Posted: 9th April 2022, 23:38 (UTC)
Hi, Big Monstro. Thanks for the reply.
krnl386.exe with shell = (system.ini) pointed at w31space.exe is how win9x boots the system in "a" win3x environment, that can resize a drvspace compressed disks (drivespace.000).
The easiest way to examine the setup is to create a compressed drive. Then examine the contents of the folder failsafe.drv, on the actual drive (host drive).
You will find the bare essentials and boot configurations for running this win3x environment. You will also find d31frag.exe, dosx.exe, and a handful of win3x .drv files.
I assure you, this is a win3x that comes with win9x. I believe these files are available in your system, without creating a compressed drive. I suppose you might need drvspace installed.
Posted: 9th April 2022, 23:58 (UTC)
Come to think of it, with a properly configured pif file, you might even be able to run win3x in win9x. Though that might have been lost, after the Chicago betas (some included it as a feature).
I've wondered if this win3x environment is standard mode only. Thinking back to the betas, that had the feature, it might be.
Edit2: Nevermind, win31.exe from the betas ran in enhanced mode. So krnl386.exe is probably similar.
Edit1: added dosx.exe to partial list of win3x files
Posted: 10th April 2022, 04:30 (UTC)
This is just a guess. Win95 needs at least 5 virtual drivers loaded to boot into a safe mode like state. One, some, or all of those drivers must get in the way of resizing the compressed volume. That is probably why the win3x environment is used. Why not use dos? I don't know. Maybe to prevent too much compressed drive functionality, outside of windows.
If you boot your win9x machine with MSDOS.SYS configured to BootGUI=0, then you have to type "win" to start windows. If you resize your compressed drive with the BootGUI=0, to start the win3x environment you still need to type "win". krnl386.exe is unable to switch the computer into protected mode, on its own.
I've wanted to check out, but its not very practical, how far this environment can be pushed. Using a mix of the 16bit parts from win9x and original win3x, could a usable system be patched together? Does shell.dll from win9x add anything? Would win32s work? Could it be extended some?
If you search really old "Jaclaz" posts from "RebootPro", you can find his directions for building a 32bit dos using win9x. It basically loads all the normal virtual drivers for win9x and then points the shell to command.com. I guess you then have "long file name" support. I've always wondered if vdmsound for win9x would provide SBlaster support in a setup like that.
Are any of those virtual drivers useful to the win3x environment, if included in the boot process?
Edit: I know at some point during the Chicago beta development the kernel remained 16bit, but the virtual machine manager became capable of loading 32bit drivers. It was optional.
Anyway, this is more information for the interested. If no one knows anything or hasn't played with it themselves, I'll update this if/when I ever explore it.
Posted: 10th April 2022, 9:38 (UTC)
Big Monstro, I guess if it was really just the 32bit kernel running with 16bit drivers you would be right. That would still explain why they didn't just use safe mode. But that wouldn't explain why they were using 16bit versions of drvspace and defrag.
Edit: Actually, maybe it would. Since both are disk accessing applications used with 16bit hardware drivers.
If it was a win32 environment, it would be very interesting. I was able to load krnl386.exe in Dosemu by simply having dosemu's dpmi enabled (no win.com used). I haven't tried it on an actual machine, with a real dos dpmi server.
Posted: 10th April 2022, 10:04 (UTC)
However, I did once get and error window. It was a great big win3x style window and button. That would have ran independent of the win3x apps.
Posted: 10th April 2022, 10:10 (UTC)
Something interesting to add. When in the failsafe.drv directory and examining the system.ini file, setup is commented out ";" and replaced by the win3x drvspace for shell.
I had guessed this was because during installation the environment was 16bit.
|Last edited by Big Monstro on 10 Apr 2022 12:55, edited 1 time in total.
|six posts merged into a single one
Over configure your OS or write your own? That is the question.