WINDOWS 3.1X (codenamed Janus) is a series of 16-bit operating
environments produced by
Microsoft for use on personal computers. The
series began with Windows 3.1, which was first sold during April 1992
as a successor to
Windows 3.0 . Subsequent versions were released
between 1992 and 1994 until the series was superseded by
Windows 95 .
During its lifespan, Windows 3.1 introduced several enhancements to
MS-DOS –based platform, including improved system
stability, expanded support for multimedia,
TrueType fonts , and
workgroup networking .
Windows 3.1 was originally released on April 6, 1992; official
support for Windows 3.1 ended on December 31, 2001, and OEM licensing
for Windows for Workgroups 3.11 on embedded systems continued to be
available until November 1, 2008.
* 1 Editions
* 1.1 Windows 3.1
* 1.1.1 Improvements over
* 1.2 Windows 3.1 for Central and Eastern Europe
* 1.3 Modular Windows
* 1.4 Windows 3.11
* 1.5 Windows 3.2
* 2 Windows for Workgroups
* 2.1 Windows for Workgroups 3.1
* 2.2 Windows for Workgroups 3.11
* 3 Add-ons
Video for Windows
Windows for Pen Computing
* 4 Applications
* 5 Promotion and reception
* 6 Controversy
* 7 Legacy
* 8 See also
* 9 References
* 10 Further reading
Windows 3.1 (originally codenamed
Janus ), released on April 6, 1992,
TrueType font system (and a set of highly legible fonts),
which effectively made Windows a viable desktop publishing platform
for the first time. Similar functionality was available for Windows
Adobe Type Manager (ATM) font system from Adobe .
Windows 3.1 was designed to have backward compatibility with older
Windows platforms. As with
Windows 3.0 , version 3.1 had
Program Manager , but unlike all previous versions, Windows 3.1
cannot run in real mode . It included Minesweeper as a replacement for
Reversi was still included in some copies).
Multimedia PC Version (Beta only, released Nov 1992 –
codenamed Bombay) included a media viewer, and the ability to play
video files. It was targeted to the new
Multimedia PC standard and
included sound and video integration with CD-ROM support.
Improvements Over Windows 3.0
Windows 3.1, showing some of the personalization options
Windows 3.1 dropped real mode support and required a minimum of a 286
PC with 1 MB of RAM to run. The effect of this was to increase system
stability over the crash-prone Windows 3.0. Some older features were
removed, like CGA graphics support (although Windows 3.0's CGA driver
still worked on 3.1) and compatibility with real-mode Windows 2.x
Truetype font support was added, providing scalable fonts to Windows
applications, without having to resort to using a third-party font
technology such as
Adobe Type Manager . Windows 3.1 included the
following fonts: Arial, Courier New, and Times New Roman, in regular,
bold, italic, and bold-italic versions, as well as Symbol (a
collection of scalable symbols). Truetype fonts could be scaled to any
size and rotated, depending on the calling application.
In 386 Enhanced Mode, windowed
DOS applications gained the ability
for users to manipulate menus and other objects in the program using
the Windows mouse pointer, provided that a
DOS application supported
mice. A few
DOS applications, such as late releases of
could access Windows Clipboard. Windows' own drivers couldn't work
DOS applications; hardware such as mice required a DOS
driver to be loaded before starting Windows.
Icons could be dragged and dropped for the first time, in addition to
having a more detailed appearance. A file could be dragged onto the
Print Manager icon and the file would be printed by the current
printer, assuming it was associated with an application capable of
printing, such as a word processor. Alternatively, the file could be
dragged out of
File Manager and dropped onto an application icon or
window for processing.
Windows 3.0 was limited to 16 MB maximum memory, Windows 3.1
can access a theoretical 4 GB in 386 Enhanced Mode. (The actual
practical ceiling is 256 MB. ) However, no single process can use more
than 16 MB.
File Manager was significantly improved over Windows 3.0.
Multimedia support was enhanced over what was available in Windows 3.0
Multimedia Extensions and available to all Windows 3.1 users.
