Found the first test version of the 64 bit version of

Found the first test version of the 64-bit version of Windows 2000

Software archaeologist Neozeed from the Virtually Fun community discovered the 64-bit compiler Dec Alpha C. He was able to track down various test builds of Microsoft Windows NT, including the “AXP64/ALPHA64 port”, believed to be the first 64- Bit compiler is Windows 2000 version. Neozeed reported that the compiler elements were in the old Windows platform SDKs from 1999: “It turns out the AXP64 compiler suite has been hiding in the dark for decades.”.

    Image source: Microsoft

Image source: Microsoft

This version of the Platform SDK allowed you to test and compile code for Win64. It supports 64-bit data types and a pre-beta IA64 and ALPHA64 compiler. In its message, Neozeed expressed its regret that there is no way today to test the compiler and thus this 64-bit version of Windows 2000. Rumor has it that a Windows 2003 AXP64 computer was kept in the Microsoft archives. Based on this, Neozeed expressed the hope that “One day someone will be able to dig it up”.

The story took an unexpected turn when a post by Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox appeared on Virtually Fun earlier this week. He provided some more historical context before making an interesting announcement: “The Win64 project for AXP64 and IA64 was codenamed Sundown. Unfortunately, the 64-bit version of Alpha AXP Windows was never released outside of Redmond.”

Anthony claims that this software was released by Microsoft to allow developers to test and compile their programs to see if they are “64-bit capable” before 64-bit hardware becomes available. However, it was only a cross-compiler and there was no real way to run the binaries until the first Itanium 64-bit processor finally came out after notoriously long delays.

    Image source: VirtuallyFun

Image source: VirtuallyFun

Some unnamed “Generous Reader” contacted neozeed after his contribution and shared a disk image with a 64-bit build of Windows 2000 for Alpha AXP. This assembly was found on old hard drives that were sold as industrial waste. The author of the find completely forgot until he came across a Neozeed message. Together, tenox and neozeed managed to run this test setup on an old PWS500 system with a tambourine and other shamanic tools.

Tenox regretted that it was impossible to prove with 100% certainty that it was exactly the 64-bit version of Alpha AXP. Indirect evidence is the total lack of WOW in the assembly, even for AXP32. 32-bit binaries will not run at all. Only executable files built with the ALPHA64 compiler can be run. Precompilation on a 32-bit NT4 computer is required. The number of the assembly launched by enthusiasts is 2210, the full line is 2210.main.000302-1934.

    Image source: VirtuallyFun

Image source: VirtuallyFun

The curious can see the reality of the software archaeologists’ find at the VCF West 2023 exhibition in August, while admiring other software and hardware of a bygone era that until recently seemed at the peak of perfection and performance, but in about 25 years they became antiques.

About the author

Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment