Run Windows 3.1 in your browser

As seen on CrunchGear, Michael Vincent has made an awesome website for those who want to kick it oldschool. Whether you're old enough to remember using it, or too young to know what it is, Windows 3.1 was, undeniably, the turning point for Microsoft's Windows OS. While it didn't offer much in terms of new functionality over its predecessor, Windows 3.0, Windows 3.1 was the first widely used version of Microsoft's world dominating OS.

Michael's website is a way to look back into the days of Windows 3.1 without having to install a thing. It's a site that emulates the operating system, allowing you to explore it as if you had it installed on your own computer. However, there are a notable differences. The browser isn't really the same as it was back then, you don't actually get to experience the boot up process, and Windows 3.1 didn't come with links to all of Michael's websites. Still, it's a great little emulator.

Go ahead; try out Microsoft's never-too-old-to-forget, right-click-lacking version of Windows. . Oh, and to make it even better... Minesweeper works (see proof below). Just don't try the simultaneous right and left click trick. That'll throw you out of the emulator.

Requirements:

"Best viewed in Firefox 3.
IE 8, 7, and 6 acceptable.
Resolution of 1024x768 or greater recommended."

You can check out Michael's Windows 3.1 emulator at michaelv.org.

Windows 3.1 in browser

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80 Comments

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michealm said,
Browser is fast because its a simulation, not a emulator.

thats what i meant with "it cant really be" ..

still i feel its faster than when im using IE or firefox directly. strange

Hmm just noticed that my Win3.11 floppies(all 11 of them) are sitting on my desk. Wonder if they still work. Time to fire up VirtualBox on my Linux Box :D

Coming from a web designer and developer, I say that's pretty cool. It's the future. A mobile OS. Imagine having an operating system as fast as your internet connection not your computer. Thing like this will probably power netbooks with a satellite internet connection eventually. Google Chrome OS, Google Docs, Google everything.

It's cool that you can run the website inside itself recursively. Open the "Internet Browser" and go to michaelv.org... the fun begins.

i remember when my dad brought home his 286 from work and it had DOS on it. i was only 4 or 5 at the time, but i learned how to operate it then one day he came home with the windows 3.0 disks (i still got'em hehe) and away we went. i used to draw "snake rattle n roll" on the paint program and print them out in black and white on his old laser jet iii

bomberh said,
Its a bit of fun, and I remember running it on a PC with no cd drive, just ba floppy drive and no soundcard!

yeah i remember my dad had this old packard bell 386sx-33 came with win3.1 and cost him just under a £1000 and had no sound card.

brianshapiro said,
Its not accurate.. in Windows 3.1 you'd need a program to connect to the internet before you could use a web browser

You also needed a full computer to run it on :P

Windows 3.1 was the first version of Windows accepted for us by the general public. Even when it came out there was this "real men use DOS" mentality up until Windows 95.

Scorbing said,
Why would someone want to run this garbage in the first place? This is 2010 not 1981.

Windows 3.1 was released in 1993. Perhaps you're thinking of Visi On?

Edited by MarkKB, Jan 25 2010, 7:22pm :

Scorbing said,
Why would someone want to run this garbage in the first place? This is 2010 not 1981.

If you don't understand there's probably no point trying to explain it to you. I'll give you a hint though, no one is using it for production purposes but just for the nostalgia or the geek factor of trying out older operating systems.

I use Virtual PC myself so I can run the real thing; installed Windows 3.0 from my 5.25 inch disks, NT 3.51, several versions of OS/2, MS-DOS, DR-DOS, PC-DOS, CP/M, etc.

Scorbing said,
Why would someone want to run this garbage in the first place? This is 2010 not 1981.

And what do you think has changed with Microsoft OS in these past years ?
No BSODs ? No Viruses ? No crashes ? No security Holes ( there is one strait from Win3.1 in Windows 7 ) ?

Scorbing said,
Why would someone want to run this garbage in the first place? This is 2010 not 1981.

perhaps os/2 warp is more your thing then lol

What junk. That was my first operating system but I have no nostalgia for clunky old stuff when I can have new and better. Now they need a Windows ME emulator -- you click on a button and nothing happens...

blackcat77 said,
Now they need a Windows ME emulator -- you click on a button and nothing happens...

Or at least a few dozen BSODs.

iamwhoiam said,

Or at least a few dozen BSODs.

It wasn't that bad, you had to wait half an hour before it crashed due to memory exhaustion and BSODed.

blackcat77 said,
What junk. That was my first operating system but I have no nostalgia for clunky old stuff when I can have new and better. Now they need a Windows ME emulator -- you click on a button and nothing happens...

http://www.deanliou.com/WinRG/WinRG2.htm

As a 3 year old I first learnt to use a computer with Windows 3.1, the online ones missing paint! Nooooo....

For people that really miss it, just throw a copy in a VM.

It takes about 10min to setup and you can play with everything. Runs in VirtualPC 2007 or Win7 VirtualPC mode. Even on my personal systems I keep a couple of Win3.x VM images, and have for years now.

thenetavenger said,
For people that really miss it, just throw a copy in a VM.

It takes about 10min to setup and you can play with everything. Runs in VirtualPC 2007 or Win7 VirtualPC mode. Even on my personal systems I keep a couple of Win3.x VM images, and have for years now.

Very much this. It's more interesting if you actually install it on a virtual machine, and then you can install old games and programs too.

Edited by Saburac, Jan 25 2010, 9:41pm :

Soldiers33 said,
that is boring. How can people enjoy that rubbish?

Seriously? Whaaaa, someone enjoys something different than me.

Man, that brings back some memories. I used to run Windows 3.11 with Plug-In for Windows from Plannetarium Software. It added all kinds of cool functionality to Win311, like a right-click menu, and you could even use it as the shell in place of Progman.exe.

n_K said,
Windows 3.1 didn't have an internet browser; 3.11 did.

Nope, 3.11 didn't include a browser either. They didn't even include a network stack, you had to install your own just for networking support or get Windows for Workgroups.

I am still using Windows 3.1 with my old Compaq Contura Aero laptop. (486-33, 4mb ram) My W7 machine does not support DOS games natively, but my Compaq does!

I have very vivid memories of mastering the How-To/Help tutorials with the Wizard, Robin Hood and a few other. Good times.

DonC said,

And no reversi either..

Reversi was last included in Windows 3.0, for Windows 3.1 they replaced it with minesweeper. I'm not sure why they couldn't include both. Being cheap as usual I guess. :D

Edited by Saburac, Jan 25 2010, 9:11pm :

Electronic Punk said,
format c: closed it :s

I got the same result with a chkdisk. I have a feeling most if not all the commands you put through will bump you out.

EDIT: Actually, it seems that most just give you a "Bad command or file name" error.

Edited by Tanshin, Jan 25 2010, 5:11pm :

Bah, humbug. This is no emulator, its just a visual simulation.

If you call it an emulator I surely expect and emulator.

a1ien said,
Bah, humbug. This is no emulator, its just a visual simulation.

If you call it an emulator I surely expect and emulator.

Indeed. This is a *simulator*, not an emulator.