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Windows 3.x

From BetaArchive Wiki
Microsoft Windows 3.x
Preliminary name
Janus (3.1), Sparta (WfW 3.1), Snowball (WfW 3.11)
Kernel version 3.0
CPU architecture x86
Release date 31/12/1993
Support end Expired 31/12/2001
Preceded by Windows 2.x
Succeeded by Windows 95

Windows 3.x was the first truly popular release of Windows and is a massive improvement over previous versions. The 3.0 release was bundled on a wide range of computers, unlike it's competitor OS/2, which was found mainly on IBM hardware. The Multimedia Extensions 1.0 were released for Windows 3.00a on October 1991 (along with the Comdex 1991 beta of NT) and was an OEM only release (mainly CD-ROM and sound card manufacturers), comprising of a sound card (Sound Blaster for instance), a CD-ROM drive (initially SCSI only) and basic multimedia support for audio input and output and a CD player. Windows 3.1 (and later 3.11) incorporated many of the multimedia features of 3.00a.

Real and Protected mode

Although Windows 3.0 wasn't the first version that could run in Protected mode (which was split into two modes, see below), it was the first "universal release" that could run in all three modes. Windows 2.x versions could only run in the mode they were released for, i.e. regular 2.x in Real mode, 2.x 286 in Real and Standard modes, and 2.x 386 in Real and 386 Enhanced modes.

The Protected mode was split into two separate modes: "Standard mode" (the 16-bit 286 Protected mode available on the Intel 286 and clones) and "386 Enhanced mode" (32-bit 386 Protected mode available with Intel 386 and clones). The Multimedia Extensions were not available in Real Mode. Windows 3.0 has a problem starting in 386 Enhanced mode in Microsoft Virtual PC 2004/2007 due to conflicts between Windows 3.0's 386 memory management and Virtual PC's video BIOS. A fix for this issue is described in this guide. The only leaked beta build (3.00.55) doesn't have this problem.

Windows 3.1 dropped support for Real mode with build 34f, the official Beta 1. Previous builds (such as the leaked 26 and 34e) can still run in Real mode. Support for Standard mode was dropped in Windows for Workgroups 3.11, thus Windows can only run in 386 32-bit Protected mode ever since.

  • No information available
  • Existence doubtful
  • Information or pictures available
  • Leaked or released

Build list

NOTE: In case where builds such as 61d exist, it is safe to assume that previous compiles (e.g. a, b and c) also exist. However, they're not listed here unless they were proven to exist.

Windows 3.00


Release to Manufacturing

Windows 3.1x

Windows 3.1

Beta 1
Beta 2
Final Beta
Release Candidate
Release to Manufacturing
Far-east beta

Windows 3.11

Windows For Workgroups 3.1

Windows For Workgroups 3.11

NOTE: The build numbers below may be wrong - the real RTM build number is supposedly 300.

Windows 3.2

NOTE: Windows 3.2 was released in Simplified Chinese only. It brought improved Chinese character support and other related enhancements. Only one build is known to exist.