Operating systems

Dinosaur Sighting: Microsoft Bob

67 comments
Andrea Borman
Andrea Borman

I have installed Microsoft Bob on my Windows 8 Release Preview and it works and so do all of the applications. I have also installed Bob on Windows 7 and Windows Vista and it works fine on those too. You must install and run it in compatibility mode for Windows 95.And to get it working,you must also copy all of the files including dill files from the MS Bob folder into the MS Bob Home folder and copy all of the dill files from MS Bob into each application folder.That is Mail,Letter etc. And then Bob works. I have 32 bit Windows by the way. So yes Bob does work on Windows 8,Windows Vista and Windows 7.Andrea Borman.

dullkit
dullkit

I'd like to work on Bob 2012. I talked to a worker at the Microsoft Museum (Redmond) in the 1990s and made a plea for them to display Bob. On a later visit there was the box! If you read the reviews for Bob, it worked good if you had a fast computer but Microsoft pushed it onto low end computers - Microsoft made the same mistake with Vista! Vista would have been better received if they hadn't pushed it onto computers that couldn't run it.

TBBrick
TBBrick

So the urban legend goes. Either first kid was a girl or Melissa pitched a fit, or both.

Mariner171
Mariner171

I remember Bob I didnt hate it, but I did think it was annoying.

Duggeek
Duggeek

MS Bob was, at best, a lighthearted attempt to reach a new audience. At its worst, it was a bloated, slow and unnecessary GUI decoration for a platform (and a generation of PC technology) that was already over-worked. Think about it, though... the GUI has been roughly the same for about 30 years now. Sure, a few shiny bits there and a pretty visual effect there... but it's the same. Did MS Bob kill innovation on the desktop at such a young age? Win7 has Aquos, but that was mostly a reaction to OSX. Virtual desktops are still desktops, and a 3-D stack of windows are still windows. I, for one, would like to see new desktop GUI paradigms. Go from "windows" to "rooms" ...or "planets" ...or "streets" ...or something else! Maybe MS Bob will never come again, (don't get me wrong, that's a good thing) but it seems we stopped at "desktop" and haven't really thought of any new ways to visualize the system. It seems that Bob may be able to teach us a lesson after all.

Zwort
Zwort

Ugh, how dire, and thank dog I didn't ever see this tiresome crud. When I think of Bob I think subgenius: http://www.subgenius.com/ "I'm outta here".

riverarm20
riverarm20

OK...I think I'll jump out the window now!

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

Broken Old Box A flashback to a faux pas ;-)

rzapolin
rzapolin

If you look at a biography of Bill Gates you will see who he credits with being the Microsoft employee who invented Bob. It was Melissa who became his wife.

eM DuBYaH
eM DuBYaH

Hmm, too bad I can't become a Microsoft Certified Professional in Bob!

pgupta7
pgupta7

Don't now why such sentiments on a program done more than 10 years ago. If you see this was a great attempt to bring user friendlyness and having a second home kind arrangement to have all the things which you typically use organized. We see advance versions of this concept now in so called applications as Google Lively and Second life. If's all about how you want to customize your own space. Thinking more about it , it was an effort to bring virtual world more closer to real world (as to where i think we are heading) and being the first attempt of this kind it was supposed to have a primitive interface as per today's standards. If we have to think in that perspective first MAC was ugly, after 10 years people will look at iPhone 3G and say ughh why people used that. Humans also look like apes millions of years ago. So keep the anti microsoft or apple sentiments away and think from the evaluation standpoint as to what new windows and macs have evolved to from being plane stupid. say after another 100 years this will look stupid.

jeslurkin
jeslurkin

Typical, over-graphicated, Microsoft elitism.

