PC Hardware


This tutorial assumes you are familiar with the operation and configuration of MS-DOS and Windows 3.x. At the very least, you should read and master Tutorial 15, "Software: MS-DOS and Windows 3.x."

MS-DOS is available in Windows 95, although it resides in the background, and many novice users will never use it directly in command mode. MS-DOS external commands can be found in the Windows\Command directory of the bootable drive. Its unofficial name is MS-DOS 7.

The IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS from older versions of MS-DOS are still there, but their functions are completely different. All the functions of MSDOS.SYS and IO.SYS have been combined together into IO.SYS, and MSDOS.SYS has been turned into a hidden, read-only text file in the root directory of the boot drive. MSDOS.SYS is used as a startup option. Configuring and using MSDOS.SYS is covered in detail in Lesson 3 of this tutorial.

COMMAND.COM remains and still performs basically the same functions as the old COMMAND.COM: to provide the command prompt. When the computer boots up and says "Starting Windows 95," press the F8 key and select "Command Prompt Only" to get to an MS-DOS 7 prompt. Type VER and you will see "Windows 95."

The Windows 95 GUI is a protected-mode overlay of the MS-DOS 7 shell. It loads its own device drivers. It does not need to load device drivers from CONFIG.SYS unless Windows 95 does not have a built-in protected-mode driver for a particular device.

Windows 95 also has support for FILES, BUFFERS, DOS=UMB, and just about every other setting found in CONFIG.SYS. Assuming that there are Windows 95 drivers available, there is no need for a CONFIG.SYS file. The GUI loads a protected-mode driver for most CD-ROMs, has VCACHE for disk caching, and protected-mode mouse support for Windows 95, Win 3.x, and MS-DOS applications. As with CONFIG.SYS, there is no requirement for AUTOEXEC.BAT.