Save Windows 3.11

Robert McLaws notes that Windows 3.11 has finally reached its End-Of-Life date. OK, the retail product has been dead for years, but it’s still been selling for use in embedded systems.

I eagerly await InfoWorld’s Save Windows 3.x petition. Surely no one can accuse it of being bloated or slow, right?

16 thoughts on “Save Windows 3.11

  1. Well, since they were SO successful in saving XP I’m sure they won’t have a problem bringing this back from the dead 😉

    I wonder what the last defiant Windows 95 users thinks about trying to save 3.1 😉

  2. Even I won’t try to bring back 3.1 from the dead – though one of your recent posts caused me to think about 3.11 – hadn’t thought about it in years, but in 1996, I had a hard drive crash or something, and since there was only a week or so left before I was leaving, decided it wasn’t worth reinstalling an OS for real (I think I was either using NT4 full-time, or maybe dual-booting with win95 at that point) – but I would just do email and web stuff.

    We collected a couple simms from some friends and put together an incredible amount of RAM – 80MB or so, and since Win3.11 couldn’t really use more than 16MB(?) of RAM anyway, made the rest into a ram disk. The processor was probably a 686 Cyrix 80Mhz or something like that. Win3.11 loaded in about one and a half seconds, since there wasn’t a hard-drive, all in RAM. It was pretty fun. A silent machine, and really fast. If I recall correctly, there was a power outage during that week – that was not so fun.

  3. Kind of funny. Focusing on the “save” part rather than the “XP” part.
    What the mass is saying is that Vista sucks while XP didn’t. But let’s try and forget that shall we. All those morons who “don’t get it” just don’t get it do they? Why do they keep saying that Vista sucks when we know it doesn’t right? How come so many people can be so wrong man? All it takes is a little expertise and effort and you too can get your Vista right ( ). Why do these people expect MS to get it right? And first of all, it’s not MS it’s those darn OEMs with all their crappy add ons.

    This is how MS seems to interpret all this. Instead of saying “damn, we got a crappy product, how did that happen? Let’s try and make it clear to people that we are addressing this and we’re doing something about it”. Don’t they say the first of recovery is admitting your illness?

    Instead of this you see users trying to do something. Either by hanging on to the good product, or coming up with stuff like the “UX taskforce”… I don’t see MS doing much. All you hear from MS is denial ( ). Vista is great, everybody’s wrong. Bill seems to be the only one acknowledging it. Ballmer certainly isn’t.

    Ed’s next post: “Save DOS?, warf look at those morons!” ?

    For god’s sakes man, even Vista’s search feature doesn’t work right. Every machine I saw has a “problem reports” page a mile long. Take a look at the UX taskforce list. There is a million facts that show you the state of Vista. Make MS feel the sting, they need to wake up and get their OS right. Otherwise, we’ll all be running linux 10 years from now. Which won’t necessarily be a bad thing, just a bunch of new stuff to learn for us oldies.

  4. Joe, you’re making an awful lot of confusing arguments and you’ve got a bunch of facts wrong. For example, you say “All you hear from MS is denial” and you point to a post of mine. Except if you look at that post, it is referring to a report from the Gartner Group, as quoted by a blogger in Germany. Where’s the “denial” from Microsoft in there?

    And then yoiu say, “For god’s sakes man, even Vista’s search feature doesn’t work right.” Really? I use it every single day. It’s awesome, a killer feature, works perfectly and I didn’t have to do any tuning or tweaking or fixing to get it that way. I also haven’t heard any widespread complaints about it.

    Vista is not “a crappy product.” It did, however, have a crappy launch, and Microsoft has done a crappy job of helping its customers adapt to the many changes in this platform. I agree they have a lot of work to do, but much of the work on the product itself has already been done. The challenge now is communicating with and supporting customers and getting OEM partners on board.

  5. Joe says:
    This is how MS seems to interpret all this. Instead of saying “damn, we got a crappy product, how did that happen? Let’s try and make it clear to people that we are addressing this and we’re doing something about it”. Don’t they say the first of recovery is admitting your illness?

    Microsoft says (click Expand All):
    We acknowledge that Windows Vista initially experienced some compatibility and performance issues. With the help of our industry partners, however, Windows Vista has come a long way in the past 18 months.

