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Thread: Windows 3.1

  1. #1

    Default Windows 3.1

    I was bored today, so I installed Windows 3.1 in a VM to see what it's used to be like.

    A few years ago, back in around 2000, my primary school had a few donated Win 3.1 PCs they used for an old version of Mavis Beacon when they thought it might be a good idea to teach typing, so it's not exactly my first experience with them, but I barely knew anything about computers then anyway, so it doesn't really count.

    The first thing that surprised me was how um... bare the system was. It reminds me of the feeling I got when programming in C++. (In both cases, they'res propably veteran users laughing at me thinking how great they looked when they were new). It had "Write" in it as a "word processor". On my modern ubuntu system, nano does more. And Notepad++ and vim both do several thousand times more today, and still are text editors.

    The modern Windows Control Panel is a huge construction, yet in Windows 3.1 it was fairly small. I mean, it even has called System Settings, with 3 options on it.

    And it had a tutorial on how to use a GUI and a mouse. Which. um... wow. That's like the computer basics.

    Then things I'm used to, such as shift+arrows to select text which aren't there.

    So did anyone on the forum use Windows 3.1 when it was new? My impressions on it looking back are definitely not going to be great, but I wonder what it was like at the time.

  2. #2

    Default

    Well, my first home computer had MS-DOS on it, I believe version 5, but not completely sure. It came with some silly "Packard Bell Desktop", which was more or less just a graphical launcher for DOS programs. We eventually got Windows 3.0 and put it on there. I never used Win 3.1 (or 3.11) when they were new, however I do have it on an old PC a friend gave me when his family was throwing it out years later.

    If you're looking for some insight as to why we have so many more features now, even in basic applications, consider (from wiki):



    The official system requirements for Windows 3.0:

    * 8086/8088 processor or better
    * 640K conventional memory, though 1 MB of extended memory recommended.
    * Hard disk with 6-7MB of free space
    * CGA/EGA/VGA/Hercules/8514/A graphics and an appropriate and compatible monitor

    Also, a Microsoft-compatible mouse is recommended.
    That's not a whole lot to work with, comparatively . But yeah, it is fun to take a stroll down memory lane and see how much things have changed. If you want to know how much unix text editors have changed, check out "ex" and "ed" .

  3. #3

    Default

    Actually, I started in late 80s with Windows 1.03 running on Dos 3.20, I was 4 y/o when, in 1986, my dad bought his first personal computer. If 3.1 seems bare to you, consider that 1.03 was basically a window with a list of the files in the computer and a menu on top of it, with the exciting and innovative feature of letting you open the files by... double clicking them with an arrow controlled by the mouse!

    In early 90s, when I was in middle school, I installed Windows 3.1 on my dad's 386. What stuns me more about looking back at those times is the graphic resolution that was considered standard: having a 640x480 colour VGA display was the state of the art for home computing... nowadays, with a 1920x1200 24' display, I sometimes think I need more space on my screen...

    Then, in the years of Win 3.1, a 80 Mb HDD was enough to run the OS, the software, and store all of your data.... PCs came with 1 Mb RAM, that you could expand to the extraordinary amount of 4 Mb.... and the processor worked at 8 Mhz, but with the Turbo function you could boost it up to 16 Mhz!... Oh, and, above all, it was not Windows that booted the PC... the boot was made with the DOS, and then typing "WIN" at the prompt you launched Windows, which was not yet an operative system... good times....

    Damn, these threads make me feel old! (and nostalgic)

  4. #4

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamaker View Post
    So did anyone on the forum use Windows 3.1 when it was new? My impressions on it looking back are definitely not going to be great, but I wonder what it was like at the time.
    The first computer I bought new had 3.1 on it. It worked ok, though the mac in that era was far less of a struggle to add things like hard drives to. At the time I COULD have bought yet another used computer and gotten a mac but I really wanted a new one. MS won out. I quite happily upgraded to Win95 when it came out and really didn't cry for the death of Win 3.11. For all Win95's MANY sharp edges and frustrations, it was hands and feet above 3.1. Today I use OSX.

