Windows Minesweeper

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Windows Minesweeper
Image:MinesweeperXP.PNG
Beginner level, XP version.
Authors: Robert Donner, Curt Johnson
Initial release: (1990-10-08) WEP
Latest release: (2009-10-22) Windows 7
OS: Windows
Language: Multiple

Minesweeper is a logic game where mines are hidden in a grid of squares. The object is to open all safe squares in the quickest time possible. The game became famous when Microsoft included it with Windows 3.1 but its origins go further back.

Contents

[edit] Gameplay

Minesweeper starts when a player clicks on a square with the left mouse button. The first click is always safe and reveals a number or an opening surrounded by numbers. Each number tells you how many mines touch the square. You can mark a mine by putting a flag on it with the right mouse button. If all the mines touching a number are flagged, you can press both buttons on that number to clear the remaining adjacent squares.

You win by clearing all the safe squares and lose if you click on a mine. A mine counter tells you how many mines are still hidden and a time counter keeps track of your score. There are three levels of difficulty: Beginner has 10 mines, Intermediate has 40 mines, and Expert has 99 mines. It is also possible to create Custom levels.

[edit] Basic Strategy

For a detailed discussion of strategy and tips, visit the Minesweeper Strategy page.

[edit] Patterns

Each pattern has only one solution and can be memorised to save time.

The most basic pattern is when a number touches the same number of closed squares. All touching squares must be mines.

The next step is to learn the 1-2-1 and 1-2-2-1 patterns. These patterns are easy to recognise.

When you get really advanced, you will see 1-2-1 and 1-2-2-1 patterns everywhere.

[edit] Efficiency

The fewer clicks you take, the faster you will finish. Learn to be efficient.

The game ends when all safe squares are open, not when all mines are flagged. Beginners often waste time flagging every mine. The only good reason to flag is to clear more squares by chording. So before you place a flag, decide if it is useful.

Some players never flag because time used placing flags could be better used opening more squares. This style is called No Flags, or NF. Flaggers argue that flags allow you to chord and clear multiple squares at the same time. The best players use both styles in the same game to maximise efficiency. It is generally agreed that NF is more efficient near high numbers (5,6,7,8) and low 3BV boards, while Flagging is more efficient near low numbers (1,2,3,4) and high 3BV boards. For example, chording on a 1 only requires one flag and clears up to seven empty squares. Chording on a 7 requires seven flags, but a NF player would click just once on the empty square.

[edit] Guessing

Sometimes in Minesweeper you have to guess. A typical case is a 50/50 guess when one mine is hidden in two squares. However, there are other times when you can improve your chance of guessing correctly. For example, an arrangement of numbers can have more than one equally possible solution. If these solutions require different quantities of mines, you can solve it by flagging the rest of the board and seeing how many mines are left. Someone who prefers guessing immediately can still improve their chances. For example, Expert has a higher percentage of mines than Intermediate, so the solution with more mines is more likely on Expert than Intermediate.

Another thing to remember when guessing is usefulness. If two solutions are equally likely, choose the one that helps most if correct. Sometimes one solution prevents another guess or creates an easier arrangement of mines.

[edit] Community

In the beginning, Minesweeper was an innocent past-time enjoyed by a silent but dedicated following. Then Microsoft decided to include the game in their operating system, just in time for the explosion of the World Wide Web. The community has been growing ever since and is more addicted than ever!

[edit] Join Us

There are many ways to get involved in the Minesweeper community. The most popular place to meet is at Authoritative Minesweeper, which hosts the world rankings. You can post scores in the Guestbook, chat in the Forum or compete in the Active Ranking. Another popular hangout is the IRC minesweeper chat group, or you can join the Minesweeper Facebook Page. The center of the Chinese sweeping community is www.saolei.net, with extensive rankings and forums. A similar site exists at www.minesweeper.ru for Russian players. Each year there are one or two international tournaments, where the best players meet and compete.

[edit] Basic Facts

The minimum number of lefts clicks needed to solve a board is called its 3BV and speed is measured by 3bv/s. Other more complicated statistics include IOE, RQP, IOS, Zini and OBV.

