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  1. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    Were Windows 95 and 98 true OS's even though they had dos integrated in them?

    I was thinking about this when deadrats started the thread on windows 8.

    This question can apply to windows 3x as well. They were all integrated to some level to dos. Win 3x was even more of a "program" than an os since you had to have dos installed. I don't even know if there was a win3x that allowed you to boot directly to win3x - were there?

    Is that a defintion of an operating system? Whether or not it directly boots to its gui?

    If so than 95 and 98 are clearly operating systems in that regard.

    I guess what I'm wondering is since you could boot to dos in 95 and 98 without the windows environment present does that make them "shells" and not full operating systems? I guess I'm not sure since they had dos integrated into them and they weren't standalone.

    Since Windows ME was the first consumer side windows platform to not use dos does that make it the first "pure" operating system in the windows environment?

    Is this just semantics and doesn't really matter?

    Is it a matter of perspective on what constitutes a full 100% operating system?

    Could 95 or 98 work at all without dos? I mean obviously Me and xp and the rest have dos prompt access but from what I understand none can boot "natively" into dos. Is that true or am I misunderstanding the nature of the different systems?

    In otherwords in ME and later can you boot to dos and not have any windows running at all? Since you can do that in 95 and 98 for sure does that mean they aren't "pure" operating systems? Instead running on top of another system?

    edit - and I'm not talking about dual booting. I mean one partition booting straight to dos on a me, xp or newer os.
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  2. Member johns0's Avatar
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    Winme has dos but you couldn't boot to it,dos is an real os,the basic difference is that win1x and higher incorporated gui interface and winxp dropped dos altogether based on ntfs which was first in windows nt and then windows 2k.

    Windows 1 up to winme all are dos based and use a gui.
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  3. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    So where does the break happen?

    Does it make any difference that 95 and 98 booted directly to the gui whereas 1-3x didn't?

    So would you say than that xp was truly the first dos free windows system? I thought ME was but it still had it internally more than xp?
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    non-nt based windows do not have dos integrated in them, they were built on top of dos, big difference. and yes, dos was a real OS, it initialized hardware and drivers, it managed ram, it handled I/O, it was a fully functional OS.

    windows, regardless of version, can be more appropriately termed an OE (operating environment) and in fact to this day it's possible to kill explorer.exe and have windows still running; in fact, i have seen a few apps that even continue to run when explorer is shut down as they have no dependencies (that was with xp, i'm not sure if vista and above would allow the app to keep running without explorer running).

    in the most basic sense, the part of windows that could be termed most accurately as an OS is the kernel, as that's the portion that handles the low level processes normally associated with an operating system.

    the rest, no matter how tightly integrated, is there to allow actually productivity and entertainment to take place.

    this holds true for all OSes you can think of, AIX, Solaris, UNIX, Unix, Linux, OS X, Windows, it doesn't matter, the OS is always the kernel and the complete package is the operating environment.
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  5. Explorer is just the Desktop. Go to Task Manager and kill Explorer. The Desktop will go away. You can still start programs via Task Manager's New Task button. And restart Explorer to get your Desktop back.
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  6. VH Wanderer Ai Haibara's Avatar
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    Yes, WinME was like 9X; it did have DOS, and you could actually boot to it, as I recall, with some work... but Microsoft was trying to limit the exposure to and 'use' of DOS, as (also as I recall) they released WinME as an attempt to help 'transition' everyone to the NT side of things.
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  7. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Windows 1-2 was basically a variation of the later DOS Shell, a GUI

    Windows 3-ME was almost more along the lines of a VM. DOS was host, Windows was session inside it. This had the drawbacks of having to go through DOS to access hardware, instead of direct access. Hence NT.

    Windows NT3-7 was an NT based OS, where its command line just looks like DOS, and has similar DOS commands. It is the OS, however, with the GUI integrated and inseparable -- like MacOS. And it had direct hardware access without an in-between.

