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Windows 3.1 @ 20

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Poll: Windows 3.1 Poll (41 member(s) have cast votes)

How long have you used the operating system for?

  1. Never (11 votes [26.83%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 26.83%

  2. Less than 1 year (9 votes [21.95%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 21.95%

  3. 1 to 5 years (12 votes [29.27%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 29.27%

  4. More than 5 years (9 votes [21.95%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 21.95%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#26
JorgeA

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Who remembers this?

Wow, not me! I was around back then, but I'd never heard of the Software Carousel.

BTW, was that a photo you took of the monitor? It wasn't a screenshot, was it? (Nahh, couldn't be...)

--JorgeA


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#27
CoffeeFiend

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Who remembers this?

Me neither. But I remember seeing a lot of DOS menu systems back then, some of which used to be somewhat popular (but my memory fails to remember their names unfortunately).

The main problem with them is that they used memory, and it wasn't uncommon to require "at least" some amount of conventional/EMS/XMS memory to run some app (where we had fancy optimized config.sys menus, some with qemm), and the menu used enough for the program not to run...

#28
JorgeA

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It had a 120 MB hard drive "more than you'll ever need!"

Before that, people were saying the same thing about 20MB hard drives, and that was a luxury not many could afford either. Floppies also seemed quite large. I mean, you could fit several full games on one, and I'm not talking about 1.44MB floppies either!

I remember one time my dad and I were at the computer store, probably 1983. He turned to me, pointed to a wall display with 10-packs of single-sided, single-density (160K) 5.25" floppies, and said:

"What will I ever need ten of these for?!"

I replied, "Yeah, really!"

:)

--JorgeA

Edited by JorgeA, 10 April 2012 - 10:39 PM.


#29
dencorso

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Who remembers this?

Wow, not me! I was around back then, but I'd never heard of the Software Carousel.

BTW, was that a photo you took of the monitor? It wasn't a screenshot, was it? (Nahh, couldn't be...)

--JorgeA

Yes, it's a photo of a monitor, but not mine. Alas, I don't have Software Carousel anymore! That photo is from a review of it at InfoWorld (Jan 05, 87). Read it, by all means, Software Carousel was much more than just a DOS menu system, since it instanced and swapped all memory above itself, and would run real great on a PC-XT clone having an AboveBoard or any other form of LIM EMS. And just required PC/MS-DOS 2.00+!

#30
JorgeA

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Alas, I don't have Software Carousel anymore! That photo is from a review of it at InfoWorld (Jan 05, 87). Read it, by all means, Software Carousel was much more than just a DOS menu system, since it instanced and swapped all memory above itself, and would run real great on a PC-XT clone having an AboveBoard or any other form of LIM EMS. And just required PC/MS-DOS 2.00+!

dencorso,

Thanks, that was a fascinating read!

It reminds me of a question I had a long time ago, which was whether it's possible to devise a CLI- or DOS-based system that addresses lots of RAM, such that you could dispense with Windows. (For the longest time, whenever the topic came up I would proudly announce that, "I don't do Windows!") I guess now that the answer would be that it IS possible.

--JorgeA

#31
Fredledingue

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Fascinating read indeed.

At least we have the satisfaction, we who are sticking to w9x against all the ires and reprobation of webmasters, programmers and post WindowsXP fans, to remember that there was something *before* w9x.

w3.1 is our ancestor. A symbol of the w9x simplicity (even if it was useless). Something like a cult item. LOL.

I was interrested to read that w3.1 was mostly useless because there weren't enough apps designed for windows.
It's like 64bit apps today. Two years after 64bit windows version it's unclear whether you need it, and what's the advantage of it. We are still far from 100% 64 bit computers.
But we will come to it eventualy as we came to full windows app computers in the years to Y2K.

I'm sure that if we put as much effort to upgrade w3.1 as we put on w9x, we could have a suprisingly fonctional platform.

When was the last w3.1 service pack issued?

