Windows uses a loose protection mode in it's operating system. It doesn't do it because protective mode is something new. Protective mode has been around since
the first 386 processor of the late 80's. Protective mode
is designed such that each application has it's own working area of memory. In theory, if an application fails only the application crashes leaving all other running processes intact. Before Windows 95 there was no protected mode used. Before windows 2000, older apps would be run in non-protected mode which would leave the whole system vulnerable to crashing. Windows NT 2000 and XP include a DOS box which is wrapped with-in a protected mode shell and ideally will only run apps in protected mode. This gives Microsoft their claim to stability, however, the stability is short circuited by their internet explorer and outlook express which allow non-protected mode java, vbscript, jscript asp, and a host of others. I think it was Microsoft's intent to dazzle people with all the new features that they would forget or not realize the loss of others. In any case, it can be conceded that windows NT structure is more stable than the MSDOS structure of DOS & win 95/98/ME . Now if they could only get rid of all their memory leaks (wasted memory marked as in use when it's not), and plug up the non-protected mode holes (like maybe scrap internet explorer and outlook express) their product might finally be crash resistant. Notice I didn't say crash-proof! Windows apps almost always crash the whole system and thusly, a full reboot is needed and all info before the crash is lost.
Microsoft is always blowing their own horn that they are selling a finished piece of work. Yet they have this annoying need to employ immediate updates, patches, fixes etc. as soon as you install their product. You also must continually allow for updates and fixes so your
system keeps working.
I know you have all been waiting for the LINUX scoop! Right! Well in a nutshell, Linux has always used a full protected mode since it came out after the spawn of the 386 processors. Protective mode exists whether you are using the command shell (console mode) or Xwindow system. While collisions are few and far between (usually due to improper set-up of sharing and inter-process communication ) you will find Linux extremely stable. As an aside, when you look for Linux versions, it will come out with a stable version and an experimental version. The stable version has been exhaustively tested while the unstable or experimental version is a work in progress that may have issues. In the event of an application crash, Linux will almost 99% of the time be able to recover such that only the app that failed will need restarting. Most Linux apps I tested, do regular saves so if the app fails it can recover the work as well.
Microsoft's systems don't sound like a finished piece of work to me. At least Linux is honest and tells you up front that their system will never be finished because there will always be a need for improvements.