Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Windows 3.11 Reaches End-Of-Life (Seriously)

Nope, I’m not kidding on this one. Apparently Microsoft has still been selling this OS in the embedded systems market for quite some time. That must be why the simulators at Star Trek: The Experience are using the OS to run their systems (maybe that’s why they’re closing this September). But according to Microsoft’s John Coyne, it’s finally the end of the road for this killer operating system. It’s truly the end of an era.



  • I never heard of a trojan or virus affecting 3.11.  Heck even DOS today would be fine by me.

    July 9, 2008 6:16 PM
  • Herb Swearengen said:

    Yeah. They did have viruses back then. MS-DOS, which Windows 3.1/3.11 ran on top of, included a simple antivirus application that was written by Symantec for Microsoft.

    By the way, there were two separate Windows versions labeled as 3.11. Windows 3.11 was a bug-fix for Windows 3.1 and not widely distributed. Windows for Workgroups 3.11 was a separate product that had some success in the SOHO market.

    July 9, 2008 7:02 PM
  • John Lehn said:


    I still have a complete set of original Win 3.11 for workgroups floppies, purely for memory sake.

    July 9, 2008 7:09 PM
  • Psedononymous said:

    I remember all those michaelangelo virus clones affecting all dos based pcs back then, it was a big deal. I also remember a virus called "stoned" that simply rewrote your dos or win3.1 startup files to display ascii art saying "Your Computer is Stoned" instead of booting anything. Ahhh, simpler times...

    July 9, 2008 7:55 PM
  • SoLinkable said:

    Man.... I remember those days. I'm really surprised to read that they were still selling it, especially when there was all that craziness about MS dropping XP.

    July 9, 2008 8:22 PM
  • BlackPocket said:

    I was on a Virgin flight in Australia recently and noticed that the back-of-the-seat entertainment system was embedded Win 3.11 when it was rebooted.

    I got a bit misty-eyed.

    July 9, 2008 8:51 PM
  • Duncan said:

    Qantas uses it for its inflight entertainment system as well, must be an airline supplier using it

    July 10, 2008 2:17 AM
  • said:

    for those that were not aware, we recently announced that effective November 1st, 2008 , OEM's will

    July 10, 2008 6:15 AM
  • Jamie said:

    Wow, I had no idea that embedded devices were using 3.11. What is the advantage there?

    July 10, 2008 10:43 AM
  • elmusafir said:

    >> ...Microsoft has still been selling this OS in the embedded systems market... ...for this killer operating system.

    Windows 3.11 was NOT an operating system, it was a simple graphics server/windows manager combo that ran on DOS (a true operating system).

    >> I never heard of a trojan or virus affecting 3.11.

    Viruses attacked DOS, not Win.

    >> Yeah. They did have viruses back then. MS-DOS, which Windows 3.1/3.11 ran on top of, ...

    Right on target.

    July 10, 2008 10:51 AM
  • Andrew said:

    Win 3.11 lives on in Virtual PC on my P4 3GHz XPSP2 machine - with Netscape 3 for iNet browsing! See

    July 10, 2008 1:38 PM
  • nah said:

    ye win311 was old

    July 10, 2008 2:08 PM
  • Doug said:

    > Windows for Workgroups 3.11 was a separate product that had some success in the SOHO market.

    I once heard a pundit dub WfW 3.11 "Windows for Warehouses" because it never seemed to leave store shelves.  

    July 10, 2008 2:44 PM
  • Mike Newhall said:

    Hey, I remember 3.1 -- and when I was a subscriber to MSDN I noticed something called Windows For Workgroups 3.12.  I downloaded it, installed it, even got it on the home network and got IE 3.0 working on it.  Never heard of 3.12 elsewhere but I guess I have the most *advanced* installation of Windows 3 out of all of you. :-)

    July 10, 2008 4:05 PM
  • Shawn said:

    I remember when McAffee was decent, it was complete dos based, and you would log into BBS's to get virus definition updates.  The good days of Dos...

    July 10, 2008 5:57 PM
  • Andrew said:

    So Window for Workgroups 3.11, which was introduced in Dec. 1993, lasted 15 years to 1 November 2008, HOW LONG will Windows XP Professional (aka Windows 5.1) be with us, given how much larger its installed base is, how much more stable and popular it is than 3.11 ever was, or even compared to Vista (especially for business applications)? Anybody? 20 Years, 25 Years? With Microsoft's support for XP continuing to 2014 perhaps those fearing XP's exit really shouldn't be confused by what's happened with XP's retail availability.

    July 10, 2008 10:23 PM
  • TOM S said:

    3.2 was a supposed to be a Japaneese only realase. Never heard of 3.12 thought.

    July 11, 2008 5:23 PM
  • Mike Newhall said:

    Well I run a mix of OS's and I'm very happy with Windows 2000 running on my more modest boxes.  It runs 90%+ of XP compatible software and is thinner and lighter.  So whenever XP kicks the bucket, 2000 can claim it lasted a little bit longer. :-)

    July 11, 2008 8:09 PM
  • Andrew,

    It's importand to note that Win3.11 stopped being supported in the consumer channel a long time ago. I imagine that XP Embedded will still be supported in the embedded space through the end of the next decade, but that has no bearing on XP's comsumer availability.

    July 12, 2008 10:07 AM
  • Nyhl said:

    Perhaps you all should stop supporting windows....

    Ubuntu is the newly crowned king!!

    July 25, 2008 3:32 PM
  • Don Wall said:

    I still use Win3.11 to get my e-mail via Juno dialup.

    July 25, 2008 7:33 PM
  • Go Chemix! said:

    Windows for Workgroups 3.11 was heavily used in a very large chemical company based in Midland, Michigan that I won't name.

    July 25, 2008 8:00 PM
  • stavros jobsos said:

    you could all just buy a mac.

    July 26, 2008 8:41 AM
  • Ellinoä said:

    absolutely ^^

    Win 3.1 was awesome though. I still run it from time to time. But as for the firms...

    July 26, 2008 6:59 PM
  • Bojan said:

    I have old Microsoft Anti Virus for Windows 3.11.Where I can find newer virus definitions for it program?

    July 27, 2008 2:33 PM
  • Mr. Peabody said:

    I use Windows 3.11 (WFW) daily to run programs for consulting jobs.  Because the laws of physics don't change, I am able use apps that I have used for ten or more years to beat the competition by wowing the customer with solid answers in minutes.  Virtual Machine is allowing me to run Windows 3.11 on my Mac, Toshiba with Vista and soon my new Netbook on Linux. Vista won't run any of my apps that pay the bills. Mac lets me use Windows 3.11 wirelessly.  Looking forward to a two pound Netbook, allowing me to work and play from anywhere and be solar powered.

    See you on the beach,

    Mr .Peabody

    August 14, 2008 10:50 PM
  • Nicholas said:

    i have windows 3.11 installed on my vintage toshiba Satellite Pro T2155CDS...i use it all the time. i have a HUGE collection of old dos games :)

    August 19, 2008 9:21 PM
  • rajan said:

    i use to have windows 3.1 on my ole system .. but since it died i no longer have it was a wonderful OS..

    is there still a place where i can get support for it or download it

    August 21, 2008 11:54 AM
  • Scott Nelson said:

    >> Perhaps you all should stop supporting windows....  Ubuntu is the newly crowned king!!


    >> you could all just buy a mac.


    As you can see, everyone ignored your comments (except me), but all I'm going to say is that this article is for Windows 3.11 and the comments are for people to reflect on their experiences.  Leave your fanboy bias comments at the <head> and move along already.

    September 22, 2008 12:16 PM