Hot answers tagged

79

You are comparing apples to motorcycles. Windows 95 traces its lineage back through Windows 3.x all the way to Windows 1.x and MS-DOS/PC-DOS, themselves inspired by CP/M. It was conceived and designed as a single-user, cooperatively multitasking environment in which applications have a large degree of freedom in what to do. Windows 95 moved towards a ...


74

The short version is that Windows became the de facto operating system thanks to Microsoft’s business acumen (or shenanigans, depending on your point of view), marketing, skilled developers, a strong focus on backwards-compatibility, and the success of MS-DOS. The success of Windows in general can be traced back to the success of Windows 3.0, which has ...


74

Your images appear to have been generated via emulation, with heavy anti-aliasing that doesn't show what it looked like in reality. Here's Windows 3.1 Write in native VGA resolution without any image processing, captured from PC-Task running on an Amiga 1200:- Here's part of that screen magnified so you can see the individual pixels:- Finally, here's what ...


61

This is a botched version check error message. Windows 1.x was designed to run under MS-DOS 2.0, 3.0 and 3.10; to ensure it only runs under one of these, it performs a version test on its host DOS. Windows does not merely obtain the officially-advertised version number; to ensure the version number is not spoofed, it also tests whether certain fields of the ...


59

The I/O model on "Cutler systems" -- RSX-11M, VAX/VMS, Windows NT -- is an asynchronous packet-driven I/O model, rather than the fundamentally synchronous I/O model of Unix. At its core, you fire off an I/O request, and get a notification of when it's complete. Meanwhile, execution continues. Of course, it's trivial for the system to provide synchronous I/...


54

There was x86 emulation on Windows NT, on MIPS, Alpha, and PowerPC — in fact, more than x86 emulation, PC emulation. The operating system itself ran natively, and applications could be built natively as well; but for a non-x86 port to be viable, it had to be able to run existing x86 programs. The Alpha release of Windows NT was quite famous at the time for ...


46

I would think the articles you've read were most likely about the Virtual 8086 Mode introduced with the 386. Here a host OS (running at privilege 0) would create a standard protected process, but mark it as VM86 when starting. In turn the process will be restricted to real mode addressing (16 bit segment and offset) and a 1 MiB address space. Despite the ...


45

Because those were low-resolution bitmap fonts. In Windows 1.01, most fonts were monochrome bitmap fonts, and not particularly high-resolution at that. (There were CONTINUOUSSCALING ‘plotter’ fonts included as well, but Write could not make use of those.) Additionally, Windows did not render any fonts with antialiasing before Windows 95 (with the Microsoft ...


38

The decision about whether to kill a process or crash the OS generally depends on whether the problem can be isolated to the process. For example, if a running process in user mode attempts to read from an address that's not present in its address space, that's not going to affect anything else. The process can be terminated cleanly. At the other extreme, ...


34

At that time, developers at Microsoft were still dreaming the dream of version independent management of libraries, so newer, more powerful libraries could replace older, less powerful or buggy libraries - and best of all, deduplication of code. Think how bad it is today, there were dozens of different Visual C++ runtime libraries are installed on each ...


33

The legal way to obtain old versions of Microsoft operating systems and software is to buy a Visual Studio subscription (formerly known as MSDN subscription). That page has a link to the complete list of available software, which includes (as of January 2022) MS-DOS 5.0, 6.0, 6.2, and 6.22; Windows 3.1, 3.11, 3.2, and Windows for Workgroups 3.11; Windows XP ...


32

The other answers include a lot of sound historical information about how Windows evolved into its dominant role on PC's in both the home and business environment. But I think the most fundamental, simplest, "Occam's razor" answer is that consumers never had to make a choice. It was PC manufacturers that chose Windows as the default OS, not users and ...


32

"Virtual machine" has a long and varied history, not always meaning exactly what it means today. Early designers of timesharing systems viewed what they were providing to their users was a virtual machine. In the terminology of the time, the user could act like he had a computer all to himself. This computer wasn't identical to the hardware; it may ...


27

There are quite a few differences between the MS-DOS CHKDSK and ScanDisk, beyond the latter’s friendlier interface. ScanDisk can “repair” cross-linked files, i.e. files which end up pointing (entirely or partially) at the same cluster chain — this always involves data loss, but it’s better than CHKDSK which would only tell the user about the problem (users ...


