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The Internet Archive is taking us back to 1992 with the release of over 1,000 programs and games that run on what was arguably the first truly mass-market color graphical interface: Windows 3.1. It's hard to imagine the enormous leap that was Windows 3.1 now that even our smart phones run an operating system that is an order …

  1. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Ah Windows 3.1 and 3.11 for workgroups. I spent a lot of time opening and closing windows, poking round the file system, breaking it, doing generally not a lot with it other than learning how to fix it, oh and not to mention playing with command.com and config.ini getting access to the higher memory area to run those DOS games that needed that little bit more RAM than I had. Finding more disk space to fit the games in the first place. Those really were the days. I was adamant I wasn't going to upgrade to Windows 95 because it looked rubbish and could never be as good. Then again I said that about Star Trek the Next Generation. Thanks for listening, I'm 34 but feel now as if I should be getting my slippers and having my tablets.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Pint

      getting older?

      Ha! I was 34 when I committed my life to IT... last century. I''m having my raisins and fruit before bed... or am I?

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        Re: getting older?

        I would have both, got to keep regular and all that.

    2. Steven Raith

      Martin, if you used doublespace to compress your HDD, then forgot to decompress it before attempting to install OS/2 then you are officially a clone of me.

      I had an Autoexec that threw up a menu asking me if I wanted to play Doom, Doom 2, Heretic or launch Windows, I was so keen to make things easier for me and save all that lovely 4MB of RAM for gaming on my 486 SX 25mhz....

      Steven "don't install OS/2 on a compressed HDD" R

      (because I did something badly wrong and it humped the drive, and at 12 years old and being the only 'computer guy' in the villiage, it killed the computer, and my use of them personally, for about a decade)

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        Ah yes doublespace, that was a must. And autoexec.bat I had 2mb of RAM (I think) and a 386SX with 20MB HDD.

        I feel now like how a car mechanic must feel these days.

        1. Kumar2012

          Ha 386DX33 with 52MB HDD, take that! you peasant with your SX :P

          1. Delbert
            Happy

            I see your DX and raise you .....

            Ah those were heady days my first homebrew was a 386SX33 perfect until a romance with fractals incited me into a threesome with coprocessor. My perversions knew no bounds and a soon I replaced the board and partnership with a 486 DX2 80 from that house of ill repute AMD whip me baby! :-p

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Steven Raith

        Did you push the turbo button?

        I remember that, jeez, setting the computer to boot into a game rather than load windows, that's back to the just after the dos days if I remember. I'm only 40 ffs... though to be fair I did have lots of fun with dos and win 3.11 in college.

        At school however things were interesting.

        It was a computer lesson and we all had BBC model B (inner city ghetto school of all places), the teacher tasked us with completing "Granny's Garden" before the lesson finished and we would win a mars bar (shocking, I know), if I remember right and this may not be correct but I dropped into basic and opened the loader file from the disk and jumped right to the end (can't remember if I did a peek or a poke, it's that long ago) but needless to say everyone completed the game and the teacher said words that these day should never be uttered to schoolchildren...

        1. el_oscuro

          Re: @Steven Raith

          Definitely poke. Peek reads memory while poke writes it. No need to muck around with NOP slides or malformed packets headers or shit like that. Just inject your code wherever you want. Sweet!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Steven Raith

            Nah, nah, nah. BBC Basic didn't have either peek or poke. You used the ? indirection operator for byte-sized direct memory access. As it says here in the BBC Micro User Guide I'm reading from (it was on the bookshelf nearby; sad, I know. Ye gods! The dust!) in chapter 39 "Indirection Operators":

            Those familiar with other dialects of BASIC will realise that

            Y=PEEK(X) becomes Y=?X and

            POKE X,Y becomes ?X=Y

            As for injecting code wherever you liked: well, yeah. 6502 CPUs didn't have memory protection, and BBC Basic came with a built-in assembler, and...

            1. Andrew Richards

              Re: @Steven Raith

              ... and don't forget ! to poke a 32 bit word.

              There was some basic protection on tape games. It was possible to set a byte so code could only be executed and not just loaded.

              However, it was also fairly simple to hook a few bytes of code into the screen refresh event to reset the byte in question 25(?) times a second to circumvent this. All to allow tape games to be moved to disks, which often involved another step to work-around the loss of a couple of k to the disc driver code. Load at &1900 (or &1100), copy down to &E00 and then run. Those were the days. Will stop now as I've an onion to tie to my belt.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I had a 486 SX as well. No Math Co-processor. I think mine ran at 33 MHz, but I bought with only 2 Meg of RAM just to keep the cost down. Sometime later I upgraded to 4 Meg of RAM. Oh, the luxury :)

        1. b3stbuddy

          I think DX2 was with the coprocessor

          I had the same I think with 2MB ram. I had wanted to run Doom but it did not run well. I was frustrated because a friend a few years back had his running on a 386 just fine but mine lagged to the point of being unplayable.

          1. Steven Raith

            Re: I think DX2 was with the coprocessor

            It was indeed the DX that had the coprocessor, I think DX2 had some extras, and DX4 had a specific maths/3D coprocessor that allowed Quake to run!

            As for the Turbot button, no, I had no such button for adding extra fish, but I did have an option to run the bus speed at 25 rather than 20mhz or similar; honestly, my memory fails me.

