About

A Message from The Founder

Hello there, and welcome to WinWorld. I created WinWorld in 2003 to serve a singular purpose – to preserve and share old software, and the knowledge necessary to use that software.

My interest in computers began when I was a young child. My first computer was a Packard Bell 486/66 with 8 MB RAM, running Windows 3.1. The earliest games I remember playing are JezzBall, Chip’s Challenge and a shareware version of Redhook’s Revenge.

From that time on, I was hooked on everything tech, solidifying my identity as a nerd. It was nigh-impossible to find reliable sites from which you could find and download collections of abandonware software, save for a few classics such as K-Semler’s File Page and OldOS back in the early 2000s. WinVision was the first to offer a substantial collection by using Yahoo! Briefcases, and provided me the inspiration to create WinWorld. I was just a pre-teen who wanted to create a website dedicated to preserving old software and making it easily accessible to anyone.

At that time, I had no idea WinWorld would grow to what it is today. The hard work and generosity of so many people just like you are what has kept this website alive and growing. My hope is to keep WinWorld your best free and open library of abandonware and pre-release software for years to come.

If you care to know more about the history of our website, read on.

Sincerely,

Duff

The Early Days: 2003 - 2010

The history of WinWorld is a long, winding road with many bumps and turns. Navigating this road has taken more than myself, many people have dedicated themselves to helping improve WinWorld in numerous ways over the years.

Our humble beginnings start with a website known as WinWorldXP, created by “WinMan31”, which later became WinVision. The forums at WinVision were where many of those in our community first met each other and began their foray into the abandonware scene. Towards the end of 2003, the WinWorld and WinVision forum communities merged, creating the long-lived WinBoards.

With the inspiration provided by WinVision and other classic abandonware sites, in February 2003 I created the first version of WinWorld using The Print Shop Web Designer 1.0 and hosted it on Bravenet. I tried to make up for its lack of functionality and content in WordArt and other colorful nonsense. Fortunately, I have been unable to find a screenshot or archived version, sparing your eyes the visual trauma.

Shortly thereafter, “Q” joined the WinWorld team, volunteering to write our first original content. Consisting of a handful of documents, our Windows Reference Pages and WinOpinions sections provided reference guides for each version of Windows released up to that date, and opinions on quirks, tips and tricks in computing, respectively. This inspired me to take a second crack at the WinWorld design, this time in Microsoft FrontPage. The result was a website vaguely resembling a 90s-era Windows desktop.

Finally, in early 2003, Keith, known as “KDog”, offered to design a proper layout for WinWorld. A couple weeks later, WinWorld v3.0 came out. This version featured an iframe-based design, a custom-made logo and navigation bar, and a generally cleaner and more elegant look, by the standards of the time anyway. At the end of 2003, the WinWorld and WinVision forum communities merged, creating the long-lived WinBoards.

This layout would remain the look of WinWorld long after Keith left the WinWorld team in 2004. Despite an attempt in 2005 to modernize WinWorld with a new site design emphasizing the use of PHP, it never reached a stage of being deployable and the existing design continued to be used until 2010.

Hosting

In the early days of WinWorld, finding adequate hosting for even a few hundred megabytes worth of files was a challenge. At first, we used the same method as WinVision: Yahoo Briefcases. As our library grew, our downloads were hosted everywhere, from a cybercafe web server, to home servers on 1.5 Mbps DSL to a 100-megabit server hosted by a university in California.

Fortunately, these days finding hosting, while still a challenge, is easier thanks to the proliferation of lower-cost hosting services and the generosity of our mirror providers. If you are interested in providing a mirror for us, see our Contact page or join IRC to get in touch with a staff member.

Recent History

After many temporary closures, revivals and clones, it was decided to officially close WinWorld and WinBoards in August 2007. In the months following this, several sites attempting to replace WinWorld popped up, most with little success. Throughout this time, many of the original WinBoards members could still be found in IRC.

Three years later, WinBoards and WinWorld were revived by several members of the #winboards IRC channel. Initially only WinBoards was restored, but a few days later an early copy of WinWorld was located, and slightly modified to comply with new web standards. A new site design was rolled out in late October 2010, with a focus on simplicity, accessibility and compatibility.

In the summer of 2017, WinWorld experienced a rather explosive incident leading to the departure of a key staff member. The remaining staff and myself began creating an entirely new WinWorld based off an open-source framework, Adventure, primarily written and maintained by long-time member Calvin.

The future of WinWorld has never been certain, however it seems there will always be those determined to keep it alive.