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OSdata.com: Windows 


Microsoft Windows


    Windows is a series of lowest common denominator operating systems intended for businesses that consider only initial purchase price and ignore total cost of ownership, reliability, downtime, security, productivity, or other factors.


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    “Technically, Windows NT Server 4.0 is no match for any UNIX operating system, not even the non-commercial BSDs [FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD] or Linux.” —Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIXw51

    William Neukom, Microsoft’s senior vice president for law and corporate affairs, told U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson on December 15, 1997, “Windows 95 puts users back with the Flintstones in terms of operating system function.”

    Microsoft has been running a series of television commercials claiming that Windows 2000 is reliable and that it can be left unattended for days at a time without human intervention. Windows 2000 is in fact still less reliable and stable than the least reliable version of UNIX (even the free ones), and will require a full time maintenance and administration staff, as well as at least a part time staff or independent consultants for recurring repair work.

    Microsoft has been running a series of television commercials claiming that Windows 2000 is secure and immune from hacker and virus attacks. Windows 2000 is in fact still less secure than the least secure version of UNIX (even the free ones), and the Windows family of operating systems (including Windows 2000) is subject to the greatest number of viruses of any operating system family (more than 10,000 as many viruses as the UNIX family of operating systems).

    Microsoft has been running a series of television commercials claiming that Windows 2000 can easily connect to other systems and that it is easy to merge operations on separate Windows 2000 systems. Windows 2000 is in fact unable to connect to any other operating system unless the other operating system provides the connectivity (UNIX, NetWare, and the Macintosh provide the ability to connect to Windows). Merging multiple Windows 2000 systems (even just two Windows 2000 systems) is a difficult and time consuming process subject to errors and loss of data. Some businesses have been unable to get a new Windows 2000 system to correctly run their business, even after more than a year of direct Microsoft support.

special topics

see also:

Intended purpose

server/mainframe: Microsoft intends Windows NT or Windows 2000 for server use

desktop/workstation: Microsoft intends Windows 2000 Professional for workstation use and Windows 98 for desktop use

handheld: Microsoft intends Windows CE for handheld use

real time: not appropriate

Kind of OS: proprietary

Release Date:

Current Version:


Hardware Supported:

Maximum Number of Processors: 8 (Windows 2000 Advanced Server only)w50

Number of bits: partial 64 for Windows 2000; 32 for Windows NTw43; 24 for Windows 3.1

    “Digital UNIX continues to dominate the 64-bit arena, leaving HP-UX and IRIX to contest the second position, followed closely by AIX. Solaris and NT trail significantly behind. Support for 64-bit processes [and] for large amounts of physical memory are still missing from NT. NT runs on 64-bit Alpha hardware and offers 64-bit files and file systems but has yet to address the key 64-bit requirement to support large amounts of physical memory for enhancing database performance.” —D.H. Brown Associatesw43

Kernel: proprietary (microkernel in Windows 2000 and Windows XP)

POSIX: partially supported (Windows NT only)

Peripherals: “Many PC peripherals work with NT, many don’t. See the HCL for a list of devices that are certified to work.” —Kristian Elof Sørensenw36

File Systems Supported:

Windows 2000

Windows NT

Windows 98

Windows 95

Windows 3.1

Other Systems Emulated:

Graphics Engine:

Text Command Shell: DOS command line

User Interface (graphic):

Graphic Command Shell: Explorere80

Windows 3.1 screen shot

click on the preview image for a larger version

screen shot courtesy of Pat Gunn’s Operating Systemsw59

Internet Services:

    ftp://ftp.eng.auburn.edu/pub/doug/ “bootp-DH2.x” free, patched CMU BOOTP-DD2.4.x server from Doug Hughes of auburn.edu. Supports DHCP, even for Win95 clients. Adds the patches from the Samba mailing list to support PCNFS and Win95 simultaneously. For SunOS 4.x, Solaris 2.x, Linux, and NetBSD servers.