            A mate had a 486 DX2 66mhz with a turbot button, but the extra fish didn't make any real difference. That computer was where I learned how IRQs worked;

            We wanted to play Duke Nukem 3D (he had 8mb of RAM so launching it from Windows was feasible). We kept getting dodgy staccato sound. His dad was going to call the local computer engineer, back when that was a job worth having. I pulled the side off, and after some noodling, discovered that the parallel port and printer were using IRQ 7, as was the sound card. Changed a clearly marked jumped on the (genuine!) Sound Blaster sound card to make it run on IRQ5, and bosh, Duke was telling us he'd rip our heads off and shit down our neck without any odd static crackles.

            It was at that point that I realised that (to my mind at least) computers weren't that bloody difficult, which accidentally became a career choice seven years later...

            Basically, I blame Apogee for getting me into Linux. <3

            Steven "Blow it our your ass" R

            edit: how did my tale of autoexec.bats etc get that many upvotes? You all need help, you lovely loons, you.

            1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

              Re: I think DX2 was with the coprocessor

              "It was indeed the DX that had the coprocessor"

              Yes, it had 80387-derivated floating point in it. SX didn't. SX was supposedly upgradeable, but Overdrive co-processors sold for that were essentially full DX processors. With even higher pricetag than DX.

              "I think DX2 had some extras, and DX4 had a specific maths/3D coprocessor that allowed Quake to run!"

              No. DX2 had its internal clock doubled, DX4 tripled. DX2/66 meant front side bus at 33 MHz and internal clock at 66.

              For DX4, voltage had to be reduced to 3.3 volts in order to reach 99/100 MHz. Haven't heard of any further bits in DX4. Quake could launch on a normal 486DX. But minimum requirements demanded a Pentium. So it was down to horsepower, or lack of it.

              1. Steven Raith

                Re: I think DX2 was with the coprocessor

                Ah yes, that all makes more sense - I've not thought about 486 tech classes for over fifteen years, so excuse my brainfarts.

                Steven R

    3. BillG
      Happy

      Fiddling around with my Windows 3.11 desktop was like training wheels for my career with computers.

      But before Windows - before the Mac - there was: The Amiga! It just worked and had amazing graphics for the time. It failed because of poor marketing.

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        An Amiga, I wish. I had a second hand Amstrad CPC 464 but it did have a colour screen don't you know. I blame that for putting me off programming, sodding syntax errors.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @BillG: 'before Windows - before the Mac - there was: The Amiga! It just worked and had amazing graphics for the time. It failed because of poor marketing.'

        NO, NO, NO - there was no graphical computing before Microsoft appeared on the land: The Amiga 500 promo video (1987)

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "NO, NO, NO - there was no graphical computing before Microsoft appeared on the land: The Amiga 500 promo video (1987)"

          Yeah, I was thinking similarly. No offence to the author but that story came across with all the fanboisism and "we invented first revisionist history" that I thought only an Apple marketieer could come up with.

          Windows 3.0/3.1 wasn't really first at anything. It was just well marketed and...well...Microsoft.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            3.11

            Well, it wasn't first in any time sense, but for microsoft, it was the first version that sort of worked enough to be useful

            1. Danny 14

              Re: 3.11

              TOS was streaks ahead of windows. And if you couldnt tweak conventional memory you were screwed. Finding those 1k mouse drivers and 2k network drivers to save just that bit more ( i remember having an app that needed 635k an almost impossible task if you wanted your ipx network and a mouse)

        2. druck Silver badge

          There was also RISC OS 2.0 in 1989 which never mind Win3.11, it beat Windows 95 in to a cocked hat.

      3. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Trollface

        And before the Amiga...

        ... was the Atari ST

        1. only_mortal

          Re: And before the Amiga...

          ... was Geos on the C64.

          ... was MacOS.

          I did like GEM on the Atari. Way better than the DOS version. UI and APIs were easier to develop with than what came with the Amiga.

          Then again, first thing you did on the Amiga was kick Workbench out and get some copper effects going to some SoundTracker music right?

          I always thought Amiga Workbench was dreadful.

        2. tin 2

          Re: And before the Amiga...

          Except that it wasn't because Atari tried to buy (or rather *take*) the Amiga and developed the ST in response when they failed.

          although.. OPs icon acknowledged :)

      4. tin 2

        Too right! "It's hard to imagine the enormous leap that was Windows 3.1" yeah I do remember being quite incredulous at how much of a step BACKWARDS it was.

      5. Fizzle
        Boffin

        No it didn't

        The Amiga failed because in order to program it, one had to keep peeking and then poking it.

        It died full of the equivalent of air holes

    4. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      I remember those days. I worked hard to free up an IRQ for my SoundBlaster all the while wishing I had a Borland MIDI card. Then I had to remember which DMA address I used. All this just so I could play Little Big Adventure and the sequel Twinsen's Odyssey.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nostalgia ain't what it used to be

      Memories, a Digital DEC 486 sx 33mhz, 4MB RAM.

      Windows for workgroups 3.11. Ran standalone, though poking through the network apps was interesting, they looked for mailboxes that I didn't have. Schedule+ was a nice calendar app though.

      Later upgraded to 12MB RAM, sound card and CD ROM. Encarta 95 helped with homework, and gave something of a preview of the 9x Windows shell.

