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Windows 3.x Finally Discontinued 18 Years On

Gordon Kelly


Windows 3.x Finally Discontinued 18 Years On

I suspect many of you didn't even realise you could still buy Windows 3.x...

Well here's a shock because 18 years after it first went on sale Microsoft has only just announced that the sale of licences for the game-changing OS have now finally been stopped this month.

Of course mainstream support for the platform finished way back in December 2001, but the rock solid, lightening quick platform had since found a new home on embedded systems including everything from cash registers to in-flight entertainment units (no, they weren't controlling the plane... yes, even on Ryanair).

Why was the OS still popular? Well just take a look at the specs required to run it:

  • Intel 80286 (or higher) processor running at 10MHz

  • 1MB or more of memory (640K conventional and 256K extended)

  • 6.5MB of free disk space (9 MB is recommended)
So mind blowingly tiny is this compared to modern day OSes that it doesn't even bare thought. Instead here's another comparison: a single typical lossless audio track can occupy 10x the space of a Windows 3.x installation with the processing power to play it back running into even greater multiples.

Windows 3.x we'll miss you and while, if we're honest, we had already consigned you to memory lane realising you were still there in the background - being bumped around from thankless task to thankless task - it brings all the hurt back again. And in this final epitaph I'll say this for you: you certainly didn't bug us to death with UAC pop-ups...


via BBC News


November 6, 2008, 7:49 am

I still have my 3.1 floppies :) as well as a stack of various dos versions, all hand me downs from my dad :)

was a great os in its day but after win 95 I have never looked back!


November 6, 2008, 12:59 pm

oh wow. i would like to have seen it on a netbook, you know, as a low power option, to give people a day's worth of battery life, just to type stuff.


November 6, 2008, 1:42 pm

It makes you think how unnecessarily large installs are these days doesn't it! The ridiculous size of Vista & MS Office immediately leaps to mind...


November 6, 2008, 2:38 pm

Awh, nostalgic memories of playing Castle of the Winds.


November 6, 2008, 5:31 pm

Does this mean, I can no longer upgrade my Vista installation to 3.1?


November 6, 2008, 5:49 pm

While it had it's peculiarities it's still generally the best looking windows version, I'd love to replace aero with a high resolution modern version of it.

@Steve: unnecessarily? So which bits of vista do you deem unnecessary?


November 6, 2008, 7:48 pm

Their coding is pants, hence the bloated install sizes


November 6, 2008, 10:19 pm

xiphias: i agree with you about the beauty of this os, the icons were designed by the legendary susan kare who was also responsible for the artwork of the early macs


November 7, 2008, 6:52 am

@Xiphias & @ffrankmccaffery

Seriously? There's a reason people use the phrase "but it's so three-one-one looking" to describe an ugly application. And surely Aero *is* a "high-res modern version" of it??


November 7, 2008, 6:20 pm

@66vs87: Well it did have some exceptionally ugly bits (the desktop settings for example), there are some screenshots here: http://www.guidebookgallery.or...

Vista is completely different visually, by modern high-res version I meant leave it mostly how it is but add new up to date and scaleable icons in the same style and maybe tweak the interface a little.


November 7, 2008, 9:14 pm

@Pbryanw - genius! Pure and simple...

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