Right-clicking on "My Computer" and selecting "Properties" brings up a properties sheet for the whole computer, including all hardware. You find the hardware info on the Device Manager tab.
Device Manager is Hardware Central on Win95. Because PC hardware is an absolute pain to configure, Win95 tries to show you how your hardware's set up here. To get the settings for a particular piece of hardware, find it in the Device Manager and double-click on it. Hit the "resources" tab to get the list of its settings. Normally you can't modify settings for a particular device, but some drivers let you make changes. Still other drivers will let you make changes that take immediate effect when you hit "OK", without re-starting the computer.
Not all devices show up here, however. Only hardware devices with Win95 drivers will appear here. Devices with Win 3.1 drivers, pure software devices (like video codecs or PC speaker sound drivers), and DOS real mode drivers will not show up here. If you use such drivers, Device Manager cannot avoid hardware conflicts. Get Win95 drivers for your stuff, or dump your hardware in favor of devices with Win95 support. Save yourself the headaches. Or just check out How to reserve resources if you just have to use the old stuff.
Also, "The Meteor" (http://www.powerup.com.au/~meteor/) took some time to write up a PC hardware FAQ that answers many more questions than this page does.
Yes it does, amazingly. Win95 will assume the role of PnP manager if your system does not have a PnP BIOS.
This is actually advantageous, because BIOS authors haven't gotten the idea down pat yet. Early Award BIOSes, for example, don't work with SB16 PnP boards, or boards with Crystal's CS4232 sound chipset, because these devices have multiple resource needs that these BIOSes can't handle. Other bugs include locating PnP network boards on top of Joystick ports.
Whose BIOS does work, then? If you have a board with Intel's Triton chipset, visit www.mrbios.com. Try to get a non-PnP BIOS for your MB if you have troubles. Phoenix and Intel worked pretty close together to straighten it out, and while I haven't seen an AMI PnP BIOS yet, I'm sure they are a bit more careful than Award is.
Simple. Plug it in and load Win95 drivers, or run Add New Hardware. One thing Win95's really good at finding, is original Creative Labs hardware. To make DOS games run in DOS sessions, you might need to change the card's settings to "traditional" settings: I/O port 220, IRQ 5, DMA 1, High DMA 5.
Win95 tends to allocate odd resources to SB16s. To avoid this, make sure those resources are available, including freeing them in your BIOS setup if you have such an option.
Plug & Pray is more like it.
The PnP manager will have problems configuring this card if its "preferred resources" aren't available. Try to free up the standard I/O, Interrupt, and DMA values a Sound Blaster normally uses: A220, I5, D1, H5 (DMA 5). If you use an Award BIOS be sure to set those resources as "No/ICU" or otherwise available for use. You can hand-edit the resource settings from Device Manager if necessary.
Non PnP systems will work with the SB16 PnP card, because Win95 will allocate resources the card can actually use.
Whatever you do, do not install Creative's PnP Manager software on a Win95 system. That DOS/Win 3.1 PnP Manager is for systems running good ol' DOS. You will need the DOS PnP Manager for setting up Single Mode DOS programs, where you specify a new DOS configuration for the game, however. Try not to let the PnP manager installer add anything to your Windows directory; you can specify this when you install the PnP Manager by changing the Windows directory choice to "None".
NOTE: Creative's newest PnP sound cards come with a whole slew of sound utilities that replicate many of Win95's built-in programs! This is a waste of disk space. For example, you try to use Creative's CD player, you insert an Audio CD, and Win95's CD Player auto-runs. Stupid.
