PC Hardware

Lesson Summary: Windows-95 and Beyond

The following points summarize the main elements of this lesson:

  • MS-DOS 7, which comes with Windows 95, still uses the same three system files-IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS, and COMMAND.COM-however, their functions are somewhat different.

  • The principal visible difference between Windows 95 and Windows 3.x is the new GUI.

  • The Registry is the principal operational difference between Windows 95 and earlier versions of Windows.

  • The Registry is stored in three file locations: SYSTEM.DAT, USER.DAT, and the virtual registry.

  • The Registry can be directly edited using REGEDIT.EXE, however, doing this is not recommended.

  • Microsoft provides three ways to back up the Registry-Microsoft Configuration Backup (CFGBACK.EXE), the Emergency Recovery Utility (ERU.EXE), and REGEDIT.EXE. Each has its own advantages and limitations.

  • The Device Manager is the key to managing the hardware on a Windows 95 system.

Tutorial Summary

The following points summarize the key concepts in this tutorial:

A New Operating System

  • Windows 95 and 98 represent the new generation of operating system technology for personal computers.

  • It replaces the older MS-DOS and Windows 3.x systems with a new 32-bit operating environment offering better memory management, and simplified hardware installation.

  • The new desktop operating environment offers an improved user interface and easier networking tools.

  • Unlike Windows 3.x (which is an operating environment), Windows is a full operating system and does not rely on MS-DOS. MS-DOS (often called MS-DOS 7.0) is available for the purpose of maintaining backward compatibility.

  • Windows 95 supports long filenames, but retains a 8.3 filespec directory for backward compatibility.

  • Windows 95 supports multithreading and multitasking.

Installing and Configuring Windows 95

  • Installing Windows 95 is a simple process. It can be installed as an upgrade to a MS-DOS/Windows 3.x system or as a stand-alone operating system. It can also be installed in a dual-boot system with either Windows 3.x or Windows NT.

  • Hardware installation is simple with support for Plug and Play. Hardware management is made simple by using the Device Manager.

How Windows 95 Works

  • The Registry is the biggest difference between Windows 95 and Widows 3.x. The registry replaces the .INI configuration files used by Windows 3.x, although they can still be used to provide backward compatibility.


  1. Name three ways that Windows 95 differs from Windows 3.x.

  2. What is Plug and Play? What is required for a component to be Plug and Play-compliant?

  3. Does Windows 95 still require MS-DOS?

  4. Which version of MS-DOS comes with Windows 95?

  5. Is CONFIG.SYS required to install GUI drivers?

  6. Why would you want to set the swap-file size in Windows 95?

  7. What is the main difference between Windows 3.x and Windows 95?

  8. Why can't older versions of disk utilities be used with Windows 95?

  9. After turning on the power to the computer, what is the first step in the boot-up process?

  10. In which directory do you find the external MS-DOS commands?

  11. What is FDISK used for?

  12. Define virtual memory.

  13. The Registry is composed of two binary files. Name them.

  14. What is the difference between an MS-DOS session and MS-DOS mode?

  15. If you are running in MS-DOS mode and the CD-ROM does not run, what must you do to get it running?

  16. Do you need a .PIF file to run an MS-DOS program in Windows 95?

  17. What are the five steps of a Windows 95 installation?

  18. Which version of Windows 95 uses FAT32?

  19. What is safe mode and what is it used for?

  20. What are the three Registry backup tools provided with Windows 95?