Feeds

back to article Windows 3.0 turns 20

Windows 3.0, arguably Microsoft's first effective graphical user interface, turned 20 this past weekend. On May 22, 1990, Redmond introduced the 32-bit GUI (not an operating system - Win 3.0 ran on top of DOS), and by doing so, it put the fear of Gates into any Apple fanboi honest enough to see the 16-color writing on the …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Silver badge

Where 32=16

Win 3 wasn't 32-bit, win95 was the start of that on the consumer side IIRC

0
0
Silver badge
Headmaster

Actually, kind of

Windows 3 did have 386 enhanced mode but it was not the same thing as 32 bit mode, which was introduced in WFW 3.11, albeit you had to install that capability manually IIRC

0
0
Silver badge
Boffin

Don't forget Win32S ...

wish I could :-(

came on 5 disks, and you had to install it to get 3.11 to run Foxpro ....

0
0
Headmaster

Slight error...

"In addition to support for 16 colors"

And then you show a 24bit color picker on what is clearly an 8bit color display... Eh, oh well.

0
0

Well frankly

Win 98 is really what windows 95 could have done to have been, and windows ME is what should have been in place of 98.

I've used MS-DOS and Windows primarily my entire PC using life, I hate to say it but from here it can only go downhill. Windows, simeltaneously the best (standardisation) and worst thing to happen to computers.

2
0
WTF?

Wait...

did you just put ME above 98?! Did you ever use it?!

0
0
Gold badge

I disagree

Windows ME should not have been.

2
0
Stop

RE: Well frankly

"I've used MS-DOS and Windows primarily my entire PC using life, I hate to say it but from here it can only go downhill."

It's been going downhill for years mate.

0
0
Bronze badge
WTF?

I've used it

ME was far better than 98 easily... anyone who has actually used it and not followed the sheep that complained about it would know this. I hated the unstable 98 (& 98SE), and ME introduced functions (like System Restore, bubble notifications, etc.) that subsequently arrived in 2000 and XP.

0
2
WTF?

Do you live...

Do you live in bizarro world where everything is the opposite?

ME sucked ass big time. Yes we saw many new features that would be come standard in later versions. But it was VERY unstable.

0
0
Gold badge

@Test man

So...I take it liked Vista as well. Do you work for Microsoft, or is it merely a case of the religious belief that "newer is /always/ better!"

0
0
Thumb Up

ME too...

Yup, I also spent a good few years running ME on my home PC, and I don't quite understand how it managed to earn itself such a bad reputation. Compared to the 98SE installation that preceded it, ME was no more unstable (*), and it finally allowed things on my PC to work the way 98 claimed they would work but never quite managed to do. Only when I switched to ME did I finally start to realise USB wasn't just a monumental waste of time - every time I dabbled with adding USB devices to my 98 setup it was a lottery as to whether or not it would actually work at all, let alone reliably enough to be worth replacing the parallel/serial port version of whatever it was.

* Despite my personal preference for ME over previous versions of 9x, I'd never go so far as to ever describe it as stable. Nor would I describe any 9x version that way, and I'd go so far as to suggest that anyone who thinks they remember any version of 9x being stable either has a really poor memory or never really did anything with their PC when it was switched on. It wasn't until the NT-based versions made it into the mainstream that I was able to start giving the hardware reset button a well-earned break.

0
0
Stop

No Kidding

ME was the biggest turd EVER. Totally unstable. I ran it for about 2 months and ditched it for 98.

0
0
Bronze badge
Flame

No fanbois?

I'm going to guess that the moderators are stuck under such an avalanche of invective that they haven't gotten any responses posted yet. I await the "creative" misspellings of "Microsoft" and "Windows" which so enliven a dull day, to say nothing of the froth-covered, bile-filled, largely-incoherent and misspelled torrent of vitriol and hatred which is sure to ensue. For extra points, please be sure to include the following:

Micros~1

Mircosoft

Micro$oft

Micro$haft

Windoze

Winblows

Window$

FLAME ON!