Microsoft included quite a list of weird chipsets in Win95's sound support, and most of the Windows Sound System clones offer Sound Blaster emulation in DOS sessions! The list currently includes:
Only SB16 class cards actually need "DOS drivers" to operate, or at least, they're the only ones that actually stay resident when you load them. Other cards (Mozart class cards for example) will work with Win95's SB Pro drivers, or Windows Sound System drivers
But if you have a card that won't work with SB drivers, or it supposedly requires DOS drivers, here's what to do. I'll use Oak Mozart class cards as an example, as this works perfectly with Mozart cards:
Here's what's happening: The DOS "drivers" load and initialize the sound card. Once this initialization is done, it will operate like a regular SB or WSS card, and you can use Win95 drivers for SB or WSS. This technique also works for CD-ROM support; if you let the sound card "driver" initialize the card, then install Win95 support for whatever CD-ROM card it emulates, it will work without having to load DOS CD-ROM drivers for it.
DirectX and 4.00.950B users will want to use this capability, because your sound card manufacturer might've not made DirectSound drivers for that card yet. OPTi's 82C9xx cards for example, DO have Win95 drivers, but don't support DirectSound yet. Using their SNDINIT program, alongside a Sound Blaster Pro DirectSound driver, works around this problem rather nicely.
Cards not listed with Win95 will 90% work with Microsoft's SB Pro or Windows Sound System drivers. WSS cards will even work with DOS games in DOS sessions, if you enable Sound Blaster emulation. Still other cards, like Crystal's CS4232, do SB emulation in hardware, at the same time as WSS.
See the previous section on using initialization "drivers", which will let you use Win95's SB Pro or WSS drivers with your unlisted sound card.
Win95 introduces a new version of Network Device Interface Spec (NDIS) 3.1. NDIS 3.1 allows for PnP events, such as activating network clients when you insert a PCMCIA card. Win95 comes with quite a handful of NDIS 3.1 drivers for many cards, and I'll cover them first. I also go into a whole mess of network stuff in another section.
If a card is listed in Win95's built in driver list, it has an NDIS 3.1 driver. Most of the time, Add New Hardware will detect it and install a driver for it. If not, you can manually add the driver from the list. On occasion, Win95 will goof on its first resource choices, but as it tells you, you can immediately run Device Manager to correct it.
Most of the supplied drivers include a DOS (NDIS 2) driver as well as the NDIS 3.1 driver.
Of course, no hardware maker should be in the DOS box business these days without Win95 drivers. Check with them first. Otherwise, Win95 will use NDIS 2.0 or ODI drivers if you're stuck. Both options sit below.
Life stinks sometimes; too many card makers believe only Novell does PC networks. Ahh well. Real mode ODI drivers will work with Win95 protected mode protocols and drivers, as Novell designed ODI to work with NDIS protocols and clients.
You need three real mode TSRs to use a network card with an ODI driver:
LSL.COM (Comes with the net card) The net card driver itself (Referred to as an MLID) ODIHLP.EXE (Comes with Win95)
You also need to install the "Existing ODI driver" using Add New Hardware, or Network control panel. Adding the "Existing ODI Driver" will install ODIHLP.EXE, needed to link the real mode ODI drivers with NDIS 3.1.
Finally, you need to write a NET.CFG for the ODI support. NDIS on top of ODI only works with Ethernet and Token-Ring (If you know of others please tell me!) ArcNet will not work in this configuration. You also need to specify all the frame types your adapter type can handle, for example:
link driver 3c5x9 frame ethernet_802.2 frame ethernet_802.3 frame ethernet_snap frame ethernet_ii
Some NDIS protocols require the weird frame types. In particular, TCP/IP requires ETHERNET_II.
Copy this NET.CFG to the same directory where you keep LSL and the net card driver itself (Stick them in your Win95 directory for convenience).
Like ODI support, Win95 will use real mode NDIS 2.0 drivers as well, but this eats significant amounts of conventional memory; even more than ODI drivers use!
To use an NDIS 2.0 driver, you use Add New Hardware as before, and tell it where to find the NDIS 2 driver. You can configure the card like any other NDIS 3.1 card, but Win95 will add this line to AUTOEXEC.BAT:
This will load PROTMAN and the .DOS net card driver into conventional memory. When WIN.COM loads, it will load the NDIS 2 protected mode helper and start the network. NDIS 2 driver info will appear in The Registry, and should also appear in PROTOCOL.INI for compatibility. You can hand-edit PROTOCOL.INI as you normally would for NDIS 2 drivers, and Win95 will apply these changes the next time it re-starts.
