In this lesson, we take a look at how to set up Windows 95.
After this lesson you will be able to:
Estimated lesson time: 45 minutes
- Upgrade and install Windows 95.
- Describe the Windows 95 boot-up process.
Windows 95 can be installed as an upgrade to Windows 3.x; from MS-DOS; on a new machine; or as a dual-boot system with either Windows 3.x, Windows NT, or other operating systems. Each method has unique requirements and limitations. The basic process is the same for all installations, but you must be sure that you understand the differences that do exist so that the final result is the solution you or your client needs. In many cases, you might have to compromise to achieve the best results.
The minimum recommended requirements (and you should be familiar with these for the Certification test) differ from the practical requirements to run Windows 95. Let's look at both.
The minimum requirements recommended by Microsoft and covered by the test are:
By selecting the typical Windows setup, Windows 95 uses 30 MB of hard disk space and reserves at least 8 to 10 MB for swap space on the hard disk. Windows 95 still needs to create a VM environment and the more hard disk space available, the better Windows 95 operates.
If your computer suddenly gives you a number of different read/write error messages or its performance declines dramatically, it is possible that you don't have enough hard disk space to handle the swapping requirements of Windows 95. The first step in troubleshooting such conditions is to free up hard disk space and defragment the hard disk drives.
In order to run Windows 95 with the applications commonly found on a desktop such as word processors, spreadsheets, and databases, you should not use anything less than:
Windows 95 will start outperforming Windows For Workgroups on a 486 computer after you increase RAM from 8 MB to 16 MB.
It is recommended that the following additional hardware be included on a Windows 95 installation:
The amount of RAM really needed depends on the user and which applications are to be run. Typical Microsoft Office users can usually work quite well with 8 MB of RAM. Moderate users of the Copy and Paste commands will need to increase RAM to at least 16 MB. If users require their applications to be a click away (all running at the same time), they will need 32 MB of RAM. In the 32-bit Windows world, additional RAM will always boost performance. Remember:
Windows 95 installation is a relatively painless affair (in most cases) and requires minimal intervention. Before starting an installation, consider the following:
Before you start the installation, consider the following:
The Windows 95 installation process can be divided into five distinct steps:
Step 1—Startup and System Check
Run the SETUP.EXE from either the CD (best choice) or Disk 1. Windows 95 is shipped on CD; if your computer does not have a CD-ROM drive, you can request the floppy disk version from Microsoft. The setup process goes like this:
@if exist c:\wininst0.400\suwarn.bat call c:\wininst0.400\suwarn.bat @if exist c:\wininst0.400\suwarn.bat del c:\wininst0.400\suwarn.bat
If for any reason the installation process aborts, this will display a warning that Windows 95 was not installed completely and that you need to rerun SETUP and choose the Safe Recover option.
Step 2—Information Collection
This step runs the Installation wizard, which presents a step-by-step series of dialog boxes. The purpose of this process is to collect any custom information required, including:
SETUP creates a text file named SETUPLOG.TXT in the root directory. This file stores the requested information.
Step 3—Hardware Detection
SETUP attempts to automatically determine all hardware—IRQs, addresses, DMA (direct memory access), and so forth. If the hardware is Plug and Play-compatible, the detection manager simply queries the BIOS for the information. With legacy (the older non-Plug and Play) devices, it is more complicated (and dangerous). This low-level detection can cause device drivers to go haywire and cause delays to the system. Therefore, Windows looks for "hints" of these devices. This is called safe detection.
Hardware devices are divided into four classes: sound cards, SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) controllers, network adapters, and proprietary CD-ROM drives. Windows SETUP will look in the following places for information about these devices:
Remember, SETUP is looking for "hints." If it makes an incorrect assumption, problems can occur when Windows 95 tries to run for the first time. (Consider uninstalling any questionable legacy devices before starting the Windows 95 installation.) The data found during the search is stored in a file called DETLOG.TXT in the root directory of the C drive. It is not deleted at the end of setup, and can be examined if you like.
