Windows 9x

9xWindows 95/98Microsoft Windows 9xWindows 95/98/ME95/98/ME9x familyVMM32VMM32.VXDWin9xWindows 95
Windows 9x is a generic term referring to a series of Microsoft Windows computer operating systems produced from 1995 to 2000, which were based on the Windows 95 kernel and its underlying foundation of MS-DOS, both of which were updated in subsequent versions.wikipedia
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Microsoft Windows

WindowsPCMS Windows
Windows 9x is a generic term referring to a series of Microsoft Windows computer operating systems produced from 1995 to 2000, which were based on the Windows 95 kernel and its underlying foundation of MS-DOS, both of which were updated in subsequent versions.
Defunct Microsoft Windows families include Windows 9x, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone.

Windows 98

98Microsoft Windows 98Windows 98 Second Edition
This includes all versions of Windows 95 and Windows 98.
Windows 98 (codenamed Memphis) is a personal computer operating system developed by Microsoft as part of its Windows 9x family of Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Windows Me

MEWindows Millennium EditionMillennium
Windows Me is sometimes included.
Windows Millennium Edition, or Windows Me (marketed with the pronunciation of the pronoun "me" and codenamed Millennium), is a graphical operating system developed by Microsoft as part of its Windows 9x family of operating systems.

Windows NT

NTMicrosoft Windows NTWindows NT family
Windows NT, which was aimed at professional users such as networks and businesses, used a similar but separate version number between 3.1 and 4.0.
Gradually, the Windows NT family was expanded into Microsoft's general-purpose operating system product line for all personal computers, deprecating the Windows 9x family.

Windows 95

95Microsoft Windows 95Windows 95 OSR2
Windows 9x is a generic term referring to a series of Microsoft Windows computer operating systems produced from 1995 to 2000, which were based on the Windows 95 kernel and its underlying foundation of MS-DOS, both of which were updated in subsequent versions. This includes all versions of Windows 95 and Windows 98. Microsoft announced at its 1991 Professional Developers Conference its intentions to develop a successor to both Windows NT and Windows 3.1's replacement (Windows 95, code-named Chicago), which would unify the two into one operating system.
Windows 95 (codenamed Chicago) is a consumer-oriented operating system developed by Microsoft as part of its Windows 9x family of operating systems.

Windows XP

XPMicrosoft Windows XPWindows XP SP2
All future versions of Windows, starting with Windows XP, would be based on the Windows NT codebase.
Various MS-DOS commands available in its Windows 9x predecessor were removed, as were the POSIX & OS/2 subsystems.

Windows Update

Microsoft UpdateAutomatic UpdatesUpdates
Many of the new features were available from the Windows Update site as updates for older Windows versions.
Windows Update is a Microsoft service for the Windows 9x and Windows NT families of operating system, which automates downloading and installing Microsoft Windows software updates over the Internet.

MS-DOS

DOSMS-DOS 5.0MS-DOS 6.0
Windows 9x is a generic term referring to a series of Microsoft Windows computer operating systems produced from 1995 to 2000, which were based on the Windows 95 kernel and its underlying foundation of MS-DOS, both of which were updated in subsequent versions.
With the release of Windows 95 (and continuing in the Windows 9x product line through to Windows Me), an integrated version of MS-DOS was used for bootstrapping, troubleshooting, and backwards-compatibility with old DOS software, particularly games, and no longer released as a standalone product.

Windows 2000

2000Windows 2000 ServerMicrosoft Windows 2000
The release of Windows 2000 marked a shift in the user experience between the Windows 9x series and the Windows NT series.
Similar to Windows 9x, Windows 2000 supports automatic recognition of installed hardware, hardware resource allocation, loading of appropriate drivers, PnP APIs and device notification events.

Professional Developers Conference

PDCPDC 2009Win32 Professional Developers Conference
Microsoft announced at its 1991 Professional Developers Conference its intentions to develop a successor to both Windows NT and Windows 3.1's replacement (Windows 95, code-named Chicago), which would unify the two into one operating system.