      Then, the 170MB HDD was Drivespaced to a massive 300MB, in order to install Windows 95. It took about 10 minutes to boot up.

    6. Ian 55
      Facepalm

      The one that showed us what MS are really like

      Many programs running on Win 3.0 suffered from numerous UAEs, 'unrecoverable application errors', otherwise known as 'the buggy pile of crap has fallen over and lost all your unsaved data'.

      For the launch of Win 3.1 Microsoft swore that there would be no more UAEs.

      Indeed there weren't any - they renamed them to GPFs, 'general protection faults', otherwise known as 'the buggy pile of crap has fallen over and you have almost certainly lost all your unsaved data'.

      It was also the one that had the heavily obfuscated code to detect if you were running it on top of DR-DOS and to lie about there being potential problems if so.

      An important system at Orly airport is still running it...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder how long it will be before it starts nagging you to install windows 10?

    I remember those 6 floppies of the future, I've still got the processor from the machine in a box in my loft waiting for it to become a collector item along with a massive 40mb hard drive (double the size of a current 3.5 drive) and some memory (more than 640kb though that ought to be enough), yes, I'm old...

    Edit: Oh dear just had a look at it online and I remember most of them and the screeching of the modem connecting to BBS's (yes I did learn how to turn it off , came in useful for later late night years) to download the ones I couldn't get at "computer club" (aka "Pirate Club") Happy days.

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      6 floppy disks? How about Winsock and Internet Explorer, I swear that was about 15 disks or more.

      1. el_oscuro

        Well apparently, you can get Windows 10 on floppy. It just requires 2079 disks:

        https://regmedia.co.uk/2015/08/28/windows_10_floppy_disk.jpg?x=648&y=348&crop=1

        1. Danny 14

          Plus you needed netware for your network logon scripts.

    2. wolfetone

      From memory Windows 3.1 and 3.11 don't update. So really this is the last bastion of protection from the evil claws of Windows 10.

      Although I'd plumb for Windows 3.11, it has a TCP/IP stack. 3.1 didn't.

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        TCP/IP was on a separate floppy. Add-on for Windows 3.11 for Workgroups. Non-workgroup edition of Win 3.11 did exist, and I have floppies somewhere, but it was quite rare.

        3.2 was released only in China.

        1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

          Oh, there's an article about that. Who'd have thought it.

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_3.2

          "Windows 3.11 was released on November 8, 1993. It did not add any feature improvements over Windows 3.1; it only corrected problems."

          "Windows for Workgroups 3.1 (originally codenamed Winball and later Sparta), released in October 1992,[14] is an extended version of Windows 3.1 that features native networking support. It comes with SMB file sharing support via NetBIOS-based NBF and/or IPX network transport protocols"

          "Windows for Workgroups 3.11 (originally codenamed Snowball) was released on August 11, 1993,[15] and shipped in November 1993."

          "A Winsock package was required to support TCP/IP networking in Windows 3.x. Usually third-party packages were used, but in August 1994, Microsoft released an add-on package (codenamed Wolverine) that provided TCP/IP support in Windows for Workgroups 3.11."

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What was that game called with the gorilla throwing bananas over skyscrapers? It was in written in some sort of BASIC (QBASIC?)

    1. stucs201

      I think it was just called 'gorilla'.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorillas_(video_game)

    3. Robin

      gorillas.bas!

      That game was great for allowing me to further develop my early programming skills that I'd learned on the BBC B.

      How does it work?

      How can I make the bananas go faster? Explode more?

      How can I change the size of the buildings?

      How does the intro music work?

      Tinkering, inevitably breaking everything, fixing my own bugs, improving the program (in my 14-year old mind). All great skills to learn. Thanks gorillas!

  4. Klatch

    Nostalgic olde Fart

    Ah yes, the good olde days of the i486DX2 66MHz with 4mbytes of RAM, a cirrus logic 1mbyte PCI Graphics Card and Creative Labs AWE ISA soundcard...the era of indie and emergance of brit pop, great days!

    Pretty sure MEMaker was a must to run some DOS games like Prince of Persia

    1. Adam 1

      Re: Nostalgic olde Fart

      486 would run the original prince of Persia without blinking. I do remember having the boot disk on the 386DX to play either Doom or Simcity 2000.

      1. Danny 14

        Re: Nostalgic olde Fart

        1Mb? Luxury! I still have a working ISA tseng labs 256k vga card in the scrap box, i use it to scare students occasionally (it runs dos 6 and can still boot lotus 123 from cold faster than W7 with an SSD opening excel). It sits alongside such beauties as a winchester drive and a os2 warp.

        1. AceRimmer1980
          Pint

          Re: Luxury

          Ooh, we used to dream of a 256k video card. My first PC was an Atari PC3 (possibly the only XT-class machine with a 102 key layout) with CGA/EGA. Still compatible enough so I could do raster bars by sending values to port 3D8 timed with the hsync, and play samples through the motherboard speaker with timed interrupts.

          Had a C64 as well, does it show? ;-)

  5. Mage Silver badge

    Dosbox

    Runs Win 3.1 even if there is no x86

    Loads win 3.1 in about 4s from network share.

