PC Hardware

Lesson Summary

The following points summarize the main elements of this lesson:

  • Two files (CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT) are used to custom-configure an MS-DOS operating system.

  • MS-DOS programs operate only in conventional memory.

  • Good memory management is the key to successfully operating an MS-DOS system.

Lesson 3: Windows 3.x

As mentioned at the beginning of this tutorial, Windows is an operating environment that resides on top of MS-DOS. It brings with it two distinct advances. First, it is a graphical interface that frees us from remembering all those commands (we use icons or pictures instead) and second, it gives us the ability to get around some of the limitations of MS-DOS. Although more user friendly, it brings with it additional requirements for configuration.

Calling Windows 3.x an operating system is a common, but incorrect, practice. It is really an extension of MS-DOS, and needs MS-DOS to run. This is not true with Windows 98, Windows NT, or Windows 2000. They are full-fledged operating systems, not just an interface and memory management overlay. (The .x notation indicates that the remark applies to all versions of an operating system. For example Windows 9.x would apply to both Windows 95 and 98.)

As with the lesson on MS-DOS, this lesson is not intended to offer a complete course in Windows 3.x. However, some important techniques useful to the computer professional are pointed out. Gaining an understanding of Windows 3.x, and being able to use a Windows manual as a reference, is a requirement for the computer professional.

After this lesson, you will be able to:
  • Configure Windows 3.1.

  • Edit Windows initialization files.

  • Configure virtual memory.

Estimated lesson time: 40 minutes