    Non-NT explorer.exe was essentially Windows (not exactly technically correct, but I don't know how else to explain it), and when it crashed, Windows usually crashed. For the NT OS, explorer.exe is just the desktop interface. When it crashes, it rarely effects running applications. I've worked with higher-end corporate environments where Explorer is bypassed and replaced with an in-house desktop interface -- mostly to hide that it is Windows, or even to prevent exploits that rely on explorer.exe. You were able to replace the standard GUI as far back as 3.1, using something like Calmira. XP can use KDE, for example, the Linux GUI, as there is a Windows fork.

    I've used Windows 1.01 (still have it, box and all) all the way to Win7.
    Last edited by lordsmurf; 31st Mar 2011 at 17:00.
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  8. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by deadrats View Post
    ...
    this holds true for all OSes you can think of, AIX, Solaris, UNIX, Unix, Linux, OS X, Windows, it doesn't matter, the OS is always the kernel and the complete package is the operating environment.
    Exactly. Is Linux not an OS because the GUI is separate? Is OSX not an OS because it is built over BSD UNIX?

    The more you explore alternate OS the more they appear similar. The differences are subtile.
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  9. It's a pointless argument.

    The big difference is that Win9x/Me and before all ran in real mode. Any application could scribble all over any other application's or the OS's memory. This made them very dangerous. WinNT, 2000, XP and newer all run in protected mode where it's much more difficult for applications to to screw each other up or crash the system. A large portion of protected mode crashes are caused by display driver bugs (Microsoft confirmed this a while back) because drivers run in real mode.

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa480220.aspx

    In Windows XP, display drivers, which are large and complex, can be a major source of system instability. These drivers execute entirely in kernel mode (i.e., deep in the system code) and hence a single problem in the driver will often force the entire system to reboot. According to the crash analysis data collected during the Windows XP timeframe, display drivers are responsible for up to 20 percent of all blue screens.
    Last edited by jagabo; 31st Mar 2011 at 19:43.
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    Originally Posted by edDV View Post
    Exactly. Is Linux not an OS because the GUI is separate? Is OSX not an OS because it is built over BSD UNIX?

    The more you explore alternate OS the more they appear similar. The differences are subtile.
    the term "linux" really only applies to Linus' baby, namely the kernel, though it's been adapted to refer to any distribution that uses the linux kernel.

    also, as you pointed out, what is referred to as "alternative OSes" are really for the most part just different versions of the same old school OS, namely UNIX.

    the only "alternative" OSes that i can think of that were not meant to be unix clones were Sky OS (a very promising project, for the most part done by one man) and BeOS, an OS way ahead of it's time.

    everything else that's not windows is meant to be a unix clone and in fact most linux binaries will run on most unix variants, like freebsd without needing recompilation.

    for those interested, PC-BSD is a sweet project to check out (comes close to being a bsd version of windows), Solaris used to be a very promising OS until Sun abandoned the desktop and Vector SOHO is pretty sweet.
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  11. vanished El Heggunte's Avatar
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    Windows 1.0 thru Windows 3.11 ran on top of MS-DOS.
    Starting with version 4.0, Windows used MS-DOS as a sort of boot loader.
    command.com was able to run in both the 16-bit mode and the 32-bit mode.
    Up to Windows 3.11, the so-called "DOS prompt" really was a DOS prompt.
    In Windows 95, however, the CLI already was a 32-bit environment,
    which "contained" a 16-bit layer where (most) real-DOS applications
    could be executed without a problem.
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    In all these discussions of operating system lifecycles, I'm surprised to see OS/2 not even mentioned. It pre-dated and was an actual predecessor to the NT kernel back in the mid-90s. In reading a Wiki article about it, I found this humorous item, describing one of the reasons that Microsoft and IBM split up their joint OS/2 partnership:

    "IBM developers complained about the terseness and lack of comments in Microsoft's code, while Microsoft developers complained that IBM's code was bloated"

    ---

    Regarding Windows 95/98, I'm sure many have seen this before:

    Windows 95 defined:

    "32 bit extensions and a graphical shell for a 16 bit patch to an 8 bit operating system originally coded for a 4 bit microprocessor, written by a 2 bit company, that can't stand 1 bit of competition."
    Last edited by dare2be; 31st Mar 2011 at 19:56.
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    @jagabo:

    that's why m$ changed the driver model starting with vista, so that crappy/beta drivers couldn't bring down the whole OS anymore.

