Windows 3.0 / 3.1 3.1

Windows 3.x was the first to gain significant development and commercial traction. It combined the 8086, 286, and 386 modes of Windows 2 in to one package. It replaced the MSDOS Executive with a Program Manager and File Manager similar to those in OS/2 1.x. Much of its success was spurred by the availability and success of Microsoft Office. Although Microsoft would have had you believe otherwise, Windows 3.x was the direct foundation for Chicago/Windows 95.

Microsoft Windows 3.1 was an evolution to Windows 3.0 and undoubtably the most popular, poster child version in the Windows 3.x series. Among the changes in Windows 3.1 include a drop of real mode support (see more below), the removal of the Reversi game, updated icons with richer colors, an improved setup process with better hardware detection, and the introduction of batch install. The File Manager was completely revamped and a revamped hypertext help system was introduced.

Applications could talk to each other not only through the DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) protocol, also used by OS/2, but also by the new Windows-only OLE protocol which allows for applications to share any type of object more seamlessly. Write, Paintbrush and the new Object Packager have support for this technology which remains with us today in Windows 8.

Windows 3.1 also came with support for TrueType fonts which provide more realistic font rendering as they are outline fonts that can scale to any point size. With TrueType users could finally have a good grasp that what was shown on the screen would be what was printed without blocky outlines. TrueType survives today along with its close cousin OpenType.

Multimedia support was now fully integrated along with the expandable Control Panel into Windows 3.1. In Windows 3.0 this was provided by a Multimedia PC add-on which usually came with new Multimedia PCs, sound cards and CD-ROM drives of the day. Common supported cards include Adlib and Sound Blaster 16.

BETA During development Windows 3.1 was under the development codename *Janus* and 3 prerelease versions have surfaced, two beta candidates and a release candidate. The final beta was compiled on December 17, 1991 and expects a BIOS date of the 18th or later. Purple was replaced with blue and the boot screen was overhauled to the modern 3.1 variant.

Windows 3.2 was a Chinese language specific release. The only difference from 3.1 was additional support for Chinese characters and was released in late 1993.

On 386 systems and greater you can run a limited subset of 32-bit Windows applications (mostly those for Windows NT 3.5 and 95) with the Win32s (Win32 subset) patch.

Installation instructions

To Install: Windows 3.1 requires an installation of either MS-DOS or PC-DOS and we recommend using MS-DOS 6.22 if you are unsure of a version.

Real Mode is no longer supported in Windows 3.1 requiring at least an Intel 80286 or equivalent to run. No 8086 or 8088 systems will run Windows 3.1

Product type
OS
Vendor
Microsoft
Release date
Sat Apr 04 1992
End of life date
Sat Dec 29 2001
Minimum CPU
286 or higher
Minimum RAM
2MB
Minimum free disk space
20MB
User interface
GUI
Platform
Windows

