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Maximize Conventional Memory Under Windows 95
Conventional memory is much less important to Windows 95 users than it is to users of DOS, because Windows 95 programs can use all of the extended memory available on the machine instead of trying to squeeze into 640 KB. However, since most people still run DOS programs under Windows 95, they need to still worry about having enough conventional memory to let DOS applications work properly.
One of the nice things about Windows 95 is that it loads drivers into extended memory--drivers that DOS has to squish into conventional or upper memory areas. Since extended memory is large, this means far fewer concerns with how much space various drivers are using. However, when you boot Windows 95, you are really booting a form of DOS and then running Windows 95 on top of it (no matter what Microsoft wants you to believe. :^) ) When you "Restart the computer in MS-DOS mode" (from the Shutdown menu) you are in fact just closing the Windows 95 graphical interface and dropping down to DOS. When you do this, or if you bypass loading the "true" Windows 95 program entirely, you now cannot use the extended-memory Windows 95 drivers, and you are back to using DOS conventional memory drivers. This can cause serious conventional memory problems.
Note: If you don't ever boot
into DOS, you're unlikely to have problems with Windows 95 conventional memory.
The first thing you should do is read the section discussing conventional memory maximization for DOS and follow those guidelines. You should find that in most cases, this will give you a good amount of conventional memory, both in an MS-DOS Prompt box under Windows 95, and also when you restart in MS-DOS mode. As long as you don't do anything too fancy in DOS mode, you should be fine.
Tip: Use this DOS command to
check memory usage and the amount free: "MEM /C /P".
The one really tricky thing is Windows 95's compression driver and how to manage it. (Well, the best way is not to use compression at all if this is possible...) The DRVSPACE compression driver is large--110 KB in size--so it's difficult to handle. You have a couple of choices of how to configure loading the driver, as there is a tradeoff here: