Reminds me of better times, when I used Windows as a novelty rather than because I had too.
First question: which electronics manufacturers embed Windows 3.11 for Workgroups in their products? Second question, and much more pressing: why? We ask merely because Microsoft has told world+dog it’s withdrawing the ancient operating system from the embedded market. In November 2008. So this gives manufacturers plenty of …
...I remember the happy day I _upgraded_ to this operating system! We'd only briefly been on 3.1 after a long spell on 3.0 (you may recall the extra 0.01 added tentative 32-bit-ness and an insistance on running in 386 protected mode). It wasn't that long ago! Was it?! Am I that old already?!
another old 3.11 user here - I even still have the 324mb hdd it was installed on kicking around somewhere.
I remember the packard bell my parents bought that came with 3.11 on it, it also had packard bells "navigator" desktop replacement application that tried to provide an alternative interface to microsofts... wonder what happened to that concept.
"But there will be few mourners: everyone who actually remembers using this operating system is long gone."
I'd really like to know where I've gone to? Can anybody tell me? If you know, please reply, as I'd like to find myself!!!
(Yes, I know, I'm a sarcastic Ba****d - I just can't help it!)
Paris - because she doesn't know where I am either!
The computer system that is used to diagnose the Patriot Missile systems made use of Windows 3.1 as of 2003 when I finished my contract with the US Army. I guess it sort of goes along with the Stealth Bomber upgrades.... Maybe they were trying out the "security through obscurity" approach.
I'm 22, and I remember using 3.11 when I was 8 on my Tandon NB286/SX laptop. I've still got it somewhere. Whilst 3.11 isn't anywhere as full featured as XP/Vista or even Win95 it had a certain charm, it was so quick and simple.
Paris because she isn't afraid to mourn the loss of 3.11
In one of our embedded solutions. Why? Because the ramifications of changing a otherwise perfectly working product is far to great.
Lets be clear, this is not the desktop version of WFWG3.11, this is the embedded version, different kettle of fish, stripped down it's very light, pretty robust and very small footprint.
DX33, huh! Before the days of clock doubling? I recall having a big conversation with a man from Intel as to whether "the one to recommend to our 'high-end' customers" was the DX50 or the DX2-66... still not sure the answer I got was the right one!
Paris - cos she knows all about embedding!
We've still got a customer that uses it daily.
A couple of years ago he had a hardware fault on his mobo, so he's now running a 15 year old OS on 5 year old hardware!
Had to try to remember the commands for installing a CD drive - old machine didn't have one, new (second hand) does... oh the memories of mscdex.exe, autoexec.bat, config.sys, etc etc.
Does the job, bloody well!
From the days when microsoft actually produced decent software, needing a mere 3 floppy disks for the OS.
I vote for a nostagia icon!!
My claim to fame at that time was creating a standardised platform for an office of 20/30 users using 3.11. It was installed on a Netware server mapped drive and the PCs had no local copy. They booted to Dos, connected to the network, and then ran Win.bat which pointed them to this shared installation. The server RAID array was quicker than their local HDDs, so it loaded really quick and their desktop was always the same, locked down. Office was on there too.
The performance and stability was no different to running locally, with the advantage that it was centrally managed.
Who said you couldn't do cool things in those days (on a shoestring too)?
I remember my next-door-neighbour coming in and telling me about this wonderful Windows for Workgroups which allowed you to share files with each other. He was amazed.
Of course, as I was using Sun workstations at work with X-windows on them, and had been for several years, I couldn't quite see what all the excitement was about.
(And frankly, I still don't understand how Windows can work so badly. Why can't I run a program on my PC, and launch the display onto another PC without having to use special software?)
3.11 ran my DOS programs properly. I tried 95 for a bit, and went back to 3.11 because I did not have time for my machine to reboot four times a day. When NT got foisted on me, some of my DOS programs became a bit wobbly. A friend had some expensive MS technical support to spare, and here is they advice the had him pass on to me: "God hates you."
I should thank MS for that, and for some similar advice I received when I tried to install a new MS compiler (the disk thrashed for two days before I let the machine give up). MS's helpful advice convinced by to try a Linux CD from the cover of a magazine.
Suddenly all the software I was familiar with from university became available. No more swearing at word because I could not get it to do the things I had done with Tex. It came with free compiler that worked better than anything I had used before. The same compiler worked as a cross compiler. There was a choice of software for schematic capture, PCB layout, and circuit simulation.
Better versions of all the stuff I could no longer use because MS kept "upgrading" their operating system.
I never had to deal with anything that explicitly required windows 3.11. Dosemu under linux and freedos have been sufficient so far, and it has been a long time since I had to resort to either.
XP has past me by, and I made no effort to investigate it. Now that it too is on the way out, I have no legacy XP programs to deal with. It is unlikely that I will buy a Vista capable machine - my newest kit is fanless and I expect it to last beyond Windows 7 service pack 2 (assuming Windows 7 is only two years late).
Have we reached the point yet when people get fired for choosing to be locked into expensive software with a short life span?
Remember 3.11? I remember designing hardware for it to run on! Damn, I'm so old...
Whereas workstations had adopted GUIs and multi-tasking quickly, PCs were still mostly text-based single-taskers when Windows 3 came along. At the time Windows (and previously DR GSX) were a bit of an oddity rather than mainstream. I remember people who saw Windows 3 for the first time saying "wow, this will change everything" - and it did.
Respect for the old girl, she led the mass adoption of graphical user interfaces on PCs. What am I bid for my original set of install floppies?
