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back to article MS takes Windows 3.11 out of embed to put to bed

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 time …

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the memories

Reminds me of better times, when I used Windows as a novelty rather than because I had too.

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Unhappy

I still have

a 486 DX 33 IBM PS/Valuepoint running 3.11

It boots is seconds - much faster than XP or Ubuntu on my Prescott, and the keyboard (IBM M Series FTW) is still in daily use...

They dont build them like that any more...

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Coat

Is there...

Any relevance in the use of a German WfW logo?

If there is, I'll guess that it is used in the FIA approved F1 ECUs.

Mines the M&S fake uniform....

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Alert

Everyone is long gone? Ehm.. I'm still here

I remember using 3.1 ... It worked! Just...

Oh the school days...

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Anonymous Coward

well...

...I have it on good authority that the Xerox support team based in Welwyn Garden City still use 3.11...

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I remember Windows 3.11 being installed on my work PC

It was on 6 disks as I recall. I still have some BMP wallpaper I created with MS Paint in Windows for Workgroups, so we're not all long gone.

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Anonymous Coward

Still soldiers on -if you haven't replaced it

It's used to control a piece of laboratory equipment here. Running on a P75 Dell

An occasional archiving of data files to cure slow down and it does the job fine.

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Unhappy

Aww come on...

...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?!

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Unhappy

3.11? pah cutting edge

I remember the 'joys' of using an Apricot Qi and Windows 286 in the late eighties

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tit-le

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.

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Long Gone!?

We're still here. I remember using (and crashing) Windows 3.11. I remember being impressed with using a GUI for the first time instead of using DOS.

And at 38, I didn't think I was THAT old!

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Stop

Hang on a minute

"everyone who actually remembers using this operating system is long gone"

I used 3.11 during my first year at Uni and I'm only 29!

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Unhappy

@well...

Speaking as someone who deals with Xerox daily, that doesn't surprise me.

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Silver badge
Joke

Wet behind the ears?

***"But there will be few mourners: everyone who actually remembers using this operating system is long gone. "***

Only if we implement Carousel.

If you understand that, then you should remember remember the Apple 1, let alone any version of Windows.

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Paris Hilton

Where to?

"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!

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Happy

Long gone?

Bah, I started with Windows 2 on 8088's then we got the super duper 8086's!

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Thumb Up

I actually messed with 3.0

I like Geoworks a lot better. That was one sweet GUI.

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Joke

Glasgow Edition

"Any relevance in the use of a German WfW logo?"

I though Windows Fur Workgroups was the standard in Glasgow.

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I'm still here too

I remember quite a lot of stuff even older than windows 3.11. Don't write off us old timers just yet.

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Rob
Gates Halo

leave it to the military

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.

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Boffin

something more modern

You mean there has been an upgrade?

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Alien

imagine

imagine what it would be like running windows 3.11 on todays dual core machines

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Paris Hilton

I'm not gone...

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

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Alert

Oi!

You can still use it in DosBox and I know place that was still using it up until about 18 months ago. Once again the MS PR men telling us the "truth" rather getting out and asking the ground troops, who support their crud, what is actually happening in the real world.

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My first job...

...I used WfW3.11 on a 386SX, running at 25MHz with 1MB of RAM.

Saving and backing up at the end of the day took me about two and a half hours. Until my boss found me with my feet up on the desk, reading a book.

A memory upgrade arrived the next day. :)

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Coat

Remember!!!!!!

Remember using it!!!! Christ I remember having to write applications for it.

I've started feeling a little funny, I'm gonna have to get my coat and go have a lie down....................

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Anonymous Coward

We still use it.

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.

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IT Angle

Back when

MS new the difference between an OS and a GUI

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Anonymous Coward

Who uses it?

Casino video poker machines, video slots etc. Not an insubstantial market.

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Flame

Everyone who actually remembers using this operating system is long gone.

What do you mean 'gone'?

The f*cking arrogance of the youth of today!

Put you baseball cap on (backwards) and p1ss off back to school!

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Happy

Long dead - I think not

Remember it well, was a leap forward. I'm still alive and working.

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Gates Halo

@ Daniel

School!!! I remember setting up, or trying to setup, a workgroup <shudder> MS Mail anyone??

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Paris Hilton

Bless

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!

:-)

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Boffin

Still in use

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!!

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I remember...

I still have the mental scars of trying to get LAN/Modem PCMCIA combo cards working, IRQ settings coming out of my ears...

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Dead Vulture

Dereference this.

Happy memories <\sarcasm> of moving to a Win 3.11 platform from mainframes and laughing myself sick at the memory model.

Vale.

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Boffin

Yep, I'm still here too

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)?

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Thumb Down

Old and Past it.

Oh dear am I really that old?

Nice to see there are a few other old fuddy duddies around who remember this truely ancient software.

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Anonymous Coward

WfW 3.11? PAH!

Try Windows for Workgroups 3.1 (not the 11, but the 1). That's even older. And it's still happily running on an AMD64 X2.

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Anonymous Coward

Ah, the smell of festering crudware

On an almost parallel tack, I was in Madrid last year and one of the bank ATMs that I went to use (think it could have been a Nixdorf) had crashed and as it tried to reboot, up came a logo I hadn't seen in ages:

OS/2 WARP!

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gone and apparently forgotten..

"everyone who actually remembers using this operating system is long gone."

I'm afraid not, we're still here.

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Linux

Long gone??

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?)

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Happy

@imagine

"imagine what it would be like running windows 3.11 on todays dual core machines"

probably like using linux. but shit.

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Silver badge

Some of us are still alive

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?

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IT Angle

@ Smallbrainfield

Actually, Windows for Workgroups 3.11 shipped on 8 floppies, (maybe you're thinking of 3.1) but you only used the last 2 disks if you had a network card in the machine.

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Heart

Antiques Roadshow

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?

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Paris Hilton

I remember it well

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

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Gates Halo

I was 11 back then

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.

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Dead Vulture

I'm still here

"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.

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Boffin

It's not an OS

It was a GUI add-on for DOS.

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