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From: geor...@microsoft.UUCP (George MOORE)
Subject: Windows 3.1 backgrounder
Message-ID: <#81cp_p@microsoft.UUCP>
Date: 10 Oct 91 02:19:13 GMT
Organization: Microsoft Corp.
Lines: 475

What follows is the Windows 3.1 backgrounder which is being 
distributed freely to members of the press.  It talks about
the new features in Windows 3.1, new robustness, TrueType, the 
better networking support, Windows for Pen Computing, multimedia 
support, etc, etc.

I have received permission to post this information here.  Please 
do not mail me with questions about this document -- I cannot say 
anything more than what is written here.  It should answer most of
your questions about what is coming up in Windows 3.1.

Microsoft Windows Environment Version 3.1
August 1991


With more than 4 million copies sold since the announcement of version 
3.0 in May 1990, the end user community has affirmed its support for 
the Microsoft(R) Windows(TM) environment.  Users have made Windows the 
best-selling retail software product of all time and the second most 
popular operating system ever (after MS-DOS).  More than 200,000 Windows 
users have attended Microsoft-sponsored conferences, workshops, shows 
and 20 third-party events this year.  And users have made Windows 
applications the fastest growing segment of the total software 
applications market, according to data from Software Publisher 
Association and other sources.

It is fitting, then, that Microsoft should look to users to understand 
how to advance Windows in its next release, version 3.1.  In the year 
since the announcement of version 3.0, Microsoft has conducted an 
unprecedented campaign to reach out and listen to the feedback and 
comments of the Windows installed base.  This feedback collection 
process has taken several forms:

o	A commissioned survey of 11,000 U.S. households revealed Windows 
	usage patterns, satisfaction levels, favorite and least favorite 
	features as well as data about the hardware configuration of 
	typical Windows users.  This data was particularly interesting 
	in that it was a "pure" user pool, not biased toward users who 
	are more likely to register their software, subscribe to a 
	particular magazine, etc.

o	Microsoft "Strike Teams" fanned out to gather data from corporate
	Windows 3.0 users.  Nearly 90 percent of the suggestions resulting 
	from these meetings have been implemented in Windows 3.1.

o	About two thousand Windows users called Microsoft Product Support 
	Services each day for more information about using Windows.  From 
	these calls, PSS has developed an extensive knowledgebase; a 
	representative from PSS served on the Windows 3.1 design committee.  
	The 10 most commonly asked questions have been addressed in 
	Windows 3.1.

o	An active CompuServe(R) support forum through the auspices of the
	Windows Presentation Manager Association (WPMA) resulted in 
	extensive suggestions and feedback.

User suggestions were the driving force behind the improvements and new 
features in version 3.1.  As an important evolutionary step in what is 
planned to be a long series of Windows-based operating systems from 
Microsoft, Windows version 3.1 will offer refinements to version 3.0 
that are designed to bring greater ease of use, functionality, and 
performance to Windows users while maintaining backward compatibility 
with Windows version 3.0 applications.  These refinements fall into the 
following categories:

	o	Improved usability and performance

	o	Application and system robustness

	o	TrueTypeTM scalable font technology

	o	Improved application integration

	o	Extensions for new computing platforms

This paper will describe the key added features of Windows version 3.1 
in greater detail.

Improved Usability and Performance

Among the results of the extensive feedback from users of Windows version 
3.0 are significant enhancements to the usability of the Windows 
environment.  Dozens of improvements will be immediately noticeable, 
while hundreds of others work behind the scenes to support the new 
features.  While many of them are minor, taken together, these improvements 
contribute to a smoother, more responsive user interaction with Windows.

Improved Installation

The Windows version 3.1 Install program will be able to detect even more 
hardware and software configurations than its version 3.0 predecessor.
The result is an improved ability for Windows to configure itself optimally 
for the machine on which it is being installed.  The Installer program 
detects a wide variety of TSRs (terminate-and-stay-resident programs), and 
hardware devices that are known to cause problems, taking action to notify 
the user or correct the problem without user involvement.