Dusted off MS-DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.1 recently. I needed Corel Draw 3 which I found wasn't on my system any more. Now although CD3 will run on Windows 2000 (my main system) it will only *install* under 16-bit incarnations otherwise it hangs up wondering why installing a true type font doesn't create a .FOT file.
Installation went OK and now I'm keeping DOS and Windows 3.1 on my FAT-16 format C: drive and made several copies of the boot floppy.
So another old system lives on inside my PC box, joining the (emulated) Amstrad CPC464 dual-floppy system.
Icon of another old dual-floppy system
And just starting to develop my love for technology (errr not in that way) Ah win 3.1
Used it on a tosh laptop first (my home PC ran DOS and did not have enough RAM or processor horsepower to run Windows.
Thought it was the best thing since err bread till a few years later when I tinkered with it on a laptop I was given and realised what a pain it must have been to administer but it tought me a lot.
Next incarnation was on a network at secondary school with all the desktops running via remote boot ROMs using a BNC ring and RM LAN Manager.
People had to log on one at a time or the server would just fall over, it would also have a lie down if you opened more than application, I did that a few times and brought the network to a grinding halt!
Ah those were the days!
Not sure why it or Windows for Workgroups was ever embeded in anything though.
"everyone who actually remembers using this operating system is long gone"
I'm aged 26 and remember it well... and Windows 3.0... DOS 4... and I've still got all the disks and manuals... ah the days when a PC had a "Turbo" button on the front to give you those extra 3 Mhz when playing Duke Nukem or Castle Wolfenstein.
My first experience of the intarwibble was on WfW...
Ah, those were the days when a web page would load in a couple of a seconds even via a dial up modem (14,400 I think), no huge flash animations, no pop ups, no ads... Ahhh... Bliss.
@AC... I don't think WfW came on 3 floppies.. IIRC it's about 6 or 7... Windows 3 came less. Now if you want Windows 2, I have a copy on 2 floppies.
Oh, and I'm still alive and in my 30s... (Just!)
Mines the one with the U.S. Robotics Courier V Everything not really fitting in the pocket!
In the days before they messed about with Office products and Second hand Linux. Novell actually had one of the best Network operating systems.
The user/file management NDS in Netware 4.1 and above was brilliant, Far better that MS Active Directory even to this day.
Pity they wasted all that money on Perfect Office and were slow to go to Native IP addressing.
Now I could show my age and mention AppleTalk, what a dogs breakfast that was. When I watched Independence day it all made sense, it was developed by aliens, intent on wiping out life on earth, that's why Jeff GoldBluam could interface his MAC directly into the Alien Mothership.
Yeah I helped set up a similar set-up while on work experience. Worked great! Everyone had the same setup. And if they needed a different config, copy the old and modify. The IT tech was greatful for years for me suggesting it (so old hardware ended up being thrown out in my direction, often before they needed upgrading :D so many servers in my attic, untill my parents complained about the noise and the electricity costs of running a datacenter at home), untill the company decided to "upgrade" to Windows 2000 (yes they skipped 9x all together).
My first job was diskless DOS workstations on a Novell 2.2 network for a school. I upgraded it to Novell 3.12 after reading the 3,200 page manual with 3.11 clients. Seemed like such progress!
My first PC was a Gateway 486 DX66 imported from America; two weeks after it arrived it was on the front cover of PC Mag as "Fastest ever". I really liked laying out the windows just so so I could see every icon. I also remember installing 400 fonts on it and grinding it it a halt.
Moment of true sadness coming up: I asked for and got MS-DOS 5.0 for my 27th birthday....
Some may have a mistaken nostalgic view that Windows 3.11 was ok - at least until they remember the UAE/GPFs, the VxD model, the shitty multitasking, the DOS underpinnings, the horrors of multimedia and games.
Now OS/2, *that* was a proper operating system, despite its limitations. It also multitasked DOS apps properly with far more control than Win 3.11 ever had.
In an embedded environment, where everything is properly tested, controlled and hopefully not realtime critical Windows 3.11 is probably ok. As a general purpose OS? Garbage.
324MB - that was some hog for Win3.11! I first installed it on a machine with a 40MB hard disk and 1MB RAM.
Still had to go back to DOS6.22 on a regular basis though. Some things never change.
Oh, and I'm 29 and started on a BBC Micro with the Acorn O/S. First DOS version was 5. Drew has apparently been replaced by a 12 year old.
A friend is still using DOS 3 on an 8088 laptop. It still works, although the monochrome screen is starting to die slowly.
The days of Winsock. Ahhh...reminisce!
Working like a trojan to get the TCP stack working; fiddling with your IRQs to get the modem working (14.4k anyone?). And waiting 11 minutes for a 100k bit of pron to download, only to get caught by the girfriend in the middle of it!
Paris, because she knows what it's like to get caught with/in pron!
I remember a guy contacting my to come install WfW 3.11 on all his machines and setup file sharing etc.
I arrived on site and he proudly told me all the cabling was in ,I just had to connect, install and configure.
When i started looking he had daisy chained cat 5 cabling between each machine
and had left it like that, as he didnt know how to wire the RJ45 connector to loop on and thought I could do it properly.
I had to stop myself from rolling around laughing and nearly choked, before explaining to him what a hub was etc.
At that point the project cost got too high for him and he stuck to floppies.
oh, the memories of more innocent days.... !!
I used to work in the test dept at WGC, and there were a couple of Win 3.11FW machines in there. That was a few years ago.
I can remember my 486 SX25 with 4Mb of RAM struggling to play a 160*120 [or similar] MPG file from a double speed CDROM in Win 3.11FW. What a fucking chore.
And then my mother killing the machine by switching it off when I was compressing the[120mb] hard drive. I think i was eleven or twelve at the time.
