|Software||>||Operating Systems||>||Windows||>||Windows 95|
Windows 3.1 was, for many people, the first version of Microsoft Windows they encountered. Earlier versions existed; Windows 1.0, Windows 2.0, and Windows 3.0 had all come out in sequence, introducing the concept of a windowed environment to the MS-DOS PC world, but these hadn't attracted a large user base; most people still worked with the DOS command line. With 3.1, however, some computer manufacturers started pre-installing it on new computers (earlier Windows versions had to be manually installed from floppy disks), so some new computer users started out with it as their working environment from the beginning. It still had to be run from the command line DOS booted into, but this could be accomplished with a batch file to make it happen automatically on startup.
Many characteristics of Windows 3.1 were still stuck in the DOS era; files still had to be no more than 8 characters plus a 3 character extension, a limitation that was lifted in Windows 95. No built-in Internet support was provided, so those wishing to experience the net at a time when it was in the process of transitioning from an academic curiosity to a mainstream medium needed to install other software such as a "Winsock" driver or the ubiquitous AOL disks.
A minor upgrade called Windows 3.11 was released later.