Windows for Workgroups 3.11
on the Local Area Network

Al Wong
May 10, 2003

01/13/05 Update - There is an amazing amount of interest for this webpage! (It's in the top ten!) I guess there are a lot of Windows for Workgroups 3.11 (Win3.11) computers still being used! Or perhaps they are just lying around gathering dust. I am glad to give new hope for these machines to be recycled back into service. Even if it is just for fun. :)

I wish to satisfy my curiosity. If you found this webpage useful, email me and let me know how/why you are using your Win3.11 computer.

I am using a 3Com LAN card (3CXE589DT) connected to a Maxtech 753 (Windows for Workgroups 3.11, MS-DOS 6.22) and got it working!

You cannot run the WinXP Network Setup Wizard on Windows for Workgroups 3.11 (Win3.11) from the floppy disk you created. I guess Windows 3.11 is considered too obsolete. This version of Windows requires a manual setup.

To get Windows 3.11 to work on the LAN, do the following. See the Windows 3.11 help for detailed explanations on how-to:

  1. Evidently, you just need to start up Windows 3.11 and enable Networking in the Networking window.

    It turns out you don't necessarily need the Card Services drivers installed to get the LAN card working on the local network. In fact, if you have all the Card Services drivers installed on boot up, Windows 3.11 will not start! I guess there's some sort of memory problem. So it's a good thing you don't need the Card Services!

    You probably need to reboot now.

  2. Now install the driver for the 3Com LAN card. You can download the LAN card driver for Windows 3.11 from the 3Com website. You need to download the second file (3c589x_2.exe) for Windows 3.11. (You need to install the special DOS driver for the LAN card (NDIS2).)

    You probably need to reboot again.

  3. Start up Windows 3.11 and install the new TCP/IP-32 3.11b upgrade.

    08/31/04 Update - It seems Microsoft very recently changed their website. Ironically, even though the above current link has all the details about the TCP/IP-32 3.11b upgrade, including installation instructions, it does not link to the upgrade file anymore (there used to be a link on the bottom of the webpage) nor tell you where to download it! It does not even tell you what the upgrade filename is!

    Also, the email support links are useless. There are now several convoluted and cyclical links that waste your time (Thanks Microsoft). I suppose this is to cut down on their email but it is poor customer service nevertheless.

    After digging around, I believe I found the upgrade file. Download the TCP/IP-32 3.11B upgrade file from Microsoft's FTP site.

    12/14/04 Update - Microsoft changed the link again. I link to the new URL for downloading the TCP/IP-32 3.11B upgrade file. If the new link is bad do a search for TCP32B.EXE in the Microsoft support website to find the upgrade file again.

    If the installation software did not change your AUTOEXEC.BAT file to start up the LAN card driver on boot up, you need to do this. At the DOS prompt, type NET START to enable the LAN card driver. You will get some warning message. Hit the enter key. You should now get a message the driver was successfully installed.

    You need to reboot yet again.

  4. Start up Windows 3.11 and do the following below. See the Windows 3.11 help for detailed explanations on how-to:

    1. You need to create a unique name for this computer on the LAN. Again, it doesn't matter what it is as long as it's different from every other computer on the LAN.

    2. You need to create a group name. Again, it doesn't matter what it is as long as it's the same group name on every computer on the LAN.

    3. You need to create another account with a username and password for the network. It doesn't matter what the username and password is as long as you exactly match this account information with the other computers that are going to be on the LAN.

      I would suggest you create a separate user account just for the network on each machine.

    4. To setup Internet access, you need to set the IP address as the Gateway and as the DNS server under Networking.

    5. You must also enable DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). This is usually a check box. Do not specify an IP address for this computer.

    6. Make sure the TCP/IP protocol has a binding to the LAN card driver. You probably need to make TCP/IP the default binding.

    7. Then you may want to set some directories as Shared in the File Manager.

    Reboot one more time.

  5. Start up Windows 3.11 again.

  6. Login to the network account you created above. The Windows 3.11 computer and shared directories should now be recognized on the WinXP server and any other computer on the LAN.

  7. Open a MS-DOS Window and type:


    The IP address should be 192.168.0.XXX where XXX is a number other than 1. The subnet mask should be Use ipconfig /? to get help on this command.

  8. In Windows 3.11, go to File Manager and click the E: drive. This will bring up the share files on the other computers. The drive letter may be different on your computer depending. Experiment.

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Last updated : January 13, 2005
Copyright 2003-2005 Al Wong, Los Angeles, California, USA