Microsoft is integrating ChatGPT-based technology into more and more places in Windows 11, but it’s not doing the same for older versions of Windows. Those with an old Windows 3.1 or Windows 95 computer can breathe easy, because the same developer who created Windows 3.1 version of Wardle He returned with a Windows 3.1 ChatGPT client called WinGPT.
WinGPT supports any 16- or 32-bit version of Windows 3.1 or later, but it will not work natively on 64-bit versions of Windows. You can download it from the bottom of this Dialup.net page, which also doubles as a development blog detailing how to create it and how to design its icon. You will need to provide your OpenAI API key.
Running ChatGPT on older systems is mostly possible because most of the processing happens on OpenAI’s servers rather than locally, so you don’t need a modern 16-core battle royale to make it work. The main limitation on older hardware is memory rather than processing power. Windows 3.1 generally doesn’t run more than 256MB, and a suitable 386 or 486 computer will likely use between 4MB and 8MB (for reference, here’s a 1992 Compaq Deskpro ad for 386 and 486 machines). The OS will install and run on systems less than 1MB in size.
To save in memory, WinGPT requires that ChatGPT be as concise as possible in its responses, and not send the text of previous queries when new queries are requested. This means that ChatGPT cannot use the context of previous chats to inform its responses.
The biggest problem with getting any software online that works on old Windows 16 and 32-bit versions in 2023 is that most modern websites are encrypted and older operating systems do not support modern SSL/TLS protocols. Many older projects connected to the Internet, including browsers and chat clients, rely on some kind of proxy to get around this, using a modern system to talk to the Internet and decrypt the data, and pass that decrypted data to the old computer on your machine. local network.
To make WinGPT work without a proxy, developer Dialup.net has also developed a 16-bit port of the WolfSSL library to support TLS 1.2 and 1.3 connections on the legacy OS. This port is as stated by the developer “UNSAFE, UNTREASABLE, NO WARRANTY” and should be used for entertainment purposes only. The port does not check security certificates and uses a “fake random number generator” to operate.
Legacy computing enthusiasts have also figured out ways to make modern AI-powered chatbots run on long-forgotten computers and operating systems. Perhaps the most notable is JavaGPT, a Java-based version of ChatGPT that runs on operating systems as old as Windows XP and Windows 98 (the latter with some modifications).
The developer of Dialup.net asked ChatGPT for help when dealing with some parts of WinGPT’s user interface, especially its status bar. According to the sample, ChatGPT gave two confident but incorrect answers, first telling the developer to use some sort of status bar control from a newer version of Windows and then inventing a “very attractive” but “nonexistent” Windows 3.1 UI library that could accomplish the same task. .
Menu image via Dialup.net