Home > Windows > Windows 3.0, Happy 20th Birthday!

Windows 3.0, Happy 20th Birthday!

Microsoft Windows 3.020 years ago today, Windows 3.0 was released.

These days, almost everyone is familiar with the "Start" menu in the left-bottom corner of their Windows desktop, the fancy themes, toolbars, and menus. All computers running modern Windows now have these features. But it wasn’t always that way. Very few people remember about the days back before the "Start" button, when they had the simple desktop and the file manager.

Windows 3.0 was not really an operating system. It was a graphical environment with many application services. You had to start it by running the ‘win’ command from the DOS prompt. It relied on DOS not only for booting the computer, but for many basic services like file I/O.

As the third major release of the Windows platform from Microsoft, it offered improved performance, advanced graphics with 16 colors, and full support of the more powerful Intel 386 processor. A new wave of 386 PCs helped drive the popularity of Windows 3.0, which offered a wide range of useful features and capabilities, such as File Manager, Write, Paint Brush, Print manager and Program manager.

The Windows 3.0 GUI is also widely regarded as the reason why IBM killed its own OS/2 operating system. Microsoft launched Windows 3.0 despite the fact that it had signed a strategic partnership with Big Blue to support OS/2.

The rest, as they say, is history. Windows 3.0 was soon to be forgotten as Windows NT and Windows 3.11 were launched a few years later.

For those looking to have a quick play with the Windows 3.1 Program Manager, can visit Michael Vincent’s website and fool around with the Windows 3.1 emulator:

Michael Vincent's Windows 3.1 emulator Michael Vincent's Windows 3.1 emulator


See the Windows History at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/winhistorydesktop.mspx and at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Microsoft_Windows, and read more about Windows 3.0 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_3.0

  1. Luthorian
    October 17, 2011 at 12:15

    this brings back fond memories of when computers were still efficient and fun to work on. things have certainly changed…

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