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Microsoft C


Experienced Member
Aug 19, 2011
Microsoft C is a family of C compilers. The first version, Microsoft C 1.0, was not written from scratch, but based on Lattice C. Until version 4.0, it was K&R-Only. One property is, that arguments in a function definition need to be defined in the 'old' K&R (Kernigham & Ritchie) way. For example:
int main (argc, argv)
int          argc;
char *    argv [];
. The newer, ANSI way, could not be used. Version 5.0 was the first one, which allowed the 'newer' way.
With Microsoft C 6.0, an additional C++ front-end was available. Microsoft C/C++ 7.0, as the name suggests, has a integrated C++ compiler.

Microsoft C 4.0 was the prefered C Compiler to be used with the Windows 1.0x SDK, Microsoft C 5.0 for the Windows 2.x SDKs, and Microsoft C 6.0/7.0 for Windows 3.x SDKs.
The book series 'Programming Windows' by Charles Petzold has editions for the Windows 2.x programming (first edition), Windows 3.0 (second edition), Windows 3.1 (third edition), Windows 95 (fourth edition) and Windows 98 (fifth edition).

There also exists QuickC, which is a integrated development enviroment for developing C-based applications. For example, version 1.0 is Microsoft C 5.0-compatible. For a historical informations about
QuickC, see [1]. Two additional tools, PWB (Programmer's Workbench), a source code editor, and CodeView, a source-level debugger, were available, and were packaged with some versions.

Visual C++ is the successor to the Microsoft C Compiler family. It always includes a Windows SDK and has integrated facilites to develop Windows applications.
The main competetor was Borland with their Turbo C product.

The primary source for getting Microsoft C is WinWorldPC.

[1] Wikipedia article about Microsoft QuickC.