Some NDIS 2 drivers exist in DRIVERS\NETCARD on the Win95 CD-ROM, so check there if you don't see your card listed. Also check out Microsoft's Win95 driver library.
Some token-ring cards and maybe a few Ethernet cards need to use an ISA DMA channel to off-load CPU time. If your computer has more than 16 MB memory, it can hang the computer, because Win95 will attempt to DMA into memory that the net card can't reach. ISA slots only have 24 address lines (to access 16 MB).
To make these cards work, run Device Manager and find the "Direct Memory Access Controller" driver in System Devices. In its settings, turn on "Allow DMA into first 16 MB only".
This switch will also work for other DMA devices in case the driver doesn't already account for this.
If you own an HP scanner you're in luck; HP designed Win95 versions of their TWAIN scanner interface software. Download it from http://www.hp.com/. HP's TWAIN currently depends on Advanced SCSI Programming Interface, so you need a Win95 driver for your SCSI host adapter to use it. Non-SCSI scanners can work with the Win 3.1 software provided for it, but try to avoid loading real mode scanner drivers just to make your cheap hand scanner work. Don't waste your time. It may be possible to find a Win95 TWAIN driver for your non-SCSI scanner; ask the manufacturer.
Check out Epson's home page (http://www.epson.com) for Win95 versions of TWAIN for their Action Scanner and ES series scanners. These support their SCSI and Parallel Port scanners. Again you'll need a Win95 driver for your SCSI card, as Epson's TWAIN requires ASPI as well.
4.00.950B users can take advantage of the Imaging components that come with it. These components include "thunk" layers between 16-bit scanners and 32-bit apps, and a simple image editor that uses your scanner.
Promise Technology (http://www.promise.com/techsupp.html) has Win95 versions of its Caching IDE host adapter drivers, so be sure to grab them. Tekram (http://www.tekram.com/drivers/) will also have drivers for its IDE caching adapter, but the SCSI caching adapter should work with Adaptec 1540 drivers if they didn't get around to writing Win95 SCSI drivers yet.
Most of the time, the standard IDE drivers will work with caching IDE cards, though they won't take advantage of the card's cache. If you do manage to get a Win95 caching IDE driver, try to set Win95's own cache to bare minimum (384 KB) so you make good use of your controller's cache instead. Edit your SYSTEM.INI's [vcache] section:
Then it will almost solely rely on the controller's cache and free up valuable memory for your programs.
I know of three classes of CD-ROM devices in Win95:
IDE: These work off standard IDE adapters if you have Win95 drivers for the IDE cards. Just plug and play, like you're supposed to. No fancy CD-ROM controller drivers. And yes, you CAN use an IDE CD-ROM and hard drive on the same cable, and still get 32-bit access on both devices. The IDE miniport driver takes care of the gory details. CD-ROM drives alone on a secondary adapter must be a Master drive; ATAPI spec demands there be a Master device on each IDE adapter to work properly. Grab Microsoft's IOS.VXD Update (http://www.microsoft.com/kb/articles/q149/5/64.htm) if you're having trouble playing videos etc off an IDE CD-ROM.
SCSI: Win95 works best with SCSI-II CD-ROM drives, regardless of your host adapter type. Just get Win95 drivers for the SCSI card and let ASPI find it. CD-ROM Jukeboxes even work quite well, though some SCSI-I jukeboxes will have troubles. Otherwise, PnP works well here, too. SCSI is the way to go for many such devices in the same computer. There's an update for some CD-ROM Jukeboxes (http://www.microsoft.com/kb/softlib/mslfiles/cdchnger.exe) available if you have troubles.
