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WinGPT is a new ChatGPT app for your ancient Windows 3.1 PC

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Someone has created a ChatGPT app for Windows 3.1 PCs. WinGPT brings a very basic version of OpenAI’s ChatGPT responses into an app that can run on an ancient 386 chip. It’s built by the same mysterious developer behind Windle, a Wordle clone for Microsoft’s Windows 3.1 operating system.

“I didn’t want my Gateway 4DX2-66 from 1993 to be left out of the AI revolution, so I built an AI Assistant for Windows 3.1, based on the OpenAI API,” says the developer in a Hacker News thread.

WinGPT is written in C using Microsoft’s standard Windows API and connects to OpenAI’s API server using TLS 1.3 so there’s no need for a separate modern PC. That was a particularly interesting part of getting this app running on Windows 3.1, alongside managing the memory segmentation architecture on 16-bit versions of Windows and building the UI for the app.

Neowin notes that the ChatGPT responses are only brief due to the limited memory support that can’t handle the context of conversations. The icon for WinGPT was also designed in Borland’s Image Editor, a clone of Microsoft Paint that’s capable of making ICO files.

“I built most of the UI in C directly, meaning that each UI component had to be manually constructed in code,” says the anonymous WinGPT developer. “I was surprised that the set of standard controls available to use by any program with Windows 3.1 is incredibly limited. You have some controls you’d expect—push buttons, check boxes, radio buttons, edit boxes — but any other control you might need, including those used across the operating system itself, aren’t available.”

If you still have a Windows 3.1 machine gathering dust in an attic, garage, or a basement then you can download the WinGPT binaries for 16-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows over at dialup.net — the most appropriate domain name I’ve ever seen for old Windows apps.

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