Reviewing Windows 9x






Reviewing Windows 9x

Many of the features in Figure that are indicated as not available on one or both of the Windows 95 versions could be added through downloads and application software. For example, Windows 95 did not include device drivers for a DVD, and the drivers must be downloaded from the manufacturer. Also, the Active Desktop had to be implemented through Internet Explorer 4.0. The information in Figure shows the native features of each Windows 9x release for comparison purposes. You may see questions on the OS Technologies exam that require you to know which versions had which features.

Figure: Features of Windows 9x Versions

Feature

98 SE

98

95 OSR2 (95b/OEM)

95a (Retail)

ACPI support

Y

Y

N

N

Active Desktop

Y

Y

N

N

Backup utility

Y

Y

N

N

Dial-Up Networking

Y

Y

Y

Y

Disk management

Y

Y

N

N

DVD support

Y

N

N

N

FAT32

Y

Y

Y

N

FAT32 conversion

Y

Y

N

N

Internet Connection Sharing

Y

N

N

N

Multiple monitors

Y

Y

N

N

OnNow support

Y

Y

N

N

Task Scheduler

Y

Y

N

N

USB support

Y

Y

Y

N

Windows Update Utility

Y

Y

N

N

In Figure, Y (Yes) indicates that a feature is included while N (No) shows that a feature is not included.

Don’t forget about Me

 Remember  Windows Me is a home-user alternative to Windows 2000 and not the merger of Windows 98 and Windows 2000, as rumored. Windows Me is an updated version of Windows 98 and was intended to serve as an interim solution for home- and small-office users until a personal edition of Windows 2000 could be released. (The updated personal version of Windows was eventually released as Windows XP Home Edition.)

 Time Shaver  Perhaps the best way to review an operating system for the A+ OS Technologies exam is to practice navigating around the various Properties functions of Windows 98, including those that you access by right-clicking the desktop and the My Computer icon. You should also review

  • Functions on the Settings menu (choose Start ® Settings)

  • System, Printers, Modems, and Network icons of the Control Panel

The exam has questions about how to access each of these functions and what actions are available on each of them.

Installing Windows 9x and Me

 Remember  Windows 98 and Windows Me offer two choices for file systems: FAT16 and FAT32. (The number listed after the letters indicates the number of bits that are used to address files on the drive.)

  • FAT16 is supported by all Windows versions (including 3.x, 9x, NT, Me, 2000, and XP) and DOS, as indicated in Figure.

    DOS and Windows 3.x users knew FAT16 simply as FAT, which means File Allocation Table.

  • FAT32 is supported by Windows 9x, Me, 2000, and XP. In fact, of the later Windows versions, only Windows NT doesn’t support FAT32.

Another FAT derivative that isn’t really a file system is VFAT (Virtual FAT), which is a software interface that acts as an intermediary between FAT and applications.

In Figure, Y (Yes) shows that a particular version of FAT is supported by the OS; N (No) indicates no support.

Figure: FAT File System Support

OS

FAT/FAT16

FAT32

DOS

Y

N

Windows 3.x

Y

N

Windows 9x

Y

Y

Windows NT

Y

N

Windows 2000

Y

Y

Windows Me

Y

Y

Windows XP

Y

Y

Checking for names

Both FAT16 and FAT32 in Windows 9x and Me allow long filenames (LFNs). Some LFN facts that you should know are as follows:

  •  Instant Answer  Each LFN has a DOS 8.3 filename alias that consists of the first six characters of the LFN followed by a tilde symbol (~) and a number that increments for multiple occurrences of filenames with the same first six characters.

    For example, the first occurrence of the long filename THIS IS MY FILENAME.DOC has an 8.3 alias of THISIS~1.DOC.

  • An LFN is limited to 255 characters, but an 8.3 filename is limited to its 11 characters (plus the period). An LFN full-directory pathname is limited to 260 characters, and an 8.3 pathname is limited to 80 characters.

Removing all barriers

 Remember  Before upgrading the Windows version on a PC, halt all running applications, including the antivirus software. Windows upgrades the master boot record on the hard drive, which is usually tenaciously protected by the antivirus software.

 Instant Answer  Windows cannot load or run if HIMEM.SYS is not loaded to memory.

Meeting the minimums — Windows 9x and Me

Microsoft has two sets of minimum hardware requirements for the Windows 9x and Me systems: a bare minimum on which the system can run (but who knows how well?) and a recommended minimum on which the system can smoothly run (but perhaps not much better). Figure and 20-4 list Microsoft’s minimum and recommended system requirements for Windows 98 and Windows Me, respectively.

