Desktop

The simplicity of the desktop appeals to all usersí sense of cleanliness but also serves to focus the novice user on the essentials:

  • Taskbar.  Quickly start a program from the Start Button.  Easily switch tasks.
  • My Computer:  Makes browsing your PC logical and easy.
  • Network Neighborhood.  In the world of mapped drives and complex interfaces, users are unable to browse the network.  Chicagoís Network Neighborhood makes browsing networks possible and easy, independent of the network provider (such as, Windows NT Advanced Server, NetWare, or Chicago itself).
  • Info Center.  Optionally installed.  Gives the user a single place to go to access all MAPI-provided information (such as, Mail, Microsoft At Worktm faxing).

The Chicago Taskbar: Home Base

More than any other feature, the Taskbar exemplifies the order of magnitude improvement in ease of use and learnability of the Chicago UI.  It is the anchor of the UI.  Its mission is to make 95% of what a typical user wants to do with the operating system easily accessible at all times.  An indicator of a great design is that it turns out to be much more than it was originally intended.  The Taskbar started out specifically as a novice user program launcher and task switcher.  However, its simplicity and power have turned out to be favorites of experienced windows users, and it has many more capabilities.

Figure 6.  The Chicago Taskbar

The two key features of the Taskbar are the Start Button and Push-button task switching.

The Start Button: Up and Running in Seconds

Usability tests on Windows 3.1 show that it takes a brand new Windows user an average of nine minutes to open "Write".  With Chicago, opening Wordpad takes a new user an average of three minutes.  If only the users that launched Wordpad via the Start Button (rather than by other means) are counted the average time to launch drops below one minute!  The main reason for this dramatic 3x-9x speed improvement is the Start Button.  Without ever having to know about double clicking, complex hierarchies, or program manger groups, a beginning Chicago user can quickly launch a program and get to work.

Figure 7.  The Chicago Start Button

However, the Start button is much more than a super-efficient program launcher.

  • Programs.  During Setup the user is asked to select his or her most often used programs.  These programs are placed in the Programs menu of the Start Button.  In the future the user can easily change the programs that appear on this menu by selecting Taskbar Settings right from the Start Button.  For upgrades, all of their Windows 3.1 program groups are converted to folders within the programs folder and are accessible from the Start Button.
  • Documents.  The Documents menu of the Start button contains a list of the last 15 documents the user opened.  It provides very quick access to the most recently edited files.  This helps prevent time-consuming and frustrating browsing and helps people begin to think of their work in terms of documents ("document-centricity"), rather than applications.
  • Settings.  Gives quick access to the Control Panel, the Printers folder, and the Fonts Folder.  It also allows the user to customize the Taskbar itself (such as, what programs to include in Start Programs menu) to suit personal working preferences.
  • Find.  Find is a new feature of Chicago that goes far beyond File Managerís File Search feature in Windows 3.1.  Searches do need not conform to the *.* searching syntax, and criteria such as last modification date, size of file, and full text can now be used.  More on Find in "Power" below.
  • Help Topics.  Help has been overhauled for usability in Chicago and is easily accessible from the Start menu.  See "Help" topic later in this section for details.
  • Run.  Provides enhanced command-line type functionality from the Start Button.
  • Shutdown.  Allows for easily accessible and safe shutdown, restart, and logoff.


Task Switching Made Simple From the Taskbar

Novices need powerful features presented to them in a very simple and compelling way, otherwise these features will not be used.  Research on active Windows users shows that only 27% of general Windows users frequently use more than one application at a time and only 20% frequently use ALT+TAB task switching.  These powerful features of Windows 3.1 are simply not discoverable.

The objective of the Taskbar is to make switching among multiple applications as simple as changing channels on a television set.  Every new window that is opened automatically gets a button on the Taskbar.  To change tasks, all the user must do is go to the Taskbar and select the desired channel.  No more minimized program icons, no more disappearing windows.  No matter where the user is, he or she can see all of his or her active tasks simply by looking at the Taskbar, the Windows TV guide.

Task Buttons re-size automatically depending on the number of active tasks.  Should the buttons get too small to be useful the user can custom configure the Taskbar.  In fact, there are a host of Windows Taskbar configuration options that allow the user to configure it to fit his or her needs including:

  • Reposition.  The Windows Taskbar can be dragged to any perimeter position on the screen.
  • Re-size.  The width of the Windows Taskbar can be widened by dragging the inside edge.
  • Auto Hide.  The Windows Taskbar can be hidden from the screen and made appear only when the mouse hits the screen edge by selecting Settings, Taskbar from the Start Button.

Also, noteworthy is the animation when a task is minimized into the Taskbar or maximized from the Taskbar.  It helps new users understand "where" a program goes when it is minimized.

An Easier Model for File Management and Browsing

File management and browsing in Windows 3.1 was not intuitive.  Fewer than 55% of general Windows users regularly use the File Manager.  For novice users the File Manger is especially confusing and intimidating.

