window system

windowing system

window system

window manager

<operating system>

A part of a window system which arranges windows on a screen. It is responsible for moving and resizing windows, and other such functions common to all applications.

Examples from the X Window System are twm, gwm, olwm.

Last updated: 1994-12-06

Window RAM

Window Random Access Memory

Window Random Access Memory

<hardware, storage>

(WRAM, Window RAM) A kind of RAM which is faster than VRAM.

WRAM is used in the Matrox MGA Millennium video display card and almost certainly elsewhere.

[More details?]

Last updated: 1996-06-05


<operating system>

See Microsoft Windows, Windows NT.

Last updated: 1997-11-23

Windows 1

<operating system>

The first incarnation of Microsoft Windows, released in 1985. It took a total of 55 programmer-years to develop, and only allowed tiled windows.

Last updated: 1996-07-08

Windows 2

<operating system>

The second version of Microsoft Windows, released in 1987. Windows 2 had considerably more features than Windows 1, such as overlapping windows and icons. When Windows/386 was released, Windows 2 was renamed Windows/286.

Windows 2000

<operating system>

(Win2k, W2k, NT5, Windows NT 5.0) An operating system developed by Microsoft Corporation for PCs and servers, as the successor to Windows NT 4.0. Early beta versions were referred to as "Windows NT 5.0". Windows 2000 was officially released on 2000-02-17.

Windows 2000 is most commonly used on Intel x86 and Pentium processors, with a DEC Alpha version rumoured. Unlike Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000 is not available for PowerPC or MIPS.

Windows 2000's user interface is very similar to Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0 with integrated Internet Explorer, or to Windows 98.

It is available in four flavours:

- Professional: the client version, meant for desktop workstations, successor to Windows NT Workstation.

- Server: "entry-level" server, designed for small deployments, and departmental file, print, or intranet servers.

- Advanced Server: high throughput, larger scale servers and applications, and small to medium scale websites.

- Data Center Server: software for large-scale server clusters (in development as of 2000-03-14).

New features in Windows 2000 include:

- Active Directory.

- Greatly improved built-in security mechanisms, including Kerberos-based authentication, public key support, an encrypting file system, and IPsec support.

- Integrated web browser - Internet Explorer 5.0.

- Integrated web server - IIS 5.0

- Terminal services for displaying application interfaces on remote computers (similar to X-Windows).

- File protection that prevents user programs from accidentally deleting or overwriting critical system files.

- Improved hardware support, including Plug-and-Play, DVD, IEEE-1394 (FireWire), USB, infra-red, PCMCIA, ACPI, laptop computers.

- Improved user interface, including a single point to control the entire system.

- Improved management tools, including remote administration.

Minimum system requirements, according to Microsoft, are Pentium-133 MHz CPU, 64 MB RAM, 650 MB of hard disk space. These are for W2K Professional, others require more.

Many operating systems compete with Windows 2000, including the Apple MacOS, Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Sun Solaris, IBM AIX, Hewlett-Packard HP-UX, SGI Irix. Novell's NDS also provides a service similar to Active Directory.

Windows 2000 will be followed by Windows XP Professional and Windows 2002.

Last updated: 2002-01-28


Windows 2

Windows 2K

Windows 2000

Windows 3.0

<operating system>

A complete rework of Microsoft Windows with many new facilities such as the ability to address memory beyond 640k. It was released in 1990, and vigorous development of applications by third parties helped Microsoft sell over 10 million copies.

Last updated: 1996-07-08

Windows 3.1

<operating system>

A version of Microsoft Windows with many improvements over Windows 3.0, including True Type Fonts, Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) and Mouse Trails for use with LCD Devices. It also saw the loss of Real Mode, which meant it would no longer run on Intel 8086 processors (did anyone ever do this anyway?).

Sometimes described as "stand-alone Windows", in contrast to Windows for Workgroups 3.1. Windows 3.11 is a free bug-fix update. 3.1's successors are Windows 95 and Windows NT.

Last updated: 1996-07-08

Windows 3.11

<operating system>

A free minor bug-fix for Windows 3.1.

Last updated: 1996-07-08


<operating system>

A version of Microsoft Windows released in late 1987. Windows/386 was basically the same as its predecessor, Windows/286 (as Windows 2 was renamed), but with the capability to run multiple MS-DOS applications simultaneously in extended memory.

Last updated: 1996-07-08

Windows 4GL

<tool, database>

(INGRES/Windows 4GL) A graphical tool running on top of a workstation's native windowing system, to help developers to build user interfaces to INGRES applications.

Last updated: 1996-07-09

Windows 94

<operating system, humour>

A facetious name for Windows 95, so called because it was originally meant to ship in 1994.

