Can your site work on IE3?

(top) Photo of Windows 3.1 running on a Thinkpad 390e, (bottom) Photo of CD-ROM drive on a Thinkpad 390e Startup screen for Windows 3.11 for Workgroups Internet Explorer 3 with loaded

Talk.CSS #39 (22 May 2019)

Chen Hui Jing @hj_chen
Yeo Kheng Meng @yeokm1


  1. Background
  2. Quick Live Demo
  3. How I got DOS 6.22, Win3.1 and networking to work
  4. Live coding/debugging


  • Hack && Tell Singapore - March 2019
Screenshot of conversation between Hui Jing and Kheng Meng where it was mentioned that IE5 is too advanced for this experiment

Team 486 at Super Silly Hackathon (Dec 2017)

Team 486, comprising of Kheng Meng and Hui Jing at the 2017 edition of Super Silly Hackathon Screenshot of the desktop where output from the 486 PC was piped onto a Mac, notes on the 486 PC and photo of the internals of the 486
  • Huijing and I
  • 486 PC + Damn Small Linux + Web Page Hosting + Playing Music

What is Internet Explorer 3 (IE3)?

Internet Explorer 3 with loaded
  • First released in 1996
  • Final Update (1998): 3.03 SP1, 3.03.3006
  • Supported OSes:
    • Windows 3.1, 95, NT3.x, NT 4.0
    • System 7
    • Mac OS 8
  • First browser to support CSS

So what is Windows 3.1x?

Startup screen for Windows 3.11 for Workgroups (top) Photo of Windows 3.1 running on a Thinkpad 390e, (bottom) Photo of CD-ROM drive on a Thinkpad 390e
  • Windows 3.1x is a series of 16-bit operating systems by Microsoft
  • Windows 3.1 was released on April 6, 1992
  • Windows for Workgroups 3.11 was released on August 11, 1993
  • WFW first to have inbuilt networking facilities
  • All Windows 3.1x versions requires ≥MS-DOS 3.1 to be installed first

Microsoft Timeline of DOS/Windows

Timeline of Microsoft's Operating Systems from 1985 till 2016

Quick demo

IBM Thinkpad 390e

  • Released in 1999 with Windows 98
  • Win3.1 drivers provided by IBM
  • Specifications
    • Intel Mobile Pentium II 300Mhz
    • Intel 440BX chipset
    • NeoMagic Media256AV 2.5MB VRAM
    • 384MB SDRAM
    • ESS Solo-1 Audio
    • 13.1” 1024×768
    • PATA hard drive (I used an CF card with CF-PATA converter)
    • CDROM + Floppy combo
    • Serial, Parallel, PS/2, USB 1.0, IrDA
    • 2x Cardbus slots
  • No Ethernet
  • 4.5cm thickness
  • 3.4kg weight
  • US$2700 (1999) = US$4100 (2018) = SG$5600 (2018)
(top left) Screenshot of Windows Setup options on Windows 3.1, (bottom left) View of IBM Thinkpad 390e's CD-ROM drive, (right) Screenshot of Windows 3.1 main desktop Photo of relevant connectors and peripherals for IBM Thinkpad 390e

Installing DOS 6.22 and Win 3.1

Photo of Imation external floppy drive Photo of Windows 3.1 and DOS 6.22 installation floppy disks


  • Important DOS configuration files
    • Loads drivers on startup
    • HIMEM.SYS: Extended Memory Manager
    • DOS=HIGH: Load DOS to HMA to save conventional memory
    • CDROMDRV.SYS: Toshiba CD driver
    • POWER.EXE: Sends x86 HALT instruction to save CPU power when idle
    • Stands for AUTOmatic EXECution
    • Batch file that starts at end of DOS boot process
    • SMARTDRV.EXE: Disk caching
    • MSCDEX.EXE: Assign CD drive letter to driver
    • DOSKEY.COM: Terminal history, auto-completion
    • CTMOUSE: Modern DOS mouse driver for PS/2 mouse
Diagram providing a graphical explanation of how DOS is loaded to HMA

Network Connection Attempt 1

  • PCMCIA/Cardbus network adapter
  • Xircom Realport Cardbus Ethernet 10/100
  • IBM’s Cardbus slot DOS drivers DID NOT WORK!!!
Xircom Realport Cardbus Ehternet 10/100 installed in Thinkpad 390e

Network Connection Attempt 2

  • Parallel Port network adapter
    • XircomPocketEthernetPE3-10BT
    • 10Mbps
    • Powered by PS/2 passthrough cable
  • Wifi-Ethernet Bridge
    • TP-Link TL-WR702N
    • 100Mbps
    • 802.11n
  • DNS needs manual configuration
XircomPocketEthernetPE3-10BT TP-Link TL-WR702N as a Wifi-Ethernet bridge

Fun fact, the presentation was done on the Windows 3.1 machine with Powerpoint 4. Because we could.