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#32
CoffeeFiend

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whether it's possible to devise a CLI- or DOS-based system that addresses lots of RAM, such that you could dispense with Windows

DOS extenders did let apps use loads of RAM easily (DOS4GW, Pharlap, etc). Also, DESQview used similar tricks (memory paging & swapping) to give us multitasking in DOS (yes, as in running more than one app at the same time under DOS). It was actually very easy living without Win 3.x -- the main disadvantage was that you had no solitaire or minesweeper ;)

to remember that there was something *before* w9x

Win9x isn't special. Of course there was something before. And there was something before that as well, and so on (lots of things before MS-DOS too). I'd much rather "remember" MS-DOS which was quite a bit more useful, had far more software, was a lot easier and a lot of fun to develop for, was used a lot more and still is to this day... There's also a lot of nice old 8 bit and "non-PC" platforms worth remembering a whole lot more than Win 3.1 IMO.

It's like 64bit apps today.

Very bad analogy IMO.

Two years after 64bit windows version it's unclear whether you need it, and what's the advantage of it.

How is it unclear in any way? If you want to make full use of 4GB+ of RAM (you can get 8GB of DDR3 for like $40) then you want a 64 bit OS, and that's also its main advantage (being able to use lots of RAM). It's really that simple. I'm not sure what you're not understanding there.

When was the last w3.1 service pack issued?

There were no such things as service packs back then. Or updates for that matter.

#33
JorgeA

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At least we have the satisfaction, we who are sticking to w9x against all the ires and reprobation of webmasters, programmers and post WindowsXP fans, to remember that there was something *before* w9x.

Fredlelingue,

I agree!

When was the last w3.1 service pack issued?

CoffeeFiend is right, there were no service packs ever issued for Windows 3.x, although there were several iterations, including 3.0, 3.1, 3.11, and Windows for Workgroups 3.1 and 3.11 (the one I have). One could argue that each of these successive editions served the function of a service pack, especially as some of them were issued not as standalone OS's, but as updates or extensions building on the previous version.

--JorgeA

#34
dencorso

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When was the last w3.1 service pack issued?

There were no such things as service packs back then. Or updates for that matter.

Sure there were! :whistle:
The last update pack to Win 3.1 transformed it into Win 3.11 (do not confuse with Win 4 Workgroups 3.11). :w00t:
It is WW0981, still available from MS, originally released Dec 31, 1993, and described more fully in this KB text: Win311. KB0032905 contains a full version history of the pre-9x/ME days. BTW, since the advent of 386-enhanced mode windows, it's not really correct to think about it as a windowing system running on top of DOS: it did in fact "possess" DOS, by patching it in-memory and replacing part of its functionality with its own VxDs, so the resulting OS was really a Windows/DOS gestalt. :yes: And that's how it worked ever since, up to (and including) Win ME.

PS: I finally voted in the poll today. I used Win 3.1 for about half again a year, then applied the upgrade to Win 3.11, just as it was released, and moved on to W4W 3.11 by the end of '94, and thence to 98 FE in mid-'99. So, considering the question applies to all variants of Win 3.1 taken together, all in all it's been about 7 years. ..

#35
billyb

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I still have 3.11 and its huge manual somewhere. I thought it was clunky on the couple of computers I installed it on. There were SO many dos programs that I was using that I couldn't see the attraction of 3.11. Like others have mentioned, it seemed like a clunky gui.

I didn't even really use win95 when it showed up....my existing biz dos programs were still fine through that era. I think I had windows 95 on only one computer and hardly ever used it. Things gradually began to change for me once win98 appeared.

Edited by billyb, 11 April 2012 - 08:48 PM.


#36
Fredledingue

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Very bad analogy IMO

Do you have a better one?

64 bit OS was the first important developement since coming from Dos to Windows.
And I remember that when 64bit came out, there was a while when poeple wondered whether it's worth it ot not.

#37
5eraph

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The shift to the NT codebase in XP was a huge reliability improvement for consumer versions of Windows once the kinks were worked out in SP1. Plug and Pray devices matured greatly. And SATA and USB 2.0 support was added—all of these important developments occurred before a Windows x64 compatible OS was released.

It may not have seemed worth jumping to an x64 OS at that time, but it was a very important milestone.

Edited by 5eraph, 12 April 2012 - 05:30 PM.


