Windows 3.1x

Microsoft Windows 3.1 is a graphical user interface of Microsoft.

The earlier versions of Windows are not operating systems, but only a " graphical operating system extension " that is running on MS -DOS. Strictly speaking, was and is that both for all 3.1 versions as well as for all Windows 9x versions, including ME. However, since Windows just the 3 versions contains so many common features and elements that is often spoken of the Windows operating system.


Windows 3.0 was very successful, but did not escape criticism. In practical application showed that the operating system was prone to crashes. In addition, the operating system was still considered to be too slow for production use. Bill Gates announced an enhanced version of Windows 3.0 for the mid-year 1991. In addition, a porting library should appear to port Windows applications on OS / 2, which continues many users would prefer Windows because of its stability. While improved stability for Windows was announced 3.1, but the company waited in vain for the new operating system, so many still forced stayed with OS / 2.

In the beta version of Windows 3.1, a software test was incorporated to cause compatibility problems when using alternative versions of DOS. Instead of MS- DOS used a number of customers DR -DOS. This test was also included in the retail version of Windows 3.1, but disabled.


Windows 3.1

Windows 3.1 was released on 1 March 1992 and was first available as an update for an earlier Windows. One of the most important innovations was the default multimedia support, the 1.0 was previously available only as part of the very rare Windows with Multimedia Extensions. Graphic default color depths supported up to 32 bits and large screen resolutions with this version. Despite the name similarity are many programs for Windows 3.0 to Windows 3.1x incompatible ( and vice versa).

First TrueType fonts and the OLE interface are supported and "drag and drop " ( moving files between two windows with the mouse) is introduced.

At the same time the first time a hierarchical system database has been integrated, the so-called Windows registry database, which is colloquially often called the registry. In contrast to later versions of Windows, their use is limited in Windows 3.1 still on file name extension, and some Windows settings. Program settings and configurations are extensive yet as far implemented via ini -files ( initialization files ) that contain the parameters and values ​​in plain text. These files can be modified with a text editor and can be copied easily, making system and program configurations can be transferred to another computer easily.

Windows 3.1 was available in numerous languages ​​, along with English, these were Arabic, Chinese ( Simplified and Traditional), Danish, German, Finnish, French, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Catalan, Korean, Dutch, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Czech, Turkish and Hungarian. There were numerous custom manufacturers of OEM versions, some even with DOS and driver adjustments as script installation on CDs instead of on disk.

Windows 3.11

Windows 3.11 was released in February 1994. It differs from the previous version in practice only with updated drivers. Microsoft released a free update available to 3.1 upgrade an existing Windows on this version. With this version the first time a Certificate of Authenticity has been introduced; a hard-to fälschendes hologram allows the layman to distinguish a copy from an original.

Windows for Pen Computing 1.0

Windows for Pen Computing 1.0 is a version of Windows 3.1, which specialized in tablet PCs and mostly drive functions such as handwriting recognition and gestures introduced.

Windows 3.2

Windows 3.2 was released in December 1994 exclusively in the People's Republic of China. This is an updated version of Windows 3.1, which offered new input methods, as well as other improvements.

Windows for Workgroups 3.1

Windows for Workgroups 3.1 was released on 27 October 1992. It contained the first Windows additional opportunities for the rudimentary peer-to -peer network between Windows computers using the MS- own NetBEUI protocol. The TCP / IP protocol was not supported with this version. The Microsoft mail programs, a network-based e-mail program, and Schedule , a calendar program for common use by several users were available. Windows for Workgroups 3.1 supported the default mode ( 80286 ), but in this mode was the common file and printer sharing possible.

Windows for Workgroups 3.1, however, was not a success; there were approximately 30,000 monthly copies of this operating system sold, compared to more than a million copies a month of the regular Windows 3.1. The operating system was largely incompatible with network third-party software, also the network functions could not be turned off, which made ​​sure that companies avoided this operating system.

Windows for Workgroups 3.11

Windows for Workgroups 3.11 was released on 8 November 1993. It is an advanced version of Windows for Workgroups 3.1 with improved 32 -bit network software and TCP / IP protocol ( retrospectively install as an upgrade ), which enables communication of multiple computers in a local network. With a package of smaller programs (" winsocks " ) is now the Internet access via a standard modem AT command set ( Hayes ) and the bit rate 4.8 / 9.6 / 19.2 kbit / s. Also you can via ISDN, or DSL to the Internet. The last browser for WfW 3.11: Internet Explorer 5.0 German, English Internet Explorer 5.01, Opera 3.62 English and Netscape Navigator 4:08. Equipment manufacturers were able to license until the beginning of November 2008, the operating system is Windows for Workgroups 3.11.


For Windows 3.1, there are numerous extensions, especially to complement the relatively simple program and file manager or replaced by completely new surfaces, including PC Tools for Windows, Norton Utilities, Calmira or plug-in for Windows.

The most important extension for newer programs is the Win32s interface for Windows 3.1x. This allowed to run 32 -bit programs under the otherwise 16- bittigen Windows. In this case, however, the function libraries from Windows NT were not taken over completely, but only a selection of them, as, for example, MS Office 97 under Windows NT 3.51 run but not in Windows 3.1x / WfW 3.x. In combination with graphical interfaces such as OpenGL or Video for Windows, however, until the release of Windows 95, a sufficient standard for home users should thus be set.


Windows 3.1 required at least an 80286 processor. Real mode, which was still included in the previous version and 8086/8088-Prozessoren supported in this version was no longer available. To run Windows for Workgroups 3.11 a 80386 processor was necessary.

Windows 3.1 supported, at least in theory, be explicitly compiled up to 512 MB ​​of RAM in the standard mode, but had applications for this memory size. Most application programs, and Windows 3.1 in 386 enhanced mode support up to 256 MB of RAM.

Today's meaning of these Windows versions

The meaning of these Windows versions now ranges over the museum pieces out hardly. If old hardware to be placed at clock speeds of 20 MHz with drivers for running, Windows can still be used for Workgroups 3.1 / 3.11, since it is the stable version, and some drivers are available for it. Network access is functioning with all the updates and drivers also possible to modern operating systems via TCP / IP. Current hardware is no longer supported. Even for the workgroup variants lacking now printer and video drivers. Windows for Workgroups 3.11 support default EGA, (S ) VGA and Windows accelerator cards up to 1024 × 768 pixels and 256 colors and 800 × 600 with 32k colors. For test installations are normally adequate standard driver (VGA or SVGA possibly with 800 × 600 pixels and 16 colors). Printers can be, as far as connected via LPT, often use in compatibility mode at least for black and white printing. A DOS device drivers for CD drives must also be obtained from third-party next CDEX but.

The system can even for office work (MS Office and StarOffice to V4.3 to 4.0 ), less complex graphics tasks (CorelDraw 5.0, Micrografx Designer / Picture Publisher 5 PaintShopPro 3.12 ) and old 16- bit games (DOS / Win) be used. Overall, the hardware support for SCSI is better than IDE / ATAPI. Suitable programs are available almost exclusively as downloads or at the flea market. The most popular standard programs can not be executed. The productive use of the operating system is thus hardly possible on modern systems. Only in the world of embedded PCs, such as cash registers, that can hold up compared to later versions of resource-saving Windows for Workgroups 3.11, due to the support of the TCP / IP protocol to this day. Occasionally, one Windows 3.11 installations even in stand-alone PCs to control older devices in the research enterprise, for example, for analytical chemistry ( fluorometer, spectrophotometer, etc. ) for which no current software is offered more, as well as in industry.