Talk:Microsoft Bob

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Computing / Software (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Computing, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of computers, computing, and information technology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Software (marked as Low-importance).
WikiProject Microsoft / Windows (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Microsoft, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of articles relating to Microsoft on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Microsoft Windows (marked as Low-importance).
This article has been mentioned by a media organization:

Win 3.1[edit]

Which idiot edited this article to suggest Bob was for Win95 and NT? It was made for Win 3.1, if it worked for Win95 it was because of Win31 compatibility built into that OS. Suggesting that such a thing would be made for NT is even more absurd. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:48, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Yep, Bob did not work on NT. I know because I was at MS at the time, and I always ran NT on my desktop. I installed Bob. It would come up and you could kind of play with it, but its operations mostly did not work. DonPMitchell (talk) 01:38, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Comic Sans MS[edit]

Look closely at the logo - was this the first appearance of that godawful bane of typography known as Comic Sans MS? Slicing 21:48, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Comic Sans MS was originally made by Vincent Connare for Microsoft 3D Movie Maker in 1994. It eventually made its way to Win95 OEM and the Plus Pack, but didn't make it into Bob. Comic Sans has more info on it. Jkonrath 14:56, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
My understanding is that Comic Sans was designed for Bob, but wasn't completed in time for it's release. This seems to be what it says on Comic sans page. -- (talk) 15:21, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Least Successful Product[edit]

That's a stretch! How about Microsoft Trains (the railroad simulator)- (unsigned)

Microsoft Bob was supposed to lead to a revolution in computing. They spent years and millions of dollars developing it. It has 2 notable spinoffs, Office Assistant and the Comic Sans font, both of which are arguably disasters of their own. Microsoft Trains was just a little game. -- (talk) 15:26, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Microsoft Bob article cited at Brazilian Terra Tecnologia website[edit]

This article was cited by the Brazilian language Terra Tecnologia article. See this link. Regards, Carioca 05:07, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

It was also cited as a source for this CNet article.--SeizureDog 03:47, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
Which as it turns out, is the same article in English. --SeizureDog 03:48, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Office Assistant Rex[edit]

The article says that Rover animations inspired the Office Assistant "Rex". But there isn't any office assistant called Rex. If you know who is it, please put a link here so I can see it, but I suggest to delete that information.


Was that really the cats name? --Trusader 20:49, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes, Chaos was her name. She is a girl. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:26, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Near Misquoting[edit]

This quote, [Microsoft Bob was one application] "we [had] undertaken ... where we decided that we have not succeeded and let's stop."[1] was taken from, "We've been fortunate. There is nothing that we have undertaken -- with a couple of exceptions like Microsoft Bob that I'll cop to in advance -- where we have decided that we have not succeeded and let's stop,"I think that's forcing the quote to take on a different meaning than what was originally meant to; the speaker was using the quote to praise Microsoft of it's achievements, save a few failures, not to call Microsoft Bob a failure. I'm not disputing that it was a failure, I just think this is an unethical use of a quotation. JRNorbergé 13:08, 6 August 2007 (UTC)


It looks like the image is running Bob on Windows XP (notice the XP taskbar at the bottom). Can't anyone get a screenshot of it running in it's natural environment? C'mon all you computer geeks... :) (talk) 20:35, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Paul Fitzgerald[edit]

What about Paul and Java the Dinosaur(/Dragon?)? It maybe could be at the end. Also what about a article about him? (talk) 21:23, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

New millenium[edit]

"In 2007, Microsoft Bob was voted by the readers of PC Magazine as one of the ten biggest software failures in the new millennium."

How is this possible if the interface was released in 1995, which was in the previous millenium? —Preceding unsigned comment added by PearlTheater (talkcontribs) 19:33, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Weasel words?[edit]

Bob included various office suite programs such as a finance application and a word processor. The user interface was designed to be helpful to novice computer users, but many saw its methods of assistance as too cute and involved. Each action, such as creating a new text document, featured the step-by-step tutorials no matter how many times the user had been through the process. Users were assisted by cartoon characters whose appearance was usually vaguely related to the task. These characteristics earned Bob the 7th place in PC World Magazine's list of the 25 worst products of all time[4] and worst product of the decade by[5]

The box above this paragraph says that it uses weasel words and that it isn't true(as of 2/22/2009). But the paragraph looks like a succinct statment of facts to me. I honestly wonder who would think that paragraph is biased.... (unsigned)

“What password would you like?” apocryphal?[edit]

Gary McGraw in Software Security (Kindle location 952) says the “oft-repeated story that may be apocryphal… Bob would pop up and proclaim: ‘I see you have forgotten your password, please enter a new password.’” has a supposed screenshot of something similar, but with very different phrasing: “Pardon me…Have you forgotten your password.” (Next screen) “What password would you like?” Is the screenshot real, and does anyone know a non-self-published source for the alleged vulnerability?