Windows version 3.1 will be easier for novice users to install with Express 
Install, and more customizable for advanced users, who can select groups 
of programs to install.  For PC coordinators, Windows version 3.1 
installation is improved with the batch install option, and better network 
setup features for installation in networked environments.

File Manager Improvements

The Windows version 3.1 File Manager has been completely redesigned for 
improved usability and performance.  The File Manager now supports 
multiple "panes" for easy browsing.  Users can now display the directory 
tree and a list of files side-by-side in a window.  The File Manager 
also allows the display of more file attributes than before and can even 
display file and folder names in a choice of fonts.

Another significant improvement is the new "quick format" capability, 
which allows users to format floppy disks in much less time than before.

The File Manager will support an easier, more intuitive "drag and drop" 
model for manipulating files.  For example, to print a file, the user 
drags the file's icon with the mouse and "drops" it onto the Print Manager,
which prints the document.  Users will also be able to take an icon 
and drop it on a running application or the application title bar; then 
the application will automatically open that file. 

Program Manager Improvements

Improvements to the Program Manager include "wrappable" icon titles that 
sit neatly under each icon in multiple lines, instead of a single long 
line that may overlap with other icon titles.  Users also will appreciate 
the new "startup group," which allows them to launch any group of 
applications automatically when the Windows environment is started.

Printing Improvements

The Windows version 3.1 Print Manager now has the ability to resume 
stalled print jobs automatically, without user intervention.  For 
example, if a printer runs out of paper, the print job will be resumed 
after the paper tray is restocked.

Another printing improvement introduced with Windows version 3.1 is the 
universal printer driver (UNIDRV).  This software offers a single, printer-
independent driver for which specific printer drivers can be built rapidly.
The universal printer driver makes it easier for printer manufacturers to 
write or update printer drivers because it encapsulates all the major 
features of a printer driver in a single piece of software.  Vendors simply 
provide a table of printer-specific parameters for each printer.  Instead 
of using dozens of large "monolithic" printer drivers, the Windows 
environment will need only a single driver and a small support table for 
each printer.  Nearly 250 printers will be supported in Windows 3.1, with 
the majority supported through UNIDRV.

Better Support for Networks

A number of improvements will make Windows version 3.1 easier to use on 
a computer that is attached to a network.  Network administrators will 
find that setup is easier under Windows version 3.1, especially for 
complex system configurations.  Network problems are also easier to trace 
and fix because network errors are displayed with more information regarding 
the type and source of the problem.

Another significant change is that users can specify "persistent" network 
connections, meaning that information about a remote disk drive or printer 
is maintained by the Windows environment after a network session is 
terminated.  Any "disconnected" drives will appear in the File Manager's
drive bar as "unavailable."  To re-establish connection, users will simply 
click on the drive's icon.

Improved Performance

Performance improvements have been achieved throughout Windows 3.1.  These 
include faster, more responsive user shell components (notably File 
Manager and Program Manager); increased display driver performance (for 
example, the VGA and 8514 drivers); better printing performance (overall 
speed is improved, but Windows will also give control back to the 
application quicker once the print command is invoked); and faster paging 
in 386 enhanced mode.  Version 3.1 will include FastDisk, a 32-bit driver 
that allows Windows to bypass DOS in the BIOS for its virtual memory 
paging file.

Application and System Robustness

Since its shipment in May of 1990, Windows version 3.0 has proven to be 
a remarkably stable product.  In fact, Microsoft has only implemented a 
single update release (version 3.0a) to accommodate minor bug fixes.  
Like any mature operating system, however, Windows works in cooperation 
with a vast number of hardware platforms, applications software and 
peripherals.  With the countless permutations of software and hardware, 
occasional conflicts are inevitable, and approximately one to two percent 
of Windows-related calls to Microsoft Product Support Services are 
regarding these "Unrecoverable Application Errors" (UAEs).  

