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Chapter 2. The Design and Architecture o... > Windows 9x in Light of NT and Window...

Windows 9x in Light of NT and Windows 2000

For many users, references to Windows 3.x and 16-bit programs seem a relic from the distant past. I'm among those folks, actually, but have to acknowledge the great panoply of programs still running about out there in the world. I probably unwittingly ran a 16-bit program in the last couple of days, whether a utility, photo editor, paint program, or something. Still, it's true that today's most viable programs have already been translated into 32-bit versions. Truth be told, before a program earns the Windows 9x seal of approval from Microsoft, it must be written in all 32-bit code and runnable under NT-based systems such as Windows 2000 Professional.

Well aware of the architectural limitations of the DOS/Windows 3.x marriage, Microsoft set out to create a bridge of sorts between the two worlds of NT technology and DOS-based systems. That bridge was Windows 95, later to become Windows 98. But it was only a temporary fix, intended to last only a few years while the cost of hardware dropped and while waiting for older, underpowered PCs to fade away.


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