A famously easy game known as the Dreamboard led to the discovery of Board Cycles in 2000. The Beginner (8x8) and Intermediate (16x16) levels have a small set of games that repeat. Players used this information to memorise and play only the best boards. Knowing information about a game before it starts is banned and called having Unfair Prior Knowledge. Elmar Technique is also banned from rankings.

Microsoft versions of Minesweeper are no longer accepted for world rankings. Windows XP and all earlier versions have known Bugs, Cheats, Board Cycles and Solvers. Although Vista solved these problems it changed several rules, making its scores useless for comparison. The community solved these problems by creating official clones. First attempts included Project Minesweeper Utopia and Global Mines. The accepted clones are Minesweeper Clone, Arbiter, Minesweeper X and Viennasweeper. Each of these use decimal time and automatically save your best times on video.

The Clay Mathematics Institute is offering $1,000,000 for an efficient solving algorithm of Minesweeper.

[edit] The Story

[edit] A New Game

Robert Donner and Curt Johnson were both hired by Microsoft in 1989. Curt had written a program for OS/2 where the object was to find a path across a minefield from one corner to another. Robert wanted to write a game for Windows as a programming exercise, and Curt let him have the source code to use as a starting point. He wrote the main application over a weekend and kept the original number and mine graphics. Curt was involved with "the inital random ideas we had for the game." The new game was simply called 'Mine'.

After watching a friend test the program, Donner changed the goal of the game to opening all safe squares. The original version had hidden coins that allowed you to survive stepping on a mine. Instead of the time counter there was a coin counter. A later release replaced the mouse cursor with a foot, which turned into a bloody stump when a mine was hit. According to Donner, "I did the graphics for this, so it didn't look very good".

Donner added the famous XYZZY cheat "so another friend of mine could impress people with his psychic abilities". This cheat was a magic word in Colossal Cave Adventure, one of the first games he had played on a computer. Chording was added after watching a much faster friend clicking through the game. In keeping with the foot cursor, the original Help file called this a 'Big Step'. As the game involved mines and was written for Windows, he named the executable file Winmine.exe, in compliance with the 8.3 FAT file system used at the time. He added the Smiley Face, and the "idea for the sunglasses was grabbed from one of the card decks in Solitaire."

Sometime after the release of Windows 3.0 on 22 May 1990, Microsoft decided to release a collection of games for their new platform. Employees were asked to submit games, and Donner submitted Winmine and TicTactics. Both were accepted and released as part of the Windows Entertainment Pack on 8 Oct 1990, retailing in the USA for $39.95. According to Donner, "The Minesweeper title was selected after Microsoft legal did a name search and gave us a few options." The foot cursor was removed and the game was cleaned up by someone in the graphics department. Donner notes that "Microsoft never really 'acquired' a copyright for Minesweeper. I worked for the company, wrote the game by myself, on my own time, on their equipment, and distributed it free to friends within the company. Eventually a Product Manager decided to put together an entertainment package and released it with several other games. For the first WEP release, most of the games were already complete. For WEP 2, they put out a more official call for submissions".

One of these versions passed amongst friends was Mine 2.9 written by 9 Jul 1990. It featured bombs instead of mines and a 24x24 Expert grid. The credits thank "CurtJ, LarryH, RobD" and amusingly claims copyright by "Duff Software". Webster defines duff as "of poor quality".

The WEP edition of the game listed the version as Minesweeper 3.0 to coincide with the current version of Windows. Robert Donner and Curt Johnson are listed as authors with the copyright belonging to Microsoft. The game became famous when Microsoft included it alongside Solitaire in the release of Windows 3.1 on 6 Apr 1992.

[edit] Shoulders of Giants

Unique ideas are rare, and computer games are no exception. Minesweeper owes its existence to earlier games.