    I have DOS and 3.11 on a VM as well and I open it up to remind me where I once had been. Today it's a tough OS to use since drivers for even old hardware seem to have vanished.

    http://www.adisc.org/gallery/showpho...o=3165&cat=500
    Last edited by babibear; 20-Sep-2009 at 06:28. Reason: URL

  5. #5

    Default

    I used Win 3.11 back in the day (Windows For Workgroups...networking support, bitches! XD).

    My dad worked (still works) in I.T., so we've had PC's in my parents house since I can remember. My first computer was an old IBM XT with text-only graphics (games were just characters moving around the screen) and two full-height (read: double height of a cd-rom) low density 5 1/4" floppy drives. My dad built it from parts he found for free in like 1990 and put it in my bedroom. Ever since, I've just upgraded a piece here and there, but you can trace the computer I'm on now back to that first system.

    I remember when Windows 95 came out, and we thought the start button was stupid - I think I was 10 at the time.

  6. #6

    Default

    I never tried Windows 3.1 when it was new. My dad only had DOS machines until Windows 95 was released. Ahh, memories of being 4 years old, popping in one of the several games he had on 5 1/4" floppy disk and finger-pecking the run command and location of the .exe file. As I recall, my favorite was a horse racing and betting game... my parents and I would crowd around the computer, bet on a horse, and yell and shout as our respective little horse icons inched across the screen. There was no animation. They were basically single-color stick figures that were redrawn at different places on the racetrack every few seconds. But dang it was fun sitting on one of my mom or dad's lap while we're all yelling at a machine and making a ruckus. Simple pleasures.

    When I did try Windows 3.1, it was in 1999 on an old laptop with a black and white screen. The laptop was my aunt's old work machine, which she gave to her daughter to play with (I copied some older games to a 3 1/2" floppy for her). My honest, first impression of Windows 3.1? I thought it looked like a cheap knockoff of the 'Classic' Mac operating system, which was the very first GUI I had experience with (my preschool had a pair of Apple II's).

  7. #7

    Default

    The first computer that I had at home was a Windows 3.1 machine that someone had thrown away. I know it was a 486. It was about 1997 or so. I couldn't get online on it I don't think but I did download a copy of Juno (back when it was only free email) so I had email at home again. Later, a friend's father upgraded me to a 133 MHZ processor and installed Windows 98. Fun times.

  8. #8
    Butterfly Mage

    Default

    Even though Windows 3.1 is pretty sparse by today's standards, I was completely amazed by it in the early 1990s. Prior to Windows, it was very difficult to share data between applications because DOS only allowed one program in memory at one time. Also, with Windows, you only needed one set of device drivers for all of your applications. Under DOS, each application required its own set of video and printer drivers. These two innovations made Windows worth getting.

    Of course, as a bonus, the Windows GUI showed a reasonably accurate representation of what a file would look like prior to printing. Yeah, it was a nice departure from DOS.

  9. #9

    Default

    The first computer my family owned ran Windows 3.11 and started up in Windows-Dos.

    I still remember being super excited and thinking how amazing the whole thing was...it's interesting to think back to that point. ^_^

  10. #10

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamaker View Post
    I was bored today, so I installed Windows 3.1 in a VM to see what it's used to be like.

    A few years ago, back in around 2000, my primary school had a few donated Win 3.1 PCs they used for an old version of Mavis Beacon when they thought it might be a good idea to teach typing, so it's not exactly my first experience with them, but I barely knew anything about computers then anyway, so it doesn't really count.

    The first thing that surprised me was how um... bare the system was. It reminds me of the feeling I got when programming in C++. (In both cases, they'res propably veteran users laughing at me thinking how great they looked when they were new). It had "Write" in it as a "word processor". On my modern ubuntu system, nano does more. And Notepad++ and vim both do several thousand times more today, and still are text editors.

    The modern Windows Control Panel is a huge construction, yet in Windows 3.1 it was fairly small. I mean, it even has called System Settings, with 3 options on it.

    And it had a tutorial on how to use a GUI and a mouse. Which. um... wow. That's like the computer basics.

    Then things I'm used to, such as shift+arrows to select text which aren't there.

    So did anyone on the forum use Windows 3.1 when it was new? My impressions on it looking back are definitely not going to be great, but I wonder what it was like at the time.
    I could tell you some stories of the old days....

    The first computer I owned that had an actual hard drive in it...had a 40MB Hard drive.... Life before the internet was a very interesting time let me tell you...

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