Figure 8.  Browsing My Computer

New Windows and Large Icons Work for those new to Windows

Designing a discoverable and comfortable model for browsing and file management for the novice user has been a priority for the UI design team because of the observed difficulties with Windows 3.1.  Several significantly different designs have been tested and thrown out.  In the course of this testing the design team made a few basic discoveries about file management and browsing:

  • Exposed hierarchies are intimidating and unintuitive.
  • Dual-pane views (hierarchy on the left, contents on the right) are also intimidating and unintuitive.  Novices have difficulty understanding the connection between the logical tree hierarchy on the left and the contents pane on the right.
  • Object-Oriented UI is great for basic tasks, but not for complex ones.  There exists a general belief that the more object oriented a UI is the easier it is for the user.  This is an appealing theory, but in real life this is not the case.  Direct manipulation of screen objects and logical resulting behaviors are important for basic functionality (such as, dragging a file from a folder to the desktop).  However, advanced direct manipulation features such as dragging a file to a printer icon, are not intuitive.  Intuitively, users understand selecting an object with the mouse then browsing menus or buttons for actions to perform on that object.
  • Large icon views are much more comfortable than list views.
  • A noviceís ability to find what he is looking for and feeling comfortable and "grounded" along the way are the defining characteristics of a good browsing experience.  Efficiency and speed are less important.

The "My Computer" default browsing model is the result of all of this design, testing, and learning.  A folder or drive can be opened by double clicking or selecting it and choosing File Open.  The default browsing model brings up a new window in large icon view.  To many advanced users this behavior seems cumbersome.  Why not open in list view?  Why create a new window, it just clutters up my screen?  Why not open to a dual pane view?  Itís much more efficient for me.  Why not turn the Toolbar on by default?  All of these models and more were tested thoroughly and discarded (as the default configuration) because they caused confusion and stress among novices.  Novices respond best when presented only with essential information and when they can easily "get back" to where they just were.

Note Multiple configuration options are available to experienced users in View Options.

Chicago has a very powerful dual-pane browsing application for Experienced users called the Explorer, which is likely how you, as an experienced user, will prefer to browse.  The Explorer will be covered in "Power" below.  Additionally, the File Manager can be run for backwards compatibility.

New Capabilities in the Default Browsing Model

New capabilities of the default browsing model should not be overlooked in this discussion of simplicity.  Folders can be created within folders.  Files and folders respond very logically to being dragged and dropped.  Files and folders can be cut, copied, and pasted just like text and objects within applications.  Views can be customized by the user and each window "remembers" how the user last configured it, so that the next time it opens it is in the userís favorite view.  The best way to discover the capabilities of the default browsing model is to play with it yourself, or better yet, find a novice user and watch him use it.


Name Files in English with Long Filenames

By far, the number one most requested feature since Microsoft has been in the operating system business is long filenames.  The usability win by eliminating the need to conform to the 8.3 naming convention is obvious and large.  To ensure backwards compatibility with the universe of existing MS-DOS and Win16 applications, extensions have not been eliminated, just hidden from view by default.

Figure 9.  Chicago long filename

Additionally, files can be renamed in place in Chicago by selecting the file, clicking on the filename, and typing a new name.  The hidden file extension is not affected by renaming the file.  Files can also be renamed from within the new Chicago common dialogs (including File Open and  Save).


Network Neighborhood and Networking Accessibility

This section will discuss how the Chicago client makes browsing networks possible and easy, independent of the network provider (such as, Windows NT Advanced Server, Netware, or Chicago itself).  For more details about Chicagoís networking capabilities, see the section called "Chicago Networking and Systems Management."

The Network Neighborhood icon, shown in the figure below, sits on the desktop and logically separates for the user the place to go to browse resources not on "My Computer".  The user can easily browse the network via the Network Neighborhood just as if he or she were browsing his or her hard disk.

Figure 10.  Network Neighborhood desktop icon in Chicago

  • The Network Neighborhood is also configured by the administrator to display, at the top level only those PCs, servers, and printers that are in the userís immediate workgroup.  This insulates the user from the vastness of large corporate networks.  However, if the user wants to browse the larger network, this can be done by opening "Entire Network" from within the Network Neighborhood.  This was not possible prior to Chicago.  When a user browses servers, network connections are being made without ever having "mapped" a drive.


  • System-wide support for UNC pathnames makes obsolete the unnecessary process of "mapping" drives (assigning new drive letters to a specific network resource).  This  technology allows the natural network browsing observed through the Network Neighborhood.  UNC pathname support allows a whole host of usability improvements of which network browsing is just one.


  • The "Network" Control Panel tool consolidates all networking configuration in one location.  Solves difficulty of configuring Windows networking under Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups 3.x.
  • Easy drive mapping is also available in Chicago.  There is a Map Network Drive button on the Explorer and browsing window toolbars.  Also available via right-click on "My computer" for power users.  Mapped drives appear as persistent connections in "My Computer".
  • Networking and mobility are intrinsic to the Chicago UI.  The Chicago UI was designed from the ground up with networking and remote access in mind.  For example, when a file copy detects that the copy is being performed over a slow-link (modem connection), the copy dialog itself includes an "estimated time to completion" clock.
  • Networking integration with new common dialogs (including File Open and  File Save).  Full exploitation of new common dialogs throughout the system will not be implemented until Beta-2.  However, key to the great leap in usability of new common dialogs observed in the labs, is tight integration with networking.  From new common dialogs, the Network Neighborhood can be browsed just like My Computer.  Also, the majority of basic file management tasks can be performed from within common dialogs.