The earliest proven inspiration for Minesweeper is Mined-Out, written in BASIC and published by Quicksilva (UK) in 1983 for the ZX Spectrum computer. The object is to cross a minefield starting at the bottom of the grid and arriving at the top. After each move you are warned of adjacent mines. There are nine levels to the game which add features such as damsels to be rescued, a mine that chases you, and mine spreaders that add or remove mines. The player moves around the grid using a keyboard.

Mined-Out clones include Yomp, released later in 1983 by Virgin Games (UK) for the ZX Spectrum. In it the player needs to get three paratroopers across a busy road and then across a minefield in order to win medals. Another clone was Relentless Logic, written in DOS at least by November 1985. This game was not officially released but was passed between friends at work and through Bulletin Board Systems in the USA. It also featured a rectangular grid of squares (9x15) and warned you of adjacent mines. Its new features included crossing from left to right, counting mines located diagonally, adding a move counter and a timer. Instead of having nine levels it allowed you to change the number of mines from 10 to 40, and you were upgraded from a worm to a Marine.

Relentless Logic in turn inspired various clones. XMines was written in November 1987 for the SunTools operating system by Tom Anderson (USA). He introduced a Mouse and used the left button to open squares, the middle button to mark mines and the right button to mark safe squares. The grid was increased to 16x16 and the number of mines increased. Brian Dalio (USA) modifed the game over the next month to allow users to move to any square previously visited. A major innovation was putting numbers in previously visited squares to remind you how many mines it touched. At the end of the game, incorrectly marked mines were highlighted with an 'X'. In November 1989 Thomas Eldridge (USA) released Kaboooom, which also added numbers and the ability to mark mines. The most important Relentless Logic clone was written by Curt Johnson (USA) for the OS/2 operating system in 1989. When Robert Donner expressed an interest in programming a game for Windows, Curt gave him the sourcecode as a starting point. Over the next year the game evolved into Minesweeper.

[edit] Earlier Games

Sometimes games have similar features completely by accident. Several early games have been claimed as the origin of Minesweeper purely on this idea. This section discusses various possibilities.

Cube was written by Jerimac Ratliff (Texas, USA) and submitted to Creative Computing magazine. It was then pubished in 1973 by editor David Ahl (USA) in his book '101 BASIC Computer Games'. The player faces a cube with 27 vertices of which 5 contain randomly placed mines. Your job is to navigate from 1,1,1 to 3,3,3 without detonating a mine. There is no skill involved, as there are no clues to help you avoid the mines. You start with $500 and bet the computer a smaller amount that you will survive. If you survive your bank account increases, if you lose it decreases. The betting game continues until you run out of money. This is the first known game featuring hidden mines.

David Ahl published many other user submitted programs, including several hidden object games. All of these games were code printouts the user needed to type into their computer. The original 1973 edition featured the games Hurkle, Mugwump and Queen. In Hurkle the player has 5 tries to guess the coordinate of a hidden Hurkle on a 10x10 grid. After each incorrect guess the game states the direction of the hidden monster. It was written by Bob Albrecht (USA) of the 'People's Computer Company'. In Mugwump the player has 10 guesses to find 4 hidden Mugwumps on a 10x10 grid. After each guess the distance to each Mugwump is stated but not the direction. For example, after guessing 5,5 the game may warn you are 4.6 units from Mugwump #1. It was written by students of Bud Valenti in Pittsburgh and modified by Bob Albrecht. These two games are early examples of using clues or numbers to locate objects. In Queen the player places a chess queen on the top or rightmost row of an 8x8 grid. The player then alternates turns with the computer, trying be first to the bottom left corner using legal chess moves. This is an early example of a grid crossing game. The 1979 edition featured Blackbox. In this game the player locates atoms hidden on an 8x8 grid by shooting a ray across the grid and observing deflections. It was written by Jeff Kenton (USA) and based on a game described in the August 1977 edition of 'Games and Puzzles'.

In addition to writing Hurkle, Bob Albrecht also wrote Snark. The player guesses a coordinate and chooses the radius of a net to throw. The game tells you if the Snark is in the net, and your job is to capture it with a zero radius net. Albrecht published Snark as part of a compilation of games collected in 1975 and sold in the book "What to Do After You Hit Return".

