Operating System Beta, etc. Wiki
Windows Longhorn
Architecture x86
SKUs Media Center Edition
BIOS date 2002-09-23 (Compiled)
Timebomb 2003-09-19 (+360 days)
About dialog LH3683 Winver.png
TCB.png TCBGallery.png BA.png
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Windows Longhorn build 3683 is a Milestone 3 build of Windows Longhorn and is currently the earliest leaked build of Longhorn. The build was leaked in 2002-11 by XBetas, and their effect can be seen in the setup handle (advertising for their now long-gone IRC channel). The pure unmodified copy of this build remains unleaked, but it is believed that some members of the private beta scene have it.

This build still uses the i386 installation used in previous versions of Windows (and as such still has the same minimum requirements as Windows XP). However, using winnt.exe to install has been unsupported and no longer works unless one appends a launch parameter, described below.

New features and changes

  • This build is one of the earliest to introduce the Plex theme and the Windows Sidebar.
  • This is the first build to reintroduce centered window titles which was first introduced in versions of classic Windows before Windows 95. It was also later used in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
  • The .NET framework has been extensively updated, with a very early version of Windows Presentation Foundation (then codenamed Avalon) being implemented. Unlike later builds, this builds' Avalon is based on the original .NET Framework 1.0, released in February 2002, and as a result can be installed in Windows XP.
  • The Windows logo in the Start button has been changed to be all white, and not colored like all the versions of Windows before it.
  • The login screen has been modified from the blue Luna color to a white and dark blue color. The current date and time is also included on the top right corner of the login screen.
  • Windows Explorer has been partially changed, like the templates in the My Documents and My Pictures were notably different as well as the Open and Save as dialog boxes also included the template, incorporating aesthetic changes and a few new user interface options.
  • Internet Explorer has been updated to version 6.05.
  • This build is one of the first to feature virtual desktops. This was later introduced in Windows 10, but unlike in Milestone 3 of Longhorn, you can create an unlimited number of virtual desktops, although these virtual desktops can no longer have different wallpapers unlike in Longhorn.
  • The OOBE music is also changed to "No Hay Problema" from Pink Martini, which is included but not used in Windows Server 2003.
  • It is possible to terminate critical system processes in Task Manager.
  • This build's watermark refers to itself as "Longhorn XP Professional" as opposed to "Windows XP Professional" in the earlier builds.
  • System Properties in this build refers to itself as "Microsoft Longhorn XP Professional Version 2003" as opposed to "Microsoft Windows XP Standard Server Version 2003" on build 3670 and "Microsoft Windows Longhorn Professional Version 200X" on build 3663.
  • This build identifies itself as "Windows Longhorn 2004" when attempting to set up using winnt.exe.
  • In "classic" programs, such as CMD.EXE, the gradient color of the title bar has been modified.
  • A new file copy dialog has been implemented. Interestingly, it does not use Avalon.

Desktop Composition Engine

Contrary to popular belief, this build already contains Desktop Composition Engine, but it is unstable and only renders window transparency. It is only known to work on real hardware, and it lacks a user interface as well. It can be enabled by adding the following registry key, rebooting, and then running the command rundll32 user32.dll,StartDCE:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\DesktopComposition]


An early revision of WinFS is also included in this build, but very little in the way of a user interface was included, and as such it appeared to early testers to be nothing more than a service that consumed large amounts of memory and processor time.

Windows Sidebar

This build was one of the earliest to include the Sidebar. A new "Sidebar" was also present, which contained many of the gadgets that would much later be seen in Windows Sidebar, such as an analog clock, slide show, and search capability. An option in this version of the sidebar also made it possible to move the Start button into it, and disable the traditional taskbar entirely.

Avalon-based applications

This build also includes a display settings applet based on the Windows Presentation Foundation (then codenamed Avalon). It can be accessed by right clicking the desktop and then selecting "Properties". However, this applet is largely incomplete; only the "Desktop Background" and "Use Classic Display Control Panel" options work (the earlier option is partially broken), while "Scale and Resolution" and "Display Connection Settings" crashes the applet and "Theme" and "Screen Saver" only leads to a screen saying these components are under construction.

In the Desktop Background, one can select to choose a solid color background, gradient background, or rotate to different images. The option to change images on the desktop periodically would eventually be a feature that would come in the final release of Vista. Gradient backgrounds made by the applet will be created as a bitmap file named "Wallpaper1".

Media Center

Much like the other Milestone 3 builds, this build contains an early version of the Media Center components, codenamed Freestyle. The components can be added from the Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel under the name of "Freestyle". However, Media Center is somewhat unstable and the application may crash instantly on some systems. This also changes the boot screen, altering the "Professional" text to "Freestyle", while the About Program banner changes from "Professional" to "Media Center Edition".

When prompted for the second disk, it should be pointed to the D:\I386 directory of the installation media.

Start Page

This build, along with the other Milestone 3 builds, contains a new Start Page feature, appearing to be an prototype to a different OOBE to replace the one used in Windows XP. By default, it is not accessible, but Stanimir Stoyanov provided the original Start Page Launcher which can be used to open the Start Page. Due to its earliness, it only contains four tiles that are nonfunctional, being E-Mail, Calendar, Quick Launch, and PromotionsTile.

Bugs and quirks

  • As stated above, this build can not be installed by directly running winnt.exe from MS-DOS unless the user appends the launch parameter /I_am_TedM. This is a debug parameter that exists as far back as Windows NT 3.5 build 782.1 (maybe earlier) and was used by the author of winnt.exe, Ted Miller, to debug winnt.exe inside NTVDM. It remained in winnt.exe because a preprocessor definition to enable it was not removed.
  • OOBE freezes for a long time when creating a computer name.
  • As with later builds of Longhorn, this build is incompatible with a number of applications that require Windows XP or earlier due to the kernel version. Many of these compatibility issues can be resolved by running applications in Windows Compatibility Mode or by editing the CSDVersion key located in the Windows Registry.
  • Often, switching to a virtual desktop will fail if the virtual desktop has at least one open program.
  • Although this build is stable when compared to later builds of "Longhorn", Windows Explorer is a bit unstable and often will fail to terminate upon ending the user session.
  • When combining the taskbar with the sidebar, balloons will still pop at the same place as where the taskbar would be at if not combined with the sidebar.
  • Avalon may throw out errors.


External links