The end of an era – Windows 3.x

So long, Windows 3.x, and thanks for all the shoes! After 18 years of active living, you can finally take your place in the software memorial museum.

On 1 November Microsoft stopped issuing licences for the software that made its debut in May 1990 in the US. The various versions of Windows 3.x (including 3.11) released in the early 1990s, were the first of Microsoft’s graphical user interfaces to win huge worldwide success. They helped Microsoft establish itself and set the trend for how it makes its revenues, and what drives the company until the present day.


For many computer users, 3.x was the first Windows-based operating system they used, and the software established the iconography of Microsoft’s flagship product.

As it was updated the software started to make PCs a serious rival to Apple machines, as it could take advantage of much improved graphics, had a broader colour palette, and could use multimedia extras such as sound cards and CD Rom drives.

Read more about the end of the life support cycle of Windows 3.x on BBC.

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