Windows 3.11

This guide will show you how to install Windows 3.11 in VirtualBox.

01 – Click New in Virtual Box

02 – Provide a name, and ensure that Type: Microsoft Windows and Version: Windows 3.1
Click Next

03 – Leave the RAM setting as is.
Click Next

04 – Make sure Create a virtual hard disk now is selected.
Click Create

05 – Make sure VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) is selected.
Click Next

06 – Make sure Dynamically allocated is selected
Click Next

07 – If required, change the location the virtual hard disk should be saved.
Click Create

Note: You will need to have MS-DOS installed before you can install Windows 3.11.
You can view my MS-DOS Virtualization guide <INSERT LINK> – Begin at Step 8.

Once you have a working version of MS-DOS installed, continue below.

08 – At this point, you should see the Command Prompt

09 – Click Devices in the Toolbar
Click Floppy Drives
Click Choose disk image…

Select the first Windows 3.11 Disk Image
Click Open
Press Enter

10 – Type A:
Press Enter

11 – Type setup
Press Enter

12 – Windows Setup should start
Press Enter

13 – Press Enter to continue with Express Setup

14 – After a couple of seconds, you will be asked to insert Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11 Disk 2
Click Devices in the Toolbar
Click Floppy Drives
Click Choose disk image…

Select the second Windows 3.11 Disk Image
Click Open
Press Enter

15 – The first stage of Windows setup will finish and you will be taken into the second stage.
While Windows setup attempts to identify your network card it may appear to hang, but only for a few seconds before you’re presented with a screen to enter your information on.
Enter whatever you would like and press Continue.
Note: Product Number can be left blank.

16 – You will then be presented with confirmation of what you entered.
Click Continue

17 – Windows setup will start to copy files.
After a couple of seconds, you will be asked to insert Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11 Disk 3
Click Devices in the Toolbar
Click Floppy Drives
Click Choose disk image…

Select the third Windows Disk Image
Click Open
Press Enter

18 – Click Continue
After a couple of seconds, you will be asked to insert Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11 Disk 4
Click Devices in the Toolbar
Click Floppy Drives
Click Choose disk image…

Select the fourth Windows Disk Image
Click Open
Press Enter

19 – Click Continue
After a couple of seconds, you will be asked to insert Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11 Disk 5
Click Devices in the Toolbar
Click Floppy Drives
Click Choose disk image…

Select the fifth Windows Disk Image
Click Open
Press Enter

20 – Click Continue
Click Continue
After a couple of seconds, you will be asked to insert Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11 Disk 6
Click Devices in the Toolbar
Click Floppy Drives
Click Choose disk image…

Select the sixth Windows Disk Image
Click Open
Press Enter

21 – Click Continue
After a few seconds, Windows setup will display a Printer Installation dialogue.
Leave “No Printer Attached” selected and click Install.

22 – Windows setup will display a Network Setup dialogue.
Click Continue. We will install the Network later.

23 – Windows setup will display a Set Up Applications dialogue.
Leave “MS-DOS Editor” selected and click OK

24 – Windows setup will display a Windows Setup dialogue.
Click “Skip Tutorial”

25 – Setup is complete.
Click “Restart Computer”.

26 – You will receive this error in MS-DOS.
Click Devices in the Toolbar
Click Floppy Drives
Click Remove disk from virtual drive
Press any key to restart the Virtual Machine.

27 – You will boot to the MS-DOS command prompt.
Type “win” and press Enter
Windows 3.11 will now load.

28 – Installation is complete. You are now in Windows 3.11

Optional
Below are the steps needed to setup;

  • CD-ROM Installation
  • Sound Card Installation
  • Network Installation
  • Display Installation
  • Web Browser Installation
  • Making Windows 3.11 Load on Boot
  • Year 2000 Date Fix
  • Optimisation

CD-ROM Installation

1 – Click Devices in the Toolbar
Click Floppy Drives
Click Choose disk image…

Select the “CD-ROM” Disk Image
Click Open

2 – If you are already at the command prompt you can ignore this step.
If you are within Windows 3.11, in Program Manager;
Click File
Click Exit Windows…
Click OK

3 – You should be at the Command Prompt.

