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Windows 95 provides great support for users to access the Internet, regardless of the application or the service provider they choose. By providing key, industry standard Internet services as part of the base operating system, Windows 95 represents a huge step forward over previous versions of Windows. Most applications run fine under Windows 95, however some applications use non-standard components and may require special configuration to run correctly under Windows 95.

The purpose of this document is to answer commonly asked questions regarding these applications, provide background regarding Windows 95 support for the Internet, and to inform users how to configure these applications to run correctly under Windows 95. Information in this document is subject to change as new information becomes available, or as new applications or new versions of existing applications become available.

On This Page

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions
Configuring Specific Applications Under Windows 95
For More Information
Glossary of Terms

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

Q. Can I run Compuserve/Spry Internet in a box, Mosaic, Netscape, etc. with Windows 95?

A. Yes, all of these applications run with Windows 95. Some applications (listed below), use either non-industry-standard or real-mode components and some configuration is needed - see below for more detail.

Q. Can I use my third party browser with Windows 95's own TCP/IP and Winsock?

A. Yes.

Q. Can I run multiple browsers on my Windows 95 system? Can I run third-party browsers together with Microsoft's own Internet Explorer?

A. Yes.

Q. Does installing Microsoft's own Internet Explorer overwrite, remove, or disable my existing Internet browser?

A. No. In some cases, special configuration may be needed - see below for more detail.

Q. If I use Internet Explorer as my browser, do I have to use MSN as my Internet service provider?

A. No, you can use any Internet service provider.

Q. Why is this an issue with Windows 95? Why did it work with Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups?

A. Unlike Windows 3.1, Windows 95 includes all the system files necessary for users to connect to the Internet. This is an important step forward to help both customers and applications connect more easily to the Internet. As a result, some of the existing Internet applications require special configuration to coexist correctly with Windows 95 and other Internet applications.

Q. How will these problems be fixed in the future?

A. Microsoft has been working together with third party vendors for months to address these issues. All third parties have committed to modifying their installations to coexist with Windows 95. See below for more details.

Q. Can I access the Internet through MSN and through another Internet service provider on the same machine?

A. Yes.

Q. Does MSN erase the TCP/IP settings for my service provider?

A. No.

In the past, setting up Internet access has typically been difficult for users. Users had to obtain TCP/IP settings from their specific service provider and enter them during setup. To make Internet setup easy for users who choose The Microsoft Network as their Internet access provider, MSN dynamically assigns these settings as they log in. Some users, however, may already have TCP/IP settings from the previous setup of another Internet service provider. In this case, The Microsoft Network presents a choice to the user (presented in dialog shown below):

  • Keep their existing settings and use these settings with both MSN, as well as the other Internet service provider.


  • Remove the existing TCP/IP settings and allow them to be dynamically assigned for Internet access through MSN.

Q. When I get presented with the following dialog during Internet setup asking me if I want to remove my previous TCP/IP (Domain Name Server-DNS) settings, what should I do?


A. If you want to access the Internet through MSN as well as through your existing Internet service provider, you should respond 'No' to indicate that you want to keep your existing settings. In this case, both MSN and your other Internet service provider will work on the same machine.

If you want to use MSN as your only Internet service provider, then it is safe to remove the existing settings by choosing 'Yes.' In this case, your existing Internet access provider that relied on these settings will no longer work. For the user who plans to use Internet access only through MSN, 'Yes' is the optimal choice so that MSN can dynamically assign TCP/IP settings and route users' requests through the most efficient path.

If you are connected to a Local Area Network, please contact your system adminstrator before making any changes to TCP/IP settings.

Q. Is there any other way MSN changes my TCP/IP settings?

A. No.

Q. Whenever I open an Internet browser, the MSN client comes up. Are you forcing me to use MSN?

A. No. Windows 95 provides an auto-dial feature that allows you to automatically dial the Internet whenever an application requests an Internet resource. You can auto-dial any service provider you choose, or choose to turn this feature off. These changes can be made through the Internet Control Panel.


