The headline The end of an era – Windows 3.x startled me this morning. My first thought was to look at the dateline; it had to be in the distant past and I wanted to see how distant. I will save you the tension and anticipation; the dateline is November 1, 2008, just four days distantly past.
My favorite quote:
Windows 3.x required an 8086/8088 processor or better that had a clock speed of up to 10MHz. It needed at least 640KB of RAM, seven megabytes of hard drive space, and a graphics card that supported CGA, EGA and VGA graphics.
By comparison, the Home Basic version of Windows Vista requires a 32-bit 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 20GB of hard drive space, and a graphics card with at least 32MB of memory.
Microsoft released Windows 3.x in May 1990. I remember joyfully using the heck out of it for years, running Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel on an Epson 80286 machine with two 5 1/4″ floppies and a 20 MB (yes, that’s really “MB” and not “GB”) hard drive. We probably had 1 MB (yes, there is that “MB” again) of RAM. We printed stuff out on an HP LaserJet capable of (breathe deeply now) 300 dpi.
I still have a shrink wrapped copy of Microsoft Windows for Workgroups sitting in the basement. It came with an 80486-based computer that I bought back in about 1983. Tempting though it is to unwrap it and install it, I won’t. I no longer have any computers with a 3 1/2″ floppy drive.
Today is a good day: looking to the future with cautious hope and to the past with gentle nostalgia.