    as a side note, have you ever noticed how much ram the various device drivers use? last time i installed vista i made a note to check task manager to see how much ram was being used before i installed all the drivers and was shocked to see that it was using less than 500 mb of ram, once all the drivers were installed that number skyrocketed, especially the nvidia drivers, it sends the ram usage through the roof.
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    thought you guys may find this funny, Paul Allen microsoft co-founder, has called Gates a douche:

    http://www.bit-tech.net/news/bits/2011/03/31/bill-gates-portrayed-as-sarcastic-bully/1

    also if you guys ever get the chance watch "the pirates of silicon valley", though you need to be careful and not "accidentally" pick up "butt pirates of anal alley", similar themes but they go about very different ways of telling their respective stories.
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  15. Originally Posted by deadrats View Post
    @jagabo:

    that's why m$ changed the driver model starting with vista, so that crappy/beta drivers couldn't bring down the whole OS anymore.
    Yes, the article I linked to discusses that. Of course, some drivers, and some parts of drivers, have to run in real mode. I suspect display drivers are still responsible for a large portion of system crashes.
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  16. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by deadrats View Post
    Originally Posted by edDV View Post
    Exactly. Is Linux not an OS because the GUI is separate? Is OSX not an OS because it is built over BSD UNIX?

    The more you explore alternate OS the more they appear similar. The differences are subtile.
    the term "linux" really only applies to Linus' baby, namely the kernel, though it's been adapted to refer to any distribution that uses the linux kernel.

    also, as you pointed out, what is referred to as "alternative OSes" are really for the most part just different versions of the same old school OS, namely UNIX.
    True, one can even argue NT was UNIX like.


    Originally Posted by deadrats View Post
    the only "alternative" OSes that i can think of that were not meant to be unix clones were Sky OS (a very promising project, for the most part done by one man) and BeOS, an OS way ahead of it's time.

    everything else that's not windows is meant to be a unix clone and in fact most linux binaries will run on most unix variants, like freebsd without needing recompilation.
    We all forget Microsoft Xenix which was licensed AT&T UNIX ported to microprocessors. This was before SCO bought the Xenix rights. In exchange Microsoft got 25% of SCO stock.


    Originally Posted by deadrats View Post
    for those interested, PC-BSD is a sweet project to check out (comes close to being a bsd version of windows), Solaris used to be a very promising OS until Sun abandoned the desktop and Vector SOHO is pretty sweet.
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    Last edited by edDV; 31st Mar 2011 at 20:46.
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  17. Originally Posted by deadrats View Post
    thought you guys may find this funny, Paul Allen microsoft co-founder, has called Gates a douche:
    As someone pointed out in the comments: in the business world "Nice guys finish last."
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  18. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the spirited discussion.

    Originally Posted by deadrats
    ,
    in the most basic sense, the part of windows that could be termed most accurately as an OS is the kernel, as that's the portion that handles the low level processes normally associated with an operating system.

    , it doesn't matter, the OS is always the kernel and the complete package is the operating environment.
    Thanks deadrats. I think that was what I was getting hung up on with the whole 9x issue being on top of dos. I wasn't separating the environment from the powerhouse. But you still can't have one without the other. I guess its like you can't have a car without an engine. You need one with the other.

    Edit - I guess before monitor displays you had direct access with punch cards or wiring or whatever so that would be a literal hands on with the os without any inbetween stuff.
    Last edited by yoda313; 31st Mar 2011 at 21:14.
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  19. vanished El Heggunte's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by yoda313 View Post
    Edit - I guess before monitor displays you had direct access with punch cards or wiring or whatever so that would be a literal hands on with the os without any inbetween stuff.
    Not exactly...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operating_system#Mainframes

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_IBM_mainframe_operating_systems