As these surviving examples show, grid games using clues to find hidden objects were common by the early 1970's. By 1973 there was at least one game with hidden mines and another with the object of crossing a grid.

Minefield was printed in the May 1982 edition of Sinclair User magazine. The player tries to move a tank safely from left to right across the screen. Mines are randomly hidden by the computer. If a tank explodes, the player tries again with the next one. The game stops when a tank reaches safety and a score (the number of lost tanks) is displayed at the top of the screen. It was written by I S Howson of the UK. In October 1982 the magazine printed Minefields by D G Lomas (UK). The player is a Formula 1 racing driver who must drive across 10 increasingly difficult minefields. All mines are visible, and your task is to steer around them. Each level requires 32 moves to cross the screen and there is 1 point for each move taken for a total of 320 points. Hitting a mine stops the level and gives the player a 5 point penalty before continuing to the next level. Both games were written in BASIC for the ZX81 Spectrum computer. A clone of this game, called Mine Driver, was released in 1985 by Grupo de Trabajo Software (Spain) as part of a compilation.

You can see how this list could be endless. Some of these games have been claimed as inspirations for Minesweeper but none are proven to be connected. They are listed for context and historical interest.

[edit] Version History

Little is known about the early Beta versions of Minesweeper. One featured a foot cursor that exploded if it stepped on a mine. Another version had coins which enabled you to survive mines. The game was originally titled 'Mine'.

[edit] Mine 2.9

All beta versions of minesweeper were lost until Damien Moore (webmaster of this site) discovered Mine 2.9 in a collection of games uploaded to extinct Bulletin Board Systems. This version was made in July 1990 and passed between friends at work. Although the game was called Mines it used bomb graphics. It introduced all the standard rules and mouse functions such as flags and chording. Its three difficulty levels were Beginner (8x8, 10 mines), Intermediate (16x16, 40 mines) and Expert (24x24, 99 mines). The Game menu featured 'New F2', 'Beginner', 'Intermediate', 'Expert', 'Sound', 'Marks (?)', 'Preferences... F3' and 'Exit'. The Help menu offered 'Index F1', 'Keyboard', 'Using Help' and 'About WinMine'. Options unique to the Preference box included creating custom levels, enabling a 'Ticker' or removing the Menu bar. The Ticker simply ticked each second in imitation of a time bomb. Sound included a siren for hitting a mine or a rising one octave scale for winning a game.

There was a lot of redundancy between the menus. For example, you could access Help from the Help menu, About box or Preference box. Likewise you could access Preferences from the About box or the Game menu, and access About from the game icon or the Help menu. Despite being options on the Game menu, the Preference box also allowed you to change level and enable sound and marks.

The Help file was very detailed. It noted you could find mines by using a "mine detector" or "your foot". Stepping on a mine killed you, while chording was described as taking a "Big Step". The instructions claimed you could select "Safe Step" from the Preferences box, and this would prevent chording if not enough mines were flagged. This appears to be leftover from an earlier version, as Mine 2.9 and all later versions have this feature as standard.

[edit] WEP

Microsoft first published Minesweeper as part of the Windows Entertainment Pack on 8 Oct 1990. The graphics for mines and flags were changed and Expert level changed to a 1630 grid. The game icon changed to reflect the new mine graphics. The Help file had its pictures changed to reflect the new graphics, and all references to feet and death were removed. The game was officially named Minesweeper for the first time.

Menus changed drastically to remove redundancy. The Preferences box was deleted as well as the 'Sound' and 'Ticker' options. Each remaining option was now accessed in one place. (You could still enable Sound or Ticks by finding the Winmine.ini file and adding Sound=3 and Tick=1 on new lines.) The only new options were 'Custom' and 'Color' in case the player did not have a color monitor. (The Help file warned this option was to be used "only if you have a color monitor".) The Help menu was completely changed and offered 'Contents', 'Search for Help on...', 'How to Use Help' and 'About Minesweeper'.