Last updated: 1998-09-07

Windows 95

<operating system>

(Win95) Microsoft's successor to their Windows 3.11 operating system for IBM PCs. It was known as "Chicago" during development. Its release was originally scheduled for late 1994 but eventually happened on 11 Jul 1995, followed by Service Release 1 on 1995-12-31 and OSR2 (OEM Service Release 2) on 1996-08-24.

In contrast to earlier versions, Windows 95 is a complete operating system rather than a graphical user interface running on top of MS-DOS.

It provides 32-bit application support, pre-emptive multitasking, threading and built-in networking (TCP/IP, IPX, SLIP, PPP, and Windows Sockets). It includes MS-DOS 7.0, but takes over completely after booting. The graphical user interface, while similar to previous Windows versions, is significantly improved.

Windows 95 has also been described as "32-bit extensions and a graphical shell for a 16-bit patch to an 8-bit operating system originally coded for a 4-bit microprocessor, written by a 2-bit company that can't stand 1-bit of competition".

The successor to Windows 95 was Windows 98.

Last updated: 1998-07-19

Windows 98

<operating system>

Microsoft's 1998 update to Windows 95 that adds:

* Hardware support for Universal Serial Bus (USB).

* Internet Connection Sharing (IGC) - multiple PCs share a single connection to the Internet.

* Microsoft WebTV for Windows - watch TV on your PC.

* Support for new graphic, sound, and multimedia formats.

* Internet Explorer release 5.

* Windows 98 Service Pack - year 2000 updates.

Windows 98 was followed logically by Windows ME but chronologically by Windows 2000 Professional Edition.

Last updated: 2002-01-19

Windows 9X

<operating system>

A shorthand meaning Windows 95 or Windows 98.

Last updated: 2004-03-28

Windows Application Binary Interface

<operating system, tool>

(WABI) A software package from Sun Microsystems to allow certain Microsoft Windows applications under the X Window System. Wabi 2.2 runs under Solaris on SPARC, Intel, and PowerPC. Wabi works by providing translated versions of the three core Windows libraries, user.dll, kernel.dll, and gdi.dll which redirect Windows calls to Solaris equivalents. For code other than core library calls Wabi either executes the instructions directly on the hardware, if it is Intel, or emulates them, either one instruction at a time or by translating a block of instructions and caching the result (e.g. for a loop).

WabiServer allows the Windows application and X display to be on different computers.


Last updated: 1997-01-08

Windows CE

<operating system>

/C E/ A version of the Microsoft Windows operating system that is being used in a variety of embedded products, from handheld PCs to specialised industrial controllers and consumer electronic devices. Programming for Windows CE is similar to programming for other Win32 platforms.

Windows CE was developed to be a customisable operating system for embedded applications. Its kernel borrows much from other Microsoft 32-bit operating systems, while eliminating (or replacing) those operating system features that are not needed for typical Windows CE-based applications. For example, as on Windows NT, all applications running on Windows CE run in a fully preemptive multitasking environment, in fully protected memory spaces.

The Win32 (API) for Windows CE is smaller than the Win32 API for the other 32-bit Windows operating systems. It includes approximately half the interface methods of the Windows NT version of the API. But the Win32 API for Windows CE also includes features found in no other Microsoft operating system. The notification API, for example, makes it possible to handle user or application notification events (such as timer events) at the operating-system level, rather than in a running application. The touch screen API and the built-in support for the Windows CE database are not found in other Windows operating systems. The touch screen API makes it easy to manage screen calibration and user interactions for touch-sensitive displays, while the database API provides access to a data storage facility.

Last updated: 1997-12-20

Windows for Workgroups

<operating system>

(WFW, WFWG) A version of Windows 3.1 that worked with a network. Although stand-alone 3.1 could be networked, the installation and configuration was much improved with Windows for Workgroups. The first release was Windows for Workgroups 3.1.

Last updated: 1996-07-08

Windows for Workgroups 3.1

<operating system>

(WFW 3.1) The lesser known first release of Windows for Workgroups. WFW 3.1 bundled an earlier 386-protected mode networking stack with Windows 3.1. It did not support TCP/IP.

WFW 3.1 was upgraded to Windows for Workgroups 3.11.

Last updated: 2018-08-15

Windows for Workgroups 3.11

<operating system>

A significant updade of Windows for Workgroups 3.1, adding 32-bit file access, fax capability and higher performance.

Last updated: 2018-08-15

Windows Hardware Quality Labs

<body, standard>

(WHQL) A Microsoft body that produces and supports the Microsoft Hardware Compatibility Test kit for current Microsoft operating systems. Products are tested with the kit to ensure that they meet Microsoft standards for compatibility with Windows and to qualify to use the "Designed for Microsoft Windows" logos.

