I guess you didn't realize this, but Windows 3.11 was really more or less a "shell" that ran on top of MS-DOS. It wasn't a "real" operating system. It had no security. It had nothing to protect the "OS" against buggy or malicious programs taking over the system, hanging everything, crashing the OS, over-writing the disk, etc.
While some programs designed for Windows 3.11 can still be run even on Windows 7, there are many that won't run. For example, 16 bit applications won't run on 64 bit versions of Windows becaue 64 bit versions of Windows no longer include the components needed to run 16 bit applications.
Windows 3.11 didn't have any mechanism to prevent user programs from directly accessing hardware, modifying memory, and doing other "unsafe" actions. Programs that do these kinds of things will not run under any of the "NT" flavors of Windows (NT, W2K, XP, Vista, 7), because such actions are simply not allowed.
The fact is that in most cases, when an older application will not run on a newer version of Windows, it is because the application is "breaking the rules." While an older version of Windows may have allowed certain rules to be broken, the newer versions tighten things up and prevent the rule breakers from getting away with breaking the rules. While you will surely blame Microsoft for purposely making the newer version of Windows incompatible with older programs, the truth is that the authors of the incompatible program created their own compatibiliy problem by trying to "get away with" doing something they shouldn't have been doing.
It is completely absurd to think that anyone (except you) would want the weaknesses of the MS-DOS based flavors of Windows to be carried forward into the far more stable and more secure NT versions of Windows.
There is also the question of efficiency and "software bloat." Maintaining a lot of old, obsolete components and functions in newer versions of Windows for the rare case that someone wants to run some oddball application from nearly 20 years ago would be extremely inefficient.
As I've tried to explain to you in other posts, many of the things YOU want are NOT the things most Windows users want. Most of us want our OS to be more secure, more stable and more efficient. We do not want our OS loaded down with old, useless, obsolete functions and features that may have made sense when computers came with 32 or 64 KB of RAM and a 10 MB hard drive was a luxury only a few could afford. Most of us have no desire to run 16 bit applications. Most of us want new versions of Windows to be optimized for modern hardware and modern applications. If we need to run some old, incompatible applications, we'll use Windows XP Mode, or keep an old machine with an old version of Windows around just for that purpose. Those that have no use at all for anything new will simply continue to use an old machine with an old version of Windows. Quite frankly, I don't see why you don't choose this option, instead of complaining that newer versions of Windows are different from older versions.
Keep Up with TechRepublic