Microsoft's retro Windows teasers emerge as a Stranger Things promo: the Windows 1.11 app

Between Windows 1.1, two retro theme packs, and a Stranger Things 3 game, Microsoft is really going all out on nostalgia.

Credit: Microsoft

Finally, we know what Microsoft’s teasing Twitter posts have all been about: the release of Windows 1.11, an app that mimics the look and feel of an early version of Windows in conjunction with the Netflix show, Stranger Things

Microsoft’s Windows 1.11 app opens a Windows 1.0-like shell where users can dig through file trees and open up clips and teaser stills from the show. The app warns of “glitches” that you’ll experience, which manifest almost immediately; clicking on a file opens a cascade of images that indicates something is very wrong. 

windows 1.11 1 IDG

A file tree is just one of the entry points into the Upside Down inside Windows 1.11.

Microsoft touts the app as “1985 nostalgia with a special edition Windows 10 PC app inspired by Windows 1.0, but one that’s been taken over by the Upside Down from Stranger Things.” Microsoft makes no attempt to hide that it’s cashing in on some sweet nostalgia: the Netflix tie-in is apparent on the splash screen that opens the game.

The trail leads through a number of classic Windows apps, such as Paint, where the “glitches” open up promotional materials from the show. (Small warning: These promotional materials appear to include some spoilers and a bit of language, though nothing really beyond what you might expect in a trailer.)

All in all, it’s a well-done little experience that’s worth a minute or two of your time, especially if you yourself invested in an early Windows PC. Unlike the fairly compact Windows 1.1, however, the download is a fairly hefty 400MB or so.

windows 1.11 4 IDG

Something has gone quite wrong in Paint.

If you don’t have time for the Windows 1.11 app itself, Microsoft has also made available a 4K theme pack of stylized images from the Stranger Things show, complete with creepy arms reaching toward the characters or their local mall. Want more? How about the Windows Throwback theme pack instead? On the other hand, if you can’t get enough of the Stranger Things experience, clicking About in of the Windows 1.11 app will open up a link to the $19.99 Stranger Things 3 game, a much deeper expedition into the Stranger Things world.

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Mark Hachman

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
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