Internet Support in Windows 95

Microsoft Windows 95 provides easy access to the Internet, whether you dial into a commercial Internet provider or you gain access via your corporate network. Windows 95 provides all the "plumbing" you need to tap into the information on the worldwide Internet network. Microsoft is committed to the openness of the Internet and to industry standards, and to making Windows 95 the easiest platform to explore the Internet, regardless of the application or the service provider. Built-in support for TCP/IP, dial-up protocols, such as Point to Point Protocol (PPP) and Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP), and Windows Sockets make connecting to the Internet just a mouse-click away.

By providing these services as part of the base operating system, Windows 95 represents a huge step forward over previous versions of Windows. An analogy can be drawn to Windows printer drivers. Prior to Windows, users were forced to go to the vendor of each application to obtain the driver for their specific printer. That driver was specific not only to the printer, but also to the application – a user could not use that driver with another vendor's application. This placed a burden on both the user, who had to find each driver, and also the vendor, who had to develop the driver. By providing printer drivers in Microsoft Windows, both the users and application developers benefited – users could use a single driver for all applications, and application vendors could be free of writing driver-dependent code. Similarly, providing system support for Internet services means that users will no longer have to find vendor-specific Internet files, and Internet application developers can concentrate on creating great applications such as world-wide-web browsers for their users instead of spending development cycles on low-level drivers.

Windows Sockets

Providing support for Windows Socket services allows use of any of the large collection of third-party and public-domain Internet utilities to easily connect to the Internet and access the thousands of worldwide information servers. Windows 95 includes the industry standard Windows Sockets 1.1, based on the U.C. Berkeley Sockets specification. Windows Sockets is installed when a user chooses to install either the Microsoft TCP/IP or the Microsoft IPX/SPX compatible protocol, or if a user installs the Internet Jumpstart Kit (from Microsoft Plus!, MSN, or other online sources).

Most Internet tools work fine with the Windows Socket support that ships with Windows 95. Some Internet applications, however, rely on extended, proprietary versions of Windows Sockets to function. This document explains how to configure these applications so that they will work properly with Windows 95.

Configuring Specific Applications Under Windows 95

Applications Using Proprietary Windows Sockets Support

Some applications rely on extended versions of Windows Sockets for dialing and other vendor specific functions. Most of these applications install their proprietary version of WINSOCK.DLL (the file that provides Windows Sockets support) in their own application directory and work fine with Windows 95. Some applications, however install their version of WINSOCK.DLL in the Windows directory. This can lead to conflicts with Windows 95's Windows Sockets 1.1 support (which also includes a file called WINSOCK.DLL) and their application may not function correctly.

The following applications are known to install a proprietary version of WINSOCK.DLL in the Windows directory:

  • CompuServe NetLauncher 1.00.66

  • Spry Mosaic In A Box 1.0, 1.1, 2.0

  • Network Telesystems TCP Pro Remote

Microsoft has been working with the vendors of the above applications for the past few months on resolving this issue. Microsoft has published guidelines for application developers that encourage them to place any vendor-specific files in the application directory, rather than the Windows directory. All of the vendors of the above products have committed to modifying their installation procedure so that it installs their version of WINSOCK.DLL in the application directory. A fix is already available from CompuServe that moves their file from the Windows directory into the appropriate application directories, and this issue will be resolved with their next release, due in September.

There are 2 scenarios where a user might experience this issue with Windows 95:

  1. A user has one of the above applications, with a vendor-specific WINSOCK.DLL in the Windows directory, and upgrades to Windows 95.

  2. A user is running Windows 95 with the Microsoft standard WINSOCK.DLL and installs one of the above applications, which attempts to overwrite the Microsoft standard version.

Scenario 1: Upgrading to Windows 95 With Existing Application

If the user chooses to install either Microsoft TCP/IP or the Microsoft IPX/SPX compatible protocol when upgrading to Windows 95, the existing WINSOCK.DLL in the Windows directory is renamed WINSOCK.OLD and the Windows 95 WINSOCK.DLL is placed in the Windows directory. This renaming may also take place if the user installs the Internet Jumpstart Kit. This may cause the above applications to no longer function correctly.

