Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 9th Feb 2013 18:54 UTC
Windows "The 16-bit Windows kernel was actually three kernels. One if you were using an 8086 processor, another if you were using an 80286 processor, and a third if you were using an 80386 processor. The 8086 kernel was a completely separate beast, but the 80286 and 80386 kernels shared a lot of code in common." As always, Raymond Chen delivers. If you don't yet follow his blog, you should. Right now. Click that bookmark or RSS button.
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So this is how windows multitasked on the 286, by continually rebooting the cpu

This was only required if you needed to start a MS-DOS program from inside Windows. Otherwise it was running in full 16 bit protected mode with all required features.

Was there an early generation of 286 mainboards which didn't support a cpu reset?

I am not sure, but that could have been the case with Xenix systems, which did not require MS-DOS compatibility.

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