Proprietary: These include the Mitsumi, Sony CDU-3xx, Matsushita (Panasonic/AT) interfaces. These require a CD-ROM miniport driver specially designed for the card and the drive combination you have! For example: You can't use a TEAC CD-ROM with a SB Pro CD-ROM card driver; you have to use a TEAC driver designed for the SB Pro card and TEAC drive. Proprietary interfaces include those built into sound cards; most of the time they emulate one of these three proprietary CD-ROM cards, and you can use a Win95 driver.
You only need to use a DOS CD-ROM driver if you exit Win95. This includes the "Restart Computer in DOS mode" option, where you can't play a game in a DOS session under Win95. Look here in FAQ page 12 for details on how to do this properly.
If you find you need a DOS CD-ROM driver to use the drive in Win95, then the drive's broken. See the dealer or manufacturer to get it fixed or get a Win95 driver for it. I find that real mode CD-ROM drivers in Win95 are very unreliable.
To make the Flash card work, just insert it! Provided you installed Win95 drivers for your notebook's PC card slots, it will mount it and assign a drive letter to it.
To make Win95 support PC cards in protected mode, run the PC Card control panel. The first time you run this, it offers to install 32-bit support. Let it do so! It will also remove any real mode and Win 3.1 drivers it recognizes, but for weird PC card software you might need to do some trimming afterwards. Just hide or delete your DOS startup files, and trim off any unusual entries in SYSTEM.INI.
File system notes: PC card users told be about some third-party Flash file systems that require DOS PC card drivers to use. I'd just say, don't waste your time with these non-standard file systems and use good ol' FAT.
Microsoft's backup program only works with cheap tape devices, like the floppy port and parallel port tape drives. If you have one of these then just use the built in backup program. For other kinds of drives, see below.
Colorado Memory Systems, who wrote the MS Backup for Win95, was kind enough to release a version that works with more tape devices. Download Colorado Backup and install it, for a Win95 tape drive subsystem that supports SCSI tape drives. Get excellent speed and reliability with this software and SCSI tape drives.
Adaptec includes tape backup software with EZ-SCSI 4.0.
NOTE: (Sigh) Colorado, and HP, stopped making their Colorado Backup 1.51 free to all, and have started shipping version 1.60 with all new HP tape drives. So it looks like we have to pay for this. I suggest purchasing Arcada's Backup Exec for Win95 in its place.
WARNING: Colorado's HPBACKUP 1.60 and their TRAVAN T4000s tape drive have troubles! The drive sticks half way through a back up on an Adaptec 1520 card or on a Sound Blaster 16 SCSI-II. If you own anything with Adaptec's AIC-6360 chipset, don't buy this drive!
If you own a Colorado non-SCSI tape drive, Download Colorado Backup 1.51. Version 1.51 also handles TRAVAN parallel port drives and floppy based drives attached to an FC-10 or FC-20 controller card. Non-Colorado customers should ask their manufacturer for Win95 versions of their software.
Conner also has a basic Win 3.1 version of Backup EXEC patched to support Win95 long filenames and Registry back-ups; check with your tape drive dealer for a free update.
Microsoft's built in back-up program works with old cheap QIC-40 and QIC-80 class devices attached to a floppy port or parallel port, and you won't really get a performance boost with third-party software here anyway.
SCSI is your best, and in some cases, your only choice for removable drives.
Just get a good Win95 compatible SCSI adapter and you can pick & choose between many optical, SyQuest, floptical, whatever... drives. The SCSI driver will find and mount any such devices it finds, though some disks require partitioning. You can't partition removable disks using FDISK, but Adaptec just released their EZ-SCSI software for Win95, which includes a removable disk partitioner. EZ-SCSI 4.0 will work on pretty much any SCSI adapter, because Win95 has ASPI support built in. Non-Adaptec owners can buy it. Adaptec's WFDISK (Windows disk partitioner) for Win 3.1 will work too, as it uses ASPI.
Use the Standard mouse driver. Win95 has three standard drivers for three different mouse ports; serial, PS/2, and Bus. The Bus Mouse driver will work with mice plugged into an ATI Graphics Ultra card.