Ah, physically changing IRQs to get sound cards to work, so much better than Plug'n'Pray and Windows Vista Hardware install [which sometimes tells me I need a restart to install a USB stick - I mean, WTF?].
Bring back jumpers.
"I used 3.11 during my first year at Uni and I'm only 29!"
I feel your pain bro, I had to connect via ssh to our university's mainframe (on a 386sx with a hefty 4mb ram!!!
In the second year I upgraded to a celeron 300 with 64mb ram, I havent experienced such a jump in performance since.
To be fair to the author, I am "long gone", since I run Ubuntu 100% at home now.
"everyone who actually remembers using this operating system is long gone"
Actually no - I still have a copy (although I don't actually use it) and I remember it like it was yesterday.
I also still have a box in the attic with about 300 copies of DOS 3.2 on 5.25 inch floppies. I bought them at an auction back in the early '90s, because I wanted the power leads, IDE cables etc and they were all bundled together.
I only finally disposed of my trusty Amstrad 1512 a couple of years ago; it was left in the garage and the roof leaked all over it. I used it to set-up a database app using a product called First Choice back in the mid 80's - I did it as a favour for someone and I know that they are still using it, because they called me a year ago as they had crashed the system and wanted me to help get it running again.
I may be an old fogey at 35, but I both used and supported 3.11 for ages. The office I still work in now (although no longer in IT) went straight from 3.11 to Windows 2000 for deities' sakes.
We still use DOS 6.20 to drive all the development kit for the current standard 2MHz interlocking systems though...
I still haven't convinced XP and dosbox to let me run DI's Tornado flight sim though... These fake soundblasters and USB to serial converters for joysticks just don't cut the mustard.
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I think he was baiting us :)
Yep I remember using 3.11 and even 3.1 (never used 3.0 as was busy compiling beta Linux kernels and trashing my FS before then)
Ahh those were the days SCO System V was clunky but damn stable, Novell 3.x was 80% of market share (ctrl, ctrl, shift, esc anyone) and NT was a glimmer in the eye of MS...
Nope not long dead but I do smell a bit!
Windows 95 was rubbish in comparison., By then we where using NT3.51 for Servers and Workstations or WFWG3.11 on older workstations, then in 1996 NT4.0.
I have WFW3.11 With 32bit TCP/IP and Win32S on CD. and a number of copies or Word 2.0a
Really you want about 8M when networking, Or 4M without Networking!
I have a NT 4.0 Workstation the attic with "Program Manager" on it instead of Explorer to save RAM and CPU.
I still hate Explorers Filemangler in comparison.
I have an old video editing card which does not work under anything else but Wfw 3.11 or maybe Win95.
Other than that there are a lot of embedded system which install TSRs under DOS which hook up to the interrupts and essentially controll some hardware. They only load Windows for a nice GUI to the routines.
There's even some GEM systems still in use. For example there are some Audio Workstations from Cortex (or something) running GEM under DOS. They have up to 4 DSP boards inside.
Yes, I seem to remember using an Amstrad PCW during Win 3.11's short and forgetable existance so never really used it.
Ooopps! I mean Sir Alan Sugar. Sorry Sir Alan, I didn't mean it Sir Alan. What a crap PC that was Sir Alan.
Paris - cos she knows all about sugar daddies.
I remember 3.11 for Workgroups. I used it for a small office network. I had to reboot it at least once a day, and tape backups took over an hour for what must have been all of 80Mbytes (yes, M not G)
Then, I also remember 2.0 and 1.0 (like Kings and queens, it only got a number when it was dead and another one came along) Windows 1 only allowed you 4 windows, and they were tiled, not overlapping. About half as good as Desqview and twice as ugly. (There, now I've really shown my age)
As someone that started on PDP8s and "progressed" through PDP 11, VAX/VMS, CP/M and all versions of DOS from 1.0 up, then you are nearly right. Replace "long gone" with "soon gone".
(I must fire up 3.11 under VMWare on my Ubuntu server - I could do with a laugh)
I remember using it as a student with Compuserve and running a copy of Dr Solomons Anti virus, back when it used to check for a whole 6000 viruses!
Also remember Win 3.0 on the schools RM network, which had OS/2 on the server and a couple of old 186? PC's running Windows 1!
Those were the days...
"everyone who actually remembers using this operating system is long gone"
Long gone to MacOS in my case.
But I still have fond memories of making my first websites and producing a printed magazine on the last Windows OS that was not unbearably ugly, stupid and irritating.
Paris - because she is not unbearably ugly.
I resent the implication that I should be pushing up the daisies at 23 for having used WfW. It was better than DOS shell and it still boots faster on my 40MHz 386 than Windows XP does on my 2.5GHz Athlon64!
Oh, and I found a few sealed OEM copies of it still for sale at a local computer store, on 3.5" floppies no less and at $20, I'd call it a bargain.
Thank you Chris, for noting that a GUI is not an operating system. I had the same reaction to this article and the comments that followed it.
Can it be that Microsoft's all-integrating strategy has succeeded so completely that we can no longer remember that Windows was just a shell? Of course, it was later integrated into the OS -- much the way Internet Exploder suddenly became an inseperable part of the OS a few years later.
What a choice: you have to pick an OS developed by either a) the wax-ball borg, b) a swarm of neck-bearded penguins, or c) a consumer electronics cult. No thanks, I will unplug instead.
The black helicopter icon, because el Reg lacks a proper neo-luddite or Amish icon. Maybe a horse and buggy icon?
and yet was still never enough to fit my games on!
