Compatibility Issues

No operating system can be released until it breaks as many competing products as possible.

Well, I don't know if anyone actually ever said that, but some monopolies appear to operate that way. In particular, there appears to be a pattern to break as many DOS apps as possible by adding only 1 or 2 new issues per release.

Programs compiled with the Borland 16-bit C/C++ compiler won't run under Windows 95 OSR2
Starting with the Windows 95 OSR2 release, was modified so that programs compiled with Borland's 16-bit C/C++ compiler crash if they try to execute functions which use the dos shell. For details, see here and here. Microsoft says that Borland is trying to execute the version number. (Convincing argument. But then Windows 3.1 applications should also fail!)

Fixing a Stack Overflow Error (NT Only)
When running multiple exe programs in an NT dos shell, sometimes a Stack Overflow error is reported. If you force the command processor to reload each time a program is run, it may fix the problem.

DOS commands do not work with filenames which contain spaces
If a filename contains a space, then it must be enclosed in double quotes.

NT 4.0 fails if filenames use an ampersand (&) or an up arrow (^)
Windows NT uses the & to allow multiple commands on a single line and the ^ to stop the interpretation of special characters. Both of these characters are legal in filenames, but if you use them you will be sorry.

If the & or ^ is used in a file or directory name, double clicking on the file may not work. A link or file association which resolves to
      cmd.exe /k "h:\tips & hints\test.bat"
fails with no way to make it work. However, double clicking a & b.doc correctly opens MS Word.

One of the Microsoft Office directories contains an &. So do Channel names and other stuff.

PKZIP uses the & to span multiple disks. This can be made to work if the & is placed in double quotes or preceded with an up arrow (^&).
      pkzip "-&" *.*
      pkzip -^& *.*

PKZIP uses the ^ parameter to show the command line it was passed. This can be made to work if the ^ is placed in double quotes or preceded with another up arrow (^^). For instance, PKZIP -^ will work if it is entered as PKZIP -^^. There are additional limitations.
      PKZIP -^^vb *.zip works
      PKZIP -vb^^ *.zip does not work

PKZIP can be fixed because you have direct access to the parameters. With filenames that are double clicked, the special characters are a part of the name and there is no way to automatically delimit them.

Win 95 allows filename characters not allowed in NT 4.0
In both operating systems, finding out what is allowed in a file or directory name is almost impossible. Try searching help on

Well ... one of my IE 4 Favorites on Win 95 contains an R with a circle around it. It displays just fine. But, when I try to copy it to NT 4, the symbol is changed to an underscore, NT barfs (a technical term :), and the copy crashes.

From the NT 4 Windows Explorer, when looking over the LAN to the file on my Win 95 system, the file name has an underscore. File Properties shows no data.

JSI Inc. - Your Windows NT Resource - NT Ti.
Apparently they have re-named the site to remove the offending character.

Filenames That Begin With a Dot

On unix systems, hidden files begin with a dot.

In Win 95 & NT 4, Windows Explorer won't allow you to begin a filename with a dot.

Notepad allows you to create a filename which begins with a dot.

When using the Windows Explorer Properties selection, under Win 95, filenames which begin with a dot are not counted; Under NT 4, they are.

Under NT 4.0, cmd.exe and c:\winnt\system32\cmd.exe perform differently
c:\winnt\system32\cmd.exe uses long file names
cmd.exe uses 8.3 file names
See here for details.

Keyboard Commands

Win2000 Disables Firewalls

Windows 2000 SP1 contains a "bug" that causes systems running personal fire walls to loose internet connectivity. Even though the problems were known several months before the release, the service pack was released without any warnings about known incompatibilities. (Yeah, they even had a prepared excuse.)

Well, BlackICE Defender (not free) and ZoneAlarm (free for personal and non-profit use) could be considered "competitors" because their products restrict hostile software's ability to spy on you. (Apparently, UCITA makes it legal for MS and others to spy on your system and to disable your software if you write bad things about it. Does anyone actually believe that this "bug" was an accident? At any rate, both products provide fixes.)


Author: Robert Clemenzi -
URL: http:// / user / clemenzi / technical / compatibility_issues.html