The weight of Microsoft’s largest programs will surprise you


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

Damn cumbersome software – credit: TwitterWindowsDocs

There are a lot of software that you can download and install on your Windows PC. So they weigh nothing on the scales since they are immaterial. But this was not always the case. Since its founding in 1975, Microsoft has designed a large number of programs, many of which have been delivered in physical form. Boxes in which floppy disks or installation CDs were found were accompanied by printed documentation.

This can be very prolific and spread out over thousands of pages, which makes the whole thing much heavier. The Windows Developer Documentation team wondered about the biggest program in Microsoft history. To find out more, they interviewed archivist Amy Stevenson who didn’t evade the question, quite the opposite.

Microsoft: a program that weighs 18 kg!

The award goes to the Microsoft C/C++ Compiler with Windows Software Development Kit (SDK). This one was released in 1992 and weighed in at just over 40 lbs (about 18.1 kg). Microsoft included C/C++ 7.0 and allowed developers to produce MS-DOS, Windows and OS/2 applications. As Stephenson points out, no such heavy software has been produced since.

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

Below you will find the illumination of Archivist Stephenson who brought for the occasion the huge box containing Microsoft C / C ++. Also, feel free to take a look at our guide to the best free basic software for Windows. You will find a selection of utilities and also programs dedicated to photography, video editing, drawing or even games.



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