After finding all the devices, SETUP creates the Registry (the database for this information). During this process, go get a cup of coffee and a doughnut. This might take awhile, and you will need a break, anyway.
Step 4—Startup Disk Creation and File Installation
SETUP next asks if you want a startup disk created. (It is highly recommended that you select "yes.") This will create a bootable floppy disk with several useful files. This is also called an emergency startup disk, and you can create one at any time, on any Windows 95 computer, by selecting the Startup Disk tab of the Add/Remove icon found in the Control Panel.
The following files are put on the emergency startup disk:
After creating the startup disk, SETUP checks the SETUPLOG.TXT file and begins copying all the necessary files from the CD (or floppy disks) to the hard disk.
If you are installing Windows 95 or 98 on a laptop that can support only a CD-ROM or a floppy disk drive in a single bay, you can defer creating the emergency startup disk by choosing cancel when the dialog box that prompts you to insert a floppy disk appears.
Step 5—Windows Configuration
Now that everything has been copied to the hard disk drive, Windows 95 needs to set itself up to take over the operating system duties. Configuration is a multistep process as Windows:
Now, the computer reboots, invoking a special routine used only when Windows 95 is run for the first time. This process:
A clean installation is perhaps the best way to install Window 95. Before undertaking a clean installation, make sure you have:
If you are going to complete a clean installation on an existing drive, you will need to remove all the files. You can simply erase (delete) them, or reformat the drive (the best choice because all hidden files will also be removed).
Whether you erase the drive or install a new drive, you need to follow the instructions for installation on a new computer or hard drive.
The following is an example of an AUTOEXEC.BAT file on a boot disk:
MSCDEX /D:MSCD001 /V
The following is an example of a CONFIG.SYS file on a boot disk:
This example disk also contains a folder (CDPRO) with the driver for the CD-ROM drive (VIDE-CDD.SYS).
Windows 95 version B is an OEM product designed specifically for installation on new machines or new hard drives. It does not require an existing version of Windows 3.x to be present in order to install. It was replaced with the OSR2 (OEM Service Release 2) version. The primary difference between version B and OSR2 is that the latter uses a 32-bit FAT (versions A & B use 16 bit-FAT). Because this installation takes place on a new drive with no other installed software, potential software conflicts are avoided.
Today, new OEM computers come with Windows 98 preloaded. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to locate a copy of Windows 95 in any local computer store. Windows 98 can be installed on a new computer or as an upgrade to MS-DOS, Windows 3.1, or Windows 95. If you wish to retain your Windows 95 settings when upgrading, be sure to start the installation from Windows 95.
For your convenience, here is the complete process of installing a new hard disk drive and the Windows 95 operating system from scratch. You will need the following for the installation:
Follow these steps to install the hard disk drive and put Windows 95 on it:
Format C: /S
This optional install method will speed up the installation process and allow for easy addition of drives and Windows 95 programs not installed during the initial installation. However, it requires an additional 40 MB of hard disk drive space. The process is as follows:
You can install Windows 95 on a disk that already has Windows 3.1 or Windows NT. Let's look at both options.
Windows 95 can be installed without removing the Windows 3.x system. The main advantages of this approach are that Windows 95 installs cleanly and the Windows 3.x files are left intact. You will still be able to run old programs that Windows 95 doesn't like.
There are two considerations to keep in mind when creating a dual-boot computer:
To run the old system, press F8 when you see the "Starting Windows 95" message during boot up. The menu you will see is shown in Figure 16.1.
Figure 16.1 Windows 95 Startup menu
Select number 7 (8 if running a network), and the old version of MS-DOS will boot. You can then change to the Windows 3.x directory and start the earlier operating system.
Another method for setting up a dual-boot computer is to create two partitions on the hard disk drive (or have two hard drives) and install one operating system in each. On startup, you can then select which partition to boot up. Using this method, you will keep both operating systems completely separate and reduce the chances of contamination.
