Winsock 2 Woes
(8/29/98 - tweaked typos reported by anonymous)
Does trying to access crash your Win95 machine?  I mean, does trying to even ping take your box out, BSOD, reboot required?

I didn't do it.  It's not my fault.  As much as I'd like like to take credit for that, it's beyond my control.

It's Microsoft's fault.
For the longest time, the Winsock standard was stuck at 1.1.  This is the version that MS gave you for WfWG, this is the version that shipped with Win95, it was included in NT through 3.51, and it's the version that all the Windows IP stack vendors standardized on.

Then came NT 4.0.  NT4 included the new version of Winsock, 2.0.  This version had some cool features, like support for QoS stuff, support for protocols beyond IP, and even put back some of the Berkeley Sockets stuff they forgot the first time (no, Microsoft STILL doesn't give you a raw sockets driver.)

So now, Win95 is lagging.  MS promises Winsock 2.0 for '95 Real Soon Now.  If one was interested in getting a jump on things, one could go to the Stardust site and pick up "developer only" releases of Winsock 2.0 for Win95.  Eventually, the last one the Stardust site made reference to was a link to an MS site.  Eventually, MS released that version as "the" Winsock 2.0 update for Windows 95.

Obviously, I had been keeping tabs on how things were progressing.  I had installed various updates along the way, including the "release" version.  There wasn't much benefit to having Winsock 2.0 on a 95 box... Asmodeus kinda sorta ran on 95 with Winsock 2.0.  But far be it from me to actually require any new functionality in order to be on the bleeding edge.

MS had an oops.  For whatever reason, the initial "release" version of Winsock 2.0 for Win95 had a bug.  If you did a lookup of an name with 2 periods and a total of 15 characters, your IP stack would crash.

Let's see..


15 characters.  Sorry folks.  That was completely unintentional.  Very unintentional.  I get word from the hosting service: " is ready" ... "point your browser at"

Bang.  Huh?  Reboot.

Launch Netscape.  Ctrl-o,  Bang.

(scratch, scratch)  Reboot.

Hmm..  DOS box... ping  Bang.

(At this point the squirrel wakes up, and the wheel starts turning)

I vaguely recalled seeing something about 15 character FQDNs crashing Windows 95.   So I count...1...2...3... Yes, 15 character.

Off to MS's KB pages...


So, with a bit more hunting (couldn't I PLEASE have a link in the article that told me to go get it?) I find the new version:

Note, the page I found that refers to this link has the wrong date:

So I went past it a couple of times.  The first article says it was updated on April 13th 1998, and the link claims to be for a version dated Februrary 19th 1998, when in fact it's the April updated version.

Why 15 characters?  You guess is as good as mine.  (Hmm... NetBIOS names are limited to 15 characters...)

So, BFD.  There's no real news here.  MS had another bug and they've already fixed it.  Why make a big deal out of it?

Well, I can imagine how truly PO'd I'd be if I didn't happen to have that bit of trivia stuffed in the back of my head.  I'd hate to think how much work it would have taken to track *that* one down from scratch.

So, I write this in the hopes that in case some poor soul tries to hit this site, and dies, that they are able to check it out from another machine and see this note, and get the answer.


Windows Sockets Network Programming

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