German Train Company Seeks Windows 3.11 Experts

John Lister's picture

If you still have the skills for Windows 3.11, you may have been a candidate for a recent job ad in Germany. It appears the role, using the 30-year-old system, has been filled.

The vacancy was advertised by national railway company Deutsche Bahn. The successful candidate would be assigned to Siemens, which is responsible for the rail tech division for the train control system. The role would involve keeping old systems operational so that train drivers could get real time information about equipment.

The Register notes that although Windows 3.11's release in November 1993 is almost prehistoric in computing terms, it's not unusual for trains from before that time to still be in operation. Replacing or upgrading their tech systems can be more troublesome than simple keeping them operational. (Source: theregister.com)

Networking a Key Factor in Windows 3.11

Windows 3.11 was the final version before Windows 95. It was the last operating system that wasn't entirely an independent of MS DOS (otherwise known as Microsoft Disk Operating System). Instead, Windows 3.11 operated as a shell 'on top of' MS DOS, which provided a graphical user interface as its primary focus, rather than command line-driven. The opposite is now true, however. The command prompt, which is still known as "DOS," is still a part of modern Windows, but is technically a subset of Windows.

At the time Windows 3.11 was considered a minor update compared to MS DOS, though in hindsight it was somewhat forward-thinking. It also included several changes to improve networking, including sharing drive access with users on other computers, support for the TCP/IP protocol used in networking (which is still used today as the main protocol for the Internet), and even a group calendar feature.

Windows 3.11 Baffles Tech Scammers

Windows 3.11 perhaps had most of its attention in recent years through a YouTube user named Kitboga, who specializes in trolling tech support scammers (mostly from India).

In his channel, Kitboga fights back against tech support scammers who claim to fix computer problems remotely, but are in fact more interested in lying to their customers and charging insane fees. Some scammers also plant malware on machines as a form or reprisal if victims don't pay up.

In a video release last year, Kitboga followed the scammers' instructions to the letter and gave them accurate feedback on the results. What he didn't mention was that he had installed Windows 3.11 for the purposes of the experiment. It soon became clear that many of the scammers were simply following a script and had little to no understanding of what they were doing. (Source: youtube.com)

What's Your Opinion?

Do you remember Windows 3.11? Is it sensible to still have it running on train equipment? How "old" are your tech skills?

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Comments

doulosg's picture

Well, my "skills" predate Win 3.11. But the first thing I think of with railroads - European especially - is "on time." Which makes me ask if the Deutsche Bahn systems were fully mitigated for Y2K? But, it probably became moot by the end of New Years Day 2000, if there ever was an issue.

It's always a pleasure for us old guys to see an old workhorse still in use. (Even one I didn't particularly welcome.)

ronangel1's picture

This idea is not new many traveling circuses at the time used Atari GUIA Graphical OS for the Atari 8-bit.To run controls for all the lighting equipment, Worked very well. I've never heard of it being hacked or anyone wanting to!

drobinson_nc_16614's picture

I remember DOS 3.0 and running games that required up to 640 bits of memory, including swap files. You had to experiment with the batch files (*.bat) to load correctly to get enough memory to run the game. Flight games were very difficult to run.

drobinson_nc_16614's picture

I don't think the internet was around when Windows 3.11 was around. I could be wrong, but I remember going on "Bulletin Boards" via a com port with a dialup modem that you placed your landline telephone receiver on, like in the classic movie War Games. I don't think computers could be hacked then.