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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SYSTEM.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.

32-bit

32-32 bit32
The Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) is the 32-bit protected mode kernel at the core of Windows 9x.

Virtual machine

virtual machinesVMvirtual server
Its primary responsibility is to create, run, monitor and terminate virtual machines.

Central processing unit

CPUprocessorprocessors
It runs multiple applications simultaneously by sharing CPU (central processing unit) time between the threads in which the applications and virtual machines run.

Microsoft Layer for Unicode

Partial support for Unicode can be installed on Windows 9x through the Microsoft Layer for Unicode.

High Performance File System

HPFSHPFS filesystemHPFS386
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.

32-bit file access

Like Windows for Workgroups 3.11, Windows 9x provides support for 32-bit file access based on IFSHLP.SYS, and unlike Windows 3.x, Windows 9x has support for the VFAT file system, allowing file names with a maximum of 255 characters instead of having 8.3 filenames.

Long filename

long filenameslong file namelong file names
Like Windows for Workgroups 3.11, Windows 9x provides support for 32-bit file access based on IFSHLP.SYS, and unlike Windows 3.x, Windows 9x has support for the VFAT file system, allowing file names with a maximum of 255 characters instead of having 8.3 filenames.

8.3 filename

8.3short filename8.3 file naming
Like Windows for Workgroups 3.11, Windows 9x provides support for 32-bit file access based on IFSHLP.SYS, and unlike Windows 3.x, Windows 9x has support for the VFAT file system, allowing file names with a maximum of 255 characters instead of having 8.3 filenames.

Tracing (software)

tracingtraceevent logging
Also, there is no support for event logging and tracing or error reporting which the Windows NT family of operating systems has, although software like Norton CrashGuard can be used to achieve similar capabilities on Windows 9x.

Windows Error Reporting

Problem Reports and Solutionserror reportingProblem Steps Recorder
Also, there is no support for event logging and tracing or error reporting which the Windows NT family of operating systems has, although software like Norton CrashGuard can be used to achieve similar capabilities on Windows 9x.

File Allocation Table

FATFAT32FAT12
It included new hardware drivers and better support for the FAT32 file system which allows support for disk partitions larger than the 2 GB maximum accepted by Windows 95. One reason for this is the FAT file systems (including FAT12/FAT16/FAT32), which are the only ones that Windows 9x supports officially, though Windows NT also supports FAT12 and FAT16 (but not FAT32) and Windows 9x can be extended to read and write NTFS volumes using third-party Installable File System drivers.
Originally designed in 1977 for use on floppy disks, FAT was soon adapted and used almost universally on hard disks throughout the DOS and Windows 9x eras for two decades.

File system

filesystemfile systemsfilesystems
One reason for this is the FAT file systems (including FAT12/FAT16/FAT32), which are the only ones that Windows 9x supports officially, though Windows NT also supports FAT12 and FAT16 (but not FAT32) and Windows 9x can be extended to read and write NTFS volumes using third-party Installable File System drivers.

Installable File System

IFSIFSHLP.SYSIFSHLP
Like Windows for Workgroups 3.11, Windows 9x provides support for 32-bit file access based on IFSHLP.SYS, and unlike Windows 3.x, Windows 9x has support for the VFAT file system, allowing file names with a maximum of 255 characters instead of having 8.3 filenames. One reason for this is the FAT file systems (including FAT12/FAT16/FAT32), which are the only ones that Windows 9x supports officially, though Windows NT also supports FAT12 and FAT16 (but not FAT32) and Windows 9x can be extended to read and write NTFS volumes using third-party Installable File System drivers. The kernel mode parts consist of the Virtual Machine Manager (VMM), the Installable File System Manager (IFSHLP), the Configuration Manager, and in Windows 98 and later, the WDM Driver Manager (NTKERN).

Access-control list

access control listACLACLs
The FAT file systems provide no access control lists and file-system level encryption like NTFS.

Encrypting File System

EFSencryptedencryption
The FAT file systems provide no access control lists and file-system level encryption like NTFS.

Multi-user software

multi-usermultiusersingle-user
Some operating systems that were available at the same time as Windows 9x are either multi-user or have multiple user accounts with different access privileges, which allows important system files (such as the kernel image) to be immutable under most user accounts.

Process (computing)

processprocessesprocessing
In contrast, while Windows 95 and later operating systems offer the option of having profiles for multiple users, they have no concept of access privileges, making them roughly equivalent to a single-user, single-account operating system; this means that all processes can modify all files on the system that aren't open, in addition to being able to modify the boot sector and perform other low-level hard drive modifications.

DLL Hell

runtime DLLs
This created a phenomenon often referred to as DLL hell.

Windows File Protection

System File Protection
Windows Me introduced System File Protection and System Restore to handle common problems caused by this issue.

Device driver

driverdriversdevice drivers
Device drivers in Windows 9x can be virtual device drivers or (starting with Windows 98) WDM drivers.

Filename extension

file extensionextensionfile extensions
VxDs usually have the filename extension .vxd or .386, whereas WDM compatible drivers usually use the extension .sys.

Dynamic-link library

DLLDLLsdynamic-link libraries
To provide access to these devices, a dynamic link library is required (such as MMSYSTEM.DLL).

Hybrid kernel

Hybridhybrid architecture
Other monolithic and hybrid kernels, like Linux and Windows NT, are also susceptible to malfunctioning drivers impeding the kernel's operation.

Linux kernel

LinuxLinux kernel mainlinekernel
Other monolithic and hybrid kernels, like Linux and Windows NT, are also susceptible to malfunctioning drivers impeding the kernel's operation.