1 Jan 96

Planning Windows Applications

There are two types of Windows programs. A program designed for Windows 3.x is called a WIN16 application. It can also run on Window 95, Windows NT, OS/2, and under the Windows emulator of Macintosh and some Unix systems. A newer program will be written to the WIN32 interface. Such a program currently runs only under Windows 95 and Windows NT.

A typical Suite of office applications will take up a lot of disk space. Even on today's large disks, there isn't enough room to hold several operating systems and duplicate copies of all the applications. The WIN16 programs will run on the new operating system, but as WIN32 versions of the same programs come out they add additional features that are hard to ignore. Once you become comfortable with the new systems, it is easier to upgrade to all WIN32 support.

Windows NT was designed to install in the SYSTEM32 subdirectory of C:\WINDOWS and to coexist with an existing Windows 3.x system. However, Windows 95 and Windows NT cannot share directories or files. Each must be installed separately.

WIN16 programs were generally configured using *.INI files that were stored in the WINDOWS directory. Not only do the new operating systems have different versions of the WINDOWS directory, they also support configuration of WIN32 programs in a common database called the Registry. Registry entries can only be made to the currently running system. When a machine supports several operating systems, WIN32 programs must be reinstalled on all of the systems.

This is not as bad as it seems. The second time that SETUP is run, it can be pointed to the directory used in the previous installation. It will skip all the files that are already installed and only add files to the system directory and entries to the current Registry.

Applications that are upgraded to WIN32 will no longer run under OS/2. One can keep around the old WIN16 versions of some programs, use only native OS/2 programs under OS/2, or discard OS/2 all together. IBM knew this was coming and decided to stonewall.


Copyright 1995 PC Lube and Tune -- Das Boot -- H. Gilbert