Microsoft pulls final plug on plucky Windows 3

No more licences to be issued for pivotal operating system

It's the end of an era, with Microsoft finally stopping issuing licences for Windows 3 software, more than 18 years after it made its début.

Although support for 3.x OS versions was ended in 2001, the BBC reports that it lived on as an embedded operating system until 1 November 2008.

It was the Windows 3.x series that helped Microsoft conquer the desktop PC throughout the '90s, bringing graphical user interfaces to an entire generation.

Retirement jobs

In its latter years Windows 3.x was relegated to such tasks as cash tills, ticketing systems and in-flight entertainment systems.

As a quick comparison Windows 3 required 640KB of RAM to function, compared to 512MB (and many would say much more) demanded by Windows Vista.

Windows 3.0 brought with it some key features, such as an icon-based program manager and a list-based File Manager.

Notepad and a word processor 'Write' were both kept on in the new graphical world and card game Solitaire was added.


Global Editor-in-Chief

Patrick (Twitter) is Global Editor-in-Chief for techradar, and has been with the site since its launch in 2008. He is a longstanding judge of the T3 Awards, been quoted or seen on everything from the The Sun to Sky News and is on the #CoolBrands Council. He started his career in football, making him one of approximately one journalists to have covered both a World Cup final and an iPhone launch.