4 – Type A:
Press Enter

5 – Type “install”.
Press Enter
The CD-ROM Driver Installation will start.

6 – Press Enter
You should see the message “Install Completely!” (Interesting grammar!) and be returned to the Command Prompt.

7 – Click Devices in the Toolbar
Click Floppy Drives
Click Remove disk from virtual drive
Click Machine
Click Reset

8 – You should boot into MS-DOS and see some additional information which will indicate that the CD-ROM driver has been installed and is working successfully.
By default, your Virtual CD-ROM drive will be assigned the drive letter D.
This driver will enable CD-ROM support within both MS-DOS and Windows 3.11.

Sound Card Installation

1 – Make sure you are at the Command Prompt, outside of Windows 3.11

2 – Click Devices
Click Optical Drives
Click Choose Disk Image…

Select the “Sound Driver” Disk Image
Click Open

3 – Type D:
Press Enter

4 – Type “install”
Press Enter
The Sound Card Driver installation will begin.
Press Enter

5 – You will be asked about some settings. You can leave them as the defaults.
Press Enter

6 – You will be asked about some configuration settings. You can leave them as the defaults.
Press Enter

7 – Setup will copy the necessary files and notify you that changes will be made to AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS.
Press Enter

8 – It will make the necessary changes to the aforementioned files.
You will be asked whether to replace a file.
Select “Proceed”
Press Enter

9 – Setup will complete.
Click Devices
Click Optical Drives
Click Remove disk from virtual drive…
Press F10 to Reboot.

10 – You should boot into MS-DOS and see some additional information which will indicate that the Sound driver has been installed and is working successfully.
This driver will enable Sound within both MS-DOS and Windows 3.11.
The easiest way to test whether it is working is to type “win” and Press Enter to boot into Windows 3.11. You should hear the startup chime.

Network Installation

1 – Make sure you are in Windows 3.11

2 – Click Devices
Click Optical Drives
Click Choose disk image…

Select the “Network Driver” Disk Image
Click Open 

Click Devices
Click Floppy Drives
Click Choose disk image…

Select the seventh Windows Disk Image
Click Open

3 – Run “Windows Setup” from the “Main” group within “Program Manager”.
Click “Options”
Click “Change Network Settings…”

4 – You will see a Network Setup dialogue.
Click “Networks”

5 – Click “Install Microsoft Windows Network”
Click “OK”

6 – You will be returned to the Network Setup dialogue.
Click “OK”

7 – You will see an Add Network Adapter dialogue.
Select “Unlisted or Updated Network Adapter” and Click “OK”

8 – An Install Dialogue will appear asking for you to insert the disk containing the driver. We have already done this so we just need to point to it.
Click Browse
Change to the CD drive (D:) using the dropdown menu at the bottom left.
Double Click “amdpcnet”
Double Click “wfw311”
Click “OK”

9 – You will be returned to the Install Driver dialogue.
Click OK

10 – You will be returned to the Unlisted or Updated Network Adapter dialogue.
It will show “Advanced Micro Devices PCNET family” selected.
Click OK

11 – You will be prompted to enter a User Name, Workgroup and Computer Name.
You can leave these as default or change them (Leave Workgroup as-is).
Click OK
Note: The User Name is what will be used to login to Windows from hereon.

12 – Windows setup will start to copy the necessary files.
After a few moments, you will be asked to insert “Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11 Disk 8”.
Click “Devices”
Click “Floppy Drives”
Click “Choose disk image…”

Select the eighth Windows Disk Image
Click Open
Press Enter

13 – Windows Setup will display an Install Driver dialogue, asking for the disk containing PCNTN3.386.
Click Browse
Change to the CD drive (D:) using the dropdown menu at the bottom left.
It should show that you have the “wfw311” folder open/selected.
Click OK

14 – You will be returned to the Install Driver dialogue.
Click OK

15 – A Windows Setup dialogue will inform you of some changes made to the AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files.
Click OK

16 – You will then be prompted to restart the computer.
Click Devices
Click Optical Drives
Click Remove disk from virtual drive

Click Devices
Click Floppy Drives
Click Remove disk from virtual drive

Click “Restart Computer”

17 – MS-DOS will boot.
Type “win”
Press Enter

18 – Once Windows has loaded, a Welcome to Windows for Workgroups login dialogue will appear.
The User Name you selected earlier should be filled in for you.
Click OK

You will then be asked if you would like to create a password. Either click Yes and create a password or click No to skip this step.

