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Install and Dual-Boot Windows 3.11 for Workgroups (WFW311) on Windows Vista computer

Last reviewed: Feb 2012

October 2013: This is the new location for this page on this site. Please update your link or bookmark.

Introduction

This guide shows how to create a natural dual-boot of any version of Windows Vista (NTFS) and Windows 3.11 (FAT). You then run either OS (or MS-DOS 6.22) by selecting one from a Windows Vista menu during bootup. Installing Windows 3.11 requires that MS-DOS be installed first and WFW311 is then installed when booted to DOS.

MS-DOS 6.22 must first be installed on the start of the first primary partition of the first hard disk.

The more difficult part is getting MS-DOS 6.22 installed. Once DOS 6.22 is installed and running as a dual-boot with Windows Vista, then the rest is extremely easy. Basically, just boot to DOS 6.22 and install Windows 3.11 by running its Setup.exe. That's it! You can then run Windows Vista or MS-DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.11 for Workgroups.

MS-DOS internal and external commands work correctly on both 64-bit and 32-bit computers. The USB keyboard and USB laser mouse do run from MS-DOS 6.22 on a 64-bit computer. However, MS-DOS 6.22 will not run from RAID configurations. Also, MS-DOS 6.22 device drivers are not available for 64-bit hardware devices so expect those devices not to work on 64-bit computers when DOS 6.22 is running.

All versions of Windows Vista were used in testing.
The computers successfully used were:
(1) 64-bit AMD Athlon (2.4GHz), 2.0 GB RAM, 1 TB SATA hard disk (no BIOS change required).
(2) 32-bit Dell Optiplex with Pentium 4 (2.26GHz), 2.0 GB RAM, 160 GB ATA hard disk

Not really successful was:
(3) 64-bit Dell Studio XPS 8100 (2.93 GHz), Core i7, 8 GB RAM DDR3, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460, 2x1 TB SATA hard disks
  (the two hard disks, configured as RAID 0, were replaced with a SATA 1 TB disk and then RAID Mode was changed to ATA in the BIOS).
Windows 3.11 did boot when using Setup /i and then selecting VGA (Version 3.0) but the graphics were not acceptable. Unfortunately time did not permit experimentation with alternative graphics drivers on this 64-bit computer. Maybe experienced Windows 3.11 users will resolve this problem.

The procedure for installing MS-DOS 6.22 is suitable for experienced computer users.

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How to create a Dual-Boot of Windows for Workgroups and Windows Vista

  1. Go to this page to learn how to create a MS-DOS 6.22 &. Windows Vista dual-boot
    Create the Vista and DOS 6 dual-boot.
  2. Download Windows_3.11_for_Workgroups.iso (29.81 MB) - select Save File to ... your computer.
    Create a CD from the .ISO file. This CD will not be bootable - it contains Setup.exe and the installation files.
    - in Windows Vista, double-click the ISO file, enable the Verify disk ... box, insert the CD or DVD, and click Burn.
    - if you prefer, copy all the CD's files to a new W311 folder on the DOS drive.
  3. Reboot to MS-DOS 6.22 from the Windows Vista boot menu.
    • Backup your current Config.sys and Autoexec.bat - just in case!
    • Run Setup on the CD or on the new W311 folder - you'll be surprised how quickly it installs.
      The installation makes small changes to some DOS files - check Config.sys & Autoexec.bat
    • Close the GUI to return to DOS.

Finished! Type WIN at a MS-DOS prompt to run Windows 3.11
If you prefer Win31 to boot automatically instead of DOS, add the line WIN to the bottom of Autoexec.bat

Install Internet Explorer 5.0 and any available device drivers you require.

Congratulations! You have created a natural dual-boot of Windows Vista and Windows 3.1 plus MS-DOS 6.22.

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Please remember that you alone are responsible for the consequences of any changes you make to your computer hardware or software.

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