Through its communication with Windows version 3.0 users and developers, 
Microsoft has developed a fine-tuned understanding of how applications 
generate and handle errors.  Most UAE questions have been resolved through 
helping users deinstall misbehaved TSRs, resolve questions on Windows 3.0
versions of drivers or software, or remove unnecessary lines in the 
Windows CONFIG.SYS files.  In Windows version 3.1, Microsoft's accumulated 
knowledge serves as the basis for the following design focal points:
1) Better diagnostics to pinpoint the cause of application errors; 2) Tools 
and information to help developers write error-free applications; 
3) Graceful handling of application errors if they do occur (so the faulting
application doesn't crash the system). Following are several examples of 
how these design goals are implemented in Windows version 3.1.

Error Diagnostics and Reporting
If an application program generates an error under Windows version 3.1, the 
user will receive an error dialog box with more specific information about 
the type of fault that occurred and which application generated the error 
(the Windows 3.0 dialog box says:  "Unrecoverable Application Error"). This 
allows problems to be traced and corrected much more quickly than before.

Additionally, Windows version 3.1 will ship with a diagnostic tool called 
"Dr. Watson" that will record and store information about an application 
error, should one occur.  This data will provide feedback on the error 
that can be used by a support technician to determine the solution for 
the error.

Developer Tools for Error Tolerance and Prevention
Microsoft's developer support program for Windows version 3.1 includes 
tools and information to help developers write more error-free Windows 
applications.  For instance, a new mechanism has been implemented within 
Windows version 3.1 that enables validation of the many parameters that 
applications use to communicate with the Windows environment.  If an 
application uses the wrong type of parameter, or if the parameter's value 
is outside the acceptable range, Windows will report an error.  Developers 
are thus notified of potential parameter problems before their product 

Several utilities are also being made available to Windows developers that 
help to detect and trace the source of problems.  For example, a new 
"stress test" utility creates a highly active and dynamic environment in 
which application bugs may be "shaken out" during all stages of development.

Error Recovery
Windows version 3.1 includes a number of improvements designed to handle 
UAEs more effectively.  Under version 3.1, if an application "hangs," users 
can press the CTRL+ALT+DEL reboot key sequence, and Windows will ask whether 
the application should be continued or closed.  If the user chooses to 
close the application, Windows will reset the environment to a stable state 
which will allow the user to continue working within the Windows 
environment.  There is no longer a need to exit and restart the Windows 

TrueType Scalable Font Technology

Windows version 3.1 includes the new TrueType(TM) scalable font technology.
TrueType provides "outline" fonts, giving users instant access to fonts in 
any point size, and allowing high quality output on any monitor or printer 
supported by Windows itself.  TrueType was designed and developed to meet 
the requirements of type professionals and graphic designers.  TrueType 
offers the following benefits.

Complete Integration with the Operating System
TrueType is an integrated component of Windows version 3.1.  For users, 
this means that there is nothing to buy or install.  All the benefits of 
scalable font technology are built into the operating environment itself, 
and existing Windows applications can use them immediately.  Four TrueType 
scalable font families will ship with all copies of Windows version 3.1:
Arial (alternative to Helvetica), Times New Roman, Courier and Symbol.  
Every major font vendor (with the exception of Adobe) has committed to 
develop substantial TrueType font libraries for both the Macintosh(R) and 
Windows platforms.

Cross-Platform Compatibility
TrueType is also offered on the Apple(R) Macintosh and TrueType fonts can 
be ported between Windows and the Macintosh without conversion.  So 
documents using TrueType fonts may be exchanged between a Windows PC and 
the Macintosh without required changes in character set, font metrics or 
line endings.  TrueType is also available in Macintosh-compatible laser 
printers, in TrueImage printers, and has been licensed to numerous printer 
vendors for use in future products.

Dynamic Font Downloading
TrueType fonts are automatically converted to bitmap images and downloaded 
to laser printers so that what the user sees on the screen is the same as 
the printed page.  TrueType uses dynamic downloading, sending only the 
characters requested rather than the entire character set, resulting in 
faster, more efficient printing.

