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    According to the documentation, you can run Windows 3.x in real mode using win /r however I did not have patience to install this.

    As I recall, this was true for 3.0, but not for 3.1. I ran 3.0 on my 8086. It was pretty responsive, but 3.1 didn’t run on anything less than a 386.

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      Windows 3.0 runs in Real (8088), Standard (286) or 386 Enhanced modes.

      Windows 3.1 runs in Standard (286) or 386 Enhanced modes.

      Windows for Workgroups 3.11 runs in 386 Enhanced mode only.

      (There are also some oddball releases like the Windows 3.11 which is really a patch to 3.1, or Windows 3.1 for Workgroups which I never used but I think still contains standard mode although none of the networking drivers would run there.)

      The real problem with real mode Windows 3.0 is there is basically no software for it. It was included to be maximally compatible with Windows 2.x applications that could not run in protected mode. But a Windows application needed to be specifically compiled to support real mode, and most weren’t, because part of the reason for writing a Windows 3.0 application is to avoid being subject to the constraints of real mode. For better or worse, Windows 2.x applications were sufficiently rare that abandoning compatibility with them after two years was straightforward.