#38
dencorso

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Well, in any case, the jump to x64 began with Win XP x64, so it's way back already (April 25, 2005, for the x86-64). And, at that time at least, the situation was precisely as Fredledingue put it: there was scarcely any other x64 software available besides the OS itself. And next to none had compatible hardware populated with enough RAM to actually see any benefit that might accrue. And the absence of 16-bit compatibility was a real downside then, easily overcome by using VMware, Bochs or VirtualPC, but not present right out of the box.

#39
jds

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I'd like to call it "World's most useless Microsoft operating system of all time" if anything (if win3.x can even be called an OS, with its MS-DOS requirement)

No, the "World's most useless Microsoft operating system of all time" was what ran on the Hitachi Peach, an amalgam of machine language and BASIC. This thing ran so slowly that to duplicate a floppy disk (I can't remember the capacity, probably 1XX KB) took one hour, about 20m to format the new floppy, 20m to copy the tracks, and another 20m to verify. No joke, that's really how long it took!

BTW, I entirely agree with your views on MSW3.X, its only use was to run IE 3.02a on old hardware (best 'net performance I've encountered, although useless today).

i always consider win 3.x as "Shell" and not an "OS"

but.. , win9x also sits on top of MS-DOS 7.x

i remember mucking with 9x settings (by accidents) that it would return to DOS instead of powering-down the computer, when you choose to shutdown.
win9x will gives messages something like: "You may shutdown the computer", but with C:\> prompt ready.

and, with BootGUI=0 in msdos.sys,
i loves type "win" to (re-)run the win9x,
just like i did on windows 3.x before.

Yeah, rename 'win.com' to 'gui.com' (and call it in 'autoexec.bat' if you wish), and "shutdown" will bring you back to DOS instead of shutting down.

Joe.

#40
dencorso

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BTW, since the advent of 386-enhanced mode windows, it's not really correct to think about it as a windowing system running on top of DOS: it did in fact "possess" DOS, by patching it in-memory and replacing part of its functionality with its own VxDs, so the resulting OS was really a Windows/DOS gestalt. :yes: And that's how it worked ever since, up to (and including) Win ME.

The fact that it is "evicted" from DOS on shutdown just shows how cleverly written it is. It does not mean unmodified DOS was working under it all the while. :w00t:

#41
CoffeeFiend

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Do you have a better one?

Not having a better one doesn't mean this one's any good. But sure, I can try too: it's like Win98: the benefits were very much unclear when it came out. Other than the new "skin" and lots of bloat (vs Win95 on hardware from that era), the only real change seemed to be better USB support but almost nobody had USB devices yet. Yes, it also came with IE4 but you could install it on Win95. Oh, and ACPI too but too bad it never worked reliably on hardware from that era. Or AGP support built in, but Win95 OSR2 had that too -- same for DirectX 5.2.

64 bit OS was the first important developement since coming from Dos to Windows.

Not by any stretch of the imagination. There's been countless worthwhile improvements over the years, like support for lots of new hardware (multi-core CPUs, USB2/3, SATA, AHCI, Blu-Ray, PCI-e, SSD, etc), new and much improved shells, ACLs, cleartype, better power saving options, being able to have multiple users logged on at once, window composing, plug and play that just works, new network stacks/filesystems/supported formats/management tools/etc, group policy, WMI to manage stuff, active directory, MUI support, new deployment tools, etc. And a 64 bit OS wasn't really that big of a deal at first. You have it completely backwards IMHO.

And I remember that when 64bit came out, there was a while when poeple wondered whether it's worth it ot not.

Much like Win98's benefits weren't exactly clear at the time. But now, with dirt cheap RAM, video cards with loads of memory, tons of apps with a 64 bit version (and even some without a 32 bit version) that can both use more RAM when required and also get extra speed from the extra CPU registers... it's a pretty obvious choice in most cases.

Well, in any case, the jump to x64 began with Win XP x64

That's actually assuming he meant x64 in the first place. He was talking about a 64 bit OS. Win NT 3.1 had a 64 bit version back in 1993 for the Alpha architecture. Being 64 bit i.e. the data bus width by itself is no big deal (at all, really). The main advantage of x64 is rather being able to address more RAM (which is not what "64 bit" refers to either -- we only have 48 address lines which limits the address space to a mere 256TB). So yeah, back in 2005 when 4GB RAM costed quite a lot and that the technology wasn't so mature nor compatible it was very much pointless (if not just a cause of undue problems). But fast forward 5 to 7 years, with RAM becoming dirt cheap, video cards having 512MB+ of RAM and x64 software being readily available... The big picture changed significantly since 2005.