Microsoft has 26% of the Web server software market share 60% of defaced Web sites run Microsoft Web server software
Market share as of January 2002 Defacements = about 30,000 between April 2000 and February 2002
Microsoft software runs about a quarter of Web servers, but is the target of the majority of successful Web defacement attacks. —Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2002n3

Internet Explorer

    One of the major features of Windows 98 is a closer merger of Microsoft’s operating system and web browser. This isn’t done for any technological reasons or for the convenience of the customer (many customers find the blurring between the graphic command shell and web browser to be confusing), but instead serves the interests of Microsoft by extending their operating system monopoly into the Internet.

Application Programs:


    “As Windows users are being plagued by computer viruses, spam, buggy software, and Web pop-up ads, some are questioning why the Redmond, Wash.-based software behemoth has failed to integrate security and repair features that could make computers less prone to problems.
    “ ‘Microsoft has added lots of bells and whistles to Windows to protect their operating system franchise over the years, but when it comes to Windows security and reliability, they’ve done comparitively little until recently,’ said Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, a Bethesda, Md.-based computer security and training organization.
    “ ‘It’s like they are selling faster cars with more powerful engines but leaving off the seat belts and air bags — all those critical things that make customers safe when using their products,’ he added.
    “Microsoft’s critics say the reason the company isn’t eager to add security features is simple: Doing so wouldn’t help it fend off competitors whose products could undermine the spread of Windows.
    “ ‘You would think there would be money to be made in Microsoft having some kind of more effective antiviral program of their own,’ said Andrew Gavil, an antitrust expert and law professor at Howard University. ‘But virus programs don’t present any threat to their operating system monopoly.’ ” —Los Angeles Times, “Microsoft Runs Into Bundling Dilemma”, March 27, 2004n4

    Microsoft falsely claimed that it would make security a company-wide priority in its much publicized 2002 “trustworthy computing initiaitve”. Since then, Microsoft Windows (all versions) has become even more vulnerable to viruses and other internet attacks. Security is a purposely false and misleading marketing slogan at Microsoft.

    “Ironically, some experts say, product bundling is partly to blame for Windows’ security woes.
    “Lee A. Hollaar, a computer science professor at University of Utah, said the widespread proliferation of the Melissa computer virus stemmed from the tight integration of Microsoft’s Outlook e-mail program with its writing application, Word.
    “ ‘The Melissa virus exists only because Microsoft expanded Word documents to contain functions that let it access the Outlook address book’, Hollaar said.
    “Similarly, he explained, when the Internet Explorer Web browser was folded into the operating system, it exposed Windows to greater security risks from the Net.’ ” —Los Angeles Times, “Microsoft Runs Into Bundling Dilemma”, March 27, 2004n4


    “NT, even in its Enterprise Edition incarnation, trails in virtually every area except PC interoperability. As a comparatively new system targeting broader market requirements, NT simply lacks the functional depth of UNIX today.” —D.H. Brown Associatesw42

    “You may have noticed that a new TV ad for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer e-mail program uses the musical theme of the ‘Confutatis Maledictis’ from Mozart’s Requiem. ‘Where do you want to go today?’ is the cheery line on the screen. Meanwhile, the chorus sings ‘Confutatis maledictis, flammis acribus addictis,’ which means, ‘The damned and accursed are convicted to flames of hell.’ ” —Gary Paveke60

    “Windows 95 is an ‘edifice of bailing wire,chewing gum and prayer.’ ” — The New York Times, August 2, 1995w32

switching from Windows 95 to Windows 98


    The big question of the moment about Windows 98 is “Should I switch to Windows 98?”

    The answer is “maybe”. The easiest answer is: if you buy a new Wintel computer, get it with Windows 98, but if your existing system is stable and working, don’t mess with it.

    Windows 98 offers a large number of minor improvements over Windows 95, including the addition of several more features that were available on the Macintosh in the mid and late 1980s. Windows 98 major feature is that it blurs the distinction between the operating system and the web browser, furthering Microsoft’s own monopolistic goals of eliminiating Netscape, but by moving some important operating system functionality to the web browser, Windows 98 actually runs approximately 5-20% slower than Windows 95 on the same hardware. Windows 98 also includes numerous attempts at fixes of some of the worst problems in Windows 95, but more than 5,000 known bugs from Windows 95 still exist in Windows 98, because Microsoft views bug fixes as unprofitable.