    I say:
    That’s a startling acknowledgment, and more of an acquiescense to the legions of whiners than actual fact. Joe, I do think that all those people who say Vista sucks are wrong. It’s not nirvana, but as an OS it’s Pretty Darn Good. Certainly the best version of Windows yet.

  6. Joe, I’d like to hear why you think “so many people” think Vista sucks? What metric are you using to compare it against XP? Unless you can prove that X out of Y people hated XP and X out of Y people hated Vista, which is virtually impossible to measure, this is just your perception. Believe it or not XP went through the same phase in 2001/2 (even 2003/4 before SP2). It just seems more wide-spread now because of web 2.0 stuff that weren’t popular back then, like blogs and advertising techniques that made disingenuous publications and “journalists” try and get more hits by sensational statements and articles.

    I also don’t understand why you say the search feature is “broken”. Is this something that you ran into with your computer? If so then it must be an isolated incident since I haven’t heard that from anyone! It certainly works better than OS X version…. heck it’s even better than QuickSilver.

  7. It is confusing indeed. I do confuse you for an MS employee sometimes Ed, I forget that you don’t work for MS.

    I’m sure you see what I mean, but you don’t really want to give up your positive attitude. Good for you. Here’s one example Googled in about 5 seconds:

    I don’t want to spend time on this anymore.

    Cory: by “so many people”, I mean my friends and colleagues, and also the majority of news and comments I read every day. If you read tech news/blogs, there is no way you can miss that, unless you read only extremely pro-MS people. It’s not everyone, but it is the vast majority (seems to me) that dislikes Vista and has problem with it.

    I have personally managed to make my Vista box stable and running very nice and fast. Thanks to a few months of effort. I even learned to examine minidumps with windbg. I just installed a Vista Home Premium SP1 on a machine last week end (OEM version purchased at newegg last week). All the parts I chose are supposedly good to go for Vista (they all sure have the stickers). Nonetheless, it still took me 5 hours to get it to even install (GPT related problem on a drive I reused at first, then P35/ICH9 driver problem). With my GPT formatted hard drive I was in a dead end situation. I had to use Ubuntu live CD to fix the drive and repartition it in MBR.
    After 3 hours of run time (installing all drivers and updates), my “problem reports” page lists 15 crashes, 2 of which are BSODs. This is trouble in my world. When I install XP, I have 0 problems at install, with 0 crashes…

    For the search problem, I don’t know how one can claim it works. I create a file ‘test.txt’ in my Documents folder. I type ‘test’ in the search box in explorer while Documents is open, and I get 57 results, more than half of which have nothing to do with the word ‘test’ (one search result is a directory called ‘bin’… go figure). But it all depends what your definition of “working” is I guess. It does not crash, it does return stuff, so I guess you can say it works.

    I would love to drink your cool aid guys and be able to state without laughing that Vista is great. It is nice, I use it every day at home. Can’t use it at work because it’s out of the question we migrate, and even I wouldn’t want to because of all the goddamn stability issues. I like a lot of the new features. I would just like to make it clear out there that MS has a long way to go before I call Vista a truly great product. Good intentions, needs more work basically. It’s getting a lot of heat on the net, and it should. Keep the pressure on until they get it right.

    I am wrong apparently that MS does not acknowledge the problem as per this article (and probably many others, but hey, I’m not a journalist nor a blogger, just a half-happy Vista user/developer, don’t expect too much article research from me):

  8. Joe:

    I do read some pro-MS blogs, but not nearly as many as the so-called ABMS crowd. When I say “pro MS” I mean someone like Ed here who likes Microsoft but will point out a problem when there really is one.

    Also, check into your sources about who says they use Vista and dislike it. 9 times out of 10 it’s always either A) someone who tried it once or twice on a friend/relatives computer but never actually used it regularly; B) someone who tried it in the first few months, usually on an HP or Sony Vaio which seemed to have the most problems, or C) someone who gets paid to write articles that will attract the most visitors with sensationalist writing, because it’s the “popular” thing to do… example 1, the Inquirer. No self respecting person would trust a word from them.

    Also, I just tried exactly what you did. I created a text document on my desktop called “text.txt” and immediately did a search… it was number 3 on the list. The first two were other files that had “test” in the file name. Works perfectly for me and every other Vista machine I’ve used (dozens).