Since no one designs mice for something other than these three connectors, you're probably better off getting a replacement mouse if it doesn't work with Win95. For $10.00 you can find a good serial mouse.
Win95 supports the third button as long as the mouse driver does. Use Logitech's latest mouse driver (7.1) for Win95 to enable third mouse button support. However, the applications need to LOOK for it. Currently, the only Win95 app that uses the middle button is DOOM95 by id Software.
Both SummaGraphics (http://www.summagraphics.com) have Win95 versions of the WINTAB interface, for their tablets. For other tablets you should see about switching them to emulate a Summa tablet, or check with your manufacturer. As more pointing device makers write Windows NT support, Win95 support will increase.
Many tablets work alongside of mice; when you move the mouse, motion is relative, and when you move the tablet motion is absolute, depending on the range of tablet you calibrated your screen to.
Load a Win95 driver for your MIDI interface, and use the same Win 3.1 software you used before, to record your MIDI keystrokes and other events. Win95's Sound Blaster drivers support MIDI through the joystick port, and MPU 401 compatible cards will work with the MPU 401 driver. Microsoft also included an MT-32 driver.
Device Manager is your best tool for resolving conflicts. To run Device Manager, right-click on "My computer" and hit "Properties", then hit the Device Manager tab. Any device that failed to start will have a (!) identifier with it, indicating some kind of failure. Bringing up properties for that device will go into the details.
If your card causes a hardware conflict, you can adjust its settings with the Resources tab. If your card uses jumpers, you will need to power off the computer and adjust them, before the device will work. If it is a software configurable device, adjusting the resources may allow the device to start up without having to re-start the computer. Sound cards often react like this.
You might have a resource conflict with a real-mode driver, or a Win 3.1 driver. These you can't resolve using Device Manager, but you can tell Device Manager to reserve resources for such devices. Double-click on "Computer" in Device Manager, and you can view all resources in use, or reserve resources for non-Win95 drivers. Reserving memory resources this way works like EMMExclude= lines in SYSTEM.INI.
Bring up Device Manager and double-click on "Computer". This will let you view IRQs and other resources in use by Win95 drivers. You can also hit Print... on the Device Manager sheet, which will print a whole "MSD" style report of hardware resources in use.
Bring up Device Manager and double-click on "Computer". Hit the "Reserve Resources" tab, and tell it which IRQs, DMA channels, etc are in use by non-Win95 drivers. Reserving memory like this works just like excluding addresses in EMM386, or using EMMExclude= in SYSTEM.INI.
You MUST do this if you use real mode drivers or Win 3.1 drivers that Win95 can't recognize, otherwise when you install a PnP device it may try to allocate the used resources to the new device!
Safe Mode is a debugging mode which allows you to fix problems without loading the offending drivers. You should not have to run Safe Mode for any other purpose, in fact you can't run any big applications, except Device Manager, while in there. ScanDisk works in Safe Mode, but it takes much longer to perform disk checks.
To start your computer in Safe Mode, hit F8 on "Starting Windows 95...", then select Safe Mode from the choices. This option automatically comes up if you interrupt Win95's boot up process, or it freezes up or otherwise fails to start.
Also, while in Safe Mode, Device Manager cannot tell you about resource conflicts, because the drivers didn't load. You might also notice drivers for hardware you don't have; they will appear if there were remnant Registry entries for them. These driver-remnants are good candidates for removal!
A PnP BIOS keeps a record of resources in use through a Non-Volatile RAM (NVRAM), usually part of its Flash BIOS EEPROM. When you add a device, Win95 tells the BIOS to add the resources in use to this list. A BIOS must have these calls available to Win95 or it will never know about what the OS added or reserved. The NVRAM is not the same as CMOS RAM, which makes me wonder why they don't just replace the CMOS with NVRAM for storing other settings, like lost hard drive parameters.