#42
dencorso

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But fast forward 5 to 7 years, with RAM becoming dirt cheap, video cards having 512MB+ of RAM and x64 software being readily available... The big picture changed significantly since 2005.

... in the 1st world. Here in Brazil, as a rule-of-thumb, treble all the prices you see on e-Bay or amazon. And the cost-of-living is much higher than in the US/Canada, at least in the big cities, with lower wages generally. So, probably further 3-5 years will be required before it's generally affordable. And AFAIK it's even worse elsewhere.

#43
rloew

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BTW, since the advent of 386-enhanced mode windows, it's not really correct to think about it as a windowing system running on top of DOS: it did in fact "possess" DOS, by patching it in-memory and replacing part of its functionality with its own VxDs, so the resulting OS was really a Windows/DOS gestalt. :yes: And that's how it worked ever since, up to (and including) Win ME.

The fact that it is "evicted" from DOS on shutdown just shows how cleverly written it is. It does not mean unmodified DOS was working under it all the while. :w00t:

An image of DOS is saved during loading and restored on exit. So I wouldn't describe it as being "evicted" or quite as clever.

#44
dencorso

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The fact that it is "evicted" from DOS on shutdown just shows how cleverly written it is. It does not mean unmodified DOS was working under it all the while. :w00t:

An image of DOS is saved during loading and restored on exit. So I wouldn't describe it as being "evicted" or quite as clever.

Now, *that*'s news to me! :blink:
A full 1088 KiB memory image? Did that continue on 9x/ME times? Whither is it saved?
OK, not really "evicted", but still clever enough, IMHO. :yes:

#45
rloew

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The fact that it is "evicted" from DOS on shutdown just shows how cleverly written it is. It does not mean unmodified DOS was working under it all the while. :w00t:

An image of DOS is saved during loading and restored on exit. So I wouldn't describe it as being "evicted" or quite as clever.

Now, *that*'s news to me! :blink:
A full 1088 KiB memory image? Did that continue on 9x/ME times? Whither is it saved?
OK, not really "evicted", but still clever enough, IMHO. :yes:

Not the full 1088 KiB, just the allocated part, DOS, low TSRs, high TSRs, UMBs.
Each DOS Virtual Machine has it's own copy of the Patched DOS image as well.
They are all stored in RAM.
Each one is copied to and from low Physical RAM when a DOS VM Executes.

#46
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... in the 1st world. Here in Brazil, as a rule-of-thumb, treble all the prices you see on e-Bay or amazon. And the cost-of-living is much higher than in the US/Canada, at least in the big cities, with lower wages generally. So, probably further 3-5 years will be required before it's generally affordable. And AFAIK it's even worse elsewhere.

Ouch. Here for $500 you could get a i5 2500K (can be overclocked), a decent Z68 motherboard (e.g. Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3), 16GB of DDR3 1600 (4x4GB) and a Radeon HD 6750 1GB... That would be equal to 50h of work at minimum wage (gross not net) which is really not that bad if you're working for more than minimum wage. I can't think of an easy way to easily compare cost of living though. I wonder how many hours it would take at minimum wage for the same upgrade kit (a whole year?)

Edit: I guess I could use GDP per capita for a simple comparison. Roughly $50000 for Canada vs $10000 for Brazil. And you say the same parts cost 3x the price there too? :(

#47
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Well, what I'll say next is far from perfect, but serves to give you a fair enough picture of it:

Exchange Rate (Apr 5, 2012) US$1.00 = R$ 1.89
Minimum Wage (net) for Brazil: US$329.00 (per month);
Then, there's the Big Mac Index: July 2011 and update (Jan 2012). And there is the Alternative Big Mac Purchasing Power Index (which I think wasn't updated ever since). Then, there's the Gini Coefficient: some newspapers were commemorating Brazil's (0,5304 !!!) had reached in 2010 its lowest value in 50 years (portuguese)... :wacko:
Some states do have higher Minimum Wages defined by State Laws, so let's take Sao Paulo State as the reference:
Minimum Wage (average, net) for Sao Paulo State: US$370.00 (per month; it's defined by type of work, but varies just ±US$5,00 among them);
Furthermore Sao Paulo City ranked 10th place (2011, it was 21st in 2010) in Mercer's Most Expensive Cities index.