Phil Haney
Phil Haney

I see the only Office Assistant that survived is Dot. I kind of wish they would bring back Scuzz (Course, the one I miss, from when I actually used to use them, is Einstein). Oh well.....

ltullos
ltullos

Will it run on my OLPC XO?

t.rohner
t.rohner

I have never seen this before. I work with PC's since Dos 2.x. Maybe it was such a flop in the home market, it never made it across the pond... Anyway, i switch off almost all so called "wizzards". I used edlin, when nc wasn't at hand to edit config files in the dos times.

bnmiller2
bnmiller2

Looks like Mr. Gates thought we were all children with lots of cash to buy BOB. His thinking has not changed much in all these years. BOB looks like a childs computer game. Bill Miller

chiragc
chiragc

It is painful just to look at the screen shots.I only pity the testers of this program who actually didn't have a choice.

wbranch
wbranch

I'll be honest, while Bob might be a bit cutesy, there is something kind of cool about the concept of being able to interact with an OS in a format other than the typical windows. If it were done right, this might not be a bad idea, especially for users not as comfortable with computers.

seanferd
seanferd

And Melinda was the lead on the Bob project. Spooky! :0

fbotbox
fbotbox

after reading through all the posts i found this one the most interesting and the one to the point... After all we had with the same "desktop" on all systems, there should be an evolution to that. Or is really all the work in the world done at a desktop? btw thanks for this one... I still have a copy of that sitting on my shelf...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I shuddered when I saw it reappear, knowing some soul would be unable to resist adding to it and causing it to reappear on the active discussions list.

AressIndia.com
AressIndia.com

sure. We don't underestimate the efforts taken by the older programs. Someone has to start building things and later on the real thing comes. I think this was a good start and each program has its life span. Just like a living thing. Each program has to go out of curtain, and new things will replace it. Think in this direction then you will really enjoy new things as well as old things also. Although this older tool may not be useful now a days but it was pioneers for the new tools which we found in our life. This is not a question of old age thinking and modern age living. Thanks for the photograph. They are nice screen shots and bring back the memories of old days of IT.

macbill
macbill

I didn't see Windows until W95 - I spent 10 blissful years as a Mac user until forced to use the perversion of nature called Windoze. Based on the fact that I now use Windoze all day long, then run home to my purring Mac, I'd love to have Bob on my PC. Anything to get rid of those great MS messages, such as "Keyboard failure - strike F1 to continue..." Now THERE'S a stroke of pure intelligence, MS style. Bring back Bob - put him on my XP box. Once you know what's underneath, a little fun on top is not a bad thing.

fredeppy
fredeppy

My first experience with a desktop was at work. We had some of the old IBM PC's with the 2 full height 5.25" floppies, then we got real wild and they put 5.25 10meg HDD's in for us. Those were only glorified typewiters for most of us. Then came the day when I ventured into home computing. I bought an 8088 with 2 floppies, a 4 color cga monitor, and a dot matrix printer. The PC had no HDD, but I did get DOS 3.1 with it and 640k ram. The first upgrade I did, was a 30meg Hard Card, which I thought I could never fill. I used PFS First Choice and Printshop, plus a couple games. I ran the whole thing on a few small batch files I wrote in BASIC. Life was so much simpler. Now we have to lock our systems up with all kinds of security software and then there are the maintenance programs just to keep it running right. And of course the perpetual updates that have to download. BRING BACK THE DINOSAUR DAYS!!!! Fred

seanferd
seanferd

was much better, if you like that kind of interface. Packard Bell used to install it on their systems, for one.

DadsPad
DadsPad

Now, BOB, was too graphics intensive, cute, and tiresome. However with the older generation just starting to learn computers, an easy to use help would likely be popular. While AOL would be easy to use Email, many want to use digital cameras and scanners to do family albums. Combine that with the learning difficuties that comes with age and learning something completely new, some kind of help could be usefull. Could BOB arise from the dead? :D

MikeZane
MikeZane

Makes me think of some of those click games (hidden object style) that have become popular. I am sure I am in the minority, but it looks kind of neat.

