Collecting all Windows Operating Systems

Currently I am trying to collect all of Microsoft's Windows Operating Systems from beta to final release. My collection would require a latest beta version of each OS and the latest final release of each OS (For example, the latest Windows Chicago which is the beta version of W95, and then W95c which is, as far as I'm aware, the latest version of Windows 95).

After research I have found a very decent site that has most of the releases here: https://winworldpc.com/library/ However I'm trying to figure out what exactly is the latest versions for each beta and final releases, such as Windows Chicago: https://winworldpc.com/product/windows-95/chicago There are a lot of versions of such OS, but I am confused as to which one is the latest beta merely due to the filesizes. 4.00.501 is 353MB and 4.00.950 r-2 is 33MB?

So overall, my question is, can someone guide/explain to me what the latest beta OSes and latest release OSes are for all the Windows operating systems? Many thanks!
Ben GoughWebmaster at EpicHosts.co.ukAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
The current version of Windows 95 (I have it running here) is 4.00.950a

Out of curiosity, why do you need Beta versions. In most cases (I do not know about Windows 95) beta versions expire and will not run.

On my machine right now, I have:  

DOS 6.3
Windows 95 / Office 95
Windows 98 / Office 97
Windows NT4 / Office 97
Windows 2000 / Office 2000
Windows XP / Office XP (2002)
Windows XP / Office 2003
Windows Vista / Office 2007
Windows 7 / Office 2010
Windows 8.1 (Host machine) / Office 2013.

All of the above systems are properly licensed (I purchased a couple on eBay), the Office versions are all properly licensed, and they all run.

Betas expire, do not install or run and are of no use, so far as I know.
Ben GoughWebmaster at EpicHosts.co.ukAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your response John. I'm wanting the beta versions mainly so I can experience them and play around with them. If they have expired or will not run as you claim, I'm pretty sure the site wouldn't still be providing downloads for them. Thanks for your help, however hopefully someone else can provide a better answer. Many thanks!
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Beta versions of software expire and do not run, so I just use production versions.
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dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
Look at the last number in the version string.  This identifies the release, the larger numbers are the later betas.  I can't explain the file size differences.  You'd have to actually download and look into the files and perhaps do an install and see.

Also look at Wikipedia's entry for 95 as to the various releases http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_95#Editions.  Wikipedia will help with identifying the other OSes as well.

There may have been a Windows 95D but that is argued over.
Ben GoughWebmaster at EpicHosts.co.ukAuthor Commented:
Thanks dbrunton. Definitely a more suiting answer and I will probably have to do that in that case. I will try to see if I can get anymore answers before I accept multiple solutions however.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
The Windows 95 version I gave you was from a working version .
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Question: By all operating systems, do you mean ALL or just ancient?

ALL betas of Windows 8 expired and won't run.
ALL betas of Windows 7 expired and won't run.
I am 99% sure all betas of Visa expired and won't run.

Before that, I am not certain.

However I think any working Beta Operating systems are Windows 95  (if they work) and prior.
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
I have working computers with...
Windows 3.1,
Windows 95,
Windows 98SE,
Windows ME,
Windows 2000,
about a dozen Windows XP,
and one laptop with Windows Vista.  

As I recall, Windows 95/95A were almost crippled because they were missing some important features but I can't tell you now what they were.  I'm pretty sure my Win95 machine is running the last version available for it.  I did not keep any plain versions of Windows 98 for similar reasons.  I upgraded all of mine to Win98SE.  And all my XP machines are on Service Pack 3.

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Ben GoughWebmaster at EpicHosts.co.ukAuthor Commented:
Thanks both for your responses. To answer your question John, just ancient ones. I'm just wanting to experiment with old Operating Systems merely for my own experience, no other reason at all. So I'm pretty sure I wouldn't require beta versions of any of the newer OSes starting from XP.

I will more than likely try out all of what's available and see what's the best out of the beta releases instead, if there is no confirmed solution for my question.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I downloaded trials of Windows 98 that expired,
I downloaded a trial version of Windows 2000 that could not be turned into a real system.

Before Windows 98, I am not certain,

Starting with Windows 98 and later, trials expired.

As Dave pointed out, Windows 95 and 98 had to be built and maintained carefully when built. I did that with the Windows 98 machine and Microsoft was providing updates when I built it. Same for Windows NT4 and later.

So the limit of your experimentation is Windows 95. Everything after expired.

