Happy Birthday Windows 95

On 24 August 2020 Windows 95 celebrated its 25th Birthday. We often think about the evolution of the PC in terms of hardware. Spare a moment for the software. Many of the things we take for granted today – such as the Start menu or not having to reboot your PC every single time you wanted to play a game – started with Windows 95. Happy Birthday Windows 95!

Windows 95 was not the best operating system Microsoft ever released. Many people would apply that designation to Windows XP. However, it was certainly one of the most important iterations. In addition to introducing the Start menu, Windows 95 also made things easier by supporting long file names. Up to 250 characters, versus 11 characters previously. It also implemented plug and play functionality before fetching custom-tuned drivers from the manufacturer.

It was also the first Microsoft OS to really encourage gaming directly from within the operating system as opposed to going through DOS. There was a whole lot of resistance to it at the time, partly because it often made games run worse as the OS still stole some of your precious memory and CPU cycles, but also because it was a buggy mess at the start.

Happy Birthday Windows 95

Windows 95 is twenty today. It’s hard to imagine it now, but the launch was greeted with
the sort of hype that only Apple generates today. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Look where we are now

One of the greatest things about PC gaming is the sheer amount of hardware options to choose from. This is why plug and play was, and still is, such an important feature. It allows your PC to detect a peripheral or gadget and offer at least some basic functionality.

Other innovations included the task bar and recycle bin, both introduced with Windows 95, and later the addition of DirectX to the mix. According to Microsoft, Windows 95 sold 7 million copies during its first five weeks. That was quite a bit for the era it debuted in.

The launch event was a spectacle, which undoubtedly helped move some copies. Former late-night television host Jay Leno introduced Bill Gates at the Windows 95 launch event. Microsoft also paid The Rolling Stones $3 million to use its “Start Me Up” as the soundtrack for the festivities and subsequent ad campaign. And of course Steve Ballmer was bouncing up and down on stage and throwing fist pumps.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can kick the tires on Windows 95, right inside Windows 10, using an app uploaded to GitHub by Slack developer Felix Rieseberg. It’s a little less than a 300MB download.

Are you up to date?

Funnily enough LIS are also 25 years old this year. So, happy birthday Windows 95 and LIS. We have been around and seen it all. From the launch of Windows 95 through to Windows 10. We even helped clients resolve issues with Windows 8 and ME (we won’t talk about these versions 🙂 ).

Are your systems running slow? Do you have out dated hardware? What office package are you using? If your software is out of date, then you have security risks? Contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss your options.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

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