    We had some 386 PC for it back then. later upgraded to WFWG 3.11 with Win32s, VFW, 32 bit disk driver and MS 32 bit TCP/IP. Win 95 was basically that all rolled up with a new shell, First version Win95 had no USB and didn't have TCP/IP by default. The minimum level RAM Win 3.x and Win 9x specs were not enough to run Word (Office 4.3 later Office 95) and TCP/IP and a browser.

    I copied the dying install disks of Word 2.0a to a "gold" style archive CD as i had lots of licences. I must try it on WINE.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dosbox

      Of course Dosbox runs win 3.1 .... win 3.1 is just an "operating environment" that runs on top of DOS so it wasn't anything new ... unlike that far superior and proper 32-bit operating system OS/2 2.0!

      1. Roq D. Kasba

        Re: Dosbox

        Not of course! My 286 laptop would not run windows on its 20MB hard drive and 1MB RAM. I think I upgraded the DOS FROM V4.0 TO V6 (6.2 rings bells), but it was never going to handle even Win 3.1

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dosbox

          "My 286 laptop would not run windows on its 20MB hard drive and 1MB RAM."

          IIRC Windows 2 functionality was limited by the architecture of the 286 cpu. I think Intel had hit a limit on the number of gates they could put on the die.. It didn't have proper virtual addressing - so only the current window would show real-time updates.

          The 386 cpu did support proper virtual addressing - and W3.1 took advantage of that with an improved architecture.

          1. Danny 14

            Re: Dosbox

            I think windows needed a coprocessor too. Not sure on that though.

            1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

              Re: Dosbox @Danny

              Nope. Windows 3.11 ran perfectly well on an 80386, which did not have any co-processor. It even worked on the cut-down 80386SX version.

              Not that I was really that interested, being a committed UNIX person even then.

              1. Danny 14

                Re: Dosbox @Danny

                memory was hazy on that one. Fair do's

            2. Code For Broke

              Re: Dosbox

              I think windows needed a coprocessor too. Not sure on that though.

              Yes. They've actually carried that through to Windows 10. Of course, now the coprocessor required is a Itanium divorsed of its RISC command set.

              And, back the day, it was obligatory to reshape the AC sine wave of the mains to represent the clock cycles of the BIOS.

              Oh, and we usually put a life jacket on the CRT for good measure.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Dosbox

      "Runs Win 3.1 even if there is no x86"

      I remember installing it in the MSDOS emulator on an Amiga 1200 + 68030 add on (not sure how fast that was) but I discovered that the Windows 3.11 start up logo is drawn from the bottom up. Ssssllllloooowwwwllllyyyyyy :-)

  6. User McUser

    Not that hard actually.

    It's hard to imagine the enormous leap that was Windows 3.1

    Unless of course you were a Mac, Amiga, or OS/2 user at the time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Dead Vulture

      Re: Not that hard actually.

      Quite. Why's Reg spewing this braindead corporate propaganda at us? :(

      "The Internet Archive is taking us back to 1992 with the release of over 1,000 programs and games that run on what was arguably the first mass-market graphical interface: Windows 3.1."

      Bollocks. See User McUser's post above.

      "It's hard to imagine the enormous leap that was Windows 3.1.."

      WTF Reg? Huge leap from what EXACTLY? It wasn't all that much of a departure from any of the preceding WIMP UIs MS copied and was practically indistinguishable from the Windows 2 UI which it succeeded.

      1. Fibbles

        Re: Not that hard actually.

        My guess is that Mr McCarthy is not old enough to remember Windows 2.

      2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
        Facepalm

        @A/C Re: Not that hard actually.

        If you're going to post as Anonymous Coward, stick to the standard way of posting. There's a clue in your posting that reveals who you are... ;-)

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Paris Hilton

          @A Non e-mouse Re: @A/C Not that hard actually.

          Where?????

          <div class="post with-image reply edited"> <div class=dateline> < a class=permalink id=c_2776969 href="http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/2776969" title="Permalink to this post"> <span data-epoch="1455225636">11 Feb 2016</span> < /a> </div> <div class=author> < a href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/01/register_comments_guidelines/#anon" target=_blank><span>Anonymous Coward</span>< /a> </div> <div class=user_icons> </div> <form method=GET action="http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/withdraw/2776969" class=withdraw>

          <input class=text_btn type=submit value=Withdraw title="Withdraw this post so only you can see it">

          </form> <div class=content>

          <div class=comment-icon> <img src="/Design/graphics/icons/comment/dead_vulture_48.png" width=48 height=48 alt="Dead Vulture" title="I am disgusted by El Reg and removing you from my Bookmarks" class="comment-icon"> </div> <div class=reply-bar>

          < a href="http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/2776955" class="in-reply-to">

          <img src="/Design/graphics/icons/reply_icon.png" alt="Reply Icon" title="In reply to">

          < /a>

          </div> <div class=body> <h4> Re: Not that hard actually. </h4> <p>Quite. Why&#39;s Reg spewing this braindead corporate propaganda at us? :(</p>

          <p>< i> &quot;The Internet Archive is taking us back to 1992 with the release of over 1,000 programs and games that run on what was arguably the first mass-market graphical interface: Windows 3.1.&quot;< /i></p>

          <p>Bollocks. See User McUser&#39;s post above.</p>

          <p>< i> &quot;It&#39;s hard to imagine the enormous leap that was Windows 3.1..&quot;< /i></p>

          <p>WTF Reg? Huge leap from what EXACTLY? It wasn&#39;t all that much of a departure from any of the preceding WIMP UIs MS copied and was practically indistinguishable from the Windows 2 UI which it succeeded.</p>

          </div> <div class=actions> <p class="vote-count"> 3 thumbs up </p> <form method=GET action="http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/reply/2776969" class=send-reply>

          <input class=reg_btn type=submit value="Reply">

          </form> </div> </div> </div>

          1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

            Re: @A Non e-mouse @A/C Not that hard actually.

