How Windows 95 Performs a Safe-Mode Start

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This article discusses how Windows 95 boots in Safe mode. A Safe-modeboot can be invoked in the following ways:
  • By pressing F5 at the "Starting Windows 95" message.
  • By pressing F8 at the "Starting Windows 95" message, and then choosing Safe Mode from the Windows 95 Startup menu.
  • Automatically, if Windows 95 did not start on the previous attempt.
How Windows 95 boots in Safe mode:
  1. Windows 95 bypasses the portion of the Registry that loads protected- mode device drivers, and bypasses the Autoexec.bat and Config.sys files.
  2. Himem.sys is loaded with the /testmem:on switch. No other command-line switches are processed. For additional information, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    133442 Safe Mode Boot Does Not Process Machine Switch for Himem.sys
  3. Ifshlp.sys is loaded. Dblbuff.sys is loaded with the /d+ switch.
  4. Windows 95 obtains path information from the Msdos.sys file.
  5. If Windows 95 files are found, the command "win /d:m" (which enables a Safe-mode boot) is executed and is skipped.

    If Windows 95 files are not found, is executed.
  1. When "win /d:m" is executed, Windows 95 looks for a System.cb file in the Windows folder. If this file is not present, a clean System.cb file is loaded from memory.

    A clean System.cb file loads the following virtual device drivers (VxDs):
          mouse=*vmouse      device=*configmg      device=*vwin32      device=*vfbackup      device=*vshare      device=*vcomm      device=*ifsmgr      device=*ios      device=*vfat      device=*vcache      device=*vcond      device=*int13      device=*vxdldr      device=*vdef      device=*dynapage      device=*reboot      device=*vsd      device=*parity      device=*biosxlat      device=*vmcpd      device=*vkd      device=*vdd      device=*ebios      device=*vtdapi      device=*vmpoll      woafont=dosapp.fon						
  2. After these VxDs are loaded, and just before loads the shell, the System.cb file is discarded and the original System.ini file is restored. If no System.ini file is found to restore, an empty System.ini file is created. The Winstart.bat file is not processed.
  3. Windows 95 now uses the original registry settings and System.ini and Win.ini files.

    This effectively bypasses the [Boot] and [386Enh] sections of the System.ini file and disables all the Windows 95 protected-mode devices listed in Device Manager. Also, Windows 95 does not run programs listed on the "Load=" and "Run=" lines in the [Windows] section of the Win.ini file.

    Note that although the [Boot] section of the System.ini file is bypassed, the "shell=" and "drivers=" lines in the [Boot] section are processed.
  4. The shell resizes the desktop to a resolution of 640 x 480.

Article ID: 122051 - Last Review: 12/04/2015 10:39:31 - Revision: 1.1

Microsoft Windows 95

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