PC Hardware

A New Desktop Environment

With Windows 95, Microsoft has replaced the Windows 3.x Program Manager with a new format. Program groups have been replaced with a Start menu, and program icons have been replaced by shortcuts and desktop items. A shortcut is a pointer (an icon) to an object such as an executable file or a document. The desktop now truly represents a virtual desktop.

A common problem with a shortcut occurs when the object it is pointing to gets moved, is missing, or has become corrupted. In such cases, when a user double-clicks the shortcut, an error message pops up saying "The item (item named here) that this shortcut refers to has been changed or moved. The nearest match, based on size, date, and type is c:\pathname goes here. Do you want this shortcut to point to this item?"

Some of the features introduced in Windows 95 include:

Feature Description
Folders Folders have replaced MS-DOS directories and subdirectories. A folder is used to hold data and system objects and can reside within another folder, on a disk, or on the desktop.
Plug and Play Windows 95 supports Plug and Play hardware. In some cases, additional driver software (provided by the manufacturer) is required. Look for the Windows 95 symbol on the device to determine if it is Plug and Play-compliant.
Printers folder The Printers folder has replaced the Print Manager. This folder allows access to all aspects of printing (from setup of printers to monitoring printing activity).
Properties All items in the Windows 95 environment are treated as objects, and they have properties. All properties can be configured. An object's settings and properties are located on the Properties sheet. The long ignored, little used, right mouse button now has a major function in the Windows 95 environment (and on the Internet.) The secondary mouse button now accesses shortcut menus and the Properties dialog boxes.
Windows Explorer The Windows 3.x File Manager has been replaced by Windows Explorer. Explorer provides a visual representation of the computer and its components, as well as providing enhanced file-management tools.

Lesson Summary

The following points summarize the main elements of this lesson:

  • Windows 95 comes in two versions: an upgrade 16-bit FAT version and an OEM 32-bit version for installation on new machines.

  • Windows 95 can be dual-booted with Windows 3.x (DOS) or Windows NT. Special considerations must be taken to ensure compatibility when setting up a dual-boot system.

  • Installing Windows 95 is a five-step process.

  • Windows 95 has a startup menu that can be used for troubleshooting or starting with another operating system.

  • Shortcut keys are provided to allow quick access to the various startup options.

  • Windows 95 uses a new desktop environment for a more user-friendly operator interface.