Wednesday, August 24, 2005

This day in history ... 1995

Win95Windows 95 (codename Chicago) was a hybrid 16-bit/32-bit graphical operating system which was released on August 24, 1995 by the Microsoft Corporation.

Windows 95 is a direct result of combining Microsoft's formerly separate MS-DOS and Windows products. Windows 95 is the first in that line without support for older, 16-bit x86 processors, thus requiring an Intel 80386 (or compatible) processor running in protected mode. It featured significant improvements to the graphical user interface (GUI) and underlying workings, including desktop and Start Menu, support for 256-character mixed-case long filenames and preemptively-multitasked protected-mode 32-bit applications.

The introduction of 32-bit file access in Windows for Workgroups 3.11 meant that 16-bit real mode MS-DOS was no longer used for managing the files while Windows was running, and the earlier introduction of the 32-bit disk access meant that PC BIOS wasn't used for managing hard disks. This essentially reduced MS-DOS to the role of a boot loader for the protected-mode Windows kernel. DOS could still be used for running old-style drivers for compatibility, but Microsoft discouraged using them, as this prevented proper multitasking and impaired system stability. The Control Panel allowed a user to see what MS-DOS components were still used by the system; optimal performance was achieved when they were all bypassed. The Windows kernel still used MS-DOS style real-mode interface calls in the so-called Safe mode, but this mode existed merely to allow a user to fix problems with loading native, protected-mode drivers.
Complete Wikipedia entry

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