New Help Engine: Accessible and Useful Online Information

Online help has been completely re-tooled in Chicago.  It underwent extensive usability testing in the labs and the result is a significantly easier to use and learn help system.  Additionally, customizing and developing Windows help files by ISVs and corporate customers has been made dramatically easier.  A brief description of the major features of new Chicago Help follows.

  • Simplified interface.  Help in Windows 3.1 was difficult to learn and use.  It had three main functions:  Contents, Search, and Glossary.  The Contents view was not well organized and presented and there was some ambiguity about which of the functions to use when.  Chicago behaves much more intuitively and more like a real reference book.  It only has two Tabs:  Contents and Index.
  • The "Contents" Tab is organized like a bookís table of contents.  Top level "chapters" (iconically represented by a book) are displayed and can be drilled down on for sub topics (iconically represented as a page).  Many chapters also have "Tips and Tricks" subsections.  These have proved popular in lab testing.
  • Help Topics are short.  They all fit in one small screen to keep users from having to scroll through large, complicated help topics

Figure 11.  Help Shortcut button

  • Shortcut Buttons make using Help advice simple.  New Shortcut buttons are the most popular feature of Help.  Some Help topics contain these shortcuts that take the user right to the area of Chicago that it is referencing.  For example, a user who is searching for help on how to change the clock on the PC can "jump" right to the Clock Control Panel tool, right from within Help. (see figure above).
  • Whatís This?  From within all Chicago Control Panel tools, a new "?" icon appears on the upper-right of the Title Bar.  By selecting this the userís cursor changes to a "?" and can be dropped on any target in the dialog box.  This brings up a short description of whatever was selected.  "Whatís this?" can also be accessed by right-clicking within Control Panel tools.

More "Document-centric"

OLE 2 introduced document-centricity with in-place editing of objects.  The application window changes and the document stays the same.  This makes the software begin to work the way people work, rather than vice-versa.

Figure 12.  New Word document template

The Chicago UI picks up on the concept of document-centricity in several subtle, but powerful ways including:

  • A window is just an open view of an object.  When the user opens a folder from anywhere in the UI, a new window opens up.  The title of the new window is the same as the name under the folder before the user opened it.  This is logical.  In the next generation of applications written for Chicago, ISVs will follow this same model.  A Word for Chicago document called "My document" is double-clicked from the anywhere in the UI, and a new window (Word itself) is opened entitled "My Document-Microsoft Word".  This is partially implemented in Beta-1 with Wordpad and Paint.
  • "New" templates from within folders and in the Explorer.  From within any folder in Chicago or from the desktop, new files can be created in place by selecting File New and then choosing a file type.  This is very convenient for managing files based on projects rather than the whim of an application.


Wizards: Your Guide to Powerful Capabilities

Started in Microsoftís Applications Group, Wizards are a proven tool that make it easy for all classes of user to take advantage of powerful but complex functionality.  A series of questions are posed to the user in a friendly and straight-forward way.

Figure 13.  New Device Installation Wizard Walks User Through Installing a Printer

Chicago uses Wizards throughout the system, including:

  • Add Printer wizard in the Printers Folder
  • New Device wizard in the Control Panel
    Remote Access setup wizard in the Network Neighborhood


Experienced users glean many of the same benefits from the Start Button and the Chicago Taskbar as do beginners-quickly launch a new program, quickly task switch, etc.  However, experienced users need more.  They need a powerful way to browse and manage file hierarchies be they local or somewhere else.  They need to be able to customize the UI to suit their needs and tastes.  They need to be able to take shortcuts to get tasks done more quickly and efficiently.  They need to be able to do more.  The new Chicago UI enables the experienced user to do more, as you will see in the coming pages and during youíre own explorations.

The Explorer: Power Browsing and File Management

Figure 14.  The Chicago Explorer

One Chicago developer describes the Chicago Explorer as the "File Manger on steroids".  It is powerful, flexible, efficient and extensible.  It also solves many fundamental problems with the Windows 3.1 File Manager, like having to have a new window for every drive.  For many Chicago power users the Explorer will be the primary interface.  The best way to understand the Explorer is to experience it firsthand, however, here is an overview of its major features:

  • Single view on a world of information.  The Explorer is the eyes of the Chicago PC.  With it, the user can view the whole of Chicagoís single, unified namespace (all resources, local or connected) from 10,000 feet or zoom down to 10 inches.  "My Computer" and the "Network Neighborhood" can be browsed and managed, and, if the MAPI 1.0 subsystem and Chicago Mail are installed, the "Infocenter" can be browsed giving access to mail, shared folders, MS At-Work faxing and any installed MAPI service providers (such as, CompuServe email).
  • Flexible and Customizable.  Via the Explorer toolbar and View menu, the user can view folder contents in several ways including large icon, small icon, list and details views.  Folder contents can easily be sorted by name, size, type, and modification date by selecting the column title.  The user can also map network drives from the Explorer toolbar.
  • Rich information about objects in Details View.  Details view provides a wealth of context-sensitive information about folder contents.  For example:
    • Files retain their identifying icons
    • Drive sizes and free space  (even mapped network drives) are reported in My Computer
    • Descriptions of Control Panel Tools
    • Jobs in queue in the Printers folder
    • Comments on others computers in the Network Neighborhood
  • All of the powerful right-click and Properties features described in the following two topics are supported in the Explorer.