Downloads

Download Name Version Language CPU File type File size
Windows 3.1 (3.01.068) (beta) (2-3-1992) (5.25-1.2mb) 3.10.068 Prerelease English x86 5¼ Floppy 6.78MB
Windows 3.1 (3.10.026) (beta) (4-5-1991) (3.5-1.44mb) 3.10.026 Prerelease English x86 3½ Floppy 5.14MB
Windows 3.1 (3.10.034e) (beta) (3.5-1.44mb) 3.10.034e Prerelease English x86 3½ Floppy 5.63MB
Windows 3.1 (3.10.043e) (beta) (8-27-1991) (3.5-1.44mb) 3.10.043e Prerelease English x86 3½ Floppy 5.96MB
Windows 3.1 (3.10.061d) (beta) (3.5-1.44mb) 3.10.061d Prerelease English x86 3½ Floppy 6.77MB
Windows 3.1 (Dell OEM) (3.5-1.44mb) 3.1 (Dell OEM) English x86 3½ Floppy 6.94MB
Windows 3.1 (GRiD 2050-2260 OEM) (3.5-1.44mb) 3.1 (GRiD 2050-2260 OEM) English x86 3½ Floppy 6.7MB
Windows 3.1 (Gateway 2000 OEM - Nomad 486) (3.5-1.44mb) 3.1 (Gateway 2000 OEM - Nomad 486) English x86 5¼ Floppy 10.68MB
Windows 3.1 (IBM OEM) 3.1 English x86 3½ Floppy 6.7MB
Windows 3.1 (NEC OEM) 3.1 (NEC OEM) English x86 3½ Floppy 6.65MB
Windows 3.1 (OEM) (5.25-1.2mb) 3.1 (OEM) English x86 5¼ Floppy 6.66MB
Windows 3.1 (Retail) (3.5-1.44mb) 3.1 (Retail) English x86 3½ Floppy 6.69MB
Windows 3.1 (Retail) (5.25-1.2mb) 3.1 (Retail) English x86 5¼ Floppy 6.71MB
Windows 3.1 (Zenith OEM) 3.1 (Zenith OEM) English x86 3½ Floppy 6.68MB
Windows 3.1 [Arabic] 3.1 Arabic x86 Archive 8.25MB
Windows 3.1 [Catalan] 3.1 Catalan x86 Archive 7.43MB
Windows 3.1 [Czech] 3.1 Czech x86 Archive 8.43MB
Windows 3.1 [Danish] 3.1 Danish x86 Archive 7.27MB
Windows 3.1 [Dutch] (3.5-1.44mb) 3.1 Dutch x86 3½ Floppy 7.1MB
Windows 3.1 [Dutch] [Compaq OEM (rev.D)] (3.5-1.44mb) 3.1 [Compaq OEM (rev.D)] Dutch x86 Archive 8.37MB
Windows 3.1 [English for Central-Eastern Europe] (1993) 3.10.104 English C-EEu x86 Archive 7.85MB
Windows 3.1 [English for Central-Eastern Europe] (3.10.103) 3.10.103 English C-EEu x86 Archive 6.92MB
Windows 3.1 [English for Central-Eastern Europe] (MSDN) 3.10.104 English C-EEu x86 Archive 8.54MB
Windows 3.1 [English w. Japanese Support] 3.10.165 English w. Japanese Support x86 Archive 13.63MB
Windows 3.1 [Finnish] 3.1 Finnish x86 Archive 7.26MB
Windows 3.1 [French w. Arabic Support] 3.1 French w. Arabic Support x86 Archive 8.49MB
Windows 3.1 [French] [Compaq OEM (rev.G)] (3.5-1.44mb) 3.1 [Compaq OEM (rev.G)] French x86 3½ Floppy 11.35MB
Windows 3.1 [French] [Dell OEM] (3.5-1.44mb) 3.1 [Dell OEM] French x86 3½ Floppy 7.36MB
Windows 3.1 [German] (3.5-1.44mb) 3.1 German x86 3½ Floppy 6.59MB
Windows 3.1 [Greek] 3.1 Greek x86 Archive 8.68MB
Windows 3.1 [Hebrew] 3.1 Hebrew x86 Archive 8.27MB
Windows 3.1 [Hungarian] 3.1 Hungarian x86 Archive 8.48MB
Windows 3.1 [Italian] (3.5-1.44mb) 3.1 Italian x86 3½ Floppy 7.16MB
Windows 3.1 [Japanese] (MSDN) 3.10.161 Japanese x86 Archive 13.72MB
Windows 3.1 [Japanese] (NEC PC-9801) 3.10.160 Japanese x86 Archive 9.65MB
Windows 3.1 [Japanese] (NEC PC-9801) [Epson OEM] (3.5-1.44mb) 3.1 [NEC PC-9801] [Epson OEM] Japanese x86 3½ Floppy 14.65MB
Windows 3.1 [Japanese] (PC-9801) 3.10.161 Japanese x86 Archive 13.79MB
Windows 3.1 [Korean] 3.1 Korean x86 Archive 9.08MB
Windows 3.1 [Korean] (MSDN) 3.1 Korean x86 Archive 13.06MB
Windows 3.1 [Norwegian] 3.1 Norwegian x86 Archive 7.25MB
Windows 3.1 [Polish] 3.1 Polish x86 Archive 8.43MB
Windows 3.1 [Polish] (3.5-1.44mb) 3.1 Polish x86 3½ Floppy 8.09MB
Windows 3.1 [Portuguese-Brazilian] 3.1 Portuguese Brazilian x86 Archive 7.24MB
Windows 3.1 [Russian] 3.1 Russian x86 Archive 8.06MB
Windows 3.1 [Russian] (3.10.161) (MSDN) 3.10.161 (MSDN) Russian x86 Archive 8.57MB
Windows 3.1 [Simplified Chinese] 3.1 Simplified Chinese x86 Archive 7.11MB
Windows 3.1 [Spanish] (3.5-1.44mb) 3.1 Spanish x86 3½ Floppy 7.33MB
Windows 3.1 [Spanish] (OEM) (3.5-1.44mb) 3.1 (OEM) Spanish x86 3½ Floppy 7.28MB
Windows 3.1 [Trad. Chinese] 3.1 Trad. Chinese x86 Archive 11.55MB
Windows 3.2 [Simplified Chinese] 3.2 Simplified Chinese x86 3½ Floppy 12.15MB
Windows 3.2 [Simplified Chinese] (Red China) 3.2 (Red China) Simplified Chinese x86 Archive 8.43MB

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