drl.techrepub
drl.techrepub

You've got to laugh... I think getting used to finding the program you want in amidst that lot would be truly a nightmare. Just how old did Microsoft think users were? Mental age of about 1? I'm old enough to remember watching other kids being taught to read phonetically, then being taught to read using correct spelling... and ending up totally confused and semi-literate as a result. I've seen the same with programs that "help" the user by assuming they are dumb. Yeh, I know what you are thinking, but people are only dumb if they're not given the chance to learn properly at the outset, and they won't ever learn if you make them have to look through a fog of unhelpful tat. Dumbing the user interface has NEVER been the answer, but adding plainly worded help instead of psuedo tech verbose rubbish that is rampant through all software is. 'Scuze me a sec. If anyone from Microsoft reads this, sort your blasted help system out. It gets my award as THE most UNHELPFUL help system in history, EVER! What on earth are you thinking? It used to work! And all those pages upon pages of technical descriptions and intellectual debate on which is better than what when a simple example is all that's needed!... Good grief! You may have time to waste but when I'm looking for an answer I haven't. I go word blind very quickly if I have to scan read a whole thesis to find the darned answer. Oooh it makes me mad! Just because I've got a 500GB drive doesn't mean they have the right to fill the damned thing up with drivvel! I've completely lost it now. Someone lock me up! Gaaaaahhhhh Regards The Anti-Bob

pcgarts
pcgarts

I remember being on a "Average Consumer discussion group" that was invited to come to Microsoft in the evening and discuss about a new product that Microsoft was working on. It was all about "How can we make the computer easier for those who were absolutely new to computers, even to the point of being fearful of it." Microsoft BOB was the answer and it was those people it was intended for. Microsoft actually came in late as there were third party software companies who were already making the same type of program. Remember those little software stores in the malls that sold sleeved 5.25 inch disks on those plethora of rotating racks? I can remember about 5 different "Bob" type programs for sale before Microsoft BOB came out. God I'm old.

Old Timer 8080
Old Timer 8080

That pic could have been a photo of my cube before I earned my office...and went the PC/M$/UNIX route.... That was with Win 3.11 with network extensions and NT 3.XX before the STABLE M$ software came out...

csalaski
csalaski

A few years back I was looking through old archive files on Microsoft or somewhere and found the exe file for Bob, I have it on one of my storage drives around here somewhere. Makes me want to load it up in a VM. Wish I had the time.

ICan2
ICan2

Thank you for this lovely tribute to BOB. I've tried to explain what BOB was all about to my co-workers, they just laughed at me. "Ha, I say"! Thanks for the work Microsoft! A humble servant...........

rubyco
rubyco

You can see Melinda Gates' name in the developer list.

tomofumi
tomofumi

Those rooms reminds me of Second Life, and it should become better if they release more versions after this initial release...and I like those cute assistants, am I the only one? Remember this software is under "Microsoft Home" series, so you should not use it in office environment at all...

moira
moira

I don't know how I managed to only hear about BOB through this newsletter, but somehow I have managed to resist installing or setting the program up. I'm so glad!

sterghe
sterghe

1) Cutsey interfaces look like fun, even to me in the right mood ... but tend to gobble resources and slow down work. 2) Interfaces that feel like games seem to encourage users to play games on work computers. 3) Unique interfaces prevent users from developing the ability to use other systems and programs intuitively, thus inhibiting training rather than facilitating it. (AOL has made millions exploiting this fact, because people who learn their interface are very reluctant to switch to something that looks completely different, even when the "something else" allows them to do more for less cost, often even free!) 4) I never could believe how many adults were emotionally attached to the blasted animated office assistants. In class, if the silly things are on (or the client's software is old enough to use them primarily), almost the first thing I teach people to do is to turn them off. Inevitably someone groans miserably--often more than one someone! I then explain exactly why Clippy and company "got fired" from Microsoft. This generally convinced people not to try to sneak to turn them back on ... but also frequently elicited human concern for the fate of the "fired" cartoons! Good grief. I'm sooo glad that the Office Assistants show up less and less frequently as time goes on. Just my two pennies ... gotta go!

caroline.witte
caroline.witte

I didn't ever have this one, but I DO remember the totally annoying 'Office Assistant'. I disabled him almost immediately. What were they thinking of with these space hogs that never really helped anyone. Of course, they probably WOULD be great for little kids, but apparently they were all aimed at adults.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

of Amazing Flame Fractals that will take my breath away.

psellers
psellers

I cut my teeth on DOS. I have a 'virgin' shrink wrapped copy of BOB with the book. Just too much else to do than mess with BOB. Maybe if the main desktop could stay and a list of Batch calls be placed in a white box in a corner. So you have Windoze w/o the icons. You just can't put but so many meaningful icons on the BOB desktop.

yooper
yooper

I promise this will be my only comment, and by all means, I'm not trying to start a flame war, but before you use the "press F1 to continue" reference, which I have never encountered, what's up with the one button mouse?! That alone has kept me from using a Mac for many years. Once again, good for you that you love your Mac, but NO computer is perfect.

Zwort
Zwort

No, please no dinosaurs! That said I do occasionally fire up Dosbox and have a fragging session in various older releases of Doom, Gods, and sometimes Captain Comic. I lost the knack of playing Prince of Persia 1. I find it ironic that I carry them around on a portable hard drive with a capacity that I wouldn't even have comprehended then, even if I do now.

yooper
yooper

I totally agree! I do like the versatility modern computers have, but I garnered much more satifation working with 16,32 or 64K or RAM and trying to get the computer to do something with it using your "own" code. As mentioned, today's machines are great and can perform much more than 20 or 30 years ago, but like your first love, you never forget. :)

Old Timer 8080
Old Timer 8080

Only if you could add a TWO WAY VOICE INTERFACE... That MIGHT make BOB a bit more useful.... Hmmm. I wonder if my Hal Jr. ( DD setup ) might work with this lobotomy???

p_antonacci
p_antonacci

You might want to consider the fact that the "older generation" invented the technology you're using today.

fjp
fjp

"Just because I've got a 500GB drive doesn't mean they have the right to fill the damned thing up with drivel!" How true. Can't help wondering how Windows would have developed if the HD makers hadn't kept finding ways of increasing capacity, though. While I love having the space (my present HD is 10,000x bigger than the one I had 20 years ago) there would be a lot less bloat about if that hadn't happened...

boxfiddler
boxfiddler moderator

"adding plainly worded help instead of psuedo tech verbose rubbish that is rampant through all software is."

seanferd
seanferd

Shipped with all the Packard Bell boxes for a while. Never so cartoonish as Bob, if i remember.

seanferd
seanferd

Well, unless you are running a non-Windows environment. It will run on XP, no problem. Haven't tried on Vista or 7, though.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler moderator

"Cutsey interfaces look like fun, even to me in the right mood..." I argue the looking fun, no matter the mood. Cutesy is cluttered, inelegant, and childish. Therefore insulting. IMO. etu

cynthina
cynthina

I read your response and as an IT professional I totally agree with most of your comments from an IT professional perspective. However, during my tenure as an IT professional, I have found that "ordinary" people NEED this type of interaction to minimize their irrational fear. Soo....I believe it is somewhat putting the cart before the horse and SO WHAT if these people enjoy these interfaces. I understand that these "interfaces" are memory hogs but the purpose is to engage the user. That is GOOD! So what about system performance, if these people want to have their interface let them --- what is the BIG DEAL! As they get more comfortable, I believe that they will eventually turn off these "assistants". Just let them crawl before they can walk. So don't "ding" them on that! It is not their profession to be an IT guru it is just a tool to use!

