Part of the Windows glossary:

Windows 3.0 was the 3rd version of Microsoft’s GUI-based operating system, released in 1990. This version of Windows was highly successful upon initial release.

The system supported 16 colors, and with this adaptation the interface resembled even more closely the versions of the future. Windows 3.0 was faster, being more fully optimized for the Intel’s 80386 processor.

The system also included the casual games familiar to most Windows users: Solitaire, Minesweeper and Hearts. However, any heavier gaming was still run directly on MS DOS, rather than through Windows (which was essentially a program that ran on top of DOS). Exiting to DOS meant that the games had direct hardware access and also access to system resources that Windows would have tied up.

Banking on the success of Windows 3.0, Microsoft offered Windows 3.1 as a paid sub-release rather than a free update.

See a news item introducing Windows 3.0:

This was last updated in February 2014
Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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