Index


Windows links page

    General information

    Windows operating system runs over 90% of the world's desktop computers. Most of the desktop computers in the world today (year 2003) run a derivative of Windows 95 (Windows 95, Windoes 95se, Windows 98 or Windows ME). Microsoft would like to see their customers move to the NT-based Windows XP. Windows is the preferred target for computer viruses. The usual theory has been that Windows gets all the attacks because almost everybody uses it. Not opening strange e-mail attachments helps to keep Windows secure (not to mention it's plain common sense), but it isn't enough. Microsoft's attempts to tightly integrate myriad applications with its operating system have significantly contributed to excessive complexity and vulnerability. The problem is that of monoculture and that no software is perfect. When nearly all computers rely on a single operating system subject to the same vulnerabilities the world over. As long as all computers are running the same OS, they're all vulnerable to the same problems. It's that a single attack (for example virus or worm) that can take out all the computers running a single operating system. There are several versions of Windows in use:

    • Windows 3.x: Those old 16-bit Windows version that was very popular operating systems, especially Windows 3.1. Over yeats when computer have been upgraded to newr ones, it has been replaced with newer Windows desktop operating systems (Windows 95, 98 etc.)
    • Windows NT: Windows NT was designed from the ground up to be a network operating system (NOS) such as UNIX and VMS, not a desktop operating system such as MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows. Windows NT has also been used as the basis of client-server systems, a networking model where clients (Windows NT Workstation, typically, along with other Windows products) request services from servers running Windows NT Server.
    • Window 95: Windows is Microsoft's 32-bit desktop operating system released at 1995. Windows 95 lets you set up a network, configure hardware, or uninstall programs automatically.
    • Windows 98: The Microsoft Windows 98 SE operating system is the upgrade to Windows 95.
    • Windows 98 SE: Windows 98 Second Edition is an update to Windows 98 that enhances the Windows system with new Internet, home-networking and hardware technologies. It added simple to access the Internet, better system performance, more diagnostics features and USB support.
    • Windows 2000: Windows 2000 is the successor of Windows NT. Windows 2000 Professional offers better reliability and improved management compared to older Windows NT versions. Windows 2000 has also many Internet features built in.
    • Windows 2000 Advanced Server: Windows 2000 Advanced Server is the server operating system for e-commerce and line-of-business applications. Windows 2000 Advanced Server is the successor to the enterprise-class operating system, Windows NT Server 4.0, Enterprise Edition. It provides enhanced scalability (2-node failover clustering, multi-processing support, up to 8GB memory support, 64bit support).
    • Windows XP Professional: Microsoft? Windows? XP Professional is a Windows operating system designed for businesses. Windows XP is based on on Windows 2000 technology.
    • Windows XP Home Edition: Microsoft? Windows? XP Home Edition is a Windows operating system that is designed exclusively for home computing. Windows XP is based on on Windows 2000 technology.
    • Windows Server 2003: Windows 2003 gives evolutionary improvements to Windows 2000 in server environments. Additions are done to security, reliability, availability, and scalability. System support both 32 and 64 bit systems.
    Ofcourse Windows started at version 1.0, but because of hardware limitations, it really appeared on the average PC with version 3.0.

    File systems

    All readable and writeable disks need a file system - usually a FAT (File Allocation Table). The data system is responsible for naming, storing and retrieving data using a robust management system. File systems are used in forth hard disk and removable media. There are different possible file systems in used for different applications. The current batch of Windows file systems have two things in common: they're restricted by their use of clusters and by limits on the amount of data they can handle. Depending on the partition, you will have one or more sectors of 512 bytes each in one cluster. Here is quick overview of different operating systems used in Windows systems:

    • FAT 16: This originates from DOS operating system where it was called simply FAT. Windows 95 users rely on the FAT 16 file system. With small partitions of up to 256 MB the cluster size is 4 KB, while in larger, 2-GB partitions they are 32 KB.
    • V-FAT: Starting with Windows 95, FAT 16 was joined by a modified data system called V-FAT. This was the first system that could write long file names.
    • FAT 32: With the advent of Windows 95b in 1996, Microsoft introduced the FAT 32 file system, which is still very widely used today. The FAT 32 system enables users to manage 8-GB volumes with cluster sizes of just 4 KB. For hard drives up to a maximum of 32 GB, the cluster size is 16 KB. FAT 32 also does not limit the number of directories or files in the root directory
    • NTFS: The NTFS file system was launched with Windows NT 3.5 in 1993. It has been used since then on operating systems based on Windows NT technology (NT 4.0, 2000, XP). NTFS brings a host of improvements over FAT systems. The most important are optimized memory utilization in larger volumes, error correction following crashes, protection against unauthorized data access, an index service, compression and data encryption. NTFS can manage partitions of several hundred terabytes (one terabyte is one million megabytes).
    • Win FS: Windows Future Storage (Win FS) system will take its place in Longhorn, the successor to XP. The new file system is designed to store files based on various content criteria, e.g., author, contents, names, source medium and the most recent user. The folder structure shown in the Windows Explorer is thus reduced to a virtual map. WinFS file system is more or less based on relational database model. Win FS will probably emerge as an optional file system beside FAT and NTFS.
    FAT has a separate allocation table at the start of a volume to store the information on files (where they reside etc.). NTFS organizes its data with Master File Table (MFT) that is stored to hidden files. The MFT manages all of a volume's files and so-called metadata in a relational database structure. Information on files is arranged into lines; their attributes (hidden, encrypted, compressed, system, etc.) into columns. Despite all their disadvantages, FAT 16 and FAT 32 have not disappeared. Multi-OS systems still need these file systems. If you want to access the same volumes under Windows XP, Windows 98, Linux or DOS, you have to go by the smallest common denominator - something that can read and write on all systems, in this case the FAT 16 is often the file system to use. NTFS has evolved during years. There has been huge inmprovement from NTFS used in Windows NT versions to one used in Windows 2000 and XP. Windows 2000 has ogical Disk Manager (LDM), which no longer requires drive letters.

    Multimedia

      DVD

      • CyberLink PowerDVD - This is a popular commercial DVD playback software for Win 95, Win 98/SE, Win NT, Win 2000, Win Me and Win XP. Free limited trial version available for download.    Rate this link
      • How do I enable DMA for my hard drive/DVD-ROM drive under Windows 2000? - Recent hard disks, DVD ROM drives and CD ROM drives support DMA transfer, as a method of improving drive performance. DMA transfer may be required in order to achieve the best results for capturing video, or playing DVD movies. By default, this option is DISABLED in Windows 2000. To enable DMA transfers, adjust the properties of the IDE Controller, in Device Manager. This document tells how to do that.    Rate this link
      • Micro DVD Player - This is a progra to play ripped DVD movies from CD or HDD as close to the original as possible, including as many features of the original DVD as possible and giving as much comfort as possible compared to original DVD viewing. This software is for viewing DVD converted to MPEG4 Video+MP3 Audio, put together with the converted original menus/languages and written to CD(s) a "Micro DVD".    Rate this link
      • WinDVD - This is a popular commercial DVD playback software for Windows. Free limited trial version available for download.    Rate this link

      Video Capture

      Microsoft? Windows? operating systems provide a 32-bit architecture to support video conferencing cameras and other video capture devices and DVD/MPEG devices. The Windows Driver Model (WDM) Stream class supports a uniform streaming model for standard and custom data types. Video for Windows (VfW) is an older standard for this purpose. Video for Windows is considered to be obsolete by Microsoft. Under Windows 98 and all later versions of Windows, all components must use a WDM minidriver instead of a VfW driver. Drivers for hardware decoders and for audio and video subsystems must be implemented as described in the Windows DDK in order to support Microsoft DirectShow?, DirectDraw? VPE, and WDM. In practice older software made for VfW only can be used with a wrapper, but reported results are often not too good and often buggy.

    Safety tips

    • Internet Security Issues - DSL offers consumers many benefits such as high-speed connections from 10 to 100 times faster than dial-up, simultaneous voice and data over the same phone line and choice of ISP. DSL also provides consumers with an "always-on" connection, which means consumers can maintain their DSL Internet connections 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Anybody who establishes a dial-up or "always-on" Internet connection incurs some security risk stemming from the duration of the network connection rather than the access method. A number of standard measures are available that users can apply to protect themselves.    Rate this link
    • Program flags dangerous DOS commands - you should not use certain DOS features, such as CHKDSK or tape backup, when Windows is running    Rate this link


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