Also, when you install a PnP device, the BIOS polls it for the resources it requires. The PnP device will have "Preferred", "Acceptable", and "Marginal" operating resource requirements. The BIOS will assign resources based on what the device can use, and record the resources used in its NVRAM. Win95 can ask the BIOS what resources are in use, and it can ask the BIOS if any new devices exist, which is when you get the "Windows has found new hardware..." message. On a Non-PnP system, Win95 handles all PnP requests by itself and stores config info in the Registry.
Buggy BIOSes might not handle cards with multiple devices on it. If you think you have a buggy BIOS, see about disabling its PnP features and let Win95 take over as PnP manager. In this condition, Win95 stores all resources in use in its Registry and polls PnP cards by itself.
PCI was Plug & play by design. A PCI BIOS will assign resources, but the PCI cards don't care what resources they get. Often, the PCI cards end up in unusual I/O spaces (like above the 3FF range of the original XT).
Some PCI cards have hard-wired resource requirements (like video cards), but the newest video cards are beginning to wean off that requirement, as games stop depending on VGA and use DirectDraw under Win95. Cases include the on-board video that some SIS motherboard chipsets provide.
As per ISA PnP, The BIOS keeps its PCI config info in its NVRAM, and Win95 keeps a copy in the Registry.
SCSI: Supposedly you can power-on a SCSI device while you computer is running, and Win95 will enumerate and mount it instantly! OK, not entirely. Sometimes it takes a few presses "Refresh" in Device Manager before the new device appears, but it should work. The newest SCSI peripherals can auto-configure themselves, where the host adapter assigns them a SCSI ID. Normally, Win95 ASPI will scan the SCSI bus on power-up and present you with the "Found new hardware" requester.
NOTE: A handful of SCSI drivers for Win95 seem to be missing Logical Unit Number (LUN) support. LUN support lets things like CD-ROM Jukeboxes work, by assigning a drive letter to each LUN. The result is: You will only see ONE device and not six or seven. To fix this, get an updated Win95 driver for your SCSI card, or get a different card (All Adaptec drivers for AHA-1510 and up have LUN support; others you might be able to turn on LUN support in their "Settings" tab in the Device Properties.) Also check out MS's CD-ROM Changer Driver Update. (http://www.microsoft.com/kb/softlib/mslfiles/cdchnger.exe)
Monitors: Win95 video drivers can poll the monitor for scan rate information, if the monitor can reply back. Somehow it does this through the VGA cable, but I really don't know how!
Printers: PnP printers are just starting to show up. This is where the printer sends back info about itself on a bi-directional parallel port. The "Windows has found new hardware..." requester will show up, asking you for a Win95 printer driver, and you can begin using the printer right away.
PCMCIA: If you have a notebook computer, you need Win95. Forget that messy DOS PC card driver nonsense and incompatibilities with certain PC card chipsets, and special "no card services" drivers. Win95 runs Card Services in protected mode, using no conventional memory, and will give you the "Found new hardware" requester when you insert a new card for the first time. Modems work straight away with Win95 TAPI programs. Net cards will re-connect to the network for you when you insert them. SCSI cards will mount all devices on its cable. And best of all: You can still use dumb DOS programs that require EMS memory at the same time!
10. Using a DOS CD-ROM driver
9. Using real mode PCMCIA drivers (DOS PCMCIA sucks!)
8. Using a Gravis Ultrasound with Win 3.1 drivers (Visit Gravis, (http://www.gravis.com/) GUS owners, and get your fair support!)
7. Running a Win 3.1 setup program to install drivers
6. Running a DOS setup program to install Win 3.1 drivers
5. Installing a Plug & Play modem without enabling Plug & Play on the modem
4. Buying a piece of hardware without Win95 support
3. Buying a whole bunch of HDs, CD-ROM, tape drive, scanner, without considering SCSI
2. Buying a notebook computer without Win95
1. Buying an IBM compatible with an Award PnP BIOS (Upgrade to MR BIOS (http://www.mrbios.com/) soon!)