19 – Once you have logged into Windows 3.11 open the “Network” Program Manager group.
Then open the “Network Setup” application.

20 – Windows will display the Network Setup utility.
Click Drivers
Click Add Protocol
Make sure “Unlisted or Updated Protocol” is selected.
Click OK

21 – An Install Driver dialogue will appear asking for you to insert the disk containing the drivers for the protocol.
Click “Devices”
Click “Optical Drives”
Click “Choose disk image…”

Select the “Network Driver” Disk Image
Click Open

Click Browse
Change to the CD drive (D:) using the dropdown menu at the bottom left.
Double Click “tcp32b”
Click OK

22 – You will be returned to the Install Driver dialogue.
Click OK

23 – Network Setup will display an Unlisted or Updated Protocol dialogue.
It should show “Microsoft TCP/IP-32 3.11b” selected.
Click OK

24 – Once Windows has copied the necessary files, you will be returned to the Network Drivers dialogue.
Click Close

25 – You will be returned to the Network Setup dialogue.
Click OK

26 – A Microsoft TCP/IP Configuration dialogue will appear.
You can either select “Enable Automatic DHCP Configuration” or use your own.
Automatic should work fine in most cases.
If you select “Enable Automatic DHCP Configuration”, a prompt will appear to inform you that the DHCP protocol will attempt to automatically configure and ask whether you would like to enable DHCP.
Click Yes

The Microsoft TCP/IP Configuration dialogue will then show that “Enable Automatic DHCP Configuration” has been selected.
Click OK

27 – A dialogue will appear informing you that Network Setup has modified the SYSTEM.INI and PROTOCOL.INI files.
Click OK

Windows will then inform you to restart your computer.
Click Devices
Click Optical Drives
Click Remove disk from virtual drive

Click “Restart Computer”

28 – You should boot into MS-DOS.
Type “win”
Press Enter
Login to Windows 3.11

Note: Once you pass the Windows Splash Screen, you may see an Egg Timer cursor for a few seconds before the login screen is displayed. This is normal with this setup.

29 – Setup is complete! To test whether it is working properly, once logged into Windows, open MS-DOS Prompt from the “Main” Program Manager group.

30 – Type “ping google.com”
Press Enter

This will send a few ping’s to Google’s servers and you should get a result similar to that displayed below.

This means the Network Driver has been installed successfully.
Type “exit”
Press Enter

Display Installation

1 – Make sure you are at the Command Prompt

2 – Click Devices
Click Floppy Drives
Click Choose disk image…

Select the “Display Driver” Disk Image
Click Open

3 – Type A:
Press Enter

4 – Type “svga”
Press Enter

You will be asked whether you would like to extract the files.
Press Y

You will see an error relating to a full disk at the end relating to VGA.3GR.
Ignore this.

5 – Type “vgapatch p”
Press Enter

6 – Click Devices
Click Floppy Drives
Click Remove disk from virtual drive

Click Machine
Click Reset

7 – You will boot to the MS-DOS command prompt.
Type “win” and press Enter
Windows 3.11 will now load.
Login to Windows 3.11.

8 – Open “Windows Setup” from the “Main” Program Manager Group.
Click Options
Click “Change System Settings…”

9 – In the “Display” dropdown menu, scroll to the bottom and select “Other display (Requires disk from OEM)…”

Click Devices
Click Floppy Drives
Click Choose disk image…

Select the “Display Driver” Disk Image
Click Open

10 – You should see a Windows Setup dialogue asking for the location of the disk with the Display Driver. It should show “A:\” in the textfield.
Click OK

11 – You should now see a Change System Settings dialogue.
Find and select the “Super VGA 1024×768 256 Small” option.
Click OK

12 – You will be returned to the Change System Settings dialogue.
Click OK

The necessary files will then be copied.

