Windows 95 is set up using modular components.

  • The OS Kernel
    KERNEL32.DLL and KERNEL.DLL handle the system integration. Functions like file input/output, program loading and execution and memory management are controlled by the Kernel.

  • The User
    USER32.DLL and USER.DLL handle user input/output functions such as keyboard, mouse, audio and communications. The two user DLL's provide the familiar Graphical User Interface GUI display, icons and dialog boxes.

  • The GDI
    The GDI32.DLL and the GDI.DLL manage all graphics and printing. These two DLL's are the core of the Win32 Application Programming Interface (API). Win95 and WinNT are both based on the Win32 API.
  • You may wonder why you have two DLL's for each modular component - the answer is simple. All the DLL's ending with 32 (i.e. KERNEL32.DLL) are the newer 32-bit Windows DLL's, and the ones not ending in 32 (i.e. KERNEL.DLL) are the older Windows 3.11 DLL's that make up the 16-bit virtual sand-box in all the 32-bit Windows environments.

    The modular approach is virtually unchanged since Windows 3.0 (or 3.1, correct me if I'm wrong).

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