Happy Birthday Windows 3.1, you're 20 years old!

Some of us have been using Windows for a long time and switching to Windows 3.1 was a big thing back then.Windows 3.1 was launched in early April, roughly two years after the launch of Windows 3.0. Windows 3.1 was a graphical user interface enabled operating system running on DOS, that was very popular for its time. It was succeeded by Windows 3.11, a service-pack like installation for Windows 3.1. If you had to install Windows 3.1 back in 1992, you’d be installing using it using multiple 3.5-inch or 5.25-inch floppies. The installation was slow because of the floppy copy speeds, but the size of the entire OS was roughly 14 MB in size. 

A major milestone for Microsoft

A major milestone for Microsoft



Windows 3.1 was the first Windows release to be shipped on a CD-ROM, back then. Installation was obviously much more simpler and faster with this medium. The OS, itself had a few major feature additions. Hardware requirements were minimal as well - a 286 processor with 1 MB of memory could run that. Hardware requirements for Windows 7 in comparison are much higher, users are expected to use PCs with some 1GB of memory - 1000 times more than the basic requirement for Windows 3.1. Some of the features that made Windows 3.x so popular were titles, such as Minesweeper and Solitaire. 


Windows for Workgroups 3.11 was another variation that came out later that allowed networking support in Windows. Windows 3.x used 16 colours and had a Program Manager, a place where all installed software would be placed. The early form of Windows Explorer was called File Manager and it offered similar levels of functionality as it does today. The biggest jump in user interface and features came when Windows 95 was launched years later. One can still find the task bar, a start button and the minimize, maximize and close buttons on the latest Windows operating systems. These were some of the big changes introduced in Windows 95 and they were followed in all subsequent Windows releases. 

Published Date: Apr 13, 2012 11:32 am | Updated Date: Apr 13, 2012 11:32 am