We played around with LOGO on the BBC Micros and I used to love the acorn pc's at school - starting off with the A3000's, then the 4000's and the beautiful A5000 "RISC PC" *drool*
My first secondary was full of acorns and apples (os 8 era) and when I moved secondary school to a place outfitted with RM Nimbus with windows I wondered what the hell it was!
Then my parents came home with our first PC (speccy 128 not counting) sporting the same stuff...
Gem! Gem! Someone else remember Gem! Oh... bugger...
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety: other GUIs cloy
The appetites they feed: but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies; for vilest things
Become themselves in her: that the holy priests
Bless her when she is riggish.
Just remember that it's running on WfW 3.11 too - at least the Siemens trains are!
(Although there are two of them, one at each end. That's why you'll see the driver running through the train when you stop unexpectedly - s/he's got to Ctrl-Alt-Del the other one!)
Closest logo to a train-spotter...
Every time I hear Vistas new start up music, after the three minutes waiting to hear the music and after I see the immediate notification message (windows has downloaded updates, click here to install) because vista is so fast at downloading them each day. (Notice I say each day)
I remember the icon sizes were huge because my monitor was only 480 by 320. I remember you had to type "win" in dos or something like that and you had to edit your autoexec.bat to get it to do it for you. You had to edit your autoexec.bat which was another thing, and config.sys.
Them were the days...
I think you might find the "long gone" comment a deliberate attempt to wind up all those (me included) who used Win16! Good to see you all feel for it :-)
I do worry though that the majority of you seem to have VERY rose-tinted memories of Win 3.x. It was far from stable, not particularly fast on the hardware of the day (especially when compared against running stuff direct from DOS), and the still emerging GUI interface was pretty clunky at times, particularly when compared to that PROPER graphical operating system MacOS.
I was playing around with VMWare a year or so back, installing old OSes, and came across some Win 3.1 floppies. I spent a good hour or three getting it installed and running, and then I stared at it... no TCP/IP network, no IE, no installed app... and turned it off again! :-(
Not long gone, stuck with it. Because it's embedded!
We're a university science department. We have a number of instruments that would be very expensive to replace with modern equivalents, and which are still usable and useful. "Very expensive" means five or six digits. They were made in the early 1990s. The control computer runs Windows 3.1. The company that made the instrument never made available any upgrade path that did not involve replacing the instrument, and has since gone bust.
So continuing to run Windows 3.1, and keeping a stockpile of ancient hardware to do repairs with if needed, are what we do. As for the venerable O/S, it's just a boot-loader and operating environment for one executable, and a means of getting small amounts of data saved on floppy disk.
The end will come when some bit of hardware fails in the instrument, or when the control computer fails and it is no longer possible to obtain anything that'll run Windows 3.1 and support four ISA cards (the interface). In the meantime, obsolete and dead should not be confused!
Oh yes. It was my first PC network, Novell 3.x if I remember well. Oh the fun when the coax cable faulted in some odd location, it was hell to search that. However, NE2000/NetWare Ethernet wasn't my first network ... that would've been AppleTalk. Back then, it was a nice thing to have, as we were mostly Mac users at my home, and it let us share our printers; though I did find an issue about folder-sharing not being available until System 7. (And System 6 had the "client-side support".) Of course, I found out the limitations of AppleTalk/LocalTalk years later when I tried to transfer 30-Mb files over it. Uggggh!!!
As for Windows 3.11 ... I hated it back then, I kept my MS-DOS 6.2/Win 3.1 combo up until Win95 was released. I don't know why, but the "jump" to MS-DOS 6.22 b0rked MS Backup, changed "Doublespace" into "Drivespace" AND BREAKING COMPATIBILITY; so jumping to that would have rendered a metric assload of my drives unreadable. (I know there was some odd patent problem back then, but coudn't they at least give us a "migration path"???)
Anyway, neither me or my Dad were too convinced on 3.11, same look, same crap, and we were all using Macs with System 7 anyways. (Which incidentally, could run in our old Mac Plus.) My few games for PC ran in DOS; the Mac was my gaming platform, alongside my C-64 =)
I've still got two or three sets of 3.11 on Dell branded floppy disks (and DOS 6.22).
I remember fixing problems by extracting files manually from the install disks to replace the corrupt files on the hard disk. Vista really doesn't like you doing that.
Also I can remember it being far easier to install than Redhat 5. Those were the days (And I'm only 27).
(Pirate flag - No stupid licenses keys to lose!!!)
Can any of you claim truthfully to have even seen Windows Version 1? No? Close your eyes and imagine...text-based windowing. That's right, it ran in text mode, not graphics. It, um, didn't go over very well as it was not only ugly, but slower than a three-legged sow.
WfW 3.11 has been useful for networks of very dumb DOS machines running a dedicated app. You had to add the Windows for Workgroups Add-On for MS-DOS to the app boxes.
And CPM? Anyone remember CPM?
A couple of weeks ago I wanted easy access to a sub-sub-directory of a network disk. I could vaguely remember that there was a command in DOS 2.0 (the first version with directories) which allowed old DOS 1.0 programs (which just knew about c:, d: etc) to use those directories. Surely, I thought, it wouldn't still be there 25 years later. I was wrong; the "subst" command is *still* in Windows XP! Am I the first person to use it in all those years?
Wasn't disk 7 the printer disk on 3.11?
Ah, I remember the days. 8-floppy installs on my old Alt386-SX (with an optional 386 co-proc!!) followed by a full weekend lost to installing Office off 20 floppy disks...
Those were the days! These youngsters don't know they're born!
@guy who mentioned carousel
That stupid shiny robot was.... weird.
Thank heavens we've reached the futuristic Sanctuary of... Vista. Ah. Back to 3.11 then!