6
2
Thumb Up

M$ hur hur I'm so clever stick it to the man.

Hate Microsoft by all means but using 'M$' to describe them at every turn is beyond sad.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Why?

It is the aim of any commercial entity to make profit, but some go a little to far.

Perpetually *selling* us the *upgrades* to stuff that didn't work in the previous version we paid for, to me, more than qualifies for any of the M$, or worse, labels that get stuck on them.

Not sad... true.

0
1
Thumb Down

Oh sure...

And Apple charging for the equivelent of a service pack and calling it a new version is any better? Give us a break.

0
1

And don't forget...

Win 3.11 is still out there as the basis of an awful lot of embedded systems in things like POS terminals (not sure but I think it might also be the basis for Windows CE).

20 years not out - you got to admit that's pretty good.

0
1
Bronze badge
Happy

Still available too

You can actually download WFW 3.11 from TechNet Plus (and probably other MS repostories as well) in a neat little ISO - nice for wasting an afternoon building a retro VM with no working networking, or a browser come to think of it? Be warned though, you'll need the MS-DOS 6.11 downloading and installing first (remember..?!).

0
0

Thank you Windows 3

You made me realise how amazing the Amiga was at the time! (Curse the marketing and management of Commodore)

7
1

Amiga

The Amiga was indeed truly amazing, and I am truly disappointed in its failure to succeed.

But aesthetics wise, you gotta admit, the GUI looked like shit.

At the time, although completely monochrome, the mac had advantage (in my opinion) in aesthetics in that pixels were square and the GUI was better. Even GEM looked better, as did eventually RiscOS. Of course win 3.0 looked like rubbish till 4.0.

I don't doubt Commodore's marketing department had a lot to do with its failure but perhaps if they had paid more attention to aesthetics, it might have done just that little bit better. Perhaps. We'll never know.

RIP amiga.

1
2

Workbench aspect ratio

In defence of the aspect ratio used for Workbench, it was designed to be used with a TV as a monitor, not a dedicated monitor. All the icons could be replaced with versions in the correct aspect ratio and it could then be run at 640x480, which looked fine (see MagicWB and Newicons for examples of icon replacement). Workbenches prior to 2 looked pretty bad, with a very garish colour scheme, but 2.0 onwards could look pretty darn nice with a decent monitor and some tweaking.

3
0

AMIGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Ok, Amiga got mentioned. Yay. Title is demoscene reference. Let's see how many closet present-day Amiga users/lurkers there are out there still ;-)

Commodore's poor management really did end it all for the Amiga, however, like the C64, it is still held closely to my heart. As for Wb1.3 blue and orange colour scheme, well I really don't know what they were thinking at the time. As you said with Wb2 onwards things started to look pretty slick especially when you took on the ARQ and MagicWB enhancements.

I really need to buy a new 1024S monitor for mine, it blew up not so long ago :(

0
0

colours

They used such garish colours because they concluded they looked best on the most common used displays at the time (televisions)... i.e minimal colour bleeding and saturation :) Amiga developers always had good reasons.... :D

Quote:

"The Amiga team chose it basing their job on direct experiences made to obtain better contrast solution using even the worst televisions the team could find."

0
0
Silver badge
Coat

I think I still have the install disks somewhere...

All five of them.

How times have changed.

OS/2 was WAY better. Wish Big Blue had pushed it harder.

Yes. I know. I'm going........

6
0
Anonymous Coward

I saw a live copy of win 3.1 not to long ago

Running on a rather ancient lugtop a partner in a solicitors practice handed me with a cryptic repair request.

The GUI nearly did for me. Initially I simply couldn't remember how to actually use 3.1 because it's been so long. The problem? The version of word he had installed wouldn't open a .docx document from his work PC.

2
0
Thumb Up

Nice one

I sometimes wonder whether I'd manage if for some reason I suddenly had to fix something in 3.x for someone. I have dim and not-so-cherished memories of spending a lot of time dicking about with config.sys just to get X piece of new hardware to work, which would in turn break Y piece of old hardware, etc. etc.

