First post, by captain_koloth
As I know just enough about computers to be dangerous and fake what I'm talking about but not really enough to actually understand them, I'm going to ask a question that runs the risk of being somewhat ill-formed: why is the state of Win 9x compatibility/emulation so poor compared to either earlier (DOS/3.1) or later systems?
DOS/3.1 through DOSBox are basically perfect (please, I don't mean to start a discussion on that topic, I just mean from the point of a view of a casual nostalgic gamer, it's 99% of the way there). Nearly all games designed for XP or later can be coaxed to run on Win 7-10. But anything from about 1996-2003? Here be dragons... Why is this? You can run these OSs in a virtual machine or PCEm, but compatibility is awful and there are lots of problems (I dont mean to suggest of course that PCEm isnt technically impressive- it's just not in a state yet where casual users would make use of it). Same with trying to install Win 95 in DOSBox.
Can anyone explain why this is? From my reading my understanding is that Win 9x uses a different file structure and codebase from either DOS/3.1 or the XP and later systems, but as above I dont understand the specifics well- can anybody explain this? Why is this apparently such a difficult unsolved problem? What makes Win 9x so different from the systems that came before and after that makes them difficult from a compatibility or emulation perspective?