Chapter 1. Introduction

This chapter provides an overview of SoftWindows for UNIX, and describes the new features in SoftWindows 95.

SoftWindows: PC compatibility for UNIX workstations

SoftWindows is a complete IBM-compatible PC in software. It allows UNIX users to run Windows and MS-DOS applications on their workstations as if they were running on a PC.

It combines full PC compatibility with fast performance and built-in networking, so, for example, users can receive electronic mail, read PC-formatted CD-ROMs, and print PC files to a network printer, all from their UNIX workstation.

SoftWindows: a cross-platform solution

SoftWindows is available for the leading RISC-based UNIX workstations from Hewlett Packard, Sun/SPARC, IBM, Motorola, and Silicon Graphics, as well as Apple's Power Macintosh computers.

SoftWindows provides integrated access to information throughout an organization by letting PC and UNIX users share the same data and applications. From one workstation users can run native UNIX applications, Windows and MS-DOS applications, and also use PC-based networked systems.

SoftWindows allows users to standardize on today's most popular productivity applications, such as Microsoft Office and Lotus SmartSuite on PC, UNIX, and Macintosh platforms, throughout the organization.

New features in SoftWindows 95

SoftWindows 95 provides the following enhancements and extensions to SoftWindows 2.0.

Windows 95

SoftWindows 95 includes Windows 95, the latest version of Windows from Microsoft. In addition, SoftWindows 95 incorporates a number of enhancements specifically designed to improve performance with Windows 95.


SoftWindows 95 includes Insignia's TurboStart™ feature which loads Windows 95 instantly, and lets you resume work in your Windows applications where you left off.

Dynamic resizing

SoftWindows 95 now allows the Windows desktop to be resized dynamically, so that the change takes effect immediately, without restarting.

Sound and video support

SoftWindows 95 provides drivers for wav sound files and avi video files, so that users can play sounds and videos from Windows using the workstation hardware.

Long file names

A new implementation of Insignia's File Sharing Architecture (FSA) drives now supports Windows 95 long filenames, allowing filenames to be preserved when copying files between Windows 95 and UNIX via FSA drives.

Automatic hard disk upgrading

SoftWindows 95 automatically detects if the hard disk file being used as the C: drive was created by an earlier version of SoftWindows, and updates the disk with the latest drivers.

Increased hard disk

The capacity of hard disk files has been increased from 300 Mbytes to 500 Mbytes.

NDIS Network Driver

SoftWindows 95 now includes a set of new NDIS3 drivers, which we recommend for Ethernet networking.

Winsock Drivers

SoftWindows 95 now supports both 16-bit and 32-bit Winsock drivers.

DirectX application support

SoftWindows 95 supports applications that make use of DirectX, including ActiveX within Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0.

16550a UART emulation

SoftWindows 95 supports FIFO-enabled UART emulation for improved serial communications performance.

Bundled software

In addition to Windows 95, SoftWindows 95 includes the following software:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0, (includes Real Audio Player 2.1)

  • PkZip 2.01

  • Stuffit Expander 1.0

  • Microsoft Powerpoint Viewer 95 7.0

  • Microsoft Word Viewer 7.1

  • Microsoft Excel Viewer 7.0

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 2.1

  • Shockwave Director 5.0