2
0
Flame

Solitaire?

Minesweeper FTW!

2
0
DJV
Alert

We won't mention Windows Millennium Edition (ME) nor Windows Vista

Err, just thought I'd mention that the sentence where you say you weren't going to mention certain things became rather self-defeating in that you, er, mentioned the things in the process of trying not mentioning them...

...or something like that.

I'm confused now and have to go lie down.

0
0

Schmitle

I'm sure there's no need to remind Reg readers that this rhetorical device is called paralipsis.

0
0

32bit?

was it?

i thought 32bit only came along with win3.11 and the win32 librarys on top?

1
0

win32s

That's a very bad memory.

Traumatically, I can't even remember details. Best left buried, tbh. Thank f@#@ for win NT/95 etc..

(Credit where its due, M$ did a flipping miracle that windows actually... worked... for want of a better word).

I'm no windows fan, self professed agnostic and critic of all platforms, but windows... I have to deal with it, and really.... It's not that a big deal and inasmuch as there are stupid things in it there are clever things in it too...

1
1

You are correct... Windows 3.0 was 16bit

Win 3.1 was also 16bit. 32bit extensions were enabled by the Win32s driver.

Windows 3.x was able to broker memory access beyond 16bit of course via EMS and XMS memory manager (emm386 and himem.sys ) but everything else was 16bit all the way.

0
0
Happy

Agnostic?

> self professed agnostic

You profess that it is, ultimately, impossible to know what OS is being run?

Perhaps you meant that you were neutral, or apathetic?

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Yup

The 32-bit APIs were only in the Win32S *optional* subsystem for Win3.1 (or .11?), which came much later.

I think 3.1 also added 32-bit disk access as well, bypassing the bottleneck DOS drivers, but I'm fairly certain nothing within 3.0 was ever 32-bit.

0
0
Silver badge

EMM386

Windows could (and had to) use EMM386 to run. Win 3.1 also managed it.

I'd like to add that MS-DOS 6.2 and Win 3.1 were kinda good for me.

MS-DOS 6.22 and Win 3.11 were something ugly. For some deranged reason, they were incompatible! Backups made with MS Backup 6.2 wouldn't restore with 6.22, and there were a lot of weird differences between them.

I just skipped over to Win95, and consigned Win 3.11 at the same place I sent Win ME and Vista.

0
0

I remember when I first used it

I was so used to MSDOS and command prompt. At my school the 386 PC had Windows 3.0 and I was totally stumped as to use it. I made a total mess of the interface and thought, "Maybe I can quit and it will sort itself out." To my horror, it kept the total mess that I had created and had not used Windows until 2 years later when I got a PC with Windows 3.11 for Workgroups. I think it was the Program Manager that caught me out. What I did like about Windows was the fact that I could get one set of printer drivers and also many fonts for all the software.

0
0
Linux

I was just talking about this in the pub

of how, after eight or nine years using CP/M at work, I was suddenly introduced to a graphic interface. That was the biggest shock I experienced in computing: moving some years (and versions of Windows) later to Linu^H^H^H^H a better OS was nothing in comparison.

0
0

As much as I hate to say this...

Did you not find MS-DOS a better CP/M?

0
0
Thumb Down

MS-DOS vs CP/M

I ran a department porting CP/M to a Z80 in ~1984. My recollection is that it was very much better than MS-DOS, when I eventually got around to seeing it (maybe a year later?). We also ported Gem in the same year - I remember being very impressed by it. I don't think I have ever been very, or even slightly, impressed by any version of Windows. We were running bit-mapped 512x512 8-bit colour (with and without Gem), *many* years before MS.

The whole IBM/MS/MS-DOS thing completely shafted us - we went bust in '84 as soon as people realised that superior technology was irrelevant when the opposition was selling something with the word 'IBM' in it.

