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Microsoft retires Windows 3.11 on 18th birthday

Withdraws sales of old-timer OS

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Microsoft finally withdrew its ancient operating system, Windows for Workgroups 3.11, on 1 November from the embedded market.

In July the company told electronics vendors that the 15-year-old OS would be put to bed at the start of this month.

Presumably it made that announcement to give manufacturers still partying like it’s 1993 enough time to recover from the shock of having to move onto Vista.

Windows 3.11 for workgroups logo

Oddly, Windows 3.11 for Workgroups actually outlived its successor, Windows 95. That operating system has been unavailable for retail and OEM sales for quite some time.

However, you can still apparently get your hands on a copy of Win 95 over at eBay, where a “new, genuine, sealed” copy can be yours for just £16.99.

Meanwhile, MS stopped supporting Windows 3.11 for Workgroups in 2001 but, as the Beeb notes, a number of companies still found the embedded system a useful platform.

Virgin and Qantas have both been known to use the OS to power some of their in-flight entertainment systems for long-haul flights. It’s also been used in cash tills and ticketing systems.

The clunkily-named Windows for Workgroups 3.11 needed at least - wait for it - 640KB of RAM, seven megabytes of hard drive space and support for a CGA, EGA and VGA graphics card. It required an 8086/8088 processor or higher, with a clock speed of up to 10MHz. ®

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