    As one example, Windows 98 now supports multiple monitors. Multiple monitors is a gimmick for typical home and business use, but is an essential requirement for professional content creation. For page layout, pre-press, illustration, animation, and other graphics work it is common to have all the software tools on one screen and the artwork in progress on a screen by itself. For video and music it is common to have one complete monitor for each source and destination in use (which in a complex project could easily include several sources). The addition of this feature is an example of Microsoft closing the gap between Windows and Macintosh. The Macintosh had the ability to support multiple monitors back in 1987. And this feature highlights the Microsoft approach to closing the gap, because the version available in 1987 on the Macintosh is still superior to that newly available with Windows 98. On the Macintosh, there is no limit (other than user hardware purchases) on the number of monitors, each monitor can be of a different size (14", 17", 21", 25", etc.), can be of a different resolution (72 ppi, 75 ppi, 150 ppi, etc.), and can be of a different color depth (16, 256, thousands, millions of colors). Additionally, the resolution and color depth of any one (or all) of the monitors can be changed on the fly without rebooting. And the Macintosh supports on the fly changing of the ordering of the monitors, changing the monitor that has the menu bar, and changing which monitor windows open into.

    The downside is that the release of Windows 98 set new records for the most technical support calls in a single day. Windows 98 was released with more than 10,000 known bugs and is so bug-filled that it crashed during Microsoft’s official televised introduction. Many individuals and businesses have found it so trouble-filled that they have given up on attempts to install it and returned to Windows 95. These widespread reliability problems have spawned humor, such as the error list shown on the Windows 98 page.

    Bill Gates, when questioned about the more than 10,000 bugs Microsoft acknowledged existed in Windows 98, claimed “There are no significant bugs in our released software that any significant number of users want fixed.…The reason we come up with new versions is not to fix bugs.…It’s the stupidest reason to buy a new version I ever heard.”

    Microsoft took the approach that it was only profitable for them to fix bugs that affected a large number of users.

    The result is that if your computer is a mainstream model with only simple and mainstream hardware and you only use a few select mainstream programs, Windows 98 will work with no trouble at all. Windows 98 should also work fine (at least initially) when pre-installed on a new computer.

    The more your own work or your choice of hardware or software deviates from the mainstream, the more likely that Windows 98 will present all kinds of problems and that you will probably need to pay for hours or days of expensive professional tech support to get it running.

    If your business is still using Windows 3.1 or MS-DOS, then the reasons that caused you to avoid Windows 95 apply even more strongly for avoiding Windows 98.

    There are many high quality operating systems available for existing Intel-based hardware, including excellent commercial operating systems such as OS/2, NeXTSTEP, or Solaris, as well as excellent free operating systems such as LINUX, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD. For those still using MS-DOS, IBM has released an updated and improved version called PC-DOS-2000.

     For those considering the purchase of new computers, the Macintosh line includes both high end graphics machines and a new consumer model, the iMac, which is actually up to two times faster than any Pentium II computer.

alternatives to Windows


    “Microsoft enjoyed its great success not because it had great software but because people were stuck with it. Market domination, not innovation, drove the company’s success,” wrote James Wallace in the book “Overdrive: Bill Gates and the Race to Control Cyberspace”, John Wiley & Sons, September 1997.

    “The future of Windows is threatened less by the superiority of its competition than the inferiority of Windows, which results from Microsoft’s misplaced priorities. Microsoft’s design decisions are driven more by its attempt to protect its desktop monopoly than by technical excellence.” —Nicholas Petreley, “The new Unix alters NT’s orbit”w74

1.1 MB QuickTime movie of Bill Gates explaining his criteria for selecting the best operating system.

    “Windows machines have advantages, too, such as more configuration options, cheaper up front cost, availability of software, snappier response on window controls, cheaper components, more peripherals.” —Why Monopolies Are Bad, by Jeff Adkinsw77

    Commentary: Quite simply, Windows guarantees more work for the M.I.S. departments — because it computers require far more technical support to do the same work. And when the M.I.S. departments make computer recommendations to management, they tend to look out for their own job security over the best interests of the business. The same reason that many retail stores also push Wintel machines — it guarantees more work for their highly profitable service departments.