What the MS fanbois often don't realise is that there's a very good reason that many of us hate MS. It took them until 2000 to produce a half-way usable OS, and a few years after that till they caught up with state-of-the-art hardware. Anyone remember all those crappy years running Hercules graphics adaptors, and all the rest of it? MS has spent the last 26 years slowly locking us in to their lowest-common-denominator world view, and all that history is painfully obvious every time I have to run up Cygwin to do to do something non-trivial, or whenever I need to write something in a proper language which doesn't have some retarded locked-in management framework, or whenever I have to reinstall Vista, or whenever. Whoever said you couldn't fool all the people all the time had obviously never met Bill Gates.

And don't get me started on Linux... :(

1
0

too much computer in your computer

something similar happened Strongbad, who was used to a CLI on his Compy386, when he tried to check his email on The Cheat's iMac.

1
0
Joke

Three Windows Versions!!!!!!

CE ME NT

3
0

Also

You didn't mention Win2000 either. Also interesting fact, just to be pedantic. Windows didn't become an OS until at least '98/NT4 as '95 still had to install DOS 7 before it installed the Windows app (it was just automated into one package).

0
1
Silver badge
Headmaster

But don't forget NT3.5

The confusion is that MS had two Windows that were developed in (sort of) parallel:

The GUI that ran on top of DOS with "cooperative" multitasking:

1,2,3.0,3.1,3.11,95,98,ME

And the OS, with pre-emptive multitasking:

OS/2 1, OS/2 2, NT 3.5, NT 4, 2000, XP, Vista, 7

However, they still managed to keep some of the worst "features" throughout... like filenames with a 3-letter extension that gets hidden by default, so you have to guess whether clicking on the file will execute it, or start some other program and load it, except that the icons can be changed by the file.

0
0
Silver badge
Alert

Untill NT4.0?

NT 3.1, NT3.5, NT3.51 were REAL OS and Windows. 1993 to 1995

NT4.0 was 1996

The inexplicable was not cutting price of NT3.51, offering the later explorer desktop (which was available via MSDN before NT4.0 arrived) and promoting Win95 for Business.

Win95 was a Games Console. NT3.5x was a real OS. Shame on you MS.

Also Win95 /Office 95 was still largely 16bit. No more 32bit than WinFWG3.11 + 32bit disk + Win32S + 32bit TCP/IP. NT3.5x really was 32bit.

1995 to 2002. The wasted years.

0
0
Pint

GUI

All the versions of Windows that are not based on the NT kernel are just front-ends for DOS to greater or lesser exents. NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7 and the server variations thereof are operating systems.

0
0
Bronze badge

Not quite

From Win95 onwards, and refined more and more until the end-of-the-line ME, DOS was used essentially as a bootstrapper for the main OS, which once loaded sidestepped it and used it's own (mix of 16 and 32-bit) subsystems for access to the hardware.

You remember the need to reboot to run some games from a DOS prompt, well this was because it would have required exclusive access to a 'real' DOS environment, not a virtualised one within Windows.

0
0
Silver badge
Boffin

'98 was also a shell

Win '98 used the same DOS 7 / Win98 wrapper. Hell, ME also used it! The real jump was Win2000/XP, because that was when MS discontinued the DOS+Windows line, and jumped everyone into the NT platform.

0
0
Go

Ah, halogen days

I'd become used to the lovely, stable, logical and really rather advanced RISC OS, even gaining access to one of the three hallowed and stunningly-expensive Acorn RISC PC's that the CS department had managed to wangle itself. In fact the only time I'd even been vaguely aware of Windows existence during that time was seeing an odd logo on the screen of one of the RISC PC's, which was MS-DOS/Win3.1 running iirc on some sort of hybrid VM that actually involved slotting in an x86 CPU on a daughter board, and at which we were all encouraged to point and laugh.

Then I left school, started work, got plonked in front of Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and left to get on with it. First impression: WTF this is totally retarded. Sadly, I've rarely worked with anything else since that day. Needs must when the devil drives and all that.

(PS: Halogen days, not halcyon days. It's deliberate, so please try to resist the temptation to correct me - you know who you are.)

0
0
Silver badge
Coat

What?

Aren't you thinking of your quondam days?

1
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.