Open Technology
In order to make it easy for vendors to support TrueType fonts, each 
font's "metrics" are made available as public specifications and are 
available without royalties.  A font's metrics provide a complete 
mathematical description of the font's characteristics, which allows 
vendors of output devices to render the font exactly as it appears on 
the screen.  Public availability of TrueType font specifications will 
make it easier and less expensive for vendors to support TrueType fonts 
on their products.

Improved Application Integration

Windows environment version 3.1 provides the most sophisticated platform 
yet for application integration, making it easier for users to exchange 
data between documents and for programmers to build these capabilities 
into Windows applications.  Application integration is supported by the 
following features in version 3.1:

Object Linking and Embedding
An important technology for the 1990s, Object Linking and Embedding (OLE)
creates an environment in which applications can share information 
seamlessly.  With OLE, all data can be thought of as being a type of 
"object."  A spreadsheet chart, an illustration, a table, and even a 
paragraph of text are all examples of objects.  OLE provides the 
capability for applications to share these objects easily.

Windows environment version 3.1 supports OLE by providing standard 
libraries, interfaces and protocols that applications will use to 
exchange data objects.  As Windows developers begin implementing OLE 
capabilities within their programs, users will see a new generation 
of applications that work together cooperatively.

OLE capabilities have already been implemented within new versions of 
the Windows Write, Paint, and Cardfile accessories, all of which are 
provided with the Windows version 3.1 product.  A user can, for example,
create an illustration using the Paint program and "embed" the graphic in 
a Write document.  If the illustration must be updated, the user can click 
on its icon within the Write document, which automatically launches Paint 
to allow editing of the drawing.  Since the original graphics file is 
"linked" to the image embedded in the document, any change made to one 
will automatically update the other.  This eliminates the need to modify 
multiple copies of the image or modify the original image and re-import 
it into the document. 

Better Support for Dynamic Data Exchange
In the Windows environment, the standard way of sharing data between 
applications is through a mechanism known as dynamic data exchange (DDE).
Object Linking and Embedding (as well as other forms of data exchange) 
use DDE as their primary means of data exchange.  Windows environment 
version 3.1 provides developers with a new Dynamic Data Exchange Manager 
Library (DDEML) that offers a higher-level programming model and makes 
it easier for developers to implement DDE capabilities in a Windows 

Better Support for DOS Applications
A number of changes improve support for existing DOS* applications within 
the Windows environment.  In particular, DOS application performance is 
enhanced when using Windows version 3.1 in conjunction with MS-DOS 
version 5, since MS-DOS 5 makes significantly more memory available to 
DOS applications.  In addition, Windows version 3.1 now supports DOS 
applications in VGA graphics mode in a window or running in the background.
Also, Windows version 3.1 will include more pre-written Program Information 
Files (PIF files "tell" Windows how to run specific DOS applications) for 
even greater DOS application support.  Finally, disk-paging will allow 
users to run more DOS applications than they can under Windows version 

Extensions for New Computing Platforms

Windows version 3.1 will allow users to exploit significant new computing 
platforms such as pen-based computers and multimedia PCs.  

Windows for Pen Computing
Building on the Windows graphical user interface and coupled with advances 
in symbol recognition, pens will be the foundation for highly intuitive 
and "personal" user interfaces.  To exploit the potential of pen computing,
Microsoft has developed a series of extensions to Windows that include:
enhancements to the user interface to allow for pen input; a pen message 
interpreter allowing existing Windows (and DOS) applications to use the pen;
and a modular open handwriting recognition engine.  More than 30 hardware 
vendors will ship Microsoft Windows version 3.1 with extensions for pen-
based computing with their systems, starting in early 1992. 

Windows version 3.1 will work seamlessly with the Microsoft extensions 
for multimedia computing.  These extensions allow users to include new 
objects such as audio, animation and full-motion video and embed them in 
existing applications.  These features will also enable a whole new class 
of multimedia documents, such as encyclopedias enhanced with video and 
audio clips, or catalogs that display animated illustrations.  Personal 
computers integrating Windows and the multimedia extensions to Windows 
will begin shipping this fall.  Windows' extensible architecture makes 
it possible for multimedia computing to span low-cost systems for home 
and education and sophisticated multimedia authoring platforms for the 
high end of the market.