    In addition to Mac OS X (which combines the ease of use and professional content creation capabilities of the Macintosh with the power, reliability, and speed of the NeXT version of UNIX), BeOS, NetWare, and OS/2 Warp Server, any of the many free and commercial versions of UNIX offer a better high end operating system than Windows NT. See John Kirch’s article “Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX” at http://www.unix-vs-nt.org/.

    Serious commercial UNIXs include: AIX, Digital UNIX, HP-UX, IRIX, Macintosh OS X, Mac OS X Server, Rhapsody, and Solaris.

    Leading free UNIXs include: FreeBSD, GNU Hurd, LINUX, NetBSD, and OpenBSD.

    And in the server arena, the leader (in number of installations) is still NetWare.

     Study after study has shown that Macintoshes are less expensive to support and maintain than Wintel machines. Wintel computers typically cost four to 10 times as much in support costs. Even Intel’s own internal study showed that it was costing them four times as much to support Windows machines as it did to support their Macintoshes (yes, Intel used Macintoshes for mission critical work — and since that study they have been expanding their use of Macintoshes).

     Independent studies over the years continually show that worker productivity is substantially higher on Macintoshes than on Wintel computers. And the difference is greatest in the creative fields (pre-press, illustration, digital photography, 2-D and 3-D animation, 3-D modelling and rendering, film special effects, broadcast video editting, CD-ROM production, multi-media, music composition and performance, sound editting, and web site production), where the Macintosh is the most prevalent computer (even more than the high end graphics work stations — and Macintosh OS X (formerly Rhapsody) brings the Macintosh to the high end graphics work stations). Macintosh OS X is numerically the most used form of UNIX, bringing the flexibility, reliability, power, and speed of NeXT’s object oriented frameworks together with some of the ease of use, user interface, and consumer software of the Macintosh.

    See also: http://www.unix-vs-nt.org/, John Kirch’s article “Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX”

    Ethics: Bill Gates is a longtime member of the Augusta National Golf Club, the official site of the Masters Golf Tournament. The Augusta National Golf Club refuses to allow any women join their club and for decades refused to allow Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities to join, only relenting in 1990 to allow a few token Black members when facing criminal charges for Civil Rights violations. The only reason that Microsoft hires women and minorities is because of tough federal Civil Rights laws. If you are a woman, Black, Hispanic, Asian, or a member of any other minority group, remember that Bill Gates and Microsoft hate you and only take your money becuase they are forced to by law.


references within this web site

(for your convenience, look for this symbol marking passages about Windows)

further reading: web sites

Please send recommendations on additional URLs to Milo.

official web sites



(Frequently Asked Questions)

user group web sites

other related web sites

    ftp://ftp.eng.auburn.edu/pub/doug/ “bootp-DH2.x” free, patched CMU BOOTP-DD2.4.x server from Doug Hughes of auburn.edu. Supports DHCP, even for Win95 clients. Adds the patches from the Samba mailing list to support PCNFS and Win95 simultaneously. For SunOS 4.x, Solaris 2.x, Linux, and NetBSD servers.

    Stokely’s PC & Mac NFS, AppleShare, Unix Integration FAQ links

    http://www.unix-vs-nt.org/ John Kirch’s article “Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX”

    http://www.linuxrx.com/WS_Linux/OS_comparison.html “The Linux resource exchange — Operating systems comparison” LINUX, HPUX, Windows NT, BSDi, FreeBSD, IRIX, Digital UNIX, Solaris, Macintosh, OS/2, UnixWare, OpenServere83

    http://www.dhbrown.com/pdfs/osscorecard.html “Operating System Scorecard — D.H. Brown Associates”

further reading: books

If you want your book reviewed, please send a copy to: Milo, POB 1361, Tustin, CA 92781, USA.

