PC Hardware

File Management Improvements

The Microsoft Windows 95 file system is better and faster than the Windows 3.x file system. The following table summarizes the significant improvements.

Feature Improvement
32-bit VFAT Disk access is provided by the 32-bit VFAT (virtual file allocation table). This virtual device works in protected mode, requiring no time-consuming mode changes every time the system needs to write to the disk.
Long filenames Filenames can now be as long as 255 characters (including the path). Long filenames in Windows 95 are implemented without creating incompatibilities with 16-bit applications.
Demand paging This is an advanced algorithm for paging memory to the swap file. It is faster than a permanent swap file in Windows 3.x and dynamic (adjusts according to the load on the system).
VCACHE This 32-bit cache driver replaces SMARTDrive (a 16-bit real mode driver).
CD-ROM support Windows 95 uses a protected mode 32-bit file system to speed up CD performance, CDFS (CD-ROM File System).
IDE and SCSI support Windows 95 has its own EIDE and SCSI drivers so it no longer relies on third-party drivers.
Port drivers These 32-bit drivers communicate directly with specific disk devices, thus allowing a floppy disk to be formatted in the background.

Managing Files with Explorer

Windows 95 offers two methods of locating and organizing files: My Computer and Windows Explorer. The latter is an advanced version of the Windows 3.x File Manager; Explorer is the better choice for computer professionals. There are three simple ways to open Windows Explorer:

  • From the Start menu, select Programs and then select Windows Explorer.

  • Right-click the Start button and select Explore.

  • Right-click My Computer and select Explorer.

For the most part, Explorer works just like File Manager. Explorer looks similar to File Manager, although it lacks the drive icons (disk drives and networks in the Folder window). Unlike File Manager, which featured multiple windows for different folders, Explorer is not a Multiple Document Interface.