[edit] Windows 3.1

Released on 6 Apr 1992, the only change to Minesweeper (from WEP) was a completely new Help file. Highscores were now stored in the editable Winmine.ini file in the Windows folder.

[edit] Windows 95

Windows 95 was released on 24 Aug 1995 and once again included minesweeper. The graphics of the game were cleaned up, resulting in smaller but sharper number and mine graphics. The game icon changed to use the new graphics and the Help file was condensed into a smaller version. The only other change was the Help menu, which reduced options to just 'Help Topics' and 'About Minesweeper'.

The new game icon is used on the game itself, on the minimised tab, in the Windows directory and on the Games menu. It appears to be an oversight that the desktop shortcut and the About box continue using the original WEP icon. Although the game is called Minesweeper in the Games menu, it is called Winmine as a desktop shortcut.

[edit] Windows 98

Released on 25 Jun 1998, the only change to Minesweeper (from 95) was a new Help file. Windows 98 continued to use the game icons and naming habits as in the Windows 95 version.

[edit] Windows 2000

Minesweeper was released on 17 Feb 2000 with 4 major changes. Firstly, the Beginner grid size was increased from 8x8 to 9x9 without increasing the number of mines. This added 17 empty squares and made the level much easier to solve. Coincidentally, this change happened to remove Board Cycles from the Beginner level. The second change was removing the Timer Jump bug. As a result, scores made on Windows 2000 and later are on average 0.500 seconds faster. The third modification was removing the Moving Window Bug which moved the game window upwards when the difficulty level changed. The fourth change was eliminating the Winmine.ini file and storing game values directly in the Registry. Smaller changes included a modified Help file and a new Help menu offering 'Contents', 'Search for Help on...', 'Using Help' and 'About Minesweeper'.

The game icon confusion of Windows 95/98/ME was cleared up as the Game menu and desktop shortcut reverted to the original icon. This made it consistent in all locations.

In Italy minesweeper was renamed "Field of Flowers" (Prato Fiorito) and mines were replaced with green flowers and a new soundtrack for losing. This resulted from pressure by groups such as the International Campaign to Ban Winmine.

[edit] Windows ME

Released on 14 Sep 2000, the only change to Minesweeper (from 98) was two small alterations to the Help file. Windows ME continued to use the game icons and naming habits as in the Windows 95 and 98 versions.

The Italian edition of ME used the Prato Fiorito version introduced with 2000 but kept the original 8x8 Beginner grid.

[edit] Windows XP

Released on 25 Oct 2001, the only changes to Minesweeper (from 2000) were a new icon and a new Help file.

The Italian edition of XP continued to use the Prato Fiorito version introduced with Windows 2000 but changed the flower graphic.

[edit] Windows Vista

Minesweeper was completely redesigned by Oberon Media for the release of Vista on 30 Jan 2007. All graphics are new and players can choose either a green or blue skin and avoid either water mines or flowers. It is also possible to randomise these combinations. There are sound effects for starting a game, clicking on an opening, chording incorrectly and for losing. If you step on a mine there are animated explosions, while stepping on a flower causes a flute to play as the flowers spin and turn grey. Sounds and animations can both be disabled. The first click of a game is now guaranteed to be an opening. Double-clicking with the left mouse button has the same effect as chording and a red X is flashed if done incorrectly. Tips are occasionally displayed until disabled. Oberon also added a feature where you can restart any game you lose, or save any incompleted game when you exit. One implication of this is that players can use Unfair Prior Knowledge to 'solve' boards. The developers also enhanced the Highscore List to save the top five scores and dates for each level. The new scoreboard records the number of games played, your winning percentage and winning or losing streaks in a manner similar to Freecell. The Oberon programmers removed the Smiley Face, which had served as a New Game button in all earlier versions. The Help file became part of Windows Help rather than a stand-alone file, and the executable file was named 'Minesweeper' instead of 'Winmine'.