Bones- we're not all like them yet.
"imagine what it would be like running windows 3.11 on todays dual core machines"
If you carefully choose your mobo chipset (maybe Intel?) and video card (Matrox) then it will probably work fine, within the limitations of device drivers. Remember, most of us are forced to upgrade OS due to lack of device drivers, rather than any particular desire to fill our new HD with bloated plodware.
I remember running this on a 386SX-25 with a whopping 4 (yeah, 4) megabytes of memory.
Added a smallish little second box via a 10B2 network and ran a 2 node Renegade BBS for a number of years while in college. Met the wife on that setup - sold the setup, still have the wife ^.^
I remember the days before it - 3.0, Windows/386 and 286, even "just plain old DOS" - though I think it was 2.x (on a Compaq luggable).
(I still have, somewhere, the PC Magazine review of the Deskpro 386, declaring "Enormous memory, unlimited future" - things have changed a bit since then)
I'll be joining the guy at the bar for the memory lane drinking round.
I've wished for a long long time for the return or at least the option to use the old Windows 3.1 menu system. It's MUCH quicker than XP or Vista and very logical. You could group all your desktop shortcuts into sensible windows and they wouldn't get blown to bits if you changed screen resolution.
WFW 3.11 - the first usable windows version ? I remember it as being a huge improvement over Win 3.1, from a s/ware developer's point of view.
I'm therefore waiting for Vista 3.11 - it may be sorted by then.
ps Everyone is long gone ? sheesh you lot have short memories : it was only 15 years ago. My car is older than that.
Mine's the one with "Grandpa Grumble" embroidered on the back (for any Tove Jansson fans)
I SECOND THAT!!... ok.. I never used 3.11... I had something called 'Headstart', which was a nice thing put out by.. ummm Magnavox. That was on my screaming 11MHZ (in turbo mode) box.
Those were the days. Ahhh yes. But unfortunately or fortunately I didnt go to windows till 95, which just blew me away from my little tree spanning directory driven 'gui'.
and I'm not old!.. am I? please tell me I'm not...
I might still have a machine with it on somewhere in the loft, I've got some old 386 and 486 machines lurking up there. Most will boot to DRDOS if they still work, but it's possible that there's still a Windows shell. For comparison, there's even still a BBC B Micro and an Archimedes up there.
As for OS/2 Warp, I'm afraid I still have that running on a machine. It's my home mailserver and I have yet to port the custom and highly tuned spam filter program (that still occasionally rejects mail from Reg Hacks) to Linux and hook it into Sendmail or Postfix.
Some basic math software we had in college ran on Windows 1.0. That version didn't even have any pretenses of being an OS -- it was strictly a "graphic" UI framework. I use quotes because it ran at the super high-resolution 640x400 (monochrome) or the low-res 320x200 with 4 stunning colors.
We were able to program a big 4GL application which ran on PC's or UNIX boxes, run serveral unix terminal sessions, and run remote sessions on other PC's over phone lines for support.
You could snapshot all the .ini files so you could exactly see what installing a program did - and roll back if needed.
It was stable. Basic machines which only needed DOS could be set up quickly.
We could send out replacement PC's - get the users to plug them into a phone line and connect a parallel cable to their problem PC. Then we'd transfer the data and get them up and running no problem - and do all this remotely.
Users could have their machine boot straight into their 4GL application easily - or for other stuff normal users also liked dosshell.
But most important of all - I could copy my entire hard disk to a server or spare HDD - and then when i came back from holiday and found my boss had trashed my machine I could restore it by format c: /s and then copy the files back. And I did this a few times.
Then we had win95 which I avoided at first but then thought I'd try.
Unix apps stopped working, the registry (nuff said), random crashes, now we had to reinstall every freakin time as restoring from backup was impossible, Users didn't like it - they were bakers and just wanted their 4GL app, bloat, more ram needed. Everybody seemed to spend everyday from then on constantly reinstalling the pile of crap. Our system builder said that on identical hardware the install would be different every time.
Fonts did look better though!
Made me laugh when Bill G described win95 as a highlight.
...I remember fondly many attempts at editing a 50-page document in WfW (that's Word for Windows) 6, running on WfW (that's Windows for Workgroups) 3.11... after almost having given up (WfW 6 had a bug that basically made it crash randomly when editing anything with more than 50 pages) I switched to OS/2... where WfW6 ran noticeably faster and stably. Oh, the days... and indeed, Windows has never been an OS, it's just another Pretty Program Starter running (or rather, trying to) on NT6 in its current incarnation.
Oh yes, the horror of the first days of the internet, trying to make WfW 3.11 allow me to actually get online using something other than America Offline or Compuswerve...
@AC from Friday, 12:17 GMT: you will keep seeing OS/2 on ATMs and in similarly security-heavy computing applications for a few more years. OS/2 had a market share of approx. 80 % in the banking sector in the mid-to late 90s; it let the banks run their old DOS applications unmodified and at the time was much more secure against hacking attempts than WfW, W9x and NT 3.x/4. Also, zero virii in the wild...
Me, I have an old PC running Warp 4, so I can play my old DOS games that wouldn't run on DOS because one couldn't free enough of the lower 640 k... and the old Windows games, too, of course.
Mine's the one with the Z80 machine code manual printed on the back...
that they just pulled their last Citrix Windows NT 3.1 Metaframes out of production only 8 months ago! I don't even know how they nursed along the old hardware for it to even run on.
Thank GOD I've got a new job and my new company spends some money!
I still have my original disks and run it in dosbox for old games that just won't run anywhere else.
