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I have read conflicting tales of when Windows first ran in protected mode and ran one DOS application in real mode (this mixture is the so-called standard mode, I think). Some sources claim it was Windows 2.0, some claim it was Windows 2.1 (which introduced enhanced mode for the 386).

Can anyone confirm which tale is true?

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It was "back in the ol' days", AFAIK. – Mehrdad May 22 '11 at 5:01
In Raymond Chen says that "Windows 2.0 did support protected mode. And it was Windows/386, which came out before Windows 3.0, which first used the new virtual-x86 mode of the 80386 processor to support pre-emptively multitasked DOS boxes. The old Windows 2.0 program was renamed "Windows/286" to keep the names in sync." – Andrew J. Brehm May 22 '11 at 17:25

Wikipedia says it's Windows 2.1

Windows 2.1 was released in two different versions: Windows/386 employed the 386 virtual 8086 mode to multitask several DOS programs, and the paged memory model to emulate expanded memory using available extended memory. Windows/286 (which, despite its name, would run on the 8086) still ran in real mode, but could make use of the high memory area.

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That really doesn't help. Wikipedia was obviously one place where I already checked. But this Microsoft page claims that Windows 2.0 was designed for the 286 processor. (It also claims that Windows 2.0 supported expanded memory but I think they mean extended memory.) – Andrew J. Brehm May 22 '11 at 17:12
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I found this article now:

It shows a box and a start screen of a Windows/386 2.0, meaning that Windows 2.1 wasn't the first Windows/386 but Windows 2.0 was - a specific version for Compaq. This makes it highly likely that Windows/286 already existed with Windows 2.0.

enter image description here

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