25

By their contents. When Windows boots, the I/O Supervisor VxD (IOS) uses BIOS interrupt 0x13 services to read sector 0 (the Master Boot Record) of each drive. It then looks at two bytes at offset 0x0DA. If they are zeroes, IOS checks the following four bytes: if they are also zeroes (like in the standard MBR code written by Microsoft’s FDISK), IOS overwrites ...


24

Why Mac systems were always faster than Windows in processing performance? Mind to give any proof to this claim? According to various Benchmarks, the PCs usually outperform Macs of the same time. For example a classic Macintosh (68k @ 7.8 MHz; *1) delivered about 0.40-0.52 Dhrystone MIPS (*2), while a PC/AT (80286 @ 6 MHz) scored 0.40 to 0.71 DMIPS - that'...


24

Real PIFs are indeed “only” configuration files, but they are executable: running a PIF will run the corresponding program, with the configuration specified by the PIF. This can be used as-is: a “real” PIF can be sent to a user, and if that user runs it, the commands specified in the PIF will be run; starting with VMM 4.0 (Windows 95), PIFs can even include ...


23

The first part isn’t too difficult: install Windows 98 as usual, then edit MSDOS.SYS to change its BootGUI setting to 0. This will disable the automatic GUI startup, and the computer will boot to a COMMAND.COM prompt. You can install Windows 3.11 in a different directory than Windows 98. Before you can, you’ll need to patch IO.SYS using Ralf Buschmann’s ...


22

While I am sure that the merits of Cutler's stated "low opinion" could be debated, I'm interested to better understand exactly what he was referring to here. There's no citation, and I haven't found a good explanation critiquing his criticism. Honestly, at face value, it's a naive criticism. Cutler was not naive, so, it's likely just a sound bite poke ...


22

Build 196 (the first release outside Microsoft, September 1991) doesn’t use the registry, although it does create a C:\REGISTRY directory when running. Build 297.1 (the first public beta, July 1992), compared to build 239 (December 1991), drops REG.DAT (which is presumably a Windows 3.1-style registry) and adds the registry editor (REGEDIT.EXE) and a ...


20

I believe the game is Max & Sparky. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQn3gF7RM4U It is: an isometric exploration/platform game with hazards given away with laundry advertainment compatible with Windows 3.1 and 95 associated with Skip available in Greece Internet Archive gives the following description: Isometric MS-DOS game on CD-ROM, with an ...


19

At the operating system level – as seen by applications – files in VMS are very record oriented. Guide to OpenVMS File Applications (336 page, 2MB PDF) probably goes into far more detail than anyone should be expected to know, but you can get a feel from the Introduction (emphasis mine): 1.1 File Concepts A computer file is an organized collection of ...


17

they save every program from needing its own separate encyclopedic knowledge of every printer on the market. But then came PostScript, the theory behind which was that you would prepare a printable file in a standard format For one, Postscript isn't a standard format printable file, but a standard format document description. It may (and does) contain many ...


17

David Simunič maintains a website dedicated to Windows 1.0, which includes lists of third-party software for it. I don't believe he hosts the software itself, but knowing the names of packages may make it easier to track them down. The only software from the list that I've personally installed and used is Micrografx In*a*Vision.


16

The situation isn't nearly as cut and dried as Wikipedia might make it sound. For example, under US copyright law: § 117 . Limitations on exclusive rights: Computer programs (a) Making of Additional Copy or Adaptation by Owner of Copy.—Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to ...


16

It's great to look back at a technology developed nearly 30 years ago and say "whoa, those are poor design decisions". OLE, and then COM answered questions that were apparent in early Windows. In particular the first thing it attacked was the problem of "DLL Hell" and how to package components from multiple vendors that could be consumed by multiple ...


15

The first release of Windows to provide built-in support for multiple monitors, on graphics cards with appropriate drivers, was Windows 98. Support was subsequently added to the NT line with Windows 2000. Some graphics cards provided support for multiple monitors in earlier versions of Windows, at least in Windows NT 4.0 as described here (with SP3, ...


15

There are some USB drives which support double-density disks and formats, but as you suspect, not all of them. It is still worth trying a plain format a: to see what it does — USB drives control formatting themselves, so this should do the right thing if it supports double-density disks. If you have a Linux system handy, you can determine your drives’ ...


15

How exactly did Windows become the OS of the home PC? Is it true that the Windows OS, at it's core was originally designed to simply be the OS of the terminals of the windows server architecture. No. Windows started out as a GUI component of DOS - eventually hiding DOS beneath. Anything like a windows server architecture was only devloped way later. In ...


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