            1 - Anonymous Cowards can't choose icons.

            2 - Only one poster on here knows how to choose the obsolete Tombstone icon...

            1. PleebSmasher
              Dead Vulture

              Re: @A Non e-mouse @A/C Not that hard actually.

              Oh yeah?

              1. PleebSmasher
                Dead Vulture

                Re: @A Non e-mouse @A/C Not that hard actually.

                Script to add tombstone. Additional labels can be added at your discretion and should not need the "row-start" class:

                // ==UserScript==

                // @name Death of El Reg

                // @namespace http://tampermonkey.net/

                // @version 0.1

                // @match http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/reply/*

                // @match https://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/reply/*

                // @match http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/submit/*

                // @match https://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/submit/*

                // @grant none

                // ==/UserScript==

                'use strict';

                var img = document.getElementById("forum_posts").getElementsByClassName("content")[0].getElementsByTagName("img")[0];

                document.getElementById("comment_icon_textfield").value = img.src.substring(img.src.lastIndexOf("/")+1,img.src.lastIndexOf("_"));

                var rows = document.getElementsByClassName("dynamic")[0];

                var label = document.createElement("label");

                label.setAttribute("class","row-start");

                label.setAttribute("onclick","setTimeout(function() {document.getElementById('comment_icon_textfield').value='dead_vulture'},500)");

                var img = document.createElement("img");

                img.setAttribute("src","/Design/graphics/icons/comment/dead_vulture_32.png");

                img.setAttribute("width","32");

                img.setAttribute("height","32");

                img.setAttribute("alt","Dead Vulture");

                img.setAttribute("title","I am disgusted by El Reg and removing you from my Bookmarks");

                img.setAttribute("class","comment-icon");

                label.appendChild(img);

                var hidden = document.createElement("input")

                hidden.setAttribute("type","radio");

                hidden.setAttribute("name","icon");

                hidden.setAttribute("value","dead_vulture");

                label.appendChild(hidden);

                rows.appendChild(label);

                1. PleebSmasher
                  Dead Vulture

                  Re: @A Non e-mouse @A/C Not that hard actually.

                  For all I know, this part is completely unnecessary:

                  var hidden = document.createElement("input")

                  hidden.setAttribute("type","radio");

                  hidden.setAttribute("name","icon");

                  hidden.setAttribute("value","dead_vulture");

                  label.appendChild(hidden);

                  The timer seen in the code is to work around some event handler that was preventing me from changing the hidden value. The first lines of code are to reinitialize the hidden value to your chosen icon when you preview the comment rather than submit.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Troll

                    @PleebSmasher Re: @A Non e-mouse @A/C Not that hard actually.

                    A selection of the handier alternatives, for your collection:

                    welcome badgers grenade gates_horns anonymous luurv troll

                    Suddenly feeling a bit sorry for a certain someone - I fancy his Acme Splaffer might be loosing its USP

                    Icon seems doubly appropriate for this post ;) ---->

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Facepalm

                      Re: @PleebSmasher @A Non e-mouse @A/C Not that hard actually.

                      "loosing"

                      Crap! Can't believe I did that :(

                      Must be spending too much time reading El Reg.

                      1. PleebSmasher
                        Badgers

                        Re: @PleebSmasher @A Non e-mouse @A/C Not that hard actually.

                        Thanks for the alts. I'll publish the fully loaded user script on a later article.

                        I'm curious as to how you got these icons to work with Anonymous Coward. I tried to manually change the icon while Anonymous some months ago and I thought the server caught it and prevented it from happening.

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Thumb Up

                          Re: @PleebSmasher @A Non e-mouse @A/C Not that hard actually.

                          Splaffing splaffing secrets Shirley?

                          Hope you have fun with them PS... and help brighten the old place up a bit!

                          AC icons just as SiWB said.

                          Just need to set two "value" values:

                          <input name="anonymous" value="0" tabindex="4" type="checkbox">

                          (must be 0) and

                          <input value="${ICON_NAME}" name="icon" id="comment_icon_textfield" type="hidden">

                          at time of posting.

                          It's worked like this for quite some time. The management is well aware of how the forum code works (!) and doesn't seem to mind commentards playing with harmless little foibles... but apparently there's an overhaul in the works, so perhaps best not to invest much effort right now.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Devil

              Re: icons

              "1 - Anonymous Cowards can't choose icons."

              You were saying?

              1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

                Re: icons

                Since we're splaffing secrets here:

                - post as AC

                - edit the post

                - untick checkbox 'Post anonymously'

                - choose an icon

                - hit 'Submit'

                Voilá. Post stays anonymous, but is decorated with an icon.

                It's probably a quirk in the forum code and will be corrected Anytime Soon®. Enjoy it while it lasts.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Troll

              Re: @A Non e-mouse @A/C Not that hard actually.

