Hot answers tagged

78

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 ...


73

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 ...


55

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/...


44

There was x86 emulation on Windows NT, on MIPS, Alpha, and PowerPC — in fact, more than x86 emulation, PC emulation. The Alpha release of Windows NT was quite famous at the time for using a binary translator rather than a “plain” emulator, FX!32; it would run x86 programs, keeping track of which parts of the binaries were actually used, and then translate ...


37

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, ...


33

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 ...


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 ...


29

I'm going to post a frame challenge answer and say that if your goal is to run MS-DOS and Windows software from the early 90s and before then you don't want to do what you propose. Instead you're better off just installing Windows 98 SE and booting (or rebooting) into MS-DOS mode for the few applications that need it. In particular trying to force Windows (...


26

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 ...


26

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 MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11 Windows XP and later Office 95 and later (excluding Office 97) ...


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 ...


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 ...


20

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 ...


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 ...


18

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 ...


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

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 ...


15

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

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 ...


14

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’ ...


14

This could be due to Mac OS having performance optiminizations to run on Mac hardware? Artificial benchmarks aside, in real-world applications Macs were generally faster than Windows because the OS was indeed 'optimized' to run on Mac hardware - or more correctly, the hardware was optimized to run a Graphic User Interface. In comparison, Windows had to ...


13

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, ...


13

Internet Archive holds a repository of retrocomputing software, some runnable in browser emulations. Searching for "Windows 2.0" and "Windows 1.0" software yields some hits for applications, including CD-ROMs of shareware collections. (The keyword search is imprecise and also locates software for later versions of Windows, but you may ...


13

If you change the lengths of strings in a binary, or indeed move any part of a binary around in any way, then you’re likely to break it: offsets to the data (and code) that the program expects to find are stored in the binary, and won’t be adjusted when you alter it. Thus changing text (or anything else, including code) while preserving the lengths is ...


12

Cost There are significant licensing costs and equipment costs. I'm sure PostScript needs quite a bit more RAM & processing than some of the lower levels of PCL and similar printer languages. As I noted in my answer on trackballs and elsewhere, even a small increase in cost can have a big impact on sales and/or profitability, particularly at the low end ...


12

From the Start menu go to Settings then Control Panel. Start System. There are two sections Computer: and System:. Under Computer section is the Windows CE version number and under System section is the Processor Type. Note: The graphics and menu arrangements may be different among various Win CE versions, but the general guide remains the same. On the ...


11

Although Windows 95 introduced support for 32 bit applications with memory protection, it was still somewhat reliant on MS DOS. For example, where native 32 bit drivers were not available, it used 16 bit DOS drivers instead. Even 32 bit applications had to be synchronized with the 16 bit DOS environment. A fault in the DOS part of the system would bring the ...


11

PostScript was quite demanding. In the early days a PostScript printer might well be the most powerful computer in the building, hence expensive. University students ran jobs on the printer to get done faster. In a world where price is important, this was most likely the primary reason. Look at the cheapest printers available and check if they run ...


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