Price listings are for courtesy purposes only and may be changed by the referenced businesses at any time without notice.

further reading: books: introductory/general

    1 Microsoft Way: A Cookbook To Breaking Bill Gates Windows Monopoly Without Breaking Windows (with Linux CD Operating System); by Reginald P Burgess; American Group Publishing; April 27, 1998; ISBN 1891950088; paperback; 208 pages; $17.95

further reading: books: administration

    Universal Command Guide; by Guy Lotgering (UCG Team); Hungry Minds, Inc; April 2002; ISBN 0764548336; hardcover with CD-ROM; 1,600 pages; $69.99; cross references all of the commands from: AIX; Solaris; RedHat Linux; Berkeley BSD; NetWare 3.2, 4.11, 5, and 6; DOS 6.22; Windows 95, 98, ME, XP, NT 4 Workstation, NT 4 Server, NT 4 Terminal Server, 2000 Professional, 2000 Server, 2000 Advanced Server; Citrix Mainframe 1.8; and Mac 9

The Complete Guide to Netware 4.11/Intranetware; 2nd edition; by James E. Gaskin; Sybex; December 1996; ISBN 078211931X; paperback; $47.99; includes information on getting NetWare working with Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, and OS/2

further reading: books: internet

further reading: books: enterprise/business

further reading: books: content creation

    The Multimedia Production Handbook for the PC, Macintosh, and Amiga; by Tom Yager; Academic Press Professional; December 1993; ISBN 0127680306; Paperback; 382 pages; $31.96

further reading: books: programming

    Software Implementation Techniques: Writing Software in OpenVMS, OS/2, Unix, and Windows NT; 2nd edition; by Donald E. Merusi; Digital Press; November 1995; ISBN 155558134X; paperback; 567 pages; $52.95

further reading: books: hardware

further reading: books: miscellaneous

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If you want your book reviewed, please send a copy to: Milo, POB 1361, Tustin, CA 92781, USA.

related software

Price listings are for courtesy purposes only and may be changed by the referenced businesses at any time without notice.

We are working on providing a second source.

    Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional; $279.95

geek humor

    “WindowsError 009: Memory hog error. More RAM needed. More! More!” —Matt Garrison,MacLine

    “Windows NT: Insert Wallet into Drive A: and press any key to empty.” —Matt Garrison,MacLine

    “How many Microsoft technicians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
    “Three: two to hold the ladder and one to screw the bulb into a faucet.” —Matt Garrison,MacLine

original artwork from Microsoft’s New Operating System

    “A lot of people have been asking me for permission to post this graphic on their website. I’m just glad to make people laugh so don’t worry about it, go right ahead. If you can give me credit that’s cool, but I’m not trying to get famous and don’t demand recognition. I do like e-mail though and I’d like to thank everyone who has sent me mail. A lot of the comments were funny and made me laugh.

    “Disclaimer: Windows CE, Windows ME, and Windows NT are registered trademarks of Microsoft. “Windows CEMENT” is nothing more than a fictional creation and any resemblance to any past, present, or future trademarked product is purely coincidental.

    “A personal note to the one guy who sent me the vicious e-mail and anyone else who takes personal offense to this: This cartoon is just meant to be a joke. I’ve heard many stories of techies around the world posting this in their local work areas and can imagine that this is happening even at Microsoft. I am not directly slandering the company or any of the products, just a totally fictional construct of my own.” —Rob Woolley

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    A web site on dozens of operating systems simply can’t be maintained by one person. This is a cooperative effort. If you spot an error in fact, grammar, syntax, or spelling, or a broken link, or have additional information, commentary, or constructive criticism, please e-mail Milo. If you have any extra copies of docs, manuals, or other materials that can assist in accuracy and completeness, please send them to Milo, PO Box 1361, Tustin, CA, USA, 92781.

    If you have an extra or unwanted copy of any official manuals or documentation on this operating system, please send them to: Milo, POB 1361, Tustin, CA 92781, USA. I have the following items: NONE.

    NOTE: I am looking for a fan of Windows who has the time to check this web site for completeness and accuracy regarding Windows. Just check through the site about once a week or so and report back with any information (including the URL of the web page you are reporting).

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    Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 Milo

    Last Updated: April 4, 2004

    Created: June 22, 1998

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