Last updated: 2002-11-13

window shopping


A term used among users of WIMP environments like the X Window System or the Macintosh at the US Geological Survey for extended experimentation with new window colours, fonts, and icon shapes. This activity can take up hours of what might otherwise have been productive working time. "I spent the afternoon window shopping until I found the coolest shade of green for my active window borders --- now they perfectly match my medium slate blue background." Serious window shoppers will spend their days with bitmap editors, creating new and different icons and background patterns for all to see. Also: "window dressing", the act of applying new fonts, colours, etc.

See fritterware, compare macdink.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 1996-07-08

Windows Internet Naming Service


(WINS) Software which resolves NetBIOS names to IP addresses.


Last updated: 1998-02-14

Windows Management Interface

<Microsoft, system management>

(WMI) Microsoft's implementation of Web-Based Enterprise Management, a DMTF initiative to establish standards for accessing and sharing system management information over an enterprise network.

Last updated: 2005-02-15

Windows ME

Windows Millennium Edition

Windows Messaging


Microsoft's Internet electronic mail application, formerly called Microsoft Exchange.

Last updated: 1998-07-05

windows messaging


An inter-process communication facility usually provided by vendors of graphical user interfaces for concurrent operating systems, such as Microsoft, The X Consortium and Apple.

The system software translates hardware interrupts from various input devices into messages according to the current input context (e.g. the active window of the frontmost application). Each message is a short piece of information. A message's format depends on its type, which is usually encoded in its first field. The message is sent to the client application using some communication protocol (e.g. shared memory, internal socket, network socket). The client application dispatches the message and performs any actions required. The messages can also be sent by client applications. This provides convenient and flexible inter-process communication.

Last updated: 1998-07-06

Windows Millennium Edition

<operating system>

(Windows ME) An update of Microsoft Windows 98, released in 2000. ME included updates of packaged software and new software such as Windows Media Player 7, Windows Movie Maker. It also has an updated user interface with new colours and icons, but few major changes. Windows ME was followed by Windows XP.

Last updated: 2003-05-13

Windows NT

<operating system>

(Windows New Technology, NT) Microsoft's 32-bit operating system developed from what was originally intended to be OS/2 3.0 before Microsoft and IBM ceased joint development of OS/2. NT was designed for high end workstations (Windows NT 3.1), servers (Windows NT 3.1 Advanced Server), and corporate networks (NT 4.0 Enterprise Server). The first release was Windows NT 3.1.

Unlike Windows 3.1, which was a graphical environment that ran on top of MS-DOS, Windows NT is a complete operating system. To the user it looks like Windows 3.1, but it has true multi-threading, built in networking, security, and memory protection.

It is based on a microkernel, with 32-bit addressing for up to 4Gb of RAM, virtualised hardware access to fully protect applications, installable file systems, such as FAT, HPFS and NTFS, built-in networking, multi-processor support, and C2 security.

NT is also designed to be hardware independent. Once the machine specific part - the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) - has been ported to a particular machine, the rest of the operating system should theorertically compile without alteration. A version of NT for DEC's Alpha machines was planned (September 1993).

NT needs a fast 386 or equivalent, at least 12MB of RAM (preferably 16MB) and at least 75MB of free disk space.

NT 4.0 was followed by Windows 2000.

Usenet newsgroups:,

Last updated: 2002-06-10

Windows NT 3.1

<operating system>

Microsoft's first version of Windows NT, released in September 1993, price UKP 395, after having been in beta-test for as long as anyone could remember.

The person responsible for VMS on the DEC VAX [who?] was also responsible for Windows NT. Incrementing each letter in VMS yields WNT.

Last updated: 2000-08-12

Windows NT 3.5

<operating system>

A much improved version of Microsoft's Windows NT 3.1. NT is now (July 1996) supplied as "Windows NT 3.5 Workstation" and "Windows NT 3.5 Server". It has better OLE support, higher performance and requires less memory.

Last updated: 1996-07-08

Windows NT 4

<operating system>

A version of Microsoft's Windows NT operating system, originally code named "Cairo". It was supposed to ship in the first half of 1995. Details are scarce, but it is intended to provide an object-oriented version of Windows.

Last updated: 1996-07-09

Windows NT 5

Windows 2000

Windows NT Network Model


The network model used by Windows NT. The model has the following layers:

 User Applications (e.g. Excel)
 File System Drivers
 {NDIS} v4
 NDIS Wrapper
 NDIS Card Driver
 {Network Adapter Card}

Compare OSI seven layer model.

Last updated: 1997-11-05

Windows Open Service Architecture

<architecture, library, Microsoft>

(WOSA) One of the mainstays of Microsoft Windows: the ethos of abstraction of core services.

For each extension, Windows Open Services Architecture defines an API and an SPI, as well as a universal interface (usually placed in a single DLL) that both comply to.