#48
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In the US, when you talk about minimum wage, it's usually expressed in US$/hour gross, ie before withholding taxes, Social Security, insurance, etc. According to http://www.dol.gov/d...minimumwage.htm the current US federal minimum wage is "$7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009" gross, though it can vary from state to state ($5.15 - $9.04) So when you say "Minimum Wage (net) for Brazil: US$329.00", that's not US $ per hour obviously. But if that is net US$/week, at 40 hours per week, then net US$329.00 is equivalent to net US $8.23/hour, which looks pretty good if I understood you correctly. But of course if the cost of living is three times what it is in the US, food, housing, gas, PC parts, etc, then that's not so good. But at any rate, it seems wee need some clarification of net vs gross and time frame and verification that we're talking US $ to be sure were comparing apple to apples as best we can. The Big Mac Index indicates that it takes, as a national average, 50% more to purchase a Big Mac in Brazil vs the US, while the Gini Coefficient, if I understood it correctly, says that there is a greater disparity between the wealthy and the poor in Brazil than there is in the US. Combined, it seems to indicate indeed that life is harder in Brazil for the average "middle class" person than those of us in the US appreciate.

Cheers and Regards

Edited by bphlpt, 13 April 2012 - 09:27 PM.


#49
dencorso

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We also use the 40h week, which means 8h of work per day. But the minimum wage is the pay for one month of work. As one year has 52 weeks, that creates the 4.5 weeks per month magic number used here in many calculations regarding work. However, people here receive per 13 months, the 13th being paid 2/3 in Nov, then 1/3 in Dec, and being less taxed than other month's wages (for those who are taxed). People on Minimum Wage are exempt from income tax, but still have to pay 8% of their income to a compulsory state managed fund (to which the employer contributes further 12%) part of which, can be used on the event of loosing the job to get by until finding another one, and part of which fuels the National Retirement pension fund.

So, by using 4.5 weeks per month, 40h per week of work and US$7.25 per hour, I'd conclude (using the Brazilian magic number for the weeks/month) that the Minimum Wage in the US is US$1305.00. And, IINM, there are just twelve payments per year in the US, so that would mean US$15660.00 per year (Which compares well with the more realistic 52.14 weeks per year,40h per week of work and US$7.25 per hour, which gives US$15120.60) .
Now, with Brazilian 13 months and Sao Paulo's US$370.00 per month, we'd have US$4810.00 per year. Then the buts begin: but the Big Mac Index (by applying it, the US$4810.00 is reduced by 35% to account to the higher costs here, becoming US$3126.50), but the Gini Coefficient and but the unemployment rate (6.0% in 2011). And Brazil has about 2/3 of the US population.

The Big Mac Index indicates that it takes, as a national average, 50% more to purchase a Big Mac in Brazil vs the US, while the Gini Coefficient, if I understood it correctly, says that there is a greater disparity between the wealthy and the poor in Brazil than there is in the US.

Those conclusions are correct.

Combined, it seems to indicate indeed that life is harder in Brazil for the average "middle class" person than those of us in the US appreciate.

Yes, harder the average "middle class", much harder for the average "lower class", dire for the "lumpen". But, taken together, those comprise at least 95% of the population, if not more.

#50
bphlpt

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I'm not arguing your conclusions in the slightest, I'm just having a little trouble with the math.

At US minimum wage of $7.25 /hr x 40hrs/week x 52 weeks/year = US$15,080.00 per year gross income, assuming no vacation. I'm not sure where you got "US$3132.00 per year". If the Brazilian yearly income at minimum wage is really just "US$4810.00 per year", then the comparative situation is even worse that you were portraying it, especially after you factor in the Big Mac Index and the Gini Coefficient.

Cheers and Regards

Edited by bphlpt, 14 April 2012 - 12:53 AM.





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