Windows 95 and Windows NT share the same machine quite well and dual-booting is no problem. However, you must consider the following:
To avoid reinstalling all the Windows 95 applications in Windows NT, do the following:
There are twelve steps to a successful startup of Windows 95.
|BUFFERS=30||Determines the number of file buffers to create—for backward compatibility.|
|DOS=HIGH||Loads MS-DOS into high memory.|
|DRVSPACE.BIN or DBLSPACE.BIN||Disk compression.|
|FCBS=4||Determines the number of file control blocks that can be open at one time—for backward compatibility.|
|FILES=30||Determines the number of file handles to create— for backward compatibility.|
|HIMEM.SYS||Loads real-mode extended memory manager.|
|IFSHLP.SYS||Installable file system helper—helps load VFAT and other Windows 95 installable file systems.|
|LASTDRIVE=Z||Determines the last drive letter that can be assigned to a disk drive—for backward compatibility.|
|SETVER.EXE||The operating system version. If an MS-DOS program needs a special version of MS-DOS, this setting can "lie" to MS-DOS so the program will run.|
|SHELL=COMMAND.COM /P||Determines the name of the command-line interpreter.|
|STACKS=9,256||Determines the number of stack frames and the size of each frame—for backward compatibility.|
Don't use values less than these defaults.
With early versions of Windows, startup problems could be resolved by booting up from a floppy disk and editing the appropriate file. With Windows 95, it's not as simple. Therefore, Windows 95 comes with a Startup menu, shown in Figure 16.2. Pressing the F8 key when the "Starting Windows 95" message appears on the screen evokes this menu.
Figure 16.2 Startup menu (dual boot)
Let's look at the options presented by the Startup menu.
This option loads Windows 95 in the usual fashion.
This choice loads Windows 95 in the same way as the normal option, but it creates a boot log file (BOOTLOG.TXT) and places it in the root directory of the boot drive. It can be read with any text editor and shows all steps of the boot process, noting whether or not they were successful.
If it encounters difficulty starting up, Windows 95 can (and will) load in the safe mode. Most of the time, startup problems are caused by driver conflicts or problems. Safe mode starts Windows 95 with a minimum of drivers. This mode is considered the Windows 95 troubleshooting mode. When safe mode is enabled:
Safe Mode Without Compression
With this option selected, safe mode is loaded but Windows doesn't load any drivers to access a compressed drive.
With this option, safe mode is loaded along with any real-mode drivers for network support.
Step-by-step confirmation allows Windows 95 to load normally, but each command in the IO.SYS, CONFIG.SYS, and AUTOEXEC.BAT is addressed one step at a time and the operator has the option to bypass or use each item.
The following table presents a four-combination matrix that can be used to troubleshoot startup problems using the step-by-step method. Each of the columns represents combinations you should try.
|Load DoubleSpace driver?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Process the system registry?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Create a startup log file (BOOTLOG.TXT)?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Process your startup device drivers (CONFIG.SYS)?||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Process your startup command file (AUTOEXEC.BAT)?||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Load the Windows graphical user interface?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Load all Windows drivers?||No||Yes||No||Yes|
If Windows starts properly when using response A, you know you have a problem with a device driver or TSR. Successful startup with option B indicates a problem with a real-mode device driver or TSR in CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT. Successful boot with option C means you have a problem with a protected-mode device. And if option D is successful, you have a problem with the Registry.
Command Prompt Only
This choice boots to MS-DOS without loading the Windows 95 GUI and protected-mode drivers. It will, however, load CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT.
The CD-ROM drive might not work in this mode.
Safe Mode Command Prompt Only
This operates in the same way as command prompt only, but does not process the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT.
Previous Version of MS-DOS
This option is used for dual-boot systems.
To save time, you can use shortcut keys to access Startup menu options.
|BootKey||Startup Menu Equivalent|
|F4||Previous version of MS-DOS|
|SHIFT+F5||Safe mode—command prompt only|
|CTRL+F5||Safe mode without compression|
|F6||Safe mode with network support|
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:
|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.|
The following points summarize the main elements of this lesson: