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Windows 3.11 vs. Windows 95

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Reply 20 of 40, by wossman

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Win 95 RTM is such a different beast from OSR 2.5 Build 950C that it's totally worth having both in your collection. If you find a cheap RTM copy, by all means, grab it.

For sure, I'm currently on the lookout for one. For the same reason of comparison on my retro hardware.

But congrats on your Win 3.1 setup though. Enjoy it. Win 3.1 was my very first graphical OS so it's imprinted on me the most and it hits that retro spot more than anything else. The majority of retro apps I've collected are for 3.1.

You're gonna have a good time with your system, I can tell!

Reply 21 of 40, by chrismeyer6

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When I was a kid the first new computer we had was a Compaq deskpro with windows 3.11. I have very fond memories of that machine and windows 3.11. hopefully in the next few weeks I'll get my Compaq Presario 4402 aio back together and load up dos 6.22 and windows 3.11

Reply 22 of 40, by Jo22

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wossman wrote on 2020-05-10, 21:36:

Win 95 RTM is such a different beast from OSR 2.5 Build 950C that it's totally worth having both in your collection.
If you find a cheap RTM copy, by all means, grab it.

I think the same. Back in time, however, we had no other chance but the RTM version.
That was the only version available as a product at the shelves in the computer stores.
That's why Windows 98 was, in part, such a big success also. It simply was sold as a new product.

The OEM versions were essentially only available to users who got a new, complete computer (bundled with the usual bloatware),
which excluded PC enthusiasts and professionals who liked to continue building the PC themselves from individual parts.
Anyway, there of course were also exceptions to this. You could get a "personal copy" (aka backup copy) from a friend..
Or in some countries, like Germany, you could actually buy an OEM CD + COA legally - which MS gave no support for.

"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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Reply 23 of 40, by GL1zdA

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wossman wrote on 2020-05-10, 21:36:

Win 95 RTM is such a different beast from OSR 2.5 Build 950C that it's totally worth having both in your collection. If you find a cheap RTM copy, by all means, grab it.

Win95 RTM feels more like a beta releases with missing features. You need to install DirectX to make it a gaming machine and have useful video playback. And at least IE30 to have the "SHLWAPI.DLL" and WININET.DLL on which many programs depend.

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Reply 24 of 40, by chinny22

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In a way it was. Have to put yourself back in a dos/3x mindset. Typical PCs would have been 486's and early Pentiums. Mostly ISA.

Internet was now mainstream but still new so was nice to have an OS that had built in support to dial up an ISP.
Just about all our other applications was carried over from Win3x for another year and gaming took even longer

Reply 25 of 40, by Jo22

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^ Back in the early to mid-90s, I knew about online services such as CompuServe, AOL, X.25 networks/databases and others (Minitel etc) but not the Internet..
However, I heard about E-mail, which could travel between all these online services and "nets" (Fidonet etc) freely. Awesome!
If memory serves, I made my first notable steps into the web (www) using Netscape 2.x in '96 using a 14k4 fax modem.

- I really recommend watching some old ads of CompuServe etc. Modern articles on the web just can't replicate the experience properly.
They completely ignore the fact that some of us had been online since the early 80s, and in some cases (X.25 networks) the 70s, already.
(Personally, I was browsing CompuServe forums early on on a 286 running WinCIM on Win 3.1. Without Internet access, just plain CServe.)

"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

//My video channel//

Reply 26 of 40, by GL1zdA

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-05-12, 10:01:

In a way it was. Have to put yourself back in a dos/3x mindset. Typical PCs would have been 486's and early Pentiums. Mostly ISA.

Well, they've actually managed to regress in one aspect from Win 3.11 to Win 95: video. They've removed the DCI interface without replacing it late in the beta: https://books.google.pl/books?id=xDoEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA3 . You had to wait until they've released DirectDraw and manufacturers implemented DirectDraw support in their drivers. It just shows how desperate MS was to release something, given the original release date for a "32-bit Windows" version was 1993.

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Reply 27 of 40, by wossman

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GL1zdA wrote on 2020-05-12, 11:47:
chinny22 wrote on 2020-05-12, 10:01:

In a way it was. Have to put yourself back in a dos/3x mindset. Typical PCs would have been 486's and early Pentiums. Mostly ISA.

Well, they've actually managed to regress in one aspect from Win 3.11 to Win 95: video. They've removed the DCI interface without replacing it late in the beta: https://books.google.pl/books?id=xDoEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA3 . You had to wait until they've released DirectDraw and manufacturers implemented DirectDraw support in their drivers. It just shows how desperate MS was to release something, given the original release date for a "32-bit Windows" version was 1993.

Sorry but Win 95 RTM was nothing but magical to me. At the time I had a 486DX 33 with a Trident TVGA8900D ISA graphics card and 4MB of RAM. I surely wasn't watching videos on Windows 3.1 before the upgrade with my 160 MB hard disk and I don't think my system could even handle the silly little music videos that shipped on the Win 95 CD anyway. So DirectDraw or no DirectDraw, it was all the same to me. And as for gaming, I had a few small DOS games that I'd copied from friends on floppy (my system didn't even have a CD-ROM drive or sound card) so DirectX for gaming didn't even factor in my world. Plus Guyana (where I live) didn't have its first dial-up ISP until 1997 (there were just 2 or 3 BBSes that I knew of) so I Internet Explorer of any version was a useless curiosity to me.

But the interface! Oh the interface!... The desktop! Shortcuts! Start menu and taskbar! Universal right click menus! Windows Explorer! Long! File! Names! File management from within open and save common dialog boxes! (One of the most frustrating things about immersing myself in Windows 3.1 today for any significant period of time is the simple task of file management.)

I think anyone giving Win 95 RTM grief today is overlooking just what a huge paradigm shift it was from Win 3.1x and how much of its concepts we still use 25 years later. Don't think of it with the hindsight of all the tech we now take for granted. Imagine coming to it from the perspective of maybe only having used previous versions of Windows. And for the average home user on a mid-range or low-end system, it was the cat's pajamas. Even if it ran slowly. It felt like the future!

Reply 28 of 40, by will1384

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I will be honest, I kinda hated Windows 95, and still do, back when I had a Vtech Laser 486DX desktop computer that had Windows 3.1 pre-installed, I tried Windows 95 and it gave me nothing but trouble, I had so many driver problems and random BSOD, I did finally get it running "acceptably" but it was a pain, I have a copy of one of my news group postings saying it took me 4 days to just get it installed and running, and I remember having trouble with the idea or concept of "shortcuts", and I remember accidentally deleting some files that I thought were only shortcuts, also I disliked the Windows 95 GUI back then, and preferred the Windows 3.1 GUI, heck even now I run Classic Shell on Windows 10 so I don't have to deal with that "unpleasant" start menu it has.

I also had OS/2 Warp installed back then, and liked it a lot, but I was not able to find drivers for all my hardware and I had trouble finding software for it.

When I setup a "retro" system it's DOS 7.1, Win3.11, and Win98SE, all on the same drive, and I patch any files needed so that it all can work with FAT32, and Windows 98SE is used mostly for it's USB support and working with files.

Windows 3.11 is fast, small, and simple, and that's why I like it.

Reply 30 of 40, by xcomcmdr

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> File management from within open and save common dialog boxes!

Linux DEs STILL don't have that. How frustating ! Every single day I had to remind myself "oh no, this is not Windows ! You can't do that !".

Reply 31 of 40, by will1384

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kolderman wrote on 2020-05-19, 05:31:

How's driver management in 3.11?

I think it's good. but I only think that way because it's simple/limited depending on your view.

One thing I like is you can run a setup program from DOS and make changes to your Windows 3.11 drivers, that helps a lot with problems.

The very simple and limited driver management means no complicated driver setups, the only driver I can remember that you need to setup or change DMA,IRO and stuff like that is your sound card drivers, and basically you just match the settings used for DOS, back a long time ago in the days of Dial-UP you sometimes had to mess with you port settings, but that's about it.

I do seem to remember some multimedia configuration problems back in the mid 1990s, I was using a complicated setup at the time, video capture card, small MIDI piano, external SCSI CD drive, Sound card, and I think dual game port card, that poor little desktop computer was stuffed like a turkey, 🤣

Reply 32 of 40, by Jo22

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will1384 wrote on 2020-05-19, 15:33:
kolderman wrote on 2020-05-19, 05:31:

How's driver management in 3.11?

I think it's good. but I only think that way because it's simple/limited depending on your view.

I think the same. Windows 3.1x was such a friendly little environment.
In essence, you only had to restore some backups of the *.ini files if something went wrong.

will1384 wrote on 2020-05-19, 15:33:

I do seem to remember some multimedia configuration problems back in the mid 1990s, I was using a complicated setup at the time, video capture card, small MIDI piano, external SCSI CD drive, Sound card, and I think dual game port card, that poor little desktop computer was stuffed like a turkey, 🤣

Ironically, though, Win95's MIDI mapper was more primitive than its predecessor in Windows 3.1x. 😀
The gradual death of the Microsoft MIDI Mapper (translation)

"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

//My video channel//

Reply 33 of 40, by aha2940

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xcomcmdr wrote on 2020-05-19, 07:04:

> File management from within open and save common dialog boxes!

Linux DEs STILL don't have that. How frustating ! Every single day I had to remind myself "oh no, this is not Windows ! You can't do that !".

I don't understand what you mean with "File management from within open and save common dialog boxes", what would that feature be?

Reply 34 of 40, by Caluser2000

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xcomcmdr wrote on 2020-05-19, 07:04:

> File management from within open and save common dialog boxes!

Linux DEs STILL don't have that. How frustating ! Every single day I had to remind myself "oh no, this is not Windows ! You can't do that !".

Win10's file exploder is absolutely terrible compared to Linux.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 36 of 40, by viper32cm

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will1384 wrote on 2020-05-19, 15:33:
I think it's good. but I only think that way because it's simple/limited depending on your view. […]
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kolderman wrote on 2020-05-19, 05:31:

How's driver management in 3.11?

I think it's good. but I only think that way because it's simple/limited depending on your view.

One thing I like is you can run a setup program from DOS and make changes to your Windows 3.11 drivers, that helps a lot with problems.

The very simple and limited driver management means no complicated driver setups, the only driver I can remember that you need to setup or change DMA,IRO and stuff like that is your sound card drivers, and basically you just match the settings used for DOS, back a long time ago in the days of Dial-UP you sometimes had to mess with you port settings, but that's about it.

I do seem to remember some multimedia configuration problems back in the mid 1990s, I was using a complicated setup at the time, video capture card, small MIDI piano, external SCSI CD drive, Sound card, and I think dual game port card, that poor little desktop computer was stuffed like a turkey, 🤣

And vice versa. My sound card drivers ran from Win 3.11 and installed the DOS drivers. However, you've got to remember to uninstall or disable drivers if you switch hardware, particularly video hardware.

Reply 37 of 40, by jakethompson1

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Around 1995ish I was using a new 486DX2-66 with 4 MB of RAM & WfW 3.11. The manufacturer had an offer for a Windows 95 upgrade CD which we got. I hated it! The swapping. My little educational math games were so slow. Not knowing that the reason was that 4 MB was totally unrealistic for usable Win95.

A bit later we got a 5x86 with 16 MB of RAM, and about a year after that had another 64 MB put in bringing it to 80. At the time (early 1998) I don't think you could even buy a consumer-grade machine with that much memory. It'd be like 64 GB today. I thought I'd never run short of memory again... The dramatic collapse in RAM prices in the late 1990s is interesting.

Reply 38 of 40, by viper32cm

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jakethompson1 wrote on 2020-05-23, 02:47:

Around 1995ish I was using a new 486DX2-66 with 4 MB of RAM & WfW 3.11. The manufacturer had an offer for a Windows 95 upgrade CD which we got. I hated it! The swapping. My little educational math games were so slow. Not knowing that the reason was that 4 MB was totally unrealistic for usable Win95.

A bit later we got a 5x86 with 16 MB of RAM, and about a year after that had another 64 MB put in bringing it to 80. At the time (early 1998) I don't think you could even buy a consumer-grade machine with that much memory. It'd be like 64 GB today. I thought I'd never run short of memory again... The dramatic collapse in RAM prices in the late 1990s is interesting.

It wasn't any better with a Pentium 100, no mobo cache, and 8MB ram. The 3.11/95 transition gets my vote for the worst Microsoft OS transition. Hell, my friends and I would still talk about how much it sucked in 2001, so much so I was a bit afraid of XP.

Reply 39 of 40, by Bruninho

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Windows 3.x is by far my favorite version. I have several VMs with that installed, but I am using Qemu or DOSBox for some depending of where I installed; and the hard drive I created for the VMs has 2GB (I have a lot of games...)

You made me think about windows 95, you have a good point. Actually I am trying to set up a Win 98SE VM for more late 90's games on PCem.

Last good Windows OS I used was windows 2000. Since then, from XP onwards, I hated all the versions. Seriously.

Some days ago I was reminiscing that with my dad - we were talking about how impressive the amount of RAM used by our computers increased from our first computer until today. I still find incredibly fantastic the fact that we had a Windows 3.11 with 32MB of RAM, as opposed to the 16GB RAM macOS laptop I have today. I'm pretty sure that my Win 98 PC had 512MB of RAM (or was it Windows 2000? Well, we both can't remember, but we (incredibly) remember how much RAM we had in Win 3.x era. Well, my dad does remember exactly. Because he used to spend a lot of time improving his autoexec & config files for more and more conventional RAM.

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