Shortcuts are an abstract but extremely powerful tool for increasing efficiency and are especially useful in a networked environment.  A user can create a shortcut to any object (such as file, program, network folder, Control Panel tool, disk drive, and so on) in the Chicago UI and place it anywhere else in the UI or in an application.  When this shortcut is opened the object that the shortcut is "pointing" to is opened.  For example, a shortcut to "My network folder" could be created and dropped on my desktop.  When the shortcut is opened, it actually opens my network folder which is out on some network server somewhere.  Shortcuts are represented just like regular icons, except that in the lower left corner there is a small "jump" arrow, as shown in Figure 15.

Figure 15.  Chicago Shortcut Icon

A shortcut can be deleted without affecting the object to which it points.  A shortcut can be created by selecting an object and choosing Create Shortcut from the File menu or from the right mouse click context menu.  If shortcuts are created on an object that was created since Chicago was installed, then Chicago keeps track of renames.  This means you can create a shortcut to \\Server\Share\Public Folder and put it on your desktop.  Then if you or anyone else renames the network folder, the shortcut will still work regardless of the fact that the name of the folder it points to has changed.  You can also rename shortcuts themselves.

Uses for shortcuts are virtually limitless, but some common powerful uses for shortcuts include:

  • Shortcuts in the Programs Folder.  Shortcuts are an extension of the concept behind the icons that used to appear in the Windows 3.1 Program Manager.  They simply pointed to an .EXE file somewhere in the file system.  In Chicago, the icons that appear in the Start Programs menu also appear as shortcuts in the Programs folder, which can be found by selecting Settings Programs from the Start Button.  This way the user can keep shortcuts to all of his favorite programs in one central place, regardless of where the programs are actually installed.  When a shortcut is added or deleted from the programs folder, likewise it is added or deleted from the Start Programs menu.
  • Shortcuts on the Desktop.  Power users will create shortcuts to commonly accessed files, programs, drives, folders, and utilities right on their desktops.  This is especially powerful with network resources, because no complicated browsing or drive letter mapping is required to access network folders.
  • Embedded Shortcuts in applications.  For example, a user can drag a shortcut to a large file sitting on the network somewhere into a mail message.  When the message recipient double clicks the shortcut the network file will be opened.  This is much more efficient than embedding the actual file in a mail message because it is much smaller and it cuts down on version proliferation.


Properties Everywhere

Property sheets are an all-pervasive feature in Chicago.  All objects in the UI carry context sensitive properties that can be accessed and customized by selecting File Properties or by right-clicking.  Good, consistent, easily accessible properties sheets have been a favorite of power user testers to date.  Properties will be illustrated through a series of "Try This" tips.

Try This-Rename Your Hard Drive in Disk Properties

  • From the Explorer or My Computer" right-click to select your hard disk.
  • Choose Properties.
  • Type a new name in the "Label" box.  Choose OK.
  • Choose View Refresh.

Figure 16.  Chicago drive properties


Right-Clicking Everywhere

Right-clicking, like properties, is another all pervasive, context-sensitive feature of Chicago.  (Right-clicking refers to clicking the secondary mouse button because most right-handed people set their mouse options to use the left button as primary and the right as secondary.)  Usability tests have shown that in general, right-clicking is not a feature that novices discover or remember, therefore, the vast majority of functions performed on the right-click can also be performed by selecting the corresponding menu commands.  However, right-clicking as a short cut for the most common actions to perform on an object has proven to be another very popular power user feature.  The power of right-clicking is best illustrated through a series of "Try This" tips.


Control Panel: The Consolidated Control Center

The objective of the Control Panel special folder in Chicago is to consolidate into one location, all command, control, and configuration functions.  A problem with Windows 3.1 was that these functions were difficult to find, use, and remember (such as, Windows Setup to change video resolution).  The UI team has striven to create distinct and memorable visuals for all important functions and offer previews where appropriate.  Individual Control Panel tool functionality will be covered in the section to which it pertains (such as, "Network" in the "Chicago networking and Systems Management" section of this guide).

Figure 18.  Explorer larger icon view of the Control Panel

There is one Control Panel tool, however, that pertains to customization of the UI itself, "Display".  Display gives the user total control over the configuration of the Chicago UI allowing for personalization.  Its four tabs are:

  • Background.  Allows pattern and wallpaper configuration and preview.
  • Screen Saver.  Allows screen saver configuration and preview.
  • Appearance.:  Allows configuration and preview of all of Chicagoís UI metrics (fonts, sizes, colors, and so on).
  • Settings.  Allows configuration of monitor resolution and color palette size.

Figure 19.  Chicago Display Properties

Find Files or Folders: Easily Location

Figure 20.  Chicago's Find Files or Folders

Figure 21.  Search in Windows 3.1

A powerful new Find utility is built into Chicago.  It goes far beyond the minimal functionality of the File Mangerís Search utility in Windows 3.1.  Features include:

  • Partial name searches.  Type "rep" in the Find Files Named window and all files and folders with rep in the name will be found.
  • Search on "Last Modification Date".  Files can be searched on last modification date.  Therefore, the user can perform searches like:  "Find all Word documents modified in the last 3 days".
  • Full text search.  Full text of documents can also be searched.
  • Search results save.  Complex or useful searches can be saved.
  • File management from search results pane.  Rename files or look at file properties all from within the results pane just as if the user were in the Explorer.

Printers Folder: Consolidated Printer Control

The Chicago Printers Folder offers one stop shopping for printer management and configuration.  It replaces the troublesome Print Manger and Printers Control Panel Tool from Windows 3.1.

Figure 22.  Chicago Printers Folder

Figure 23.  Printer Configuration from Windows 3.1

Font Settings: More Powerful Font Management and Preview

Figure 24.  Chicago Fonts Settings
New font management capabilities are only partially integrated into the UI in Beta-1.  Going forward, the Fonts Folder will gain in power and accessibility.  However, the Font Settings tool in Beta-1 is significantly improved over Windows 3.1.


Figure 30.  Properties for a File, Showing New File Attributes

Figure 32.  Virtual Memory Settings in Chicago are Simplified Over Windows 3.1


Figure 33.  Hierarchy of Registry as Displayed by the Registry Editor


Figure 34.  Local Reboot Dialog Box in Chicago

Figure 37.  Property Sheet for Configuring an MS-DOSĖBased Application

Figure 39.  With TrueType Font Support, Users Can Scale an MS-DOS Window

Figure 42.  Select Device Dialog Box for Supported Display Adapters

Figure 43.  Properties for Display Dialog Box


Figure 44.  Screen Saver Settings for Energy Saving Monitor Features


Figure 45.  Properties for Mouse Dialog Box


Figure 71.  Sample Modem Property Sheet

Figure 72.  Dial Assistant Property Sheet for Configuring Location Information

The Info Center

As described earlier, the Chicago shell features a single namespace that represents all of the data accessible locally and on the network.  Through the new user interface, new users are protected from the complexities of a large hierarchy of information by Chicago's simple folder metaphor.  Advanced users can choose to make full use of this powerful namespace by using the Explorer tool to see the entire hierarchy at once.  The Chicago namespace is initially divided into three fundamental "places":

  • My Computer-all of the files, documents stored physically on the user's PC.
  • Network Neighborhood-all of the files and documents that reside on other PCs on the network.
  • Info Center-email messages, forms, documents, and folders that have been stored by some information service, such as an email system or workgroup application.  Items in the Info Center needn't be MS-DOS files on a hard disk-the actual storage mechanism can be an email system or a workgroup database server.

Messaging and information services "plug in" to the Info Center.  It provides a common interface in Windows where users access all of the services they use.  Users can choose to view the Info Center resources as regular folders (the default), or they may "explore" the Info Center.  The figure below shows the Info Center opened with the Explorer, in this case open to the user's Inbox folder.

Figure 79.  Chicago Desktop Showing Info Center

Within the Info Center, the user can:

  • Read and Send Email on a number of different email systems, while maintaining a single inbox for all incoming messages.  Drivers will be available from a wide range of vendors, including LAN-based systems, host-based systems, and various online information services.
  • Send and Receive Faxes electronically with the use of a fax modem supported by the Microsoft At Work Fax software.  Faxes are sent just like any email message, and incoming faxes are received in the same inbox with other email.
  • Access Workgroup Servers including email, shared databases, forms packages, document stores, and workflow systems with the use of appropriate MAPI drivers.
  • Easily Move Messages and Documents back and forth between folders.  Users can store information the way they want to-email messages can be mixed with word-processing documents and spreadsheets.  The Windows shell provides a common user interface and toolset for managing these different types of information.
  • Organize All Types of Information for most effective retrieval and use.  Folders stored under the Info Center allow the user to create customized views of their information-users can choose which fields (or "properties") to display in these folders, and how to sort and filter the stored items.

Info Center Components

Chicagoís Info Center system is the part of the Windows operating system that allows Windows to handle all these different types of information.  It consists of a number of components:

  • A Set Of Basic MAPI Drivers.  Chicago includes MAPI drivers for Microsoft Mail as well as Microsoft at Work Fax services. Additional drivers will be available from 3rd parties.
  • The Info Center "Viewer".  This is an advanced, extensible messaging and workgroup client that is built into the Chicago shell.  It can be the front-end to any email or information system that has appropriate MAPI drivers - including Microsoft Mail.  It can be easily customized to display advanced features when connected to an advanced messaging system.  It includes an OLE 2.0-compatible rich text editor used for composing and reading messages, as well as powerful custom views, searching, and filtering.
  • Common Address Book.  The Windows Address Book contains not only email addresses, but names, phone/fax numbers, mailing addresses, and other personal contact information.  Through the open MAPI interfaces, it is accessible from a wide variety of applications.  Through the use of MAPI drivers , the Address Book is also the user interface for corporate email and information services directories.  The Windows Address Book can store addresses for multiple email systems at the same time.
  • Personal Information Store.  The Windows Messaging System includes a sophisticated local "database" that allows users to store messages, forms, documents, and other information in a common place.  Its rich organizing capabilities include using long filenames, plus sorting and filtering on various fields of the stored objects.  Users can create and save any number of custom views on the information in their personal store.  It also functions as the userís Mailbox-including a universal Inbox and Outbox that work with any connected messaging system.
  • MAPI 1.0.  The core system components that connect the Viewer and other applications to the various information services.  MAPIís namesake component is the Messaging Application Programming Interface - the set of services that any mail-enabled or workgroup application can make use of.  MAPI also defines a Service Provider Interface (SPI) that allows drivers (or "providers") to be written for many different messaging and workgroup services.


A Chicago user can install a combination of drivers so that their Info Center can be used for multiple email or workgroup systems at the same time.  To make it easy to use different information services, Chicago allows users to set up profiles.  A userís profile specifies which messaging and information services the user will have access to, along with preference information and settings.  In the example below, the user has set up a profile that contains both CompuServe Mail as well as Microsoft Mail.  This user will be able to send and receive on both systems simultaneously-while sharing a common inbox and address book. Profiles are stored in the Chicago Registry on a per-user basis.

Figure 81.  Configuring a Profile with Multiple Services

A Quick Tour

To best understand the role the Info Center would play in a userís day-to-day access to electronic mail and online services, a sample scenario is presented as follows.

To read their email in Chicago, a user would first log onto Windows.  With many of the MAPI drivers under no separate logon is required for the mail system-it has been unified with the "system" logon.  For simple access to the userís common tasks, Chicago has a Start button.  One of the items on the Start button is "View Inbox."

This immediately takes the user to the inbox (see Figure 79 above) where he or she can read any new mail received.  Users can compose new messages or choose to reply to existing ones.  There is also a "Compose New Message" item on the Start Menu.  The Info Center includes an OLE 2.0-compatible rich text message editor that lets the user get the point across in an effective way using a combination of fonts, font styles, and font attributes.

Figure 82.  Rich Text Message Editor

Note that this same message editor can be used with any of the back-end messaging systems that have MAPI drivers available.  If the underlying messaging system doesnít support rich text, the message can be sent as plain text to maintain compatibility.  Or, if the destination reader also uses the Info Center Viewer the rich text information can be automatically encapsulated and sent as a binary file.

The user can address this message to any user on any of the email systems to which he or she is connected.  Additionally, the message may be sent as a Fax by choosing a recipient from their address book who has a Fax address, or simply entering [FAX:phone#] on the TO: line.

Messages received in the inbox can be saved for future reference, if the user so chooses.  The user simply drags the messages into any of the other folders in the mailbox (message stores)-or the user can drag the message to any folder on their local or network hard drives.  In the latter case, the message becomes a .MSG file-but maintains all of the messaging-specific fields such as Sender, Recipient, and so on.

Information Stores

Sets of folders in the Info Center are also called Information Stores.  Users can also drag items from the file system into information store folders.  Information Stores go beyond the basic MS-DOS file system in many ways.  They can be physically stored in local files, or represent a database on a network server.  One of the differences between the file system and an information store is the set of fields -- called object properties -- that are stored along with each item.  Object properties include not only messaging-related properties like Sender, Recipients, Date Received, Subject, and so on-but also custom properties including:

  • Fields Defined In Custom Forms.  MAPI provides an open method for forms developers to register their forms and related data fields.  Once registered, these fields become object properties suitable for searching, categorizing, and so on.  This facility is available to any forms package or development tool.
  • Standard OLE 2.0 Document Properties.  Applications that are compatible with the OLE 2.0 object standard can choose to store their documents in a standard compound storage format.  Compound documents of this type have a number of pre-defined standard properties, such as Author, Title, Keywords, Comments, and Number of Pages.  Users can simply drag a compound document into an information store, and the document properties are automatically extracted so they can be used in views, searching, and so on.

The figure below shows the OLE properties of a compound document that has been dragged into a folder in the userís information store:

Figure 83.  OLE Document Properties

  • Custom OLE 2.0 Document Properties.  Many applications allow their users to define custom properties; for example, Case Number for a law firm or Total for an expense report.  Like the pre-defined properties above, these will be available in the views, filters, searching, and so on.

The data in a Personal Information Store is kept in a single file, making it easy for companies to distribute rich documents and messages in a standard format.  Every Chicago user then has a built-in tool (Info Center Viewer) that can browse, search, and organize the information in rich ways.  Personal Information Stores can be encrypted and password-protected for security.  Besides the Personal Information Store, the MAPI architecture makes it possible to plug in many different types of servers and databases as information stores.

The Info Center - Summary

The Info Center architecture then, provides Chicago with a single toolset and user interface for accessing, exchanging, and organizing information-regardless of data type, including E-mail, faxes, documents, and others.  Through MAPI, it provides an extremely open platform-making the Windows desktop the "place to live" regardless of the back-end services in use.