An important enabling technology for multimedia computing is the OLE 
protocol described above.  With OLE plus the Windows multimedia extensions,
 a user can embed a multimedia "object" such as a video or audio clip 
into an existing Windows application, just as he or she would a chart 
or text file.

Laptop Support
Many vendors of today's popular 286 and 386(TM)-based laptop computers 
ship Windows version 3.0.  Users of laptops will appreciate a feature 
in Windows version 3.1 called "mouse blur," which makes it easier to 
find the cursor on a laptop display.  In addition, Windows version 3.1 
supports the Advanced Power Management specification, which allows 
Windows to interact with native power management of a laptop PC for 
longer battery life.

With version 3.1, vendors of laptops and other small form-factor 
computers will have the option of licensing a special version of Windows 
in ROM.  This version of Windows 3.1 will be burned in to a ROM chip and 
will execute directly from ROM rather than from a hard disk.  A ROM 
version of Windows opens the doors to other types of computing as well,
including the emerging category of palm-top computers.

Beta Testing and Developer Support 

Windows environment version 3.1 is currently in beta testing.  The beta 
program will be one of the largest Microsoft has ever conducted, 
eventually involving as many as 10,000 participants.  Additionally, 
Microsoft is conducting technical seminars for Windows developers to 
discuss the details of the new APIs in Windows version 3.1.  A new 
Software Development Kit (SDK) and Driver Development Kit (DDK) will 
allow developers to more effectively implement the API features.
Microsoft's Hardware Compatibility Program currently includes 350 testers 
and Microsoft is actively recruiting additional participants to ensure 
the tightest possible compatibility of Windows with the vast array of 
hardware and peripherals on the market today.

Developer enthusiasm for Windows version 3.1 is high.  Nearly 2,000 
Windows developers attended a recent Seattle conference on Windows 
version 3.1.  In addition, a June 1991 survey of the top 70 PC 
independent software vendors (ISVs) found that 100 percent are 
planning to test for and take advantage of Windows version 3.1.


Windows version 3.1 is an important next step in Microsoft's core 
Windows strategy, an evolutionary strategy that spans 286 laptops to 
high-end workstations or servers.  Today, Windows runs on MS-DOS, the 
operating system that spawned the PC industry and is currently in use 
by tens of millions of people.  Today's Windows runs the thousands of 
existing MS-DOS and Windows-based applications.  Extended versions of 
Windows -- for example, for multimedia or pen -- allow users to run all 
of these applications as well, plus unique new applications developed 
with pen or multimedia in mind.

Microsoft will ship a high-end version of Windows called Windows NT 
(for "new technology") in 1992.  Windows NT will run the same DOS-based 
and Windows-based applications as Windows 3.1., while also supporting 
advanced security, multithreading, multiprocessor systems, and RISC 
chips that promise even higher performance.  

Microsoft's vision of computing in the 1990s and beyond is that 
computers will empower individuals and organizations.  With its scalable 
implementations, the investment of Microsoft and the commitment of 
third parties, Windows will be the foundation for realizing this vision.


Microsoft, the Microsoft logo, MS, and MS-DOS are registered trademarks 
and Windows is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
Apple and Macintosh are registered trademarks and TrueType is a 
trademark of Apple Computer, Inc.
Arial and Times New Roman are registered trademarks of Monotype 
Corporation PLC.
CompuServe is a registered trademark of CompuServe, Inc.
Helvetica is a registered trademark of Linotype AG and/or its 
386 is a trademark of Intel Corporation.

(C) 1991 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.  Printed in the 
United States of America.  This backgrounder is for informational 
purposes only.  Microsoft makes no warranties express or implied, in 
this summary.

*  As used herein, "DOS" refers to MS-DOS and PC-DOS operating systems.

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