Windows 3.1 was available via 720 KB, 1.2 MB, and 1.44 MB floppy
distributions. It was also the first version of Windows to be
distributed on CD-ROM — although this was more common for Windows
for Workgroups 3.11, which typically came with
MS-DOS 6.22 on one CD.
Installed size on the hard disk was between 10 MB and 15 MB.
32-bit disk access (386 Enhanced Mode only) brought improved
performance by using a 32-bit protected mode driver instead of the
16-bit BIOS functions (which necessitate Windows temporarily dropping
out of protected mode).
Windows 3.1's calendar saves its files ending with .cal.
Windows 3.1 also introduced
Windows Registry , a centralized database
that can store configuration information and settings for various
operating systems components and applications.
Windows 3.1 was the first version of Windows that could also launch
Windows programs via
Command.com while running Windows.
WINDOWS 3.1 FOR CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
A special version named Windows 3.1 for Central and Eastern Europe
was released that allowed use of Cyrillic and had fonts with
diacritical marks characteristic of Central and Eastern European
Microsoft introduced its own code page (
Windows-1250 ) and
supported its use in violation of many countries' ISO standards (e.g.,
the official Polish codepage is
ISO-8859-2 , which was ignored by
Microsoft but is supported by contemporary Internet Explorer
Microsoft also released Windows 3.1J with
support for Japanese, which shipped 1.46 million copies in its first
year on the market (1993) in Japan.
Modular Windows is a special version of Windows 3.1, designed to run
Tandy Video Information System .
Windows 3.11 was released on November 8, 1993. It did not add any
feature improvements over Windows 3.1; it only corrected problems.
Microsoft replaced all retail versions of Windows 3.1 with Windows
3.11 and provided a free upgrade to anyone who currently owned Windows
On November 22, 1993,
Microsoft released a Simplified Chinese version
of Windows for the Chinese market. A year later, an update was
released, which identified itself as Windows 3.2. Thus, Windows 3.2 is
an updated version of the Chinese version of Windows 3.1. The update
was limited to this language version, as it only fixed issues related
to the complex input system for the Chinese language.
Windows 3.2 was generally sold by computer manufacturers with a
ten-disk version of
MS-DOS that also had Simplified Chinese characters
in basic output and some translated utilities.
WINDOWS FOR WORKGROUPS
Network capabilities of Windows for Workgroups 3.11
Windows for Workgroups is an extension that allowed users to share
their resources and to request those of others without a centralized
authentication server. It used SMB protocol over
WINDOWS FOR WORKGROUPS 3.1
Windows for Workgroups 3.1 (originally codenamed Winball and later
Sparta), released in October 1992, is an extended version of Windows
3.1 that features native networking support. It comes with SMB file
sharing support via
NetBIOS -based NBF and/or
IPX network transport
protocols and introduces the Hearts card game and VSHARE.386, a VxD
SHARE.EXE (a terminate-and-stay-resident program ).
WINDOWS FOR WORKGROUPS 3.11
Windows for Workgroups 3.11 (originally codenamed Snowball) was
released on August 11, 1993, and shipped in November 1993. It
32-bit file access , full 32-bit network redirectors, and
VCACHE.386 file cache, shared between them. WFW 3.11 dropped standard
mode support and requires a 386 machine to run.
Winsock package was required to support
TCP/IP networking in
Windows 3.x. Usually third-party packages were used, but in August
Microsoft released an add-on package (codenamed Wolverine) that
TCP/IP support in Windows for Workgroups 3.11. Wolverine was
a 32-bit stack (accessible from 16-bit Windows applications via
Thunk ), which gave it superior performance to most of the
TCP/IP Windows stacks available. However, it was only
compatible with Windows for Workgroups 3.11, and lacked support for
dial-up. Wolverine stack was an early version of the
TCP/IP stack that
would later ship with Windows 95, and provided an early testbed for
the 16-to-32-bit compatibility layer that was crucial to Windows 95's
Following the release of
MS-DOS 6.22 in 1994, WFW 3.11 largely
replaced Windows 3.1 for OEM installations on new PCs due to its
improved capabilities and greater stability.
