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I am trying to make a bootable SD card that has Windows 3.1 loaded onto it. I only have 2 computers with 1 and 8 GB of RAM. When I load Windows from C:\WINDOWS\WIN on my older 1 GB RAM computer (a netbook from 2008, the HP Mini 110-1030NR to be exact), it displays the splash screen for like 1 second because computers are so fast now, and then crashes to MS-DOS. I have not tested on my more-modern computer with 8 GB of RAM (the HP ProDesk 600 G1 SFF from 2013 or 2014, I'm not sure), and I have a 3rd computer (a Toshiba Sattelite C675D-S7101 from 2012) which does not boot from the SD card.

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    Do you need to natively boot into Windows 3.1? I can get it to work on DOSBOX with no issues and it can even read-write to the host's filesystem when configured correctly. I'm on a Dell Inspiron 7559 with 16 Gb of RAM, an i5 processor, and running Windows 10.
    – Nelson
    Commented Feb 14, 2021 at 17:46
  • I can use a virtual machine if I can't figure out how to get the OS running on a newer computer, I am thinking of getting an old PC from the early 1980s to the late 90s Commented Feb 14, 2021 at 18:28
  • @nelson DOSBox isn't perfect for Win3.1x use. For example, you need a development build if you want the installer for SimCity Classic Graphics to work with the Windows release of SimCity Classic. Otherwise, it can't enumerate your emulated floppy drives under Windows and it's fundamentally designed around the assumption of installing from a floppy.
    – ssokolow
    Commented Feb 14, 2021 at 19:53
  • Just to be clear, DOSBox isn't perfect for Win3.1x use becuase it was never intended to run Windows. The author has made that clear yet people still seem to wonder why it's not being added.
    – paxdiablo
    Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 23:10

2 Answers 2

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The accepted answer to Windows 98 with 2GB of RAM should be adaptable for Windows 3.1:

This will ensure that Windows only sees 256MiB through the XMM, and should allow it to start and run.

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  • I added HIMEM.EXE to my C:\WINDOWS folder, and changed C:\DOS\HIMEM.SYS and C:\WINDOWS\HIMEM.SYS to C:\WINDOWS\HIMEMX.EXE /max=262144 in all of the config.sys files in the dos and windows folders, now windows is complaining that himem.sys doesn't exist, I couldn't find a .sys in all of the himemx folders I downloaded from your link in the original answer Commented Feb 14, 2021 at 18:16
  • It sounds like the 256 MB limit is better described as a "practical maximum": you can give Windows more, but it will probably never be able to use it (and it will never use more than 512 MB).
    – Mark
    Commented Feb 14, 2021 at 18:50
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    @Claudia try loading both HIMEMX.EXE and C:\WINDOWS\HIMEM.SYS (I thought the former would be enough, but perhaps not). Commented Feb 14, 2021 at 19:50
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Google gave me this page while searching for a solution to my problem installing Windows 3.11.

Following the advice using himemx.exe did not get any results. In the end, it turned out that the correct Windows image solves the problem. As a result, on a system with a Core 2 6400, Intel 945g chipset and 2 GB of memory, WFW 3.11 installed on top of MS-DOS 6.22 works without any non-standard tricks. HIMEM.SYS (from the DOS kit) limits memory to 64 MB by default, according to the standard MSD.EXE utility.

It would be correct to say that initially my problem turned out to be with a bad distribution kit (possibly a lost file), but I mistakenly decided that it was a problem with hardware compatibility - the installation program complained about a lack of memory (even though there was a real excess of it). Using a regular (and not some special) Windows distribution (as well as DOS) downloaded from one well-known site solved the problem. Also, only the default settings and tools of both systems were used.

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