Windows 3.1 dropped support for Real Mode (8086/8088 support) and required a 6 MHz 80286 PC with only 1 MB of memory to run. Such a effect of this was to increase the stability over the crash-prone Windows 3.0. Windows 3.1 was the first version of the OS to be distributed on CD-ROM which typically came with MS-DOS 6.22 on one CD in addition to 720 KB, 1.2 MB (5.25") and 1.44 MB floppy distributions. Windows 3.1 required at least 10 MB to 15 MB of free disk space. While Windows 3.1 can theoretically address up to 64 MB of memory in Standard Mode, the OS under 386 Enhanced Mode can address up to 4 GB of RAM even if under MS-DOS 6.x, it can only address up to 64 MB of system RAM and a swap file of up to 256 MB. Furthermore, no single 16-bit application can ever use more than 16 MB of memory.
Windows 3,1 was the first OS to include support for the TrueType font system even though similar functionality was available for Windows 3.0 through the Adobe Type Manager (ATM) font system from Adobe. Windows 3.1 included support for Video for Windows as well as Win32s support for limited compatibility with the then-new 32-bit Windows API used by Windows NT 3.x and Windows 95. Microsoft released 16-bit versions of Internet Explorer from version 2.0 up to the first release of Internet Explorer 5 in early 1999 before support was dropped.
Microsoft dropped support for all 16-bit versions of Windows, including Windows 3.1 on the 31st of December 2001. The OS found a niche market as an embedded operating system after becoming obsolete in the PC world. Microsoft announced that on the 9th of July 2008, Windows for Workgroups 3.11 for the embedded devices channel would no longer be made available for OEM distribution as of the 1st of November 2008.
As we look back on the 20th anniversary of Windows 3.1, please share your thoughts of what it was like to use the OS, I would really appreciate it.
Edited by ppgrainbow, 03 April 2012 - 07:33 PM.