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Difference between Win16 and Win32

Posted on 1999-01-23
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What is the difference between Win16 and Win32 ?
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Question by:longlong
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The main difference is that win32 uses a flat protected mode memory model.  (This means that each program has access to a single address space (flat) and that the it cannot access other program's or the operating system's memory space (protected) ).  Win16 uses a segmented unprotected memory model.  This means a program's memory is made up of many memory segments and that a program can access the memory of another program.

That is the crucial difference.  Most of the other differences all derive from this.  For example, win 16 uses either 16 or 32 bit pointers (and rarely 48 bit), but win32 always uses 32 bit pointers.  This means that were changes because 16 pointers needed to be converted to 32 bit pointers.  Another change derived from this is that programs used to share data by simply copying memory from one program to another.  Since that is not allowed in win32, win 32 has provided ways to share data  (quite complex ones.)
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There are numerious other differences, as I said most of them were caused by the differences in memory.  However some are just simple improvements or changes to the windows API.  i.e win32 added many functions that win16 didn't have.  And removed some that are no longer needed.  For further study, I recomend you get a book on this subject.  There are a variety.  One I reomend is called "Porting to Win32" by Thomas Lauer.
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