What I collect, then, are working operating systems and by and large, I have succeeded.
Ben GoughWebmaster at EpicHosts.co.ukAuthor Commented:
I'm not planning to use them long-term, that's the thing. I'm literally just wanting to use them for my own experimentation and testing. After experiencing all the betas and such, I'll then be able to figure out what is best for my collection. This would be the best thing to do, in my eyes.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Good luck with Windows 95 I guess.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Nice to know I'm not the only "Windows packrat" :-)

In have VM's with the following:

MSDOS v3
MSDOS v5
MSDOS v6.3
Windows 95
Windows 95 SP1
Windows 95 SR2
Windows 95 SR2.5
Windows 98
Windows 98SE
Windows ME
Windows NT4 Workstation
Windows NT4 Server
Windows 2000
21 different VM's with XP [Home, Pro, MCE, Tablet, Embedded, in various versions and service pack levels]
Vista VMs in every version [Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate]  in both x32 and x64 installs
Windows 7 VM's in every version [Starter, Home Basic Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate] in both x32 and x64 installs (except for Starter and Basic, which don't have x64 versions)
Windows Thin PC [A "thin" version of '7]
Windows 8 and 8 Pro
Windows 10
Several Server OS's [Not a complete collection]

In some cases I built multiple VM's of the same OS with different versions of Office installed [I have every Office version available on at least one VM]

My current VM collection has over 70 virtual machines with all of those plus a bunch of Linux installs  (Not nearly as comprehensive as my Windows collection)
Ben GoughWebmaster at EpicHosts.co.ukAuthor Commented:
Unfortunately I've already set the solutions, garycase. Otherwise I would have picked yours! At least your answer was the most relevant. Thanks a lot though!
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I do not have as many systems as Gary but I have most of the systems from DOS forward as I already mentioned. I just do not waste time on beta operating systems as they are all defective on one way shape or form.
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Yes... but Gary only has VMs, I have Real machines for every one of mine!!  I also have Mac and Linux machines too.  And CP/M!
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Agree r.e. Beta releases => except for the Windows 10 systems, none of my VMs are Beta versions.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
VM's are the best way to go because updated machines can be kept in perpetuity.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"... Yes... but Gary only has VMs " ==> Actually that's not true.   I have two older machines that are set up with about a dozen OS's on each one using Boot-It as the boot manager.

On one of these I can boot MSDOS 6.3, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP Home, Windows XP Pro, Windows XP MCE, and Windows XP x64 Pro

The other one starts with XP and has 14 choices of various XP, Vista, and '7 versions.

But the simple fact is neither of these systems get used very often, since if I just want to check out some feature of an older OS it's much easier to just "boot" the VM [ALL of the VM's are available on my main system by simply clicking on them in VMware Workstation]

I also have a good number of VM's stored away that were built for Virtual PC, but I no longer use Virtual PC, so they're just stored on my server.    If I want to run one of those VM's, I use one of the older systems (which have Virtual PC installed) and just run them from the server.
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
I don't have any machines new enough to run VMs.  I have three XP machines that I boot up everyday and another two that I run frequently one of which used mostly for iTunes and internet radio.  But all of them and the other machines have different configurations of web servers and PHP/MySQL and even MS SQL for doing web development.

And my Win3.1 system has my circuit board design software which still works just fine.  I bought that software in 1991 for about $1500.  My return-on-investment has been very high on that purchase.  I've gotten paid anywhere from $100 for a small or revised board to $1500 for a complicated board.  I've done somewhere over 500 circuit boards, maybe even 1000+ since 1991.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Your note reminded me that I missed listing two of my VM's:
Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups :-)

You're definitely had a good return on your Win 3.1 system !!
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Yes, mine is actually WfW3.11.  I think it started as Win 3.1 but it's had a lot of 'upgrades' including MS TCP32 so it could talk to my other computers.  I was very disappointed a couple of weeks ago when my 486 system wouldn't boot because the CMOS battery was too low.  Unfortunately, the battery is inside a clock chip and can't be changed as far as I can tell.  Supposedly I can get a replacement from China but I believe the chip is soldered in.  That means I may never do it since it would require taking everything apart, replacing the chip, and putting it back together.  If I had a reason, I could put together another 486 system with less effort than than.

And yes, Ben, we have successfully hijacked your question.
Ben GoughWebmaster at EpicHosts.co.ukAuthor Commented:
You sure have.
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
If you play with the old OSes then you'll need update patches and packs.  

See http://www.mdgx.com/ (you'll spend a lot of time there) and also see http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/95815-important-stickified-pinned-959898-seme-topics/ for the Windows 9x stuff.
Dawid FusekVirtualization Expert, Sr B&R, Storage SpecialistCommented:
Gary, you damm crazy mate !!! ;-))
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
dbrunton => Thanks.   I was aware of the msfn site, but not the mdgx site ... lots of good info there.
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
gary

And thank you for this posting http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Storage/Hard_Drives/Q_28650050.html#a40706881

Ideal for Optiplex SFF and USF boxes.
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