Before we could download them, Microsoft software was sold in physical form. And some weighed very heavily on the scales like the Microsoft C/C++ compiler.

Damn cumbersome software – Credit: Twitter @WindowsDocs

There are tons of software you can download and install on a Windows PC. They therefore weigh nothing on the scale since they are dematerialized. But this has not always been the case. Since its founding in 1975, Microsoft has designed a slew of software, many of which were delivered in physical format. Boxes in which were found diskettes or installation CDs accompanied by printed documentation.

This could be very copious and spread over thousands of pages, which made the whole thing much heavier. The Windows Developer Documentation Team wondered what was the biggest piece of software in Microsoft’s history. To find out more, they interviewed the archivist Amy Stevenson who did not evade the question, quite the contrary.

Microsoft: software that weighs 18 kg!

The award goes to the Microsoft C/C++ compiler with the Windows software development kit (SDK). This one was released in 1992 and weighed in at over 40 pounds (about 18.1 kg). It included Microsoft C/C++ 7.0 and allowed developers to produce MS-DOS, Windows, and OS/2 applications. As Stevenson points out, no such heavyweight software has been produced since.

Nowadays, his successor is called Visual Studio 2022, a suite of development software compatible with multiple languages. Of course, the “weight” of its documentation can only be measured by the energy used to store it and deliver it to our screens, everything being available online. It would probably take an insane amount of paper if it all had to be printed…

You will find below the lighting of the archivist Stevenson who brought out for the occasion the enormous box containing the Microsoft C/C++. Also, don’t hesitate to take a look at our guide to the best essential freeware for Windows. You will find a selection of utilities but also software dedicated to photography, video editing, drawing or even gaming.


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