Scenario 2: Installing New Third-Party Application Under Windows 95

If the user has installed either Microsoft TCP/IP or the Microsoft IPX/SPX compatible protocol, or the Internet Jumpstart Kit, when they install one of the above applications, the Windows 95 WINSOCK.DLL is replaced by the vendor-specific version. The application's install program may or may not prompt the user to overwrite the existing file. Immediately after installing the application, Windows 95 may detect that a system file has changed and automatically copy a backup of the Windows 95 WINSOCK.DLL from the WINDOWS\SYSBCKUP directory (created automatically by Windows 95) into the Windows directory, overwriting the vendor-specific version.

In both scenarios, the solution is to copy the WINSOCK.OLD from the Windows directory to the application's directory and rename the new copy WINSOCK.DLL. Make sure that the application's working directory and any configuration information point to the application directory, rather than the Windows directory.

Another solution is to rename the proprietary WINSOCK.OLD to WINSOCK.DLL, and to rename Microsoft's standard WINSOCK.DLL to WINSOCK.OLD. This method may have an effect on other applications that rely on the industry standard Windows Sockets 1.1 support, such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Applications That Rely On Real-Mode Networking

Some applications include 16-bit, real-mode networking drivers to communicate over the Internet. These real-mode drivers may conflict with Windows 95's 32-bit, protect-mode TCP/IP implementation.

Netscape Navigator Personal Edition 1.1 is one of the applications known to include their own real-mode networking components.

Netscape Navigator Personal Edition 1.2 solves this issue by using an all-VxD (no real mode driver) solution. For Netscape Navigator Personal Edition 1.1 users, Netscape Communications will be offering an upgrade to Netscape Navigator Personal Edition 1.2. For more information, check out

If you want to configure Netscape Navigator Personal Edition 1.1 to work with Windows 95, you may need to disable Windows 95's 32-bit TCP/IP, and re-enable the application's 16-bit drivers. To do this:

  1. Open the file C:\autoexec.bat in Notepad and add 'rem' (no quotes) to the beginning of the line c:\windows\net start

  2. Remove 'rem - By Windows 95 Network - ' from the line

    rem - By Windows 95 Network - C:\NETSCAPE\NDIS\NETBIND (or similar).

  3. Save this file.

  4. Open the file C:\config.sys in Notepad and remove 'rem - By Windows 95 Network - ' from the line

    rem - By Windows 95 Network - DEVICE=C:\NETSCAPE\NDIS\PROTMAN.DOS /I:C:\NETSCAPE\NDIS (or similar).

  5. Save this file.

  6. Close the Notepad application and restart Windows 95 so that your changes will take effect. You should now be able to use the above applications in the usual manner.

For More Information

For more information about using third-party Internet applications with Windows 95, please see the Microsoft KnowledgeBase on the World-Wide-Web (

There are several sources of online information about Windows 95:

  • World-Wide-Web (

  • Internet (

  • CompuServe (go winnews)

  • Prodigy (jump winnews)

  • America OnLine (keyword winnews)

  • GEnie (move to page 95)

To subscribe to the Microsoft WinNews Electronic Newsletter, send mail to: As the only text in your message write: subscribe winnews.

Glossary of Terms

Browser - An application written to allow users to navigate the Internet in a graphical, point-and-click method. There are hundreds of third-party and public domain browsers available.

DLL - Dynamic Link Library – A type of system file that allows applications to call functions provided in a shared library.

TCP/IP—The primary wide area network (WAN) transport protocol used in Windows 95 to communicate with computers on the Internet.

Windows Sockets – a standard implementation of the widely used U.C. Berkeley Sockets specification, the de-facto standard for accessing internetworking services over TCP/IP. WINSOCK.DLL is one of the system files Windows 95 provides as part of its Windows Sockets support.