Home > Windows > The End of an Era for Windows 3.11 The End of an Era for Windows 3.11 Eugenia Loli 2008-07-10 Windows 32 Comments Microsoft recently announced that effective November 1st, 2008, OEMs will no longer be able to license Windows for Workgroups 3.11 in the embedded channel. It’s the end of an era. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 32 Comments 2008-07-10 2:08 am shiny They should all migrate to Vista 2008-07-10 2:10 am ohxten Wow, so soon? 2008-07-10 2:15 am theTSF I haven’t seen windows for workgroups seriously installed (some joke installs) for about a decade. 2008-07-10 2:36 am stabbyjones and here i was thinking that finding a windows 95 machine still in everyday use was an achievement. 2008-07-10 2:48 am t3RRa If I remember correctly, few years back -probably 2~4 years- I saw some kiosk/bank ATM machines booting Windows for Workgroups 3.11 (I saw the logo)! Yeah, I saw some others booting Windows 2000 and XP though. But I didn’t know that Microsoft was still selling the copies of Windows for Workgroups 3.11 ! Wow.. What about DOS? Anyone knows of companies using DOS in the embedded space around you? ;D 2008-07-10 6:39 am jebb Not so long ago, I dealt with a small austrian company specializing in online titration equipment. The central piece of kit was a DOS-powered box, controlling various pumps, valves and probes, showing trends on an LCD display, and outputting data via 4-20mA analog channels to the DeltaV system. Speaking with the owner, he was contemplating switching his system to linux, but there definitely was no rush. Of course the whole thing needed updating (think about it, computers exchanging process data over an analog channel which needed calibrating…), but it did the job. 2008-07-10 11:00 am sorpigal DOS is actually pretty widely used in small/single-purposes embedded systems. It’s pretty small, well known and lets your application do whatever it wants. DOS will be around a lot longer than WFWG or Win95. 2008-07-10 1:30 pm Windows Sucks Actually Blockbuster Video still uses Dos 6 for all their Cash register / Check out machines. So does Hollywood video. Scary. LOL! But if it works, it works. 2008-07-10 4:35 pm Aeko Using DOS ? Us. Thanks to Cobol and having the sources. Of course, they run on XP and have checked on Vista, where it also runs load-highing our language keyboard. These programs are fast, really fast, and does that no other do, no other. 2008-07-10 8:24 pm yakirz I’m gonna automate my life with CP/M! 2008-07-10 2:16 am _LH_ This is truly the end of an era. Window for Workgroups 3.11 was the first version of Windows which me and many other people used. It was once widely available de facto operating system which was later replaced by 95. It took me at least till early ’97 before I moved on to 95 SR2. I haven’t used it since then but there must have been embedded uses such as (but not including) ATM’s long into the 21st century. Edited 2008-07-10 02:18 UTC 2008-07-10 3:34 am flanque The first major Windows I used was Windows 2.0. I even found the original floppy disks two days ago, from 1988, and they still work! Why is it 20 year old single density disks last longer than than 20 day old double sensity disks??! I then upgraded to Windows 3.0, but couldn’t go to Windows 3.11 because I didn’t have a 286 or higher – it was an Amstrad 80286, 8Mhz, 640k, vga. Ah the memories. 2008-07-10 4:38 am modmans2ndcoming disks back then were made well. today they are tossed together because no one uses them. 2008-07-10 7:00 am el3ktro Haha, 8Mhz, yeah I can remember those times. Today, even mobile phones have up to 600MHz!! I can remember that it wasn’t long ago where Intel announced the 1Ghz-breakthrough for desktop computers! Now it won’t be long until mobile phones run at 1GHz or more! This is just breathtaking. 2008-07-10 3:32 am aent My orthodontist uses a 3.11 and DOS software setup. Nothing has anything past 3.11 yet. My schools phone dialer runs DOS as well. 2008-07-10 4:17 am Moredhas A fine example of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” (regardless of your opinion of Windows or DOS). It’s good to see there are some people who refuse to run on the upgrade treadmill when there’s no reason to. 2008-07-10 4:27 am thavith_osn If it does the job you need it to do, then why “upgrade”… I had no idea MS still sold it either, wow… It must have been a “specific” market surely? 