The menus were completely reorganised. The Game menu offers 'New Game F2', 'Statistics F4', 'Options F5', 'Change Appearance F7' and 'Exit'. The Help menu offers 'View Help' and 'About Minesweeper F1'. Options is where you change level and toggle 'Display animations', 'Play sounds', 'Show tips', 'Always continue saved game', 'Always save game on exit' and 'Allow question marks (on double right-click)'.

The Vista version requires more user input, which is not necessarily beneficial to gameplay. For example, if you try to start a new game midplay, you are asked to confirm whether you wish to keep playing, restart the same game, or quit and start a new game. When you lose a game it asks whether you wish to play again, restart or exit. If you try to quit you must confirm whether you want to save the game, exit without saving, or cancel. A notice box appears every time you win a game. Changing the difficulty level requires four mouse clicks (instead of two) as it is buried inside the Options menu.

[edit] Windows 7

Windows 7 was released on 22 Oct 2009 and Minesweeper remained nearly identical to the Vista version. The only change to the game interface is on the Help menu, where an option to 'Get More Games Online' has been added. The Help file was rewritten. The 'About' box still thanks Oberon Games (instead of Oberon Media) but the games folder now credits I-play for writing the game. (I-play is a website run by Oberon Media).

[edit] Interesting Facts

[edit] Bugs

  • One Click Bug - Before Vista, if a game is solved in one click the timer does not stop.
  • Timer Jump - Before Windows 2000 the game timer often skips a second at the start of a game.
  • Timer Lag - Before Vista, on most computers the game timer is slower than real time.
  • Board Cycles - Before Vista there were repeating loops of games due to poor randomisation.
  • Moving Window Bug - Before Windows 2000 changing difficulty level moved the game window off the screen.
  • The Highscore display in some languages is not large enough (e.g., in the German Windows 2000 version the "n" in "Sekunden" falls outside the box if the score is 3 digits).

[edit] Easter Egg

Type xyzzy and press [Shift] then [Enter]. The pixel in the top left corner of your screen is now white, and will turn black if the mouse moves above a mine. Donner intentionally programmed this cheat so a friend could impress people with his psychic ability. Inspiration came from the game Colossal Cave Adventure (1976), where typing xyzzy teleported the player between two locations. This Easter Egg was removed with the release of Vista.

[edit] Cheats

  • Stop the Clock - In all versions before XP you can stop the clock by holding down both mouse buttons, pressing [Esc] and releasing the buttons. To restart the clock minimise and reopen the game.
  • Pause the Timer - In all versions before Vista press the Smiley Face to pause the timer. You can also pause the game by minimising it.
  • Edit Highscores - In Windows ME or earlier locate the Winmine.ini file and edit the highscores. In Windows NT4 do the same thing to the entpack.ini file. In Windows 2000 and XP open the registry (regedit.exe) and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Winmine to edit highscores. Backup the registry first.
  • See the Bombs - Vista and Windows 7 allow you to play the same game many times until you win. Lose the game on purpose and take a screenshot of the mine locations. Then look at the picture to solve the game.

[edit] Keyboard

It is possible to play Minesweeper without a mouse by activating MouseKeys. In XP or earlier versions go to the Control Panel --> Accessibility Options --> Mouse --> Use MouseKeys and edit the Settings. In Vista or later go to Control Panel --> Ease of Access --> Change how your mouse works --> Turn on MouseKeys and edit the Settings.

When MouseKeys is on you use the Number Keypad to navigate. Press [5] to click and [+] to flag. Chording uses two keys, [0] to press down and [.] to release. You move with the other number keys, such as [8] for up and [2] for down. The cursor moves one pixel at a time.

Be careful because pressing other keys modifies these functions. For example, pressing [-] will make [5] start flagging and you need to press [/] to return to the original function. Pressing [-] makes [0] unflag and [*] restores it, and doing it again makes it flag before restoring it.

In Vista or later it is easier to skip MouseKeys and just use the keyboard. Arrow keys move the cursor one square at a time. Hit [Enter] to click, press [1] to flag and [Shift][Enter] to chord. It is also possible to use [Spacebar] to click, [Shift][Spacebar] to flag or chord. In all versions [F2] starts a new game and [Alt] allows you to view the menus.

