Windows 3.1x 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.

Have something to share about Windows 3.0 / 3.1? Tell us! Comments on any WinWorld articles are welcome over on WinBoards, WinWorld's discussion forum.



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.

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


Stats/Requirements

Category: Operating System
Platform: Windows
Release: 1992-04-04
End of Life: 2001-12-29
RAM: 2 MB
Disk Space: 20 MB
Required CPU: 286 or higher
Type: Graphical

Downloads

Name Version Size Language Architecture Contents
Windows 3.1 'Janus' (Beta 1) (3.5)  BETA 3.10.034e 5.63 MB English x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 'Janus' (Final Beta) (3.5)  BETA 3.10.061d 6.77 MB English x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 'Janus' (Release Candidate)  BETA 3.10.068 6.81 MB English x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 (Dell OEM) (3.5-1.44mb)  3.1 (Dell OEM) 6.94 MB English x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 (GRiD 2050-2260 OEM) (3.5-1.44mb)  3.1 (GRiD 2050-2260 OEM) 6.7 MB English x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 (IBM OEM)  3.1 6.7 MB English x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 (NEC OEM)  3.1 (NEC OEM) 6.65 MB English x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 (OEM) (5.25-1.2mb)  3.1 (OEM) 6.66 MB English x86 5.25" Floppy
Windows 3.1 (Retail) (3.5-1.44mb)  3.1 (Retail) 6.69 MB English x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 (Retail) (5.25-1.2mb)  3.1 (Retail) 6.71 MB English x86 5.25" Floppy
Windows 3.1 (Zenith OEM)  3.1 (Zenith OEM) 6.68 MB English x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 [Arabic]  3.1 8.25 MB Arabic x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Catalan]  3.1 7.43 MB Catalan x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Czech]  3.1 8.43 MB Czech x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Danish]  3.1 7.27 MB Danish x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Dutch] (3.5-1.44mb)  3.1 7.1 MB Dutch x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 [Dutch] [Compaq OEM (rev.D)] (3.5-1.44mb)  3.1 [Compaq OEM (rev.D)] 8.37 MB Dutch x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [English for Central-Eastern Europe] (1992)   3.10.103 6.93 MB English C-EEu x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [English for Central-Eastern Europe] (1993)   3.10.104 7.85 MB English C-EEu x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [English for Central-Eastern Europe] (3.10.103)   3.10.103 6.92 MB English C-EEu x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [English for Central-Eastern Europe] (MSDN)   3.10.104 8.54 MB English C-EEu x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [English w. Japanese Support]  3.10.165 13.63 MB English w. Japanese Support x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Finnish]  3.1 7.26 MB Finnish x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [French w. Arabic Support]  3.1 8.49 MB French w. Arabic Support x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [French] [Compaq OEM (rev.G)] (3.5-1.44mb)  3.1 [Compaq OEM (rev.G)] 11.35 MB French x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 [French] [Dell OEM] (3.5-1.44mb)  3.1 [Dell OEM] 7.36 MB French x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 [German] (3.5-1.44mb)  3.1 6.59 MB German x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 [Greek]  3.1 8.68 MB Greek x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Hebrew]  3.1 8.27 MB Hebrew x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Hungarian]  3.1 8.48 MB Hungarian x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Italian] (3.5-1.44mb)  3.1 7.16 MB Italian x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 [Japanese] (MSDN)   3.10.161 13.72 MB Japanese x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Japanese] (NEC PC-9801)   3.10.160 9.65 MB Japanese x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Japanese] (PC-9801)   3.10.161 13.79 MB Japanese x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Korean]  3.1 9.08 MB Korean x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Korean] (MSDN)  3.1 13.06 MB Korean x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Norwegian]  3.1 7.25 MB Norwegian x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Polish]  3.1 8.43 MB Polish x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Polish] (3.5-1.44mb)  3.1 8.09 MB Polish x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 [Portuguese-Brazilian]  3.1 7.24 MB Portuguese Brazilian x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Russian]  3.1 8.06 MB Russian x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Russian] (3.10.161) (MSDN)   3.10.161 (MSDN) 8.57 MB Russian x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Simplified Chinese]  3.1 7.11 MB Simplified Chinese x86 File Archive
Windows 3.1 [Spanish] (3.5-1.44mb)  3.1 7.33 MB Spanish x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 [Spanish] (OEM) (3.5-1.44mb)  3.1 (OEM) 7.28 MB Spanish x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.1 [Trad. Chinese]  3.1 11.55 MB Trad. Chinese x86 File Archive
Windows 3.10.043e Beta (8-27-1991) (3.5-1.44mb)  BETA 3.10.043e 5.96 MB English x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.10.26 Beta (4-5-1991) (3.5-1.44mb)  BETA 3.10.26 5.14 MB English x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.2 [Simplified Chinese]  3.2 12.15 MB Simplified Chinese x86 3.5" Floppy
Windows 3.2 [Simplified Chinese] (Red China)   3.2 (Red China) 8.43 MB Simplified Chinese x86 File Archive