Figure: Minimum and Recommended System Requirements for Windows 98

Component

Minimum

Recommended

Processor

486DX/66

Pentium

Memory

16MB

24MB

Hard drive

180MB

295MB

Video card

VGA

SVGA

CD-ROM drive

Required (2X)

Required (2X)

Mouse

Required

Required

Figure: Minimum and Recommended System Requirements for Windows Me

Component

Minimum

Recommended

Processor

Pentium/150 MHz

Pentium/150 MHz

Memory

32MB

32MB

Hard drive

480MB

645MB

Video card

VGA

SVGA

CD-ROM drive

Required (2X)

Required (2X)

Mouse

Required

Required

Installing Windows 98

 Remember  The process that is used to install Windows 98 involves the following five major steps:

  • System check: SETUP.EXE verifies that the minimum hardware requirements are met and that antivirus software is not running, and it runs SCANDISK to check the integrity of the hard drive.

  • Information collection: Windows 98 collects the information that it needs to complete the installation. The information may come from the user, a script, or an existing Windows 9x version that is being updated. This information includes the type of installation (Typical, Compact, Portable, or Custom), the user’s name, the PC’s name, and more.

  • Copying files: The Windows 98 files are copied to the hard drive.

  • System restart: The PC is restarted into Windows 98. The OS then makes its modifications to the system files (WIN.INI, SYSTEM.INI, and the Registry) and adjusts the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files, if present.

  • Hardware setup: Windows 98 searches for any Plug and Play and legacy devices on the system and configures them. The system is restarted once again after this step.

 Instant Answer  All versions of Windows install from the SETUP.EXE command, which can be executed from My Computer, Windows Explorer, or a command-line prompt, or by the Autorun feature of the CD-ROM drive. Windows 9x and all later versions can be installed from a CD or across a network. However, Windows 2000 does have a floppy disk option that allows you to create four floppy disks that can be used to install that Windows version.

Dealing with installation problems

 Remember  During the installation process, the Windows 9x and Me systems create a variety of log files that can be used to recover from installation crashes. For the most part, the log files are written to the root directory of the destination disk (the disk on which Windows is being installed). However, some of the log files are written to the Windows directory on the destination disk. These log files are as follows:

  • BOOTLOG.TXT: The results of the initial boot of the Windows system.

  • DETLOG.TXT: The results of the hardware-detection steps.

  • DETCRASH.LOG: An internal file that is used by Windows 9x to recover from a crash during installation.

  • MODEMDET.TXT: This file, which is found in the WINDOWS directory, contains the results of autodetecting a modem on the PC.

  • NETLOG.TXT: The results of the network software startup.

  • SETUPLOG.TXT: A log of the Setup program’s actions before and after hardware detection.

Dual-booting Windows 9x

With Windows 9x systems, you can create a dual-boot environment on a PC. You should know the following things about creating a dual-boot environment:

  • Disk space: Enough disk space must be available to support both operating systems. If the dual boot is with MS-DOS, the DOS version must be able to support disk partitions greater than 32MB.

  • Private directory: Windows 9x must be in its own directory with no other version of Windows present.

  • Compatibility: Windows 95 and Windows 98 can be dual-booted with MS-DOS, OS/2, Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP.

Modifying MSDOS.SYS

 Remember  Entries in the MSDOS.SYS file tell the system that you want to boot the system from a menu that is displayed before the operating system is loaded each time that the PC starts up. To select which OS should boot, the following command is added to the [OPTIONS] area in the MSDOS.SYS file:

BootMulti=1

This option causes a boot menu to be displayed that lists the operating systems present on the PC. If the BootMulti option is set to 0, only Windows 9x boots. Other system options that are controlled by entries in the MSDOS.SYS file are the Windows splash screen, logo pages, and other displays and a few other system-level attributes and characteristics.

To change the MSDOS.SYS file, you must remove its blocking attributes by using the second command line. After this is done, you can use a text editor to modify the file. Remember to replace the attributes when you are finished editing the file.

 Warning  If you edit the MSDOS.SYS file, make sure that its total file size remains greater than 1024 bytes.

Installing and running application software

The following processes can be used to install application software on a Windows system:

  • The application may come with a self-extracting or self-installing application, which is titled SETUP.EXE, INSTALL.EXE, or something similar.

  • The application is distributed on a CD-ROM that has an autorun applet, which automatically opens an installation window.

  • The name of the installation applet is entered in the Start menu’s Run box.

  • The application is installed through the Control Panel’s Add/Remove Programs icon.



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