And the WIN 3.11 community is alive and well! http://oldfiles.org.uk/
What? You never heard of lagging edge geeks? We use the old stuff because it's FUN!
(And guess what? We can run DVDs, USB, and any other new tech on it, just because people tell us it ain't possible!)
My first usable home computer was an Apple ][. I wanted an Apple 1 but couldn't scrounge the cash. My favorite non graphic program was AppleWorks: Word processing, Spreadsheet, and Database all in one neat package.
At work we started with the a TRS-80 using 8" floppies. We moved to Apple 3 and I installed a HUGE network drive. It was 20 Megabytes and about the size of two shoeboxes. We backed up to a VCR.
The Apple 3 computer's chips were all friction fit and if there were problems you dropped it on a flat surface from about three feet ( approx. 1 metre) to re-seat the chips. Worked every time.
Thuse were the days.
I'm 28 and have used Win 3.11 as recently as 2000. I had changed jobs from a company using NT4 and felt pretty dirty. Thankfully I moved to a new project and got some newer kit shortly after that.
I have a functioning Trash-80 CoCo at home sitting next to my Odyssey 2. I was the only 6 year old anybody knew back then who could use BASIC.
Back in 1999 we were being charged a small fortune by an assortment of "consultants" to protect our stuff from the Evil Millennium Bug. Orders From Above, Compulsory Millennium Bug training courses and emergency plans for when the lights went out, lifts plummeted etc. etc.
To avoid wasting all our limited IT budget "protecting" some spare kit I hid some of our older laptops away.
Last year I stumbled on one of these.
A quick charge-up and it was away. Win 3.11 ran beautifully. WORD allowed me to type up some documents I needed. Job done.
I bet > 90% of the work we do in our office could have run on it perfectly.
Instead we have these energy pumping XP PCs, barely using all of that power.
Skull and crossed bones in memory of those Millennium Bug "specialists"
I'm gone man, solid gone... <cue music>
Well, I say use: I mucked about with it while staying with the Agèd Parents over the holidays, and only because it was pissing down with rain outside. Dreadful stuff, went straight back to Motorola-based computers, with occasional forays into DOS if unavoidable.
My god, I have just remembered how I set that old 486 of mine to boot.
Mod'd Autoexec that gave a menu of either Doom, Doom II, Heretic, DOSShell or WfW3.11
God, those were good times :-) DOSShell pwns Win 3.11 for ease of use and speed.
PS: I turned 26 last weekend and now feel very, very old!
Shit eh... DOS 6.22, Win 3.11..... that is where I started.
Actually except for the complete lack of "modern" functionality and interoperability, the idea of "updating" back to 3.11, as opposed to MS Fister, seems quite appealing.
Opps sorry - forgot to mention Umbuntu....
Yeah.... It's my way and MS can hit the highway.
"everyone who actually remembers using this operating system is long gone."
Nope - those of us who really knew how to live are still here! You don't realize how good of a time we had - walking uphill backwards thru 6 feet of snow to school every day. Only to find sandstorms and 120° weather on our way back - but we did it because we knew the value of good hard honest work. DOS 3.11 was good honest work. Not like what you young whipper snappers do!
Paris - because we were young whipper snappers once
Couldn't understand the fuss about "for Workgroups" when we already had a proper Netware 3 network. Yes, the NDS in 4 & 5 is brilliant for management, but the speed never seemed as good as 3.12.
We're still using DOS 6.2 on one quite important machine - it works, so leave it alone.
Tandy TRS-80. ZX-80/81. VIC-20. Commodore 64.
Win 3.11 were bloody luxury. We used to have to go 14 miles through snow carrying the family and hopping, because we could only afford one boot, and the nearest source of spares were 3 light-years away. It took so long to get the memory right we used to have to wake up 4 hours before we went to bed. Aye, but we were 'appy. Tell youngsters that today and they won't believe you.
Windows 1.0 was a command shell for MSDOS.
Windows For Workgroups was a memory manager, file system, network system, and video system. It ran the memory in 80386 mode. The idea it ran 'on top of MSDOS' is true only in the sense that Linux is 'really only ROM BIOS with a few command shell files', ie not true at all.
There was continuous development of the MS OS from DOS 1.0 to Windows 98 ME, when it was killed and replaced. WFWG was part of that, but, it wasn't Win 3.1, it wasn't DOS and it wasn't a command shell.
People who think that even the original version of WFWG was 'not an OS' either never looked at it, or wouldn't know an OS if they tripped over one.
"Can any of you claim truthfully to have even seen Windows Version 1?"
Yup, at school. It wasn't text mode, although the MS-DOS executive shell was rather text-heavy. There weren't any apps installed with it though, as we were using Windows 3.0 on the 486s and Windows 2.something on the 186s (and I remember well the chunky hourglass cursor that Windows 2 used!) I suspect the teacher just found an old 186 box and installed Windows 1.0 on it to humour me.
Better than that, as a leaving present I was given the (RM branded) Windows 1.0 manual, a ring-bound tome of several hundred pages (including a dozen or more on the painting program, together with pages of mono sample pictures!)
NB - those RM Nimbus 186s were a real PITA. They wouldn't run Lemmings, even though it ran well enough on an XT. Turns out you needed a special program to make them PC-compatibile, but damned if I knew that at the time!
The 486s we had played a mean game of serial-cable deathmatch Doom though, providing you booted them from a floppy!
"[E]veryone who actually remembers using this operating system is long gone."
I clearly remember seeing the "Windows Toy," as I liked to call it, start up on a computer I purchased when I was in college. It was an accident - I hadn't yet edited it out of autoexec.bat.
But I do remember! I do, I do, I DO remember!
