3.5. Common system drivers
Drivers provide the link necessary for Windows 95 and the hardware to communicate. Call them translators if you will. Windows 95 supports three basic types of drivers: MS-DOS, real-mode Windows, and protected-mode Windows.
MS-DOS drivers load prior to Windows starting. They are placed in the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT. These drivers usually have a SYS extension. You can still use them, but are not your best choice.
Real-mode Windows drivers are drivers that are drivers similar to MS-DOS drivers except that they are usually loaded in the SYSTEM.INI and end in DRV. They are designed to run under MS- DOS. They are mostly older 16-bit drivers designed to run in Windows 3.x (hence the SYSTEM.INI).
Protected-mode drivers are 32-bit drivers designed to take advantage of Windows 95 and the protected mode architecture of 386 and higher processors. Usually ending with VXD, they are called virtual device drivers. These are the drivers of choice because they are faster and do not use the conventional memory, as do older real-mode drivers.