FlashSheridan (talk) 22:50, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Never Released Bob 2.0[edit]

This article mentions that Bob 2.0 was never released, should it be mentioned in the article? (talk) 10:16, 19 January 2010 (UTC)


This article is mostly about how Bob was so bad, especially the lead.Jasper Deng (talk) 23:45, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Yeah, there's a reason for why the article is about it being bad (although that's actually a small portion of the article). It's covered in the lead. Some guy (talk) 02:16, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
That initial sentence about visibility is the one I'm most concerned about.Jasper Deng (talk) 02:48, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
You disagree with Microsoft's own assessment of the software, backed by industry reception? Some guy (talk) 03:56, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
It's not that, it's WP:UNDUE. Such a statement is better placed in the body of the article.Jasper Deng (talk) 03:58, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
No, it is not undue. "Neutrality assigns weight to viewpoints in proportion to their prominence". The prominent view on Bob, the only reason anyone still remembers it, is that it was a spectacular failure. This is the most notable thing about the program, and deserves the most weight in the article, and belongs in the lead. Some guy (talk) 07:20, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
Jasper Deng: Can you cite a reliable source which provides significant coverage of MS Bob and which does not present the product in a negative light? I'm not aware of any. If no such viewpoint can be found, than not presenting Bob in a negative light would be undue weight. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 00:49, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, there were columnists who thought Bob was going to be great and open up the PC to new audiences. After one of the big tech conferences. I remember it because I was surprised that anyone actually liked it (I was in MS at the time, and most people thought it was just goofy). DonPMitchell (talk) 01:41, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
Keep in mind one non-negative source doesn't unbalance ten negative sources and equal neutral. Some guy (talk) 01:04, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I think the only thing I might find would be the product release page, and that's not enough. No more concerns about neutrality.Jasper Deng (talk) 01:15, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
There were people who bought into the ideas of Nass and Reeves, who were respectable academics. Charles Finnie predicted that Bob would threaten Apple with its new easy to use interface. There was interest from the movie industry (Spielberg I recall...maybe someone could check that) who thought social interfaces represented a potential connection between their industries. Reid Goldsborough wrote that Bob would open up a "huge untapped market of home users".
It's tricky to search for this kind of thing from 20 years ago. With 20/20 hindsight we all see how silly Bob was, but it wasn't obviously wrong to everyone when it was first demoed. DonPMitchell (talk) 01:54, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Bob on the Windows XP CD is a Joke[edit]

The story about Microsoft Bob being shipped as an encrypted file on Windows XP CDs to take up space is a joke/hoax, please do not reinsert it into the article. The contents of the Windows XP CD are thoroughly known, as there are applications such as nLite which allow you to produce slimmed-down Windows XP CDs with any component you like removed. Creating such images requires (of the person writing, not necessarily using, the program) detailed knowledge of what each file does and what truly needs to be there. There are no 30MB garbage files holding encrypted data. Also, MS Bob is 15MB, not 30MB. If you truly believe this is real and want to reinsert it into the article, you're going to need at least one source verifying this or that has found the actual file in question. Alereon (talk) 06:05, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Your logic doesn't make any sense. There are applications like nLite, therefore there is no Microsoft Bob on the disc? Someone knows what all the useful files are, therefore there can be no unneeded encrypted data to waste space? You can't make two copies of something to fill twice the space one copy makes up? An article written by a Microsoft employee in July is an April Fools' day joke? Did you even look at the source? Some guy (talk) 06:28, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
My point is pretty simple: we know there is not 15-30MB of garbage data on the Windows XP CD because Windows XP has been out for 10 years and we have a thorough understanding of what everything on the disc is and does. If you don't believe me, feel free to go mount a Windows XP ISO image and look yourself (since the article claimed the data would be downloaded, it would have to be present in the ISO image). You'll quickly find that there simply aren't very many large files, and the ones that exist are clearly identifiable. The only explanation left is that Microsoft broke this data up into tiny pieces and hid it inside various real system files, and the idea that Microsoft would do that just to make pirates download some extra data is laughable. Which is the point of the article, because it's meant to be funny. Finally, just to beat this dead horse just a bit more, there was not "about 30MB of storage capacity remaining", the product AS SHIPPED is <500MB, leaving over 150MB of space left on a standard 650MB CD. Alereon (talk) 06:16, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Those are definitely good points, but then we're putting original research and conjecture against a quote from a Microsoft employee. Argh. I tried looking it up and didn't find much but found one forum thread where two people said the Bob data was burned on the disc but not directly accessible and thus wouldn't be in an ISO. That wouldn't fit in well with the "used to make the file larger so torrenting is slower" explanation. But it's a couple random people on a forum, not any type of valid source. Some guy (talk) 06:33, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
I think what it comes down to is that I don't think we can consider that article as a credible source, even though Raymond Chen may be credible in general, because pretty much every verifiable element is simply not true. Since in over 10 years no one has ever found any evidence that there is data hidden on the Windows XP disc (and people certainly started looking in earnest after this article was published), this should be considered an urban legend unless someone finds some candidate data at some point. Alereon (talk) 22:12, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
How would you expect others to know or care about the unencryption process?Jasper Deng (talk) 22:17, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Jasper, what is your point?
Alereon, there is still the problem that this is original research against a source. I reworded the text in the article to make it more clear that this is something that someone said, rather than presenting it as a straightforward fact; I'd like to add commmentary from notable sources that this might be a joke or has been proven false, but otherwise adding more qualifiers to the information will essentially be weasel wording. I'm going to invoke WP:BRD at this point and ask that you do not continue to remove the content from the article until a compromise is reached through discussion. If you can find any good sources that state it was a joke, by all means add them to the article. In the meantime, I'll throw in commentary from notable tech writer Harry McCracken. Some guy (talk) 09:31, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
You can't expect third-party conclusive evidence if no third party knows how to find out.Jasper Deng (talk) 17:59, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
For one thing, with a lot of computer geeks, you can't stop them once they get it in their head to do something. People decrypt things just for the hell of it, not to mention rampant piracy, data theft, etc. A better point is that they can't decrypt the data if it isn't there to decrypt, but it will be difficult or impossible to find an authoratative source stating Bob is not on the disk, unless Raymond Chen issues a statement that it was a joke. Some guy (talk) 01:24, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Melinda French[edit]