2008-07-10 11:15 pm wrocic A local solicitors firm I know runs an old Amstrad 1512 with Dos 5 and Wordperfect. It has been running this since around 1990. It still works, and they have no need to replace it. It does look and sound like something from a 50’s B-Movie, but every time I visit the office, I glance at it and it makes me feel young again lol 2008-07-10 7:31 am Isolationist use to run like a dream on my 486 DX2/66 2008-07-10 8:17 am HappyGod It’s normally banks that hang on to these ancient OS’s long after their expiration date. When I worked for BankWest (a HBOS subsidiary) a couple of years ago, they were just upgrading their ATM’s and teller machines from WindowsNT. The only reason they did it was because the keyboard/card-reader manufacturer finally stopped providing an NT driver! They were so tight with IT spending. All the branches were still on ISDN 128k internet, which was used for all ATM, teller and software update traffic. It did make us pretty economical with our updates though 🙂 2008-07-10 3:33 pm mallard It’s normally banks that hang on to these ancient OS’s long after their expiration date. When I worked for BankWest (a HBOS subsidiary) a couple of years ago, they were just upgrading their ATM’s and teller machines from WindowsNT. The only reason they did it was because the keyboard/card-reader manufacturer finally stopped providing an NT driver! They were so tight with IT spending. All the branches were still on ISDN 128k internet, which was used for all ATM, teller and software update traffic. It did make us pretty economical with our updates though 🙂 Apart from the ISDN thing, I see nothing wrong with that. Why spend money on upgrading ATMs when they work fine as is? What benefit is there to it? Not upgrading ATMs just because they are old isn’t being tight, it’s being sensible. Edited 2008-07-10 15:34 UTC 2008-07-10 7:26 pm HappyGod Um no actually. We often had cases of ATM machines crashing, or rebooting at inopportune times. And thanks to the ultra slow connection they would do things like take an eternity to spit out money, so the frustrated users would go into the branch while the ATM meanwhile spits out the cash to another user. As for the tellers, they were even worse, as we constantly tried to work around the ancient OS. In short there comes a point where even if something appears to be “working”, in actual fact you are spending far more in wasted man-hours of support time fighting all the grassfires. 2008-07-11 8:07 am mallard Um no actually. We often had cases of ATM machines crashing, or rebooting at inopportune times. And thanks to the ultra slow connection they would do things like take an eternity to spit out money, so the frustrated users would go into the branch while the ATM meanwhile spits out the cash to another user. As for the tellers, they were even worse, as we constantly tried to work around the ancient OS. In short there comes a point where even if something appears to be “working”, in actual fact you are spending far more in wasted man-hours of support time fighting all the grassfires. Given that extra information, upgrading now sounds more sensible. The previous post made it sound like the upgrades were happening simply because the hardware/software was old. BTW the ATMs crashing/rebooting sounds awfully like the consequences of failing hardware, rather than any software issue, but as you said, the manufacturer no longer provides NT drivers, so replacing the hardware necessitates the software upgrade. However, the slowness of the connection seems to me to be a bit of a red herring. ATMs don’t need to send/receive vast amounts of data. Here in the UK it is fairly common to see stand-alone ATMs in stores that connect to the bank over a dial-up modem, and they still don’t take that long to work. 2008-07-11 12:56 pm HappyGod You’re right, ATM’s don’t use that much bandwidth on their own. But when added to the branches emails, software updates and teller transactions, it was too much for the connection and we the issues I described. 2008-07-10 8:35 am B12 Simon A company I worked for in the late 90s used to configure 100s of Windows for Workgroups PCs for a huge UK PLC. I expect a lot of them are still in use today. As has been said elsewhere: if it ain’t broke… 2008-07-10 9:32 am Gryzor There are many Clipper/DOS systems out there (Medicine, Dentists). I see ’em from time to time. 2008-07-10 10:49 am bolomkxxviii Ah, the good old days. No DRM on anything. You anyone could easily hack the OS. Anybody could write a program that would run. The OS would fit on a few floppies. The worst part of that time period was the crappy, fuzzy, 60 hz monitors. Amazing more people didn’t go blind! 2008-07-10 1:46 pm fretinator How ever will I run my copy of Bob?? 2008-07-10 2:54 pm umccullough How ever will I run my copy of Bob?? On Windows 9x… 2008-07-10 4:52 pm Bounty imagine how fast old dos or 3.11 systems would run on modern computers. I remember running special programs to slow down games on 500mhz systems. Of course no multi-core support… but hey, most apps don’t suport it either. 2008-07-11 10:11 am frood I remember have Windows 3.11 installed more of a gimmick than anything useful because it was one of the few programs that supported my hercules graphics card! But even then I would just play with mspaint. Any real work was done in DOS within StarOffice, and all games were played in DOS through my trusty CGA emulator. 2008-07-14 3:33 am FunkyELF What does this mean for Nasa? I read about them buying up all the old 386 processors out there because shuttle crap runs on it and they can’t re-QA it on newer hardware / software.