VIDEO FOR WINDOWS
Video for Windows
Video for Windows was first introduced in November 1992 as a reaction
Apple Computer 's
QuickTime technology which added digital video to
Macintosh . Costing around $200, the software included editing and
encoding programs for use with video input boards. A runtime version
for viewing videos only was also made available. Originally released
as a free add-on to Windows 3.1 and Windows 3.11, it then became an
integral component of
Windows 95 and later. Like
QuickTime there were
three components in Video for Windows. The technology introduced a
file format designed to store digital video, Audio Video Interleave
(AVI). The technology provided an application programming interface
that allowed Windows software developers to add the ability to play or
manipulate digital video to their own applications. Lastly, it
included a suite of software for playing and manipulating digital
WINDOWS FOR PEN COMPUTING
Windows for Pen Computing
Windows for Pen Computing was a series of
Microsoft -produced add-ons
Microsoft Windows versions in the mid-1990s with additional tools
for tablet PCs .
Windows for Pen Computing (also known as Pen Windows
and W4PC) was developed as Microsoft's pen computing response to
PenPoint OS by
GO Corporation .
Windows for Pen Computing was
rendered obsolete by Tablet PC support for
Windows XP Tablet PC
Edition in 2002.
Windows 3.1x was given limited compatibility with the then-new 32-bit
Windows API used by
Windows NT by another add-on package,
There was a rumor that
Microsoft did not want to increase any
Windows 3.1x version to something like "Windows 3.2"
because it could be confused with the
Win32 API or otherwise distract
consumers from upgrading to a "real 32-bit OS" like the then-upcoming
Windows 95 was, though
Windows NT 3.1 and 3.5 were both 32-bit
operating systems that looked similar in appearance. A game called
FreeCell was included for testing the new
To entice game manufacturers to move from
DOS to Windows, Microsoft
provided a first attempt at high-speed graphics and animation
capabilities for Windows 3.1x, introduced in September 1994. Windows'
GDI capabilities were originally designed with static images in-mind,
allowing only for write-only graphics calls.
WinG provided a
device-independent interface to graphics and printer hardware, and
allowed programs to have both read and write capabilities to the
WinG device context).
Windows 3.1x introduced new possibilities for applications,
especially multimedia applications. During this era, Microsoft
developed a new range of software that was implemented on this
operating environment, called
Microsoft Home ,
Microsoft Bob being one
of the programs.
As the first versions of Windows to enjoy major commercial success
and software support, Windows 3.1 and WFW 3.11 quickly replaced
the platform for application software on PC compatibles. Multimedia
software (especially games) proliferated, although many games
continued to run on
DOS until Windows 95.
Program Manager was included in all versions of Windows from version
Windows XP Service Pack 1. A non-operable icon library named
progman.exe is included in
Windows XP Service Pack 2, and the file was
removed entirely from
Windows Vista .
Internet Explorer 2 through
Internet Explorer 5 were released for
PROMOTION AND RECEPTION
Microsoft began a television advertising campaign for the first time
on March 1, 1992. The advertisements, developed by Ogilvy
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Microsoft Windows family
* Windows 3.1x
Windows 95 (Development )
Windows NT 3.1
Windows NT 3.5
Windows NT 3.51
Windows NT 4.0
* Media Center
* version history
* Server 2003
* Home Server
* Server 2008
* EBS 2008
* HPC Server 2008
* Server 2008 R2
* Home Server 2011
* Server 2012
* Server 2012 R2
* Server 2016
* MultiPoint Server
* Server Essentials
Windows Preinstallation Environment
* Embedded Compact
* CE 5.0
* Embedded CE 6.0
* Embedded Compact 7
* Embedded Automotive
* Embedded Industry
Pocket PC 2000
Pocket PC 2002
* Mobile 2003
* Mobile 5.0
* Mobile 6.0
* Mobile 6.1
* Mobile 6.5
* Phone 7
* Phone 8
* Phone 8.1
Windows 10 Mobile
* List of versions
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