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOS/360
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  20. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dare2be View Post
    In all these discussions of operating system lifecycles, I'm surprised to see OS/2 not even mentioned. It pre-dated and was an actual predecessor to the NT kernel back in the mid-90s.
    This was a different beast and a different lineage, altogether. (Graphical, but an Object oriented design.) It did preserve a fair amount of stuff from DOS, without being much like DOS, only superficially resembling Windows, and not having much in common with 'Nix. And still a good thing to be running for certain tasks, if you want to be totally ignored by malware.
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  21. I used OS2 as my main OS for a few years before Win95 came out, and a while after. It was far superior to Win1/2/3. One still had to boot DOS to play most games though.
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  22. Member AlanHK's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by yoda313 View Post
    Edit - I guess before monitor displays you had direct access with punch cards or wiring or whatever so that would be a literal hands on with the os without any inbetween stuff.
    I used punch cards for a couple of years, in the late 70s.
    They were just a way of storing data; like a floppy or CD.

    The computer had an OS of its own and executed the programs and data on the cards.
    We used Fortran, Cobol, SQL.

    Happily a year or so later we were allowed to use terminals -- these were TTY -- basically typewriters so your "screen" was a printout on a continuous roll of paper. You could use up a lot of paper playing Star Trek. Another year and we finally were privileged to use video terminals. These were connected to a Unix System V mainframe, we were writing C by then.
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  23. Originally Posted by AlanHK View Post
    You could use up a lot of paper playing Star Trek.
    I know I did!
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    Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    Originally Posted by dare2be View Post
    In all these discussions of operating system lifecycles, I'm surprised to see OS/2 not even mentioned. It pre-dated and was an actual predecessor to the NT kernel back in the mid-90s.
    This was a different beast and a different lineage, altogether. (Graphical, but an Object oriented design.) It did preserve a fair amount of stuff from DOS, without being much like DOS, only superficially resembling Windows, and not having much in common with 'Nix. And still a good thing to be running for certain tasks, if you want to be totally ignored by malware.
    According to the Wiki article, much of the code in Windows NT came from OS/2:

    "Windows NT's OS/2 heritage can be seen in its initial support for the HPFS filesystem, text mode OS/2 1.x applications, and OS/2 LAN Manager network support. Some early NT materials even included OS/2 copyright notices embedded in the software"

    I used OS/2 Warp at work myself, and I preferred it to any version of Windows pre-XP.
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  25. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dare2be View Post
    Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    Originally Posted by dare2be View Post
    In all these discussions of operating system lifecycles, I'm surprised to see OS/2 not even mentioned. It pre-dated and was an actual predecessor to the NT kernel back in the mid-90s.
    This was a different beast and a different lineage, altogether. (Graphical, but an Object oriented design.) It did preserve a fair amount of stuff from DOS, without being much like DOS, only superficially resembling Windows, and not having much in common with 'Nix. And still a good thing to be running for certain tasks, if you want to be totally ignored by malware.
    According to the Wiki article, much of the code in Windows NT came from OS/2:

    "Windows NT's OS/2 heritage can be seen in its initial support for the HPFS filesystem, text mode OS/2 1.x applications, and OS/2 LAN Manager network support. Some early NT materials even included OS/2 copyright notices embedded in the software"

    I used OS/2 Warp at work myself, and I preferred it to any version of Windows pre-XP.
    I wouldn't put too much reliance on the Wikipedia coverage. (There have been much better articles on this subject at places like Slashdot.) Here is a HUGE difference: Object Oriented = Decentralization. The OS/2 Registry was paltry in comparison, and usually not very relevant; the individual App's particulars resided in the App Object, not in a central registry. (Some would regard that as a strength, while others would take the opposite position. A problem was more apt to be very localized, rather than systemic. Personally, I think the Windows registry is an abomination.) Your desktop shortcuts in Windows are not true Objects. And here's another HUGE difference: a tremendous amount of specific controls in OS/2 -- and its descendant, EcomStation -- are realized in its lengthy CONFIG.SYS, which is written in plain text. While this is more technical than most users would care to mess with, it does greatly facilitate troubleshooting and repairs, for anyone who has gained a certain familiarity with the principles involved with what those command lines mean and do.
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