Article states that Melinda French was "at one point ... a marketing manager". This is incorrect and understates her role. For as long as I was associated with the product (several months in late 94, early 95 including v1 release) she was the Business Unit Manager, basically the top person for the project. We all reported up through her. Prior to Utopia, she was a Product Manager for other Consumer Division products. Charles Oppermann (talk) 11:24, 21 February 2013 (UTC)


Bill Gates says Microsoft Bob will make a comeback

"Speaking Monday at the Microsoft Research event, the chairman said Microsoft Bob didn't get it right, but he thinks the personal assistant feature will reemerge with a bit more sophistication." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:51, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

You must be thinking of the Siri clone Cortana, a personal assistant added to Windows Phone. (talk) 04:22, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

Inaccurate article. Lacks temporal grounding.[edit]

  • Neither Win95 or NT4 were targets for Bob 1.0 which was a Windows 3.x program exclusively. Text should be corrected to indicate that Bob was discontinued before Windows 95 (not 98) launch. It is not on the Win95 software compatibility list.
  • Microsoft Bob 1.0 was a response to Packard Bell "Navigator" program which predated Bob and used the "different rooms in the house" analogy to organize user programs, clicking on the "desk" "blotter" in the "study" opened a word processor. Packard Bell was the best selling retail computer in the 1990's thru ~1997, and Navigator was designed for the computer illiterate (think "Beverly Hillbillies"). Was the simpleton interface what sold the computers to the consumer market? Of course the fact that it undercut other manufacturers' prices in part due to Intel funding (Intel manufactured for them then Intel forgave PB debts; also manufactured same designs for Gateway; note Bob for Gateway on At that time every major retail computer company had some type of cutesy user interface (Windows 8?), shielding the user from Windows 3.11: IBM, Compaq, AST, HP, et al.
  • Bob was a response to "Navigator envy" of Microsoft's other OEM customers.
  • Bob was originally envisioned with AI (like Microsoft Agent in Office trying to second guess the user) and having Voice control (for the mouse averse?)a la Microsoft Agent Development Kit. Many retail consumer computers were underpowered to be able to do those tasks (average computer was 486DX2/66 and 4MB Ram).
  • Navigator, Bob, et al replaced the Windows shell which prevented many programs from launching. Assisting customers to disable these shells to allow Win95 setup to complete was a common Win95 support call.
  • Bob 2.0 was a Windows 95 compatible internal Beta. MS Win95 Support had hand-me-down computers from Testing (e.g. 386DX33 8MB Ram) that could barely run the application.
  • For a list of Bob's influence on other programs see
  • Should be a reference to "Church of Slack" as tied to Bob.
  • There was a rumor that Microsoft copyrighted the name Bob.

Shjacks45 (talk) 11:52, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Cite your sources. Otherwise everything you say is original research. Some guy (talk) 19:06, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Reddit view spike - fyi.[edit]

This article was linked to by a popular Reddit thread[1] (4195 upvotes, 1325 comments as of right now) in mid-July 2014 that drove significant traffic to the page. Look for it on the next WP:TOP25 report as a result.--Milowenthasspoken 20:56, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified 3 external links on Microsoft Bob. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 18:52, 10 June 2017 (UTC)