              Nope. Not he ------>

              >pukes<

              So there's clearly not "a clue in your posting that reveals who you are" then! :p

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not that hard actually.

        "[...] and was practically indistinguishable from the Windows 2 UI which it succeeded."

        The UI appearance may not have changed that much - but it was now possible to see a window updating without it having to be the one with focus. That probably meant a background application was frozen until it had focus?

        W3.1 was a big change under the bonnet to use the full virtual memory feature of the 386 cpu. The 286 processor had only partial virtual memory support - possibly as there wasn't enough space on the die to do the full implementation.

      4. Zippy's Sausage Factory
        Windows

        Re: Not that hard actually.

        "It's hard to imagine the enormous leap that was Windows 3.1.."

        I took that to be mild sarcasm :)

        And isn't this corporate propaganda for the Internet Archive, not MS?

        I for one, shall be downloading like fury to build up a big Virtual Box VM I shall cheerfully label "3.1 nostalgia". Presuming I can fit everything I want to play with in 500 MB :)

      5. Dr Stephen Jones

        Re: Not that hard actually.

        Correct, although Windows 3.0 preceded Windows 3.1. They were identical.

        The author seems to have a very limited knowledge of the personal computer history.

    2. harmjschoonhoven

      Re: Not that hard actually.

      It's hard to imagine the enormous leap that was Windows 3.1

      Unless of course you were an IRIS/AIX, X11/Motif user.

      Amiga came before that. Graphical calculations line by line while the video was displayed - very clever. Never touched a Mac AFAIR. In 1986 my boss gave me a Torch XXX System V with TopDraw graphics - list price £ 7674 - to play with ....

    3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Not that hard actually. @McUser

      Too early for OS/2, which was intended to be the follow-on product from Windows 3.X.

      Of course, windowing systems for UNIX systems (Looking Glass looked really slick), Apple Lisa, as well as Xerox Star, PERC and others existed before Windows 3.0.

      And don't forget DR GEM!

      1. User McUser
        Meh

        Re: Not that hard actually. @McUser

        OS/2 2.0 shipped in April of 1992 and Win3.1 in March of the same year. So technically you're correct.

        But given that Win3.1 was a glorified window manager running on top of DOS and OS/2 was a fully object-oriented GUI there's not really even a comparison between the two.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Not that hard actually. @McUser

          OS/2 2.0 shipped in April of 1992 and Win3.1 in March of the same year. So technically you're correct.

          No, he's not correct - not even technically.

          OS/2 2.0 was the first version with the Workplace Shell, but OS/2 1.1, in 1988, had Presentation Manager, which was already at least as capable a GUI as the one in Windows 3.1.

          OS/2 was in no way "intended to be the follow-on product from Windows 3.X", as Peter Gathercole wrote. That's simply wrong.

      2. ralphh

        Re: Not that hard actually. @McUser

        Not too early for OS/2. I started writing for OS/2 in 1989 and deployed major bank dealing room solution from 1990 on.

  7. Paul Shirley

    in&out fast as possible

    I remember that festering POS and the daily chore of firing it up every time I needed 1 specific tool, then trying to finish and exit back to DOS before it crashed and trashed anything. Every other tool worked better in any other DOS extender ;)

    1. Ashley_Pomeroy

      Re: in&out fast as possible

      I remember using DOSSHELL, which seemed to have 90% of 3.1's functionality, and it ran faster as well. I think the only 3.1 app I remember fondly is WinFract, a fractal generator - but it worked better in DOS because the video drivers for 3.1 weren't very good.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: in&out fast as possible

        "I think the only 3.1 app I remember fondly is WinFract.."

        Sheep! You can't have forgotten sheep!!??!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!

  8. Ashley_Pomeroy

    My local dentist still runs a patient management system under Windows 3.1, or 3.11 or similar. It's probably running a VM or something - the PC looks early-2000s vintage, with an early LCD panel. As a consequence I always associate Windows 3.11 with dental work.

    Off the top of my head the highest resolution it could use was something like 1280x1024 or 1600x1200, which seemed extraordinary at the time. I remember wondering what kind of hardcore graphic designer and/or architect would use such a system.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge
      Coat

      > As a consequence I always associate Windows 3.11 with dental work.

      So do I! Or some sort of incredible pain that makes my teeth ache...

    2. Mark McNeill
      Linux

      >> I always associate Windows 3.11 with dental work.

      Oh, the jokes just write themselves.

    3. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      "As a consequence I always associate Windows 3.11 with dental work."

      Funny. I associate Windows 10 with my proctologist.

  9. Bladeforce

    DOSbox...

    ..runs Windows 3.1 fine and dandy

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DOSbox...

      Other than applications that require proper DOS Share.exe, such as Office 4.3

  10. Mark McNeill

    That reminds me, one of these days I must get around to sending a cheque for $15 to Eric Patev of Rockport MA for my license for HP Calc.

  11. John 104

    lol

    assuming you are able to figure out how to actually run Windows 3.1 on your system

    Psh, easy enough in a virtual.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "[...] which meant you could view video files on your home computer."

    After the 28kbps modem had spent all night downloading the first part off usenet - with every minute being charged by BT and your ISP. Then you had to do the same for several nights for the remaining parts - and run uudecode on them - and then needed a DOS copy to concatenate the files. Finally you could actually try to view the few minutes of video.