International Language Solution: Multilingual Content Support

Chicago resolves many problems related to international language issues by integrating multilingual content support in the core of the operating system.  Chicago also offers national language support to software developers as a series of APIs that are part of the Win32 API set.

What is Multilingual Content?

Multilingual content support is the ability to display and edit text of various languages and scripts in a single document.  Multilingual content support is a core feature in the Chicago product and will be supported in the next major release of Windows NT (code named "Cairo").

Multilingual content support in an application has two major benefits.  The first is that users who need to deal with content in multiple languages and scripts and exchange these documents with users on other language systems can do so.  This is an important feature within the European Union, for example, where Greek- and Latin-based languages must coexist in documents.  The second benefit is that an application which supports multilingual content will support the native content of any market into which it is sold.  A multilingual application is a great application for the world.

Switching Between Languages and Keyboards the Easy Way

Chicago allows the user to add support for multiple keyboard layouts to match different international conventions.  In Control Panel, the Keyboard icon provides the ability to configure the system to support the preferred keyboard layouts as shown in Figure 92.

Figure 92.  Keyboard Properties Dialog Showing International Layout Support

Under Windows 3.1, to change the keyboard layout a user would go to Control Panel each time he or she wanted to change to a different keyboard format.  Chicago makes this even easier.  Figure 93 shows a sample legacy word processing document that illustrates the ability to integrate text using the Arial font in different languages within the same document.  The language identifier in the status area of the Taskbar allows the user to easily switch the system language between the available language options.  A Chicago application that uses NLS APIs would incorporate the ability to switch the preferred language directly on the toolbar of the application.

Figure 93.  Chicago Makes it Easy to Switch Between Different Languages to Create Multilingual Documents

Multilingual Extensions to the ChooseFont Dialog Box

The ChooseFont common dialog is now enhanced to include a list box showing the character set scripts supported by a particular font. This allows for proper representation of fonts for a given language.

Figure 94 shows an early representation of the new ChooseFont common dialog box, illustrating the integration of font script selection options.  The scripts list shows the script names for each of the character sets covered by the font selected in the Font control.  The preview window displays a font sample that is dependent on the script selected, as well as the other font attributes.  The sample preview string is specific to the character set chosen by the user, showing what each of the different scripts look like.

Figure 94.  Chicago Displays the Available Font Selections for a Given Font Script Chosen by the User

Internationally-aware applications can support multilingual font selection by using the ChooseFont common dialog box (thus allowing users to select fonts) and by recognizing the extensions to the ChooseFont data structures in Chicago.  Even WindowsĖbased applications-which, though not originally designed for Chicago, still support formatted text, but not multilingual messages-may gain some basic level of support for multilingual content.  If an application uses the ChooseFont common dialog box, it benefits from the enhancements, allowing users to select from the full range of character sets and fonts configured in the system.  As long as the application saves the complete logical font data structure representation for fonts, an existing WindowsĖbased application can get by without being aware that the font change a user has made includes a possible change of character set.  (Applications do generally save this data, at least when saving text in their native format.  Fewer save this when writing to interchange formats such as RTF.)

Multilingual Support for Exchanging Information Via the ClipBoard

A good multilingual-aware application should can exchange multilingual content with other aware applications and can exchange appropriate flat text to others, within the limitations of the ASCII text formats.  Chicago provides special support in the data exchange APIs to pass language information along with the rich text data.

OLE 2.0 Functionality

Users are getting and using more applications per PC than ever before.  In 1992, InfoCorp reported the average number of applications purchased per desktop running the Windows operating system increased to more than 7 programs, up from an average of 3.4 programs for customers using the MS-DOS* operating system in 1986.  People are not just acquiring more applications, they are using them together.  Research shows that users cite the ability to move and share information among applications as the most important reason for using windows applications.

Users who learn one Windows application find it easy to learn a second or third.  So, as users access several applications in the course of creating a compound document, theyíll feel comfortable with those applications.

The Solution for Application Integration

Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) 2.0 is a mechanism that allows applications to interoperate more effectively, thereby allowing users to work more productively.  Users of OLE 2.0 applications create and manage compound documents.  These are documents which seamlessly incorporate data, or objects, of different formats.  Sound clips, spreadsheets, text, bitmaps are some examples of objects commonly found in compound documents.  Each object is created and maintained by its server application.  But through the use of OLE 2.0, the services of the different server applications are integrated.  Users feel as if a single application, with all the functionality of each of the server applications, is being used.  Users of OLE 2.0 enabled applications donít need to be concerned with managing and switching between the various server applications; they focus solely on the compound document and the task being performed OLE 2.0-based features.

Features of OLE 2.0

With OLE 2.0, Microsoft Chicago increases the degree of application integration available to any applications which take advantage of the services.  This gives users tangible benefits, allowing them to share data and functionality across applications, and to combine them as they please.  Because OLE 2.0 is based on an open industry-standard, users can extend their applications with additional third-party products, further expanding their choice and flexibility.
OLE 2.0 provides the following features to allow users to easily integrate information into multiple applications:

  • Cross-application drag-and-drop


    Users can drag-and-drop graphs, tables, and pictures directly onto slides, worksheets, and documents to mix text, data, and graphics into compound documents.  Using drag-and-drop is faster and more intuitive than using the Clipboard to cut and paste.