Phil Haney
Phil Haney

OK, I'll admit it. I used the office assistant, back in the day (I don't now. Now I turn them off, or run screaming from the room if I can't). And I was fond of Einstein. But I gotta admit, Clippy was an arrogant bastard.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

I'll let Bill know you want to see them again. ;)

jdandrea
jdandrea

Greetings! Yes, the one button mouse can be very frustrating if you're used to a two button variant (as I am). However, that has been happily resolved where the Mac is concerned. Two button mice work just fine, plus Apple has managed to make what looks like a one button mouse but can actually be configured to act like a two button mouse. Go figure ...

tiredoftechrepublic
tiredoftechrepublic

The older generation are the folks who shelled out the cash for the hardware and software when computers were young, thereby allowing development of newer hardware and software. The older generation probably thinks today, 'When is this madness going to stop?" In other words, 'Quit the roll out of new OS's every three years and write an OS that hasn't got to be 'fixed' every week.

carl.sansone
carl.sansone

I can remember when Bob first came out. I was still in college at the time and we got an eval copy. Bob was fantastic from my point of view. I ran the computer labs in the off hours and it made my job a lot easier when I had to get the lib arts students up and productive on a machine. Bob's "Cute factor" overcame a lot of technophobia.

drl.techrepub
drl.techrepub

Thanks. Figured it out within seconds of posting the message and felt suitabley stupid! :-) I don't know, can't even figure out how a blog works. What chance do I stand?! lol (The irony of the trouble I had understanding this simple interface has not escaped me either!!! - ROFL) Thanks again.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler moderator

it doesn't mean that you can't post any more. It means that particular thread segment has reached its limit. You can go up a level and post from there. Just reference a user name or post title so that folks know to what you respond.

seanferd
seanferd

Members of the "older generation" that were not involved in the tech sector can be a bit technophobic. Once they get past it, I feel that they make better users than a lot of the technology-embracing younger crowd. They tend to learn from any errors, and aren't inclined to willy-nilly install any old bad software they come across.

drl.techrepub
drl.techrepub

You beat me to it! I was around just before micro processors made an appearance (fun days!) so I'm one of the veteran programmers who has burnt brain cells on raw code, assemblers, Forth, you name it, not that I'm anyone special because all of the programmers I know are within 10 years of my age and we're all still going strong and learning new technologies all the time. Is it time for my medication nurse? As for getting slow at learning, well, I haven't seen any sign of that yet. If you had said "get more grumpy" I may well have agreed! lol (I seem to hit the buffers on the number of posts I can do despite the numbers being small, so if I don't reply to a thread it's not because I'm hiding but because I can't. Hmmm... I think the old git filter must be active).

tiredoftechrepublic
tiredoftechrepublic

Insulting? Why, did someone make you use BOB? Did he hurt your feelings? LOL

richlan421
richlan421

Your point is one worth delving into, but may I point out that your use of purist and GUI in the same sentence is somewhat humorous. A purist in the IT world is the UNIX fanatics and by extension those who prefer the command-line driven Linux OS (without the addition of the GUI of course). Microsoft and the purist are like oil and water, for the two will never mix. And before you ask, I am not a Microsoft bashing Linux fanatic. I was initiated into the computer age through MS DOS and then later Windows 3.0 and can therefore relate to those who have grown attached to the GUI. Although I am very fond of the efficient and directness of using the command-line interface I am still firmly attached to the GUI. While "teaching aids" such as MS BOB or the subsequent office assistants might be considered a little helpful (and yes amusing at first) to the first time computer user, they in fact did little beyond giving out some helpful hints every once and awhile. For those who want a computer to "play" on this is fine, but for anyone wanting to learn how to really get the most out of their system, condescending gimmicks such as MS BOB are a more hindrance than helpful.

tiredoftechrepublic
tiredoftechrepublic

I have replied before to the people who think their purist view on how a computer GUI should look. Yes, to some of us, that have been in computers for a long time, do think it a waste of resources. But if it gets the job done (teaching) then I say let them use it. As far as the 'look' of the GUI, 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'! BTW, there are plenty of teaching programs out there for use and they probably take up more resources than MS BOB.

Phil Haney
Phil Haney

I used to use 'em (the assistants) but now I don't. Ihanks for pointing out the "normal user's" point ov view.