Microsoft released Windows 3.1 on 6th April 1992, and in doing so addressed a number of issues experienced with Windows 3.0, with over 1000 changes made offering enhanced usability following extensive client feedback.
Improvements were made to the Windows Installation with the inclusion of the Express Install feature, with Custom Installation and Batch Install options together with improved network setup also available to users. The set up programme was also able to detect additional hardware and software configuration compared to 3.0.
The improvements made to the File Manager enabled users to display multiple panes, making for greater ease of use as, for example, the directory tree and its contents could be displayed at the same time. Drag and drop functionality proved more intuitive, facilitated by the addition of the new Registration Database.
Drag and Drop also enabled users to add programs to the new Startup group which Windows 3.1 offered, allowing for the automatic launch of selected programs when the system started up. Icons were displayed far more clearly now that titles were able to be wrapped, another of the improvements in the Program Manager.
In 3.1 the Print Manager eased frustration when print jobs were stalled, by now automatically resuming the job without the user having to cancel and re-run the job manually. Further enhancements saw the inclusion of the UNIDRV, the universal printer drive introduced with this release, which now supported around 250 printers and printing speeds were also improved.
Networking problems were easier to identify and fix as 3.1 provided more detailed error messages for network administrators. Laptop benefits came in the form of Advancement Power Management support as well as the addition of the mouse trail. Add-ons available for Windows 3.1 included Windows for Pen Computing and Video for Windows.
With over 3million copies sold in just 2 months after its release, Microsoft launched an update in the form of Windows 3.11 in August 1993, with support for Windows 3.1 finally ending in December 2001.
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