  • Visual editing


    With visual editing, the user can double-click an object to directly edit it while remaining in the original document.  For instance, double-click an embedded Microsoft Excel worksheet in a Word document, and the Microsoft Excel menus and toolbars automatically appear within the context of Word.  Unlike OLE 1.0, the user is not launched into a separate Microsoft Excel window to work on the spreadsheet data.


Drag-and-drop is a new and more intuitive way to move data between applications.  The most widely used way to transfer data between applications has been to use the Clipboard.  But this involves multiple steps; namely using the Copy operation, moving to the destination application, and using the Paste command.  A more effective way to move information-drag-and-drop-already exists within applications and, with OLE 2.0, it now works between applications, too.  The user simply selects an object in one application, drags it to its destination in another application and drops it into place.  Objects also can be dragged over the desktop to system resource icons such as printers and mailboxes, making it faster and easier to send, print, or share files.

Visual Editing

Visual editing makes revising a compound document faster, easier, and more intuitive.  For example, a Microsoft Excel worksheet thatís contained within a Word document (see Figure 96 below), can be double-clicked by the user.  The user then is able to interact with the Microsoft Excel worksheet right there, without switching to a different application or window.

Figure 96.  Sample OLE 2 Spreadsheet Object Embedded in a Word Processing Document

The menus and toolbars necessary to interact with the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet temporarily replace the existing menus and controls of Word.  Microsoft Excel, the application that is needed to edit or modify the spreadsheet, partially "takes over" the Word document window (see Figure 97 below).  When the user wants to work on the word processing portion of the document, the focus returns to Word, and the original Word menus and controls are restored.

Figure 97.  Activating OLE 2 Object Changes Menu Context

The advantage of visual editing is even greater for example, when users create compound Word documents including large numbers of objects created by different applications, such as Microsoft Excel worksheets and charts, PowerPoint graphics, sound and video clips, and so on.  Instead of switching back and forth among different windows to update the objects, the user is presented with a single document window in Word, providing a single location for editing and other interactions with the data.  Visual editing offers users a more "document-centric" approach, putting the primary focus on the creation and manipulation of information rather than on the operation of the environment and its applications.

Windows User Interface Style Guideline 4.0

As in previous version of Windows, one of the reasons why applications are easy to learn is the fact that they look and act alike.  With Chicago, Microsoft has taken great steps to improve the basic common controls that all applications can share.  These controls have evolved based on user feedback and extensive usability testing here at Microsoft.  Applications that use these controls provide the users with commonality and improved features-such as being able to create new folders in the Save As dialog box-without having to switch to the Explorer or File Manager.

Figure 98.  Save As Common Dialog

In the new Printer Properties dialog you can see examples of some of the new controls with make access to features even easier for users.  At the top of the dialog you can see tabs for "Paper," "Device Options," Graphics," and, in the case of the printer shown in Figure 99, "Postscript."  Clicking any tab presents the user with properties for that particular area.  Another new control available to all applications is the Spin Control next to the number of Copies.

Figure 99.  Sample Tabbed Dialog Box Property Sheet

The new Open Dialog allows the user to see long filenames, and navigate the entire PC, and connected network to look for files to open.

Figure 100.  Open Common Dialog

The new Open dialog also uses Tree Lists to allow the user to navigate through the hierarchy of the hard disks attached to the computer and through the network to which the computer is connected.

Figure 101.  Open Common Dialog Provides Easy Access to Network Resources

Figure 102 shows another new control that makes viewing and accessing hierarchical information even easier. This is a tree list control found in the property sheet for the Device Manager in the System section of Control Panel.  As users expand and collapse the tree, they can see information relevant to their topic of choice.

Figure 102.  Sample Tree List Control

Applications no longer have to include their own custom slider controls.  Figure 103 shows the new common slider control included in Chicago.

Figure 103.  Sample Slider Control

There are many new common controls, tool bar, status bar, column heading, tabs, slider, progress indicator, rich text control, list view, tree view...  and much more.  Great Chicago applications will use these new controls to make the users access consistent across applications and make the entire system much easier to use.

Long Filename Support

As you have seen by now, there is a much improved new shell for Chicago.  But the shell itself is only part of what is really here for users.  Now an application that takes advantage of this new shell support can offer their users long filenames and direct file viewing.  Long filename support means that documents no longer have to be limited to eight characters for names.  They now can have up to 255 characters.  Instead of  "23ISM_JB.doc", you can name a file "Status report July 23 regarding the ISM project for my boss Jim Bernstein"-a title that really tells you what the document is about.  Applications that support the Viewer capabilities in Chicago provide users with a quick and easy way to view their documents directly from the shell without launching the application.

Figure 104.  Chicago Applications Support Long Filenames

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Copyright © 2002 ōyvind Haugland
Sist endret:  25 mars 2017

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