    Was that only less than 20 years ago?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A bought a 9600bps modem back from holiday in the US to replace my 2400 running my BBS. Similar to today's Internet content, most of the uploads were adverts for other BBS's featuring naked ladies; who loked good on the Orchid video card!

      As for the the win 3.1 gui, it wasn't exactly a GEM.

      1. x 7

        naked ladies and orchid have a certain artistic relationship in oriental symbology

        Take a look at an orchid blossom and consider the layout of the petals

  13. x 7

    its only a couple of years since I had to rebuild a Windows 3.11 machine that had been struck by lightning. It ran a milking parlour, and economics couldn't justify the upgrade of the software. I found a scrap 586 motherboard, cpu and fan at the local tip and reinstalled DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.11 from a collection of .IMG files copied from a bankrupt former employer. It worked, wasn't internet connected and simply did one job. No need to upgrade.

    Thinking about it, I was probably the only local tech who had access to the required images. Lucky for the customer!

    Its only about three years since I had to rebuild a specialist piece of opticians kit (one of the machines which measures field of view with random flashing lights). Needed a new fan and hard drive - again, the local tip got raided when no-one was looking. Replaced the software like-for-like with DOS5

    1. Code For Broke

      Tip Raider

      The entire topic of raiding the local tip warrants its own article. The staff at our local tip seems to have the full faith that the Chinese mob will have them painfully killed if someone so much as turns over some old heap to have a better look in a moment of nostalgia. Two or three of them apear in the shipping container at once and help you understand that you are the lowst form of life for trying to steal their rubbish. I've yet to work up the courage of asking if I can offer to take rubbish out of the cars of people dropping off.

  14. Winkypop Silver badge

    Ahhhhh Win 3.1 on a 386DX 40MHz with 8MB Ram

    [hour glass]

    1. dc_m

      Re: Ahhhhh Win 3.1 on a 386DX 40MHz with 8MB Ram

      nope, 386dx 25 with 1mb here!

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Ahhhhh Win 3.1 on a 386DX 40MHz with 8MB Ram

      DX? Luxury. You flash bastard!

      My first PC was an Ambra - IBM trying to do a cheaper consumer PC so as not to dilute their profits from business sales. VGA monitor, 386SX 25MHz - 2 MB of RAM and a huge 40MB hard drive. Bought in 1993 I think.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Thank you MSFT!

    And a big shout out to Bill Gates for creating Windows!

    1. Esme
      Linux

      Re: Thank you MSFT!

      @JJ Carter - agreed! It was the dreadful experience me and my ex had using Windows after the joys of using AmigaOS that prompted me to look for alternatives and ultimately ended upwith me using Linux.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Gimp

      Re: Thank you MSFT!

      You seem to be on quite a binge JJ!

      OK, where do you want us to hurt you today?

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Windows

      Эй - начальник!!

      > And a big shout out to Bill Gates for creating Windows

      Bill Gates was not particularly involved in creating Windows, there were crazy cellar monkeys hacking up a semi-functional system while be was talking to IBM about how to bring OS/2 (and PM) to market.

      Also, I find this kind of arm-raising salutes disturbing.

  16. Dale 3

    Minesweeper

    I always presumed Minesweeper and Solitaire were educational games. Minesweeper taught accurate mouse pointing and clicking to a generation that had never had to do things like that before, and Solitaire taught drag and drop (or double-clicking, once you figured it out). All skills that we now take for granted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Minesweeper

      They basically where, certainly Solitaire at least.

      Those where the days when people were being weened off joysticks, and needed to be told which mouse button to use (on PCs).

      There was actually a training application in Windows 3.11, after you installed, that taught the basics of how to drag and drop, double click etc. One of the exercises is dragging all of the components into a window - the left hand ' - ', mini/maximise ' ^ ' / ' v ' etc. Interestingly, if you run it on Windows 9x, the minimise and maximise become 9x style ' _ ' / ' □ ', but the window style is 3.x.

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Minesweeper

      One co-worker said the appropriate name for the included game "Hover" should have actually been "Hoover", because "...it kinda sucks..."

  17. VinceH

    "It's hard to imagine the enormous leap that was Windows 3.1 now that even our smart phones run an operating system that is an order of magnitude more sophisticated."

    Unless you used one of the systems that had already taken that leap before Windows 3.1 - in which case it wasn't; it was MS catching up. Others have mentioned some such systems above. For me it was RISC OS.

    "But it really is the granddaddy of the operating systems and its approach still dictates desktop design today."

    It might be the (great) granddaddy of modern offerings from MS, but when it came to other systems it was more like the young upstart that pushed its way through... and while doing so, noting features that might be worth nicking for use in future versions of Windows.

  18. Yugguy

    Some good old dos stuff here also:

    http://www.pcjs.org/

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "It's the computer equivalent of all of Michael Jackson's records suddenly disappearing"

    You say that like it's a bad thing

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      >> "It's the computer equivalent of all of Michael Jackson's records suddenly disappearing"

      > You say that like it's a bad thing

      .

      Funny, that was EXACTLY my thought. And can you consider trying to render Hatsune Miku or Megurine Luka on an old MSW 3.11 machine?