I've used it. I don't see much difference between it and contemporary Windows except the modern stuff is, well, just HUGE. It all went downhill when MSFT discovered C++ (and what they thought were objects) if you ask me; they never quite got the idea so they now do 'cosmic scale spaghetti'.
One thing about the millenium bug. I've got a very old XT clone from about 1984 or 5 in the attic. Jan 1, 2000, I was up there with a box of floppies with every version of MS-DOS and PC-DOS from about 2.1 onwards booting them up. Everyone got the date right. Of course I knew this was going to happen because of how the date's held (won't have a problem for another ten years or so) but it was nice to prove it. But then that's what comes from listening to journalists and authoritative sources.
"Windows 3.11 wasn't an OS. It was some flakey collection of graphics libraries and utilities. DOS was the operating system."
Surely that was 3.0/3,1, My memory is hazy, but wasn't it the case that 3.11 looked like 3.1 but bypassed big chunks of DOS for things like disk access: if not an OS half-way to being one.
When I worked at WHS our book ordering terminal was a dos contraption running on 3.11 coupled to a fabulous dot matrix printer that used to jam every time you turned it on. All of this helped us on the weekend team discover the wonders of playing 16bit solataire without a mouse.
Then they replaced it with a dodgy website thing that ran on the XP (with no service packs) tills inside a full screen IE6. This was vastly less reliable.
Why would you use anything newer, (bigger, more resorce hungry,) if you simply perform one or two basic tasks? I know a pub that uses it as a jukebox on a 486 DX4 100, with a two (?) year old Hard disc. It doesn't go onto the net, play games or run flash earth... it just plays music.
For a task like this what possible reason would you have for paying MS for a new OS that does the task not 1% better and requires you to buy all new hardware that also performs not 1% better.
Surely if you company makes little boxes by the thousend to work as jukeboxes, to follow my example, you also want something that just does the job. It should be small, reliable and use as few resources as reasonable.
I still use WfWG 3.11 at least one a week, have it running under MS VirtualPC on my Win2K box at work as we have a program which needs more DOS memory than you can get in a Win2K DOS window. We only upgraded all our machines from 3.11 to 2K 3 years ago.
I see someone also mentioned Netware, we still use a netware server to control the security on our otherwise 2K/2003 Server network beause Netware security is so much better Microsoft's.
Those were the days. I actually "upgraded to an Amiga-remember them?
The first colour photocopier I worked on used WaW "Windows at Work" the embedded version of WfW3.11.
Embedded stuff hangs around a long time, and it tends to be the last version produced- WinCE is still around, based on W98, XPe is only just taking off, Vista embedded is just a programmers dream ( nightmare, maybe)
We're talking hardware manufacture here, where timescales are different, and you don't use buggy software.
Which is why most Copier ( and an increasing number of others) manufacturers use RTOS, or one of the *nixes- Linux., BSD etc.
so I must have 1 foot in the grave......
ah death sweet death come and take me !
I reckon WFW will snuff it before me even though I now express my age as 21.5 Martian years (i.e. 40 earth years) .
why will it snuff it before me ? well because I remember WFW dieing regularly on me, before i gave up and succumbed to W95.
And now Mr Torvalds and Richard Stallman's followers have saved my soul , and I look forward to a nice trip to heaven in enternity, where I can reminisce about escaping the clutches of the Devil's OSes. Well they must be the Devil's OSes because they are all show, tempting false promises and enjoy dieing, as the current news proves........
Nope. I had to use "subst" on a Windows XP machine in which is installed a multi-card reader. For some stupid reason, between the BIOS and Windows, the empty slots in it are seen first, making the hard drive H: rather than C:. Pretty stupid, if you ask me, that I have to remove the internal USB cable for a multi-card reader in order to ensure that a Windows installation goes on C:.
*sigh* On another OS I never have to mess with drive letters. I use volume names instead, and devices are DF0: and DH0:, the later of which really can be arbitrary; for instance, migrating from hard drive to a CF card I used DHX: instead.
Paris, there just no subst.
Portion of used beer!
I cut my teeth getting an Amoeba online. Then moved onto Macs - made serious money fitting them up with access for punters - via... dial up of course. There wasn't any way without rather iffy bits of free/shareware... Which was freely availiable... on the 'net :-) Which was where Commodore's greatest came in handy.
Ah - the good old days, back when I were a sprog.
Windoze 3.11 virtually had the Interweb built in by comparison - so don't knock it.
Slips into his 'old codger's' coat and wobbles away on his zimmer...
RE: "everyone who actually remembers using this operating system is long gone"
I remember gasoline price wars and it being $0.11 / per gallon. I remember watching the first American Satellite launched into orbit. I remember live TV, B&W TV and the first color TV we ever owned. I remember taking computer programming in college and having to write programs and punch cards. I remember a lot of things because I'm 62, retired, and loving it.
Old is a state of mind and I ain't there yet.
Sorry to contradict the author of the article but I still have a MS Window 3.1 installation CD with the mark and logo of Creative Labs which came with the first Soundblaster.
For what I know the CD should work.
I think it was the first version in absolute on a CD.
Maybe I should auction it on [fe]eBay. With a reserve of $1,500 perhaps.
bluevic88 at hotmail dot com
.. no need to fix it. For many simple applications, even Win 3.11 approaches overkill. The cash register for the local coney island doesn't need anythnig more so why should the cash-register manufacturer shell out for anything else as long as they can get it? Same for dozens (hundreds?) of other products.
Me, I learned to program on an IBM 1620 CADET which you loaded with the "monitor" (OS) before each job. Intel hadn't even introduced the 4004 yet and BillG was still in grade school then. Yes, it only used punch cards for high speed I/O.