If you are using a mouse, you can Chord by holding [Shift] and clicking the left mouse button.

[edit] Trivia

  • Minesweeper replaced Reversi with the release of Windows 3.1.
  • The maximum grid size is 24x30 and the maximum number of mines that can be placed is limited by (X-1)(Y-1).
  • According to Robert Donner, Bill Gates scored 4 seconds on the Beginner level in 1990. "Bill sent email to me and a program manager inviting us to verify it for ourselves. He said it was sitting on Mike Hallman's machine. I was too busy to go, but the PM verified it." Mike Hallman joined Microsoft in April 1990 and was the company president.
  • The Moving Windows Bug affected Winmine 98 and earlier ... but if you play those versions on Vista, the games slide diagonally towards the bottom right corner instead of upwards!
  • Sound for early versions was a one octave rising scale (B major) for winning, a siren (B-B-B-B-B-B alternating high and low) for losing and a beep (F) for each tick. Windows 2000 and XP use a single explosion for losing, a shimmer for winning and a beep (G#) for ticking. Listen. Vista introduced many new sounds. These include a ripple of notes for starting a game, a beep (B flat) for each opening, another beep (G sharp) for incorrect chording, a ripple of explosions (mines) or a flute melody (flowers) for losing, and a noise for winning. The Italian version of Windows 2000 introduced this sound for stepping on flowers (it was kept for ME and XP).
  • All Beta versions of Minesweeper were lost, until 12 July 2010 when Damien Moore discovered Mine 2.9 in an online archive of miscellaneous programs. It had been part of a CD called 'Windows 1993' containing 7000 Windows programs collected from various BBS sites and sold by 'Chicago Computer Broker'. Damien emailed a copy to Robert Donner, the original programmer, as Donner had believed all Beta versions were lost.
  • Options for sound and ticking were removed when WEP was released. You can restore them on versions before Vista by editing the Winmine.ini file. (In Windows NT4 edit the entpack.ini file.) Add the lines 'Sound=3' and 'Tick=1'. Disable by changing values to zero or deleting them. You can actually give Sound any positive integer greater than 2 and give Tick any positive integer. Sound returned to the menu in Windows 2000 and ticking was merged with it.
  • You can lose on the 1st click if you replay a game on Vista or Windows 7.

[edit] Downloads

The following downloads are by Microsoft or the original authors in English. For other versions see the Minesweeper Versions page.

[edit] Games

The Windows 2000 and XP versions do not work on earlier systems because they store values in the Registry. The Windows Vista and 7 versions only work on those systems as they are part of an integrated games package.

Mines 2.9 (Jul 1990)
WEP (8 Oct 1990)
Windows 3.1 (6 Apr 1992)
Windows 95 (24 Aug 1995)
Windows 98 (25 Jun 1998)
Windows 2000 (17 Feb 2000)
Windows ME (14 Sep 2000)
Winmine XP (25 Oct 2001)
Windows Vista (30 Jan 2007)
Windows 7 (22 Oct 2009)

[edit] Help Files

To view old Help files on Vista or later you need to download this file and place it in the 'Windows' folder on your main drive. Help files for Vista and Windows 7 are built into the operating system so have been put into Word documents here. The older Help Files have also been put into Word documents and are included with the originals in each ZIP folder.

Mines Beta 2.9 (Jul 1990)
WEP (8 Oct 1990)
Windows 3.1 (6 April 1992 )
Windows 95 (24 Aug 1995)
Windows 98 (25 Jun 1998)
Windows 2000 (17 Feb 2000)
Windows ME (14 Sep 2000)
Windows XP (25 Oct 2001)
Windows Vista (30 Jan 2007)
Windows 7 (22 Oct 2009)

[edit] To Do List

  • Does vista have board cycles?
  • Where are the sound and graphics listed in the DLL file stored for Vista?
  • Get more screenshots of Italian ME and 2000 flower version
  • Confirm rumour German ME also had flowers...what other versions?
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