  20. adybrown

    Aww wow what a trip down memory lane! Gorilla written on QBasic.. how I have totally forgot about the good ol' days. I had a 286 first with 1meg of ram running at 12MHz. I remember upgrading from MS-DOS to PC-DOS and it being a huge leap! Then I did manage to get Win 3.1 working on it and it was insanely slow. But it worked and also a friend revolutionised my life and used a virtual driver and turned my PC Speaker into an 8-bit sound card! I was the happiest boy alive. Also Wolfenstein 3D running on it at roughly 1.5 FPS! The whole game could fit on one 1.44 floppy zipped!

    Then I got a 486 DX2 66 and Doom & Doom 2 running smoothly was amazing.... and Duke Nukem 3D! Multiplayer over a serial cable is where it is at!

  21. Kirstian K
    Facepalm

    Wait What..? There was a windows before 95...?

    I started with Vic20 / C64 / Amiga / BBC, programming since 11, game released via Mastertronic.

    then college, programming Amstrads / IBM's etc (all DOS days : pre windows),

    and all was well with the world.

    I then went off doing 'life' for a few years, came back and it was windows 95.

    and I remember how new it felt from the old dos days,

    but I 100% missed out of the windows 3 and 3.11 days,

    I think I may have subsequently used it a handful of times, but basically, yeah got away with it,

    and here is am still working in IT, and I managed without 3.11...

    (have also managed to dodge windows 8, 8.1, ME, and Vista, so im doing all right.. :) _

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait What..? There was a windows before 95...?

      >"game released via Mastertronic"

      Care to splaff further details?

  22. Williard

    I had been busy writing pseudo-graphical interfaces in Borland c++. When I saw Windows 3.1 I realized that was all going away. In those early days I remember it being quite a challenge how you would design some of the text based business systems in Windows and Visual C++ - what a pain...and now its just JQuery

  23. Jeffrey Nonken

    Getting it running on a modern machine?

    Virtualbox FTW.

  24. earl grey Silver badge
    Happy

    Computer cost more than first car

    I still have my Sim-Ant floppies around here; wonder if they would work.

    And speaking of joystick...ah, there you are.

  25. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Floppy load

    Not quite MSW 3.11, but in the days of MSW 3.0, I had one of those MSW demos that would load *from floppy*. I had found MSW3 so un-inspiring I just continued to use MS-DOS applications. But I *did* want to play Solitaire occasionally, so I cooked up a 2-floppy setup that would boot the computer with a (then) mega-sized disk cache, and then load sol.exe as the MSWin "shell" (so it would boot and immediately load Solitaire). The first game through would be dog-slow (even considering it was MSWindows anyway), but subsequent games would fly.

  26. Brian Allan

    Win 3.1 obsolete!? Hardly! We still support a couple of Win 3.1 installations for an accounting firm that is quite happy with Win 3.1.

  27. Captain Badmouth
    Holmes

    Anyone remember

    The landscape that was produced when you entered a specific code into win3.1? It's so long ago now I can't remember the details but on entering the code you entered a moving landscape, controlled by the mouse, and had to navigate your way to a video screen which had a scrolling list of the people involved in producing win3.1. Had a quick search but no luck. I've got it written down somewhere.

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: Anyone remember

      Does this list ring any bells?

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_eggs_in_Microsoft_products

      Maybe this Excel egg is the one you meant:

      eeggs.com/items/718.html

      1. Captain Badmouth
        Holmes

        Re: Anyone remember

        No, neither of those. I'll keep looking, I've got it somewhere. Thanks.

        1. Captain Badmouth
          Unhappy

          Re: Anyone remember

          Actually it looks like the excel 97 egg except I don't remember having excel on that pc. I recall a fairly long string to be inputted.

  28. medicineman

    Ned

    Ah yes, I affectionately remember designing and implementing a bespoke virtualisation of Win3.1 on Netware with a custom-built user shell that I called Profiles. Any user could log-on at any PC, (and any type of PC) and run windows in their memory from a single server image; and all users personal desktops followed them. It was very fast, highly secure and needed near zero operational management or support. Because of this design it was easy and quick to install new application offerings and upgrades to all users simultaneously. Microsoft said that technically it couldn't be done, then said it wasn't allowed - but they just didn't like me getting around their licencing. I designed dynamic concurrent licence allocation management and saved a fortune. And this was in the early 1990s. Then came along Windows 95 and we fell of the edge of the earth! Microsoft never did truly understand the benefits of an architecture that separated entities of user, machine, application, etc - they still don't really.

  29. x 7

    just remember that if you want to play with Windows 3 / 3.11 / WFW you're probably also going to need the Win32S addon, and if you're into confusing people, the Calmira alternative shell

    http://www.calmira.de/

  30. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    From their site:

    "... the introduction of Windows 3.0 and 3.1 brought stability,..."

    Yeah.. About that..

  31. AndrewDu

    Wasn't there a game with a snake that rushed about the screen and you had to work the arrow keys to stop it eating its own tail? Or something like that? Was that Windows 3.11 or OS/2? I seem to remember hacking that game to make it faster and the snakes grow longer...

    Anyway, Windows 3.11 for Workgroups was the first "network" I ever worked on...for the HR department no less. They felt terribly modern because they could all share one printer!

    But don't get me started on OS/2 config.sys files...nightmare on elm street...

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