  9. Joe.
    First in the interest of transparency , I work at and blog for Microsoft.

    Every new operating system expects a higher level of hardware and breaks something than what has gone before.
    XP was the first time since Windows was introduced that Microsoft have had a single Desktop OS. 1985-1993 it was DOS or DOS + Windows, 1993 added NT 3.1 to the Mix, 1995 we got rid of DOS so it was 95/98 or NT 4, In 2000 you had ME or W2K (NT5) . Only in 2002 did we get to one OS for the desktop XP (NT5.1) and it had the longest life of any Microsoft OS, and the gap between XP SP2 and SP3 is the longest period of version stability we’ve had. It really didn’t matter what was in the box for NT 6. It was going to meet resistance.
    Plain and simple fact. Vista had better compatibility at introduction than any previous OS. But with XP as the only current version of Windows everything was compatible with XP. If you’re comparing against 100% you’re going to come of worse.
    You understand that search is full text search of document contents and file properties. Searching for a word like test is going to return a lot of results. It finds over 5000 items on my computer (2721 of my emails contain the word test!)
    Microsoft’s relationship with our OEM partners deters us from naming and shaming, but some of them fill their machines with so much crap that I’m now advising customers who buy retail to start by reformatting and re-installing the supplied OS.
    Drivers. There are some really crappy ones out there. I do a lot of photography and found Vista’s explorer meant I wasn’t going back from the Beta of Vista to XP. Nvidia’s drivers are fine now, but they were dreadful when vista released.
    As per Cory. The surveys we have indicate that customers who are using Vista report much higher levels of satisfaction with Microsoft products than those using XP. Interestingly it’s the ones who have never used Vista generally believe it’s no good.

  10. James, your post is spot on. You’d swear that most of those who complain so vehemently about Vista never used a computer before XP SP1 or SP2. I personally remember business oriented sites saying that XP had little to offer business, while gaming sites said to stick with 9X, because XP was too slow. And everyone complained about it’s memory requirements.

    There’s no doubt that game performance early on was bad. I remember trying EQ early on, and it was unbearably slow (and EQ has never been bleeding edge graphics). Things are much improved now.

    On a board I frequent, there’s a gentleman who’s an avid Macintosh user, but he also runs Windows for gaming and he regularly says he thinks Vista is the best Windows he’s ever run. He is the most level headed mac user I’ve ever come across (in his praise and criticism for OS X and Windows).

    Vista isn’t perfect. I love the new security, but I’m not sold on all the prompts (e.g. deleting something in the start menu may generate up to 3 prompts), but once things are set up, those aren’t a regular occurrence. I do wish there was a better way to get some programs to run at start up. For example, if a program does require admin access (i know, it shouldn’t require it), I can get around it (sometimes) using task scheduler, but that would work so much better if I could set those up as admin and then run them on a standard account. IME, that always failed.

    It doesn’t hurt me much, but for my mother’s build, I really wanted to her to run as a standard user and only go to an admin account if necessary.

    All that, and I still think Vista is better than XP (and I liked XP). It starts out a bit slower, but after the prefetch sets itself up, it works great.

    Now if you guys would put out powertoys for Vista, all would be good in the world.

  11. James: I am a Vista user/developer that complains 🙂 No need to look very far for that. I have 2 Vista boxes that I use daily (they run 24/7), 1st one installed in January 2007, 2nd one in November 2007. I hope I qualify as a non casual user. I’m even installing a 3rd now for a non tech guy, trying to get it to run for at least 5 hours without crashing (and I will succeed).

    All I’m saying really is: I like Windows, Vista is not so bad that I can’t use it. I would however prefer to spend my time less on making it work and more on my own work… Times have changed I guess, in the late ’90s you didn’t really have the choice than spending most of your time just trying to make things work. XP has spoiled (some of) us.

    On the search issue, it doesn’t do the job for me in Vista’s explorer. I find the search lacking, except in Outlook where it simply perfect.

    The Vista crashes are not a myth. Take a look at your “problem reports” thing, I’m sure you’ll see that yours too is a mile long, and you get plenty of crash reports as well, half of them do not seem to be driver related.

  12. Joe, you already stated issues you had from installing from the beginning. This is most likely bad software or driver issue, not Vista.

    I just looked in my problem reports. I’ve had my computer over a year now and there are 10 things listed. Some are about things that were minor and not even crashes. Interestingly, the first 7 appear to be things from the first 5 – 6 months I owned it… So 3 in the last half year… I wouldn’t really call that bad.

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