GW-BASIC (aka GWBASIC or Gee-Whiz Basic) was a BASIC interpreter developed by Microsoft and bundled with MS-DOS until the advent of QBASIC with MS-DOS 5.0. GW-BASIC stored programs in memory at a time when memory was very scarce. Hence it used a compact, binary representation of code. It used this same binary format for code saved on disk, which makes it hard to read GW-BASIC programs nowadays.
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