Windows 9x

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Windows 9x
developer Microsoft
License (s) Microsoft EULA ( Closed Source )
Current  version 4.00.950 to 4.90.3000
Kernel MS-DOS
ancestry MS-DOS
↳ Windows
timeline Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows 98 SE
Windows Me
Others Development stopped

The following operating systems from the software company Microsoft for IA-32 processors ( 32-bit , i386) are summarized under the terms Windows 9x (also abbreviated to Win9x ) or Windows 9x series :

more details

Under Windows 9x all MS-DOS -based Windows operating systems after Windows 3.x summarized. Unlike Windows 3.x has the Windows 9x series one deep in the kernel integrated 32-bit extension to the Win32 API provides. Windows 9x supports preemptive multitasking for 32-bit applications and cooperative multitasking for compatibility with Windows 3.x 16-bit applications. 32-bit processes each have their own virtual address spaces ( memory protection ), but consistent memory protection is not guaranteed in order to remain compatible with applications that address hardware directly.

In particular when listing several operating systems (e.g. on software packaging or on the Internet), the abbreviated form Windows 9x is used to represent the operating systems mentioned above. The term is derived from the names that, with one exception, begin with a nine. Windows Me, which leaves this scheme, is usually also included under Windows 9x because of its technical relationship to the other versions .

In all earlier versions of Windows, the version numbers were also used in the product name, but since Windows 9x several Windows operating systems have now had their own names. These are, for example, Windows 2000 , Windows XP, and Windows Vista . This practice has been abandoned since Windows 7 , however the numbering of the product name does not follow the internal version numbers of the Windows NT version. The internally assigned version numbers in the 9x series are 4.0 for Windows 95, 4.1 for Windows 98 and 4.9 for Windows Me.

Publishing year Product name Internal version number MS-DOS version usual abbreviations
1995 Windows 95 4.00.950 7:00 Windows 95 or Win95
1996 Windows 95a 4.00.950A 7:00 Windows 95A (also 95a) or Win95A (Win95a), OSR 1
1996/1997 Windows 95b 4.00.950B 7:00 Windows 95B (also 95b) or Win95B (Win95b), OSR 2, OSR 2.1
1997 Windows 95c 4.00.950C 7:00 Windows 95C (also 95c) or Win95C (Win95c), OSR 2.5
1998 Windows 98 October 4, 1998 7.10 Windows 98 or Win98
1999 Windows 98 Second Edition 4.10.2222 7.10 Windows 98SE or Win98SE
2000 Windows Millennium Edition 4.90.3000 8.00 Windows ME or WinME, Windows Me or WinMe

Common combinations of the operating systems were for example "Windows 95/98 / Me" (which usually includes the second edition of Windows 98) or "Windows 95/98 / 98SE / Me". If a restriction was necessary, this was summarized differently to differentiate accordingly; for example, when referring to something that applies to Windows 98 Second Edition or later, it would say “Windows 98SE / Me”, or if something applies to Windows 95 through 95b, “Windows 95 / 95a / 95b”. The notation "Windows 9x" includes - like "Windows 95/98 / Me" - all versions, including Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows Me.

Another difference to its predecessors up to Windows 3.x is that an adapted version of MS-DOS is included in every Windows 9x. When Windows 95 appeared, Microsoft wanted to suggest to the user that MS-DOS was part of Windows and no longer existed on its own. However, these MS-DOS versions can also be run completely without Windows. Only with Windows Me you can only run MS-DOS in a program window by default; With a trick, the conventional real mode can still be activated. Internally, these DOS versions have the version numbers 7.00, 7.10 and 8.00.

When using USB mass storage devices , a separate driver was required for each USB device, as the operating system did not yet contain a generic driver from Microsoft. For Windows 98 there were also generic drivers from third-party manufacturers that finally supported different storage media with just one driver.


When Windows 10 was presented in 2014, there were numerous discussions and various theories as to why a version number was skipped, because Windows 10 follows Windows 8.1 and, like this, is based on the Windows NT line . One of the speculations about the reason for this was the assumption that numerous existing Windows programs could contain a query to check for compatibility with the current Windows version that searches for the string "Windows 9". The programs would assume they were running on Windows 95 , 98 or 98 Second Edition , which would lead to serious compatibility problems.

Individual evidence

  1. 9.2.1: Windows XP Professional & XP Home - section on page 190 in PC Networks. 3. Edition. at Galileo Computing , 2006
  2. ^ Windows 95 Architecture Components., accessed April 10, 2010 .
  3. Multitasking 16-bit / 32-bit Applications in Windows 95., August 27, 2002, accessed April 10, 2010 .
  4. Dorothee Wiegand: Discussion about the new Windows: Why not 9 ?. In: Heise online . 4th October 2014 . Retrieved November 3, 2019.