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Solitaire (Windows, 1990)

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Developer: Wes Cherry
Publisher: Microsoft
Platform: Windows
Released internationally: May 22, 1990

TextIcon.png This game has unused text.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.

NotesIcon.png This game has a notes page
ProtoIcon.png This game has a prototype article

Solitaire is very likely the most played game in offices around the world. The original version started out back in 1990 together with Windows 3.0 and was kept all the way to XP until Microsoft replaced it with a reworked version for Vista.

Retail Version

Game Number


A window in the game executable which allows you to type in a game number, like FreeCell...except Solitaire doesn't use game numbers in the retail version.

Assertion Failure


Also hidden in the game executable, but never appears. As above, it asks for the game number to be included with bug reports, which don't exist in the retail.

Unused Text

Unable to load bitmap; do you want to use a green background?

This message, which has been confirmed to be in the Win3.x, Win95/98/ME and XP versions, suggests that there was (or is) an option that allowed you to use a custom bitmap for the background image of the Solitaire window. It is unknown if there is a way to use or re-enable this feature.

Heck, I don't know
Configure Solitaire for screen shots
Force a win

These are leftover options from the debug menu. "Force a win" has a key combination assigned to it in the final game (Alt + Shift + 2), so you can still use it. However, you can re-add the other two to the menu, too. The first one does nothing, and the functionality of the second one has mostly been removed in the retail, so it just seems to freeze the game.

Interestingly, the first option is called "Hell, I don't know" in NT4, both in the debug and retail versions.

Print # of cards in each col

This string is left over from debugging, and not used in the retail game.

Obscure settings

Inside sol.exe (the earlier versions at least) is this group of strings:

These appear to be used for sol.ini settings, telling the game which names to load from and save to. Back and Options are the normal settings the game reads from and saves to. The Bitmap option is probably linked to the above-mentioned ability to set a bitmap as the background. The Currency options go in an [intl] section to alter the currency format in Vegas mode. iCurrency (valid values are 0, 1, 2, and 3. 1 puts the symbol after the amount. 2 and 3 are the same as 0 and 1 but with a space between the symbol and the amount) sets the position and spacing of the currency symbol. sCurrency sets the currency symbol itself (for example, one can add sCurrency=£ to an [intl] section of sol.ini to play Vegas mode with pound sterling instead of dollars) The Windows XP version does not seem to support the sCurrency setting, but iCurrency works fine (the settings are stored in the registry rather than sol.ini).
(Source: Original TCRF research)

Debug Version

This special debug version was taken from the checked (aka "debug") version of NT4.


The debug menu is "hidden" between the Game and Help dropdown menus, just click there to reveal it.

  • Set Game Number allows you to enter a specific game number to start a game. The debug version of Solitaire does use game numbers, and shows them prominently in the interface.
  • SolCardMenu.png
    Print icrdMacs displays some numbers, as seen at the right. They display the amount of cards in this order:
    • The deck
    • The revealed cards of the deck
    • The suit stack
    • Each of the row stacks
  • Force Win, well, forces a win.
  • Assert Failure triggers the Assertion Failure window, shown above. While a sol.dbg is in fact generated, the file is completely empty. There is a sol.dbg containing text included with the Windows NT 4.0 source code, see the Notes page for more. Unlike what it says, the Exit Windows button does not induce a shutdown.
  • Marquee Test appears to have no effect. Hell, I don’t know?
  • Configure for screen shots hides the game number from the interface. This is probably there to hide this feature from screenshots released to the public.

Version differences


Windows 3.0 Windows 3.1/95/98/ME/NT/2000 Windows XP
SolitaireWin30Icon.png SolitaireWin31Icon.png SolitaireWinXPIcon.png

Card decks

Windows 3.x/9x/NT/2000/ME Windows XP
SolitaireWinOldDeck.png SolitaireWinXPDeck.PNG

None of the XP decks ever seem to be animated, unlike some of the classic decks.

Other differences

The Windows 3.0 version saves its settings to a [Solitaire] section in win.ini (for this reason, the currency format in this version is "inherited" from the system, as win.ini includes a [intl] section). Windows 3.1 and above use a separate sol.ini file. The Windows 2000 and XP versions store settings in the registry.