Windows will then inform you to restart your computer.
Click Devices
Click Floppy Drives
Click Remove disk from virtual drive

Click “Restart Computer”

13 – Windows will restart itself and you should immediately notice that the VirtualBox window has grown.

You’re now running Windows 3.11 at a resolution of 1024×768 with 256 colours.

Web Browser Installation

1 – Make sure you are in Windows 3.11

2 – Click “Devices”
Click “Optical Drives”
Click “Choose disk image…”

Select the “Web Browsers” Disk Image
Click Open

3 – Open “File Manager” from the “Main” Program Manager Group
Click “d” near the top left to access the CD drive.

4 – Open “internet.exe”
Internet Explorer will automatically install itself and create a new Program Manager Group containing a shortcut to Internet Explorer and Internet Mail.

You will then be asked to reboot your computer.
Click Cancel

5 – Return to “File Manager”
Open “netscape.exe”

A dialogue will appear, asking if you would like to install Netscape Communicator 4.0.
Click “Yes”

6 – Netscape setup will now launch.
Click Next

Agree to the Terms

Keep “Typical” selected
Click “Next”

A dialogue will appear asking if you would like for the installation directory to be created.
Click “Yes”

A Select Program Folder dialogue will appear.
Click “Next”

You will then be shown an overview of the setup.
Click “Install”

Setup will copy the necessary files and a dialogue will appear, asking if you would like to view the README file.
Click No

A dialogue will appear informing you that setup has completed.
Click “OK”

7 – A dialogue will appear asking if you would like to restart your computer.

Make sure the “Yes, I want to restart my computer now.” option is selected.
Click “OK”

8 – You will boot to the MS-DOS command prompt.
Click Devices
Click Optical Drives
Click Remove disk from virtual drive

Click Machine
Click Reset

Type “win” and press Enter
Windows 3.11 will now load.
Login to Windows 3.11.

9 – You now have both Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator installed.

10 – Obviously, as Internet Explorer 3 is ~20 years old, it’s not overly compatible with modern websites but it does work 😉

Making Windows 3.11 Load on Boot

1 – Make sure you are at the Command Prompt

2 – Type “edit autoexec.bat”
Press Enter

3 – Navigate to the end of the file (Ctrl + End)
Enter “REM C:WINDOWSWIN”
Enter “REM CD”
Enter “WIN”
Save and Exit (Alt, F, X, Y)

4 – Click Machine
Click Reset

The machine should now boot, loading MS-DOS before automatically loading into Windows 3.11.

Year 2000 Date Fix

1 – You should be at the Command Prompt.

2 – Click “Devices”
Click “Optical Drives”
Click “Choose disk image…”

Select the “Year 2000 Fix” Disk Image
Click Open

3 – Type “D:”
Press Enter

4 – Type “copy *.* c:”
Press Enter

5 – Type “C:”
Press Enter

6 – Type “install windows”
Press Enter

A warning will be displayed.
Press any key to continue.

7 – You should see “Update Complete!”

Click Devices
Click Optical Drives
Click Remove disk from virtual drive

Click Machine
Click Reset

Optimisation
This CPU optimisation fix will avoid excessive CPU usage.

1 – You should be at the Command Prompt.

2 – Click “Devices”
Click “Optical Drives”
Click “Choose disk image…”

Select the “Optimisation” Disk Image
Click Open

3 – Type “D:”
Press Enter

4 – Type “copy WQGHLT.386 C:\WINDOWS”
Press Enter

5 – Type “edit C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM.ini”
Press Enter

6 – Navigate to the bottom of the “[386Enh]” section
Enter “device=WQGHLT.386”
Save and Exit (Alt, F, X, Y)

Click Devices
Click Optical Drives
Click Remove disk from virtual drive

Click Machine
Click Reset

7 – Your Virtual Machine should now boot into Windows.

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