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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More than a graphics shell surely?

"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.

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Gates Halo

WHSmith Book Ordering

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.

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Still going strong

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.

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Flame

wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

my disks do not work any more [3.0 or 3.11] wahhhh how do i load my 98 upgrade, waaaaaahaaahhh

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Happy

Still use it

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.

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IT Angle

IRC on win3.11 a 486 and a 14.4k modem

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.

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Wine does a fair job on 3.11, does it not?

And yes, I remember 3.11 as an improvement, and more DOS windows on the Novell networked 386s . Yes, boxes still on the shelf, next to Warp.

Linux now, of course.

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Linux

Back in pre-windows time, I remember writing Assembler for a Dragon 32

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........

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Bronze badge
Happy

@"I mourn W3.11 Menu system"

I think you might just find the old Win 3.x Program Manager still in there somewhere (I *think* it was in XP at least...). Do a search in %WINDIR% and below for progman.exe ;-)

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Paris Hilton

@Simon Reap

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.

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Coat

@ Drew Cullen

No, not 'alive' - it's..... UNDEAD...

Mine's the ankle length cloak, hammer and and assorted wooden stakes

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Coat

Win 3.11 on dur Interweb?

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...

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Happy

old?

Old is punch cards lol. You may not have had the internet with windows 1.02 but you could do quite well with BBSes.... ah the days of innovation rather than evolution...

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Happy

On Being Old

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.

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Anonymous Coward

Smartstart

Afaik HP Smartstart was Windows 3.x, even not so very long ago?

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Jobs Horns

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

i remember using 3.11 that was back in the days when a game LINKS or supercool doom ran off a floppy.When i bought my first sx20all i asked was does it run doom? im 46

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n/a

Not everyone "is long gone"

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

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Happy

If it aain't broke...

.. 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! :-)

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Older

"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).

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Pirate

This brings back the memories......

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)

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Anonymous Coward

Gem

Yes, I remember GEM. It looked utterly ridiculous next to the toaster mac interface and localtalk connected laser printers ---but then my eyes were better then :) I was over-joyed with VI on Unix hosts after running simulations on mainframes.

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We still use DOS

Seriously.... if it ain't broke...

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Gates Horns

Ah...

...those heady days of using Trumper winsock to connect to the interwibble. How I miss them. NOT!

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Happy

Last of the Summer Wine

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.

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Want eye candy?

You can still get Calmira II to make Windows 3.11 look like XP or even Vista if you want to! Try http://www.calmira.de/

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Anonymous Coward

@Angus Ireland "The first coherent OS I remember using actually"

Now, Coherent, that was an interesting OS. Each version only cost £99 too, and it ran a lot of Sco binaries.

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Was first version of Windows I ever used...

And I'm only 20! C'mon El Reg, I'm not THAT old yet!

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Linux

@Svein Skogen

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.

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Dead Vulture

3.1 I was still using it...

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.

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Coat

Gone?

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...

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Bring Back Windows 95

I wish I could run Windows 95 on my computer, next to XP I think that was the best OS. It will be interesting to see how it runs on Windows 3.11.

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Gold badge
Dead Vulture

@Greg.

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.

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Paris Hilton

First OS

3.11 - the first OS I ever used, I must have been about 4 or 5 at the time.

I found the install floppies the other day.

(Paris because she is old.)

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Gates Horns

Ah yes, 3.x...

Back when Microsoft actually made reliable software (DOS). Nothing's worked as well as the DOS/Windows 3.x combinations since!

Ah, the memories of all the autoexec.bat and config.sys tweaking to make my games work, with boot menu options for specific games...

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Jay

@ AC OS/2 warp

Alliance and Leicester machines still use it in the UK as well.

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Thumb Up

We still use it!

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....

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Coat

29 year old remember beebs?

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.

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Happy

I'm not dead, I'm just a zombie process...

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*

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Happy

funny thing is

I loaded 3.11 (plain) on a CF card with a IDE adapter not to long ago. Think it loaded some games up. No moving parts; no PSU fan, no CPU fan, no Hard drive.

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Coat

3.0 was good

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.

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Speaking of which

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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