Operating system

operating systemsOScomputer operating system
Windows 9x is a generic term referring to a series of Microsoft Windows computer operating systems produced from 1995 to 2000, which were based on the Windows 95 kernel and its underlying foundation of MS-DOS, both of which were updated in subsequent versions.
Windows 9x had very little distinction between the interface and the kernel.

Windows 3.1x

Windows 3.1Windows 3.xWindows 3.11
Microsoft developed Windows 3.1, which included several minor improvements to Windows 3.0, but primarily consisted of bugfixes and multimedia support.
Subsequent versions were released between 1992 and 1993 until the series was superseded by the Windows 9x series starting in 1995 with Windows 95.

WIN.INI

Previous versions of Windows used files such as AUTOEXEC.BAT, CONFIG.SYS, WIN.INI, SYSTEM.INI and other files with an .INI extension to maintain configuration settings.
Many of these settings were honored in Windows 9x, although the files had begun to be phased out in favor of the Windows registry.

Computer multitasking

multitaskingmulti-taskingmultitask
In addition to improved capabilities given to native applications, Windows also allowed users to better multitask older MS-DOS based software compared to Windows/386, thanks to the introduction of virtual memory.
A similar model is used in Windows 9x and the Windows NT family, where native 32-bit applications are multitasked preemptively.

Rowland Hanson

Its name was initially "Interface Manager", but Rowland Hanson, the head of marketing at Microsoft, convinced the company that the name Windows would be more appealing to consumers.

Protected mode

protected-mode16-bit protected mode286 protected mode
In such a configuration, it could run under another multitasking system like DESQview, which used the 286 Protected Mode.
That lasted through the Windows 9x series.

Windows Registry

registryRegistry Editorregistry keys
Like Windows NT, Windows 9x stores user-specific and configuration-specific settings in a large information database called the Windows registry.
On Windows 9x and NT 4.0 systems, they contain the string REGEDIT4 and are ANSI-based.

Firefox

Mozilla FirefoxFirefox browserSpread Firefox
Today, even open source projects such as Mozilla Firefox will not run on Windows 9x without rework.
Firefox 1.0 was released for Windows 9x, as well as Windows NT 4.0 and later.

Architecture of Windows 9x

Windows 9x kernel
The Windows 9x series of operating systems refers to the kernel which lies at the heart of Windows 9x.

VxD

virtual device driversvirtual device driver
Once in protected mode, the virtual device drivers (VxDs) transferred all state information from MS-DOS to the 32-bit file system manager, and then shut off MS-DOS.
VxD is the device driver model used in Microsoft Windows/386, the 386 enhanced mode of Windows 3.x, Windows 9x, and to some extent also by the Novell DOS 7, OpenDOS 7.01, and DR-DOS 7.02 (and higher) multitasker.

Kernel (operating system)

kerneloperating system kernelkernels
Like most operating systems, Windows 9x consists of kernel space and user space memory.
This product line continued to evolve through the 1980s and 1990s, with the Windows 9x series adding 32-bit addressing and pre-emptive multitasking; but ended with the release of Windows Me in 2000.

NTFS

Master File TableAlternate Data StreamAlternate Data Streams
Windows 9x does not natively support NTFS or HPFS, but there are third-party solutions which allow Windows 9x to have read-only access to NTFS volumes.

MS-DOS 7

DOS version 7.0
MS-DOS 7 is a computer operating system which has never been released separately by its creator Microsoft, but which corresponds to the basic (real mode) of the Windows 9x family of operating systems.

.sys

SYS*.SYSsystem
VxDs usually have the filename extension .vxd or .386, whereas WDM compatible drivers usually use the extension .sys.
Certain files using this extension are not, however: MSDOS.SYS and IO.SYS are core operating system files in MS-DOS and Windows 9x.

COMMAND.COM

COMMANDDOS promptMS-DOS Prompt
When Windows 95 started up, MS-DOS loaded, processed CONFIG.SYS, launched COMMAND.COM, ran AUTOEXEC.BAT and finally ran WIN.COM.