Internet Archive Now Has, And Runs, Windows 3.1 Programs

The Internet Archive, perhaps more known for its archive.org address, has an interesting history. What started as a website to hold old copies of web pages for posterity's sake, the archives has become home to the many of the computing world's history, both the highs and the lows, from websites to games and, more recently, even malware. And now, the Internet Archive has added one more important part of history, making available Windows 3.1 programs for yesteryears, and allowing uses not only to view but even run such ancient software in their browsers.

Although not the first Microsoft graphical OS, Windows 3.1, and in a way 3.0 before it, practically overshadowed all previous versions and became the poster child of not only Microsoft's Windows OS but also of most PC GUI vis-a-vis Apple's Macintosh. That is, until it was succeeded by Windows 95, which gave way to many of the commonly accepted and accepted computing idioms today, like the Start menu.

Many of those old enough to have used the OS might have developed a fondness for it, but not enough to actually run it. Well, the Archive has another option. You can now walk down memory lane to relive those 16-bit moments. The Internet Archive plays host to more than a thousand Windows 3.1 programs, from games to utilities to that once popular "desktop toy" that had eyes that followed your mouse cursor.

And, best of all, you don't even need to download these programs to run them. Thanks to the magic of modern browsers and emulation, you can run them right then and there.

Windows 3.1 can hardly be considered the perfect OS, technically or in any other matter, even by the standards of its time. But for many, it was their first encounter with a PC that didn't involve a daunting black screen with glowing grey (or even green) text and a blinking cursor.