These then transparently let the operating system speak to device drivers, database managers, and other low level entities.

These extensions include, among others, ODBC (called the "crowning jewel of WOSA"), TAPI, WOSA/XFS, SAPI and MAPI, and their supporting services, as well as the abstraction of access to printers, modems, and networking services, which run identically over TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, and NetBEUI.

Last updated: 2000-08-16

Windows Registry

<operating system>

The database used by Microsoft Windows 95 and later to store all sorts of configuration information such as which program should be used to open a .doc file, DLL registration information, application-specific settings and much more.

The Registry is stored in .dat files, one in the user's profile containing their per-user settings and one in the Windows directory containing settings that are global to all users. These are loaded into memory at login.

The loaded data appears as a tree with five main branches: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, HKEY_CURRENT_USER, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, HKEY_USERS, HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG. HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT defines file types and actions, HKEY_CURRENT_USER is an alias for one of the sub-trees of HKEY_USERS and contains user settings that override the global defaults in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.

The branches of the tree are called "keys" and are identified by paths like HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion. Any node in the tree can have zero or more "values" which are actually bindings of a name and a value, e.g. "Logon User Name" = "Denis". The value can be of type string, binary, dword (long integer), multi-string value or expandable string value.

Windows includes a Registry Editor (regedit.exe).

Last updated: 2008-01-20

Windows sockets

<networking, standard>

(Winsock) A specification for Microsoft Windows network software, describing how applications can access network services, especially TCP/IP. Winsock is intended to provide a single API to which application developers should program and to which multiple network software vendors should conform. For any particular version of Microsoft Windows, it defines a binary interface (ABI) such that an application written to the Windows Sockets API can work with a conformant protocol implementation from any network software vendor.

Winsock was conceived at Fall Interop '91 during a Birds of a Feather session.

Windows Sockets is supported by Microsoft Windows, Windows for Workgroups, Win32s, Windows 95 and Windows NT. It will support protocols other than TCP/IP. Under Windows NT, Microsoft will provide Windows Sockets support over TCP/IP and IPX/SPX. DEC will be implementing DECNet. Windows NT will include mechanisms for multiple protocol support in Windows Sockets, both 32-bit and 16 bit.

Mark Towfiq said, "The next rev. of Winsock will not be until toward the end of 1993. We need 1.1 of the API to become firmly settled and implemented first."

Windows Sockets API. or or send a message "help" to either <[email protected]> or <[email protected]>.

Windows Sockets specification.

Currently NetManage (NEWT), Distinct, FTP and Frontier are shipping Winsock TCP/IP stacks, as is Microsoft (Windows NT and TCP/IP for WFW), Beame & Whiteside Software (v1.1 compliant), and Sun PC-NFS. Windows 95 has "dial-up networking" which supports Winsock and TCP/IP.

winsock.dll is available from some TCP/IP stack vendors. Novell has one in beta for their Lan Workplace for DOS.

Peter Tattam <[email protected]> is alpha-testing a shareware Windows Sockets compliant TCP/IP stack and

The Consummate Winsock App List.

[Adapted from: Aboba, Bernard D., comp.protocols.tcp-ip.ibmpc Frequently Asked Questions, 1993 Usenet: news.answers,].

[Current status?]

Last updated: 1996-06-20

Windows XP

<operating system>

The version of the Microsoft Windows operating system that, when it was released on 2001-10-25, finally merged the Windows 95 - Windows ME strain with the Windows NT - Windows 2000 one. XP comes in two main versions: Windows XP Professional Edition and a simplified subset for home users, Windows XP Home Edition.

Windows XP home page.

Last updated: 2009-08-12

Windows XP Pro

Windows XP Professional Edition

Windows XP Professional Edition

<operating system>

("Windows XP Pro", "XP Pro") The version of Microsoft's Windows XP operating system intended for businesses and advanced users. The alternative, Windows XP Home Edition, is a subset of Pro without Remote Desktop, Multi-processor support, Automated System Recovery, Dynamic Disk Support, Fax, Internet Information Services, Encrypting File System, File-level access control, Active Directory, Group Policy, IntelliMirror, Roaming profiles and other features.

Pro-Home Comparison.

Last updated: 2009-08-12

window system

<operating system>

Software which allows a computer's display to be divided into rectangular areas which act like a separate input/output devices under the control of different application programs. This gives the user the ability to see the output of several processes at once and to choose which one will receive input by selecting its window, usually by pointing at it with a mouse.

Examples are the X Window System, proprietary systems on the Macintosh and NeXT, NeWS on Suns, RISC OS on the Archimedes and Microsoft Windows. See also WIMP.

Last updated: 2015-03-07

Nearby terms:

Win 98winchesterwindowingwindowing systemwindow manager

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