The 1620 was called the CADET (Can't Add, Doesn't Even Try) because (like many calculators) it did not have a fixed binary word width hence no hardware adder. Instead, a "number" was a string of 6-bit BCD digits between special delimiter characters. Math operations (including simple addition) were done by table lookup which allowed arbitrary precision arithmetic, limited only by the amount of time you wanted to spend on a calculation.
Ah, the good old days! :-)
"Old is punch cards"
Programmed in Fortran. Can't remember the model, but it was an IBM c.1968 with magnetic core memory...
"I like Geoworks a lot better. That was one sweet GUI"
Agree entirely. I had that on a 12 MHz 286 and it was almost perfect. Loved the option for level of complexity - e.g. it you just wanted to write a letter, you could switch off all the DTP stuff (not just greyed out - the whole menu system simplified itself).
I remember using Win 3.1 when i was younger along with DOS (the OS that will never die, lol).
Heck i even remember our hard drive being too small and using a program called Stacker i believe to compress the drive to get up to twice the space. The only problem when DOS was loading i think you could hold down 'shift' if im right and it'll bypass loading everything (that way you can save memory for other crucial apps like games :-P ) but it didnt load stacker so nothing worked, :'(.
I even remember using a TRS-80 like others on here mentioned back in the late 80s.
And yes, i still have a 486(i think its a DX2/66) here with DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.1 with a 100MB HD and 8MB of RAM in all its glory still running for all of my older games
for those of you that are curious im only 26, so im far from long gone, but my old age is getting too me (bones are for my old age lol)
I liked WfW 3.11. It meant I could replace my ancient Lantastic network with something Really Modern. I have hated every new version of Windows since then. Apart from the right-click concept, USB support, and easier networking it has been downhill all the way.
I still have clients who run the Win16 versions of my software (on Win95 or 98 admittedly) and thus I still have an ancient laptop with 3.11 installed in case they need support. The battery is long dead but it still works OK.
Oh CP/M - what about MP/M? Or better yet DMS HiNet! 31 workstations running off a Z80 based server with 64K of RAM running CP/M with networking extensions. The O/S only used 32K of RAM leaving 32K for CACHE! Those were the days. MS only did BASIC, MASM and XENIX.......
Penguin because that what I prefer.
I was still using it at a international bank about 12 years ago and it crashed regularly (2-3 times a day). It did not like to do multitasking IIRC. After complaining for 6 months my boss upgraded us to XP. One good thing about XP it only crashed once a week. I kindly(?) reminded the boss that OS/2 never crashed, but he was not amused. Still we got used to the BSOD, luckily it seemed never to happen at a critical time.
Of course on the mainframe we went a year without a "reboot" but who is counting.
I'm still running it. In fact, not just WfW (with an IP stack), but also DOS 6.22 with Novel LAN Workplace for DOS (with IP stack), MS LAN Manager (with IP stack) - even have Windows 3.1 loaded.
Kinda sweet having this all bundled (with Turbo Pascal, VB2, Turbo Pascal for Windows, games and stuff) in a neat little VM on one of my Ubuntu boxes...
Hmm.. I still have OS/2 Warp (with IBM Communication Server still shrink-wrap, seal unbroken), Netware 3 and 4.. Windows 4 Chicago Beta.. Windows Daytona.. I feel more VMs beckoning...
Oh, the joys of config.sys and getting everything squeezed into hi memory.
Mine's the old stained engineer looking one with the one sleeve in tatters...
I see your boot into DOS and load Win 3.11 from a Novell server and raise you diskless boot on Token Ring.
Ah, the heady times of working out whether or not you needed to run "rplfix" over the boot image depending on which type of card the client had, which boot ROM revision it was using and which DOS version you'd used in the image (everyone needs a hobby).
It said a lot about MFM hard disk controllers that a PS2 model 80 fileserver with a MicroChannel SCSI controller could boot a dozen clients into Win 3.11 over 16meg Token Ring simultaneously, faster than the pigging things could boot themselves given internal drives and a local copy.
We still use Windows 3.11! I'm currently on board a Canadian Coast Guard ship doing oceanographic work, and the program controlling the metering block on our winch runs under Windows 3.11. The ADCP filter runs under DOS...on a Philips 286 box....with no hard drive (program is on a floppy disk). Other systems, like oxygen titration and XBT run under DOS as well....
Where did you go to school? That said I was still using an Acorn Electron (bought in 1983) in 1997 just before I took the plunge into win 95 which I loved straight away, in a fit of childish wonderment. Hard disks used to be called Winchester Rings.
Mine's the straitjacket.
attached to MS's main process, unfortunately.
Actually, I preferred Desqview 386 to Win 3.11 on my XT/AT 286/16. It was much faster and more efficient.
And 3.11 is *not* dead. There are some places that still use 3.11 to power their security camera systems. It doesn't take DRM to run cameras. However, MS still hasn't released Windows Vista Security Edition, so there's no reason to upgrade. ;)
I feel happy, I feel happy *THUNK*
Us oldies (31?) aren't dead and some have fond memories of TaskMax, Dr Dos and gasping at Windows 3.0 running on a 286's (Microsoft had some "wow" factor back then).
I'm sure a KVM switch and 4 386's running Windows 3.1 would be far faster and more productive than a quad core running Vista.
Just today I was looking through my favorite charity shop, and low and behold; A Microsoft Windows for Workgroups & MS-DOS CD,
still in its original shrinkwrap with Certificate of Authenticity!
I promptly plunked down the two bucks!
My original copy of Win 3.11 is on floppies, and missing the Workgroups disks, but now I have the full set!
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