A really, really messy install of Windows 3.1 to a fresh 3.11?

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A really, really messy install of Windows 3.1 to a fresh 3.11?

Postby Ultrax » 2019-3-15 @ 02:04

My 486 battlestation (a Compaq Presario 425, for those curious) has been in need of a new OS for some time now. I have never reinstalled Windows since I got it.
...
However, just a few minutes ago, I snagged a WFW 3.11 disk set off eBay. And so it begins...
I plan on installing this copy of WFW 3.11 on it not because I want to, but because I need to. The current install is so messy that I can't even get digital sound to work with my sound card within Windows. It's some crap within win.ini. There's loads of crap installed and it takes around 15 to 25 seconds to fully start and the hard drive is churning through all of those seconds. It's time for a reinstall. Plus, I wish to use it on my offline LAN for file sharing, something 3.1 cannot do, or at least without some intense screwing around.

I want to keep the install of MS-DOS that I have. My plan is, to take everything I wish to keep, and move it into a special folder directly on my C drive. Then, begin installing WFW 3.11 from the floppies. I need to know, however:

-Will win.ini (among other config stuff) be cleared? It's one of my primary issues (digital sound not working, hardware finnicky, etc.)
-If I put important (games, documents, midis, etc.) stuff in the C directory, Windows won't mess with it, right? I'd assume Windows would only delete stuff within the WINDOWS folder. Formatting the C drive is something I can only do with MS-DOS disks.
-Will it cleanly install WFW 3.11? Remember, 3.1 is already installed.
-Does it absolutely nuke the Windows folder?

I tested in a VM, and it lets me install two ways: over the current version of Windows, or as a different installation entirely. If I installed it in a different folder and changed the PATH in autoexec like it says, would that work? The old installation I could switch back to at any time.
If not, I'd need to uninstall tons of drivers, remove/move a bunch of stuff, then finally deltree C:\windows.

I'm diddling around in a VM for the time being. It will take some time for the floppies to get here.
I'll make an effort to clean up what I can before I perform the installation. Answers to these questions and any advice is most definitely appreciated! :)
Ultrax
~
My machines and the eras of games they play:
1989-1995: Presario 425|Intel 486DX2 50 MHz OD|8MB|SB V16S
1999-2012: SR2038X |Athlon 64 X2 DC 3800+|2G|GT 710
2008-basic current era: 970a-g43|AMD FX-8350 4.0 GHz|16G|GTX 660
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Re: A really, really messy install of Windows 3.1 to a fresh 3.11?

Postby Jo22 » 2019-3-15 @ 07:22

Hi, you can have two installations of Windows 3.1x on the same HDD.
Just take care during SETUP. If my memory serves me well,
it will search for old versions in order to allow you to update them, so be a bit careful.
Choosing custom install should be safer in this respect.

If you decide to do an update, it will try to update system.ini, win.ini and other config files.
It won't however, replace that files or automagically fix them.
(Edit: As in: It won't fix wrong/broken settings. It might add missing ones, though, which could "fix" things.)

If you like to keep the old installation (as a backup), rename the current windows folder to WINDOWS.BAK, WINOLD or similar.
Then run SETUP of WfW 3.11 and choose custom installation. It shouldn't touch the old directory then,
except if you decide to take advantage of the upgrade feature. Worst thing that can happen is,
that WfW 3.11 uses (links to) some Group Files (.grp) of the old installation.

Another thing can happen is, that Windows Setup scans for existing DOS/Windows programs it knows of.
If so, it will add them to a new Program Manager group. It won't touch any of their data or settings though.
(Edit: You can of course, also install WfW in a new directory, say WIN311, and leave the old installation as it is;
However, this may confuse badly coded programs that assume Windows is always in a WINDOWS folder on drive "C:".)

If you want to be on the safe side, make some backups of the old config files.
You can use copy for that or a Norton Commander like program.
Here are some examples (assuming C:\Windows is default path of you old installation)s:

C:\> copy autoexec.bat autoexec.bak
C:\> copy config.sys config.bak

C:\Windows> copy system.ini system.bak
C:\Windows> copy win.ini win.bak

Not so important for a working installation,
but also worth making a backup of:

C:\Windows> copy progman.ini progman.bak
C:\Windows> copy control.ini control.bak
C:\Windows> copy *.grp *.grb
C:\Windows\System> copy midimap.cfg midimap.bak

Edit: Edited ~2 times.
"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Re: A really, really messy install of Windows 3.1 to a fresh 3.11?

Postby Ultrax » 2019-3-16 @ 00:07

Thank you for your reply and advice! I'll rename the current Windows installation to "WINOLD" and install WFW to C:\Windows. I'll also back up config, system, win and autoexec.

When I'm done removing all my stuff from the current Windows install (in what will then be the WINOLD folder), I'll delete it. Or keep it, we'll see.
I'll tell you how it went when the disks arrive!
Ultrax
~
My machines and the eras of games they play:
1989-1995: Presario 425|Intel 486DX2 50 MHz OD|8MB|SB V16S
1999-2012: SR2038X |Athlon 64 X2 DC 3800+|2G|GT 710
2008-basic current era: 970a-g43|AMD FX-8350 4.0 GHz|16G|GTX 660
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Ultrax
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Posts: 61
Joined: 2018-7-30 @ 22:30
Location: Texas, USA


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