back to article Start Me Up: 25 years ago this week, Windows 95 launched and, for a brief moment, Microsoft was almost cool

Twenty-five years ago on Monday arguably the most consequential event in modern computing history happened: the release of Windows 95. Let’s take a quick trip back in time. Bill Clinton was US president and the World-Wide-Web-era of the internet was in its infancy; there was war in Bosnia; Oasis and Blur were locked in a …

  1. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Trollface

    Start me up!

    You make a grown man cry.

    Couldn't resist.

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Start me up!

      Whereas these days it's "Hey - You!, Get off of my cloud"

      1. Kane Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Start me up!

        "Whereas these days it's "Hey - You!, Get off of my cloud""

        What? You don't even have the smallest amount of Sympathy for the Devil?

        1. mdubash

          Re: Start me up!

          Well, you can't always get what you want...

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: Start me up!

            Certainly not gettin any satisfaction...

    2. PghMike

      Re: Start me up!

      I was watching for this line in the article.

  2. ghp

    Never ever had an ounce of appreciation for μ$. What poor use they made of what was available.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Linux

      You forgot the "down-vote me harder" icon that has to be used with articles about Micros~1

      1. ghp

        No, but my first contact with the PC was on mp/m, only later I got to know msdoesn't. I could never understand people were satisfied with what little they got.

        1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
          Mushroom

          > I could never understand people were satisfied with what little they got.

          Because people never saw anything but MSFT's products. Plus many programs did (and still do) exist for Windows only. Regarding wine, some software seems to do its best to not run under it.

          After staying away from Windows since version 3.1 I now have to use Win10 (for remote teaching). I was prepared for a bit of a culture shock, but not for the thing to self-destruct when I am not looking. And getting into my way, like rebooting mid-conference.

  3. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Well, Douglas Adams was a Beatles fan ("it was hard... not only were parents and teachers against you, but you had to fight Rolling Stones fans, and they fought dirty and their knuckles were closer to the ground") and an Apple Computer fan. However, it's a logical fallacy to then claim all Rolling Stones fans are Windows fans, or that all Norwegian Death Metal fans are Linux users.

    1. Binraider

      The stereotype that Linux users are also Norwegian Death Metal Fans is not nearly used enough. Can I recommend to the uninitiated, the use of Linux Mint is highly preferable to most of the commercial offerings at the moment. I would also highly Kvelertak as a first foray into the genre. Metallica didn't know how to follow them they put on such a good pre show a few years ago.

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      ...or that all Norwegian Death Metal fans are Linux users.

      You need to be listening to bands like Aldius, Demetori (appropriate in that they're doing metal versions of video game music; such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dSo5cT7JJg), or Master Boot Record (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6KFfYdNPh8)

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Somehow I prefer Nightwish (OK, Finnish instead of Norwegian).

    3. Ozan

      I find both outdated and I use Slackware.

  4. 45RPM

    I’ll never forget that The Times was given away for free, as paid advertising, when Windows 95 launched - marking the final destruction of any remaining illusions that it was a quality paper.

    The Telegraph, perhaps in a fit of pique that Microsoft had passed them over, described Windows 95 as “the latest in a long and sorry line of make do and mend operating systems”. Which was nicely put.

    And I stuck with A/UX, which was just better, dabbled with Linux - and wondered if Apple could ever recover from its malaise and come up with another decent OS - and, if they didn’t, whether I could ever afford a Sun computer.

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      I'm pretty certain Windows 95 was still a co-operative multitasking OS.

      Pre-emptive multitasking never made it to Windows 9x, it remained the preserve of Windows NT and it's descendants.

      1. PghMike

        IIRC, and I'm not sure I do, I think the Windows 16 bit 'VM' might have been the only preemptively multitasked component in Win95.

      2. Dave K Silver badge

        Win95 does use pre-emptive multitasking for 32 bit protected-mode programs, I think only 16 bit ones were stuck with co-operative multitasking.

        1. 45RPM

          That’s my understanding too.

      3. LDS Silver badge

        "was still a co-operative multitasking OS"

        No, that was Apple MacOS 9 that in 1999 still lacked protected memory and pre-emptive multitasking.

        Win32 applications were run in pre-emptive multitasking mode, only Win16 one couldn't and shared a single thread and kept on working as before.

        In some ways Win95 was even better than OS/2 because the latter had a single queue for application messages, and if an application stopped to process messages it could block the others. Win95 already had multiple message queues, with a separate process delivering user input messages to the queues.

        It is true that in Win95 processes were not still fully separated as in WinNT (i.e. the kernel ones), a bad behaved application could still create havoc.

      4. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Meh

        parts were cooperative nmulti-tasking, parts were pre-emptive. It depends on whether the GUI was involved.

        Although some have said that the scheduler wasn't truly pre-emptive until OSR2, it's pretty clear to me that 32-bit code with threads worked as advertised... and were pre-emptive. Whereas anything dealing with the GUI wasn't.

        From the article: And the biggest was the Start button which, even a quarter of a century later still exists albeit after various redesigns and rethinks.

        "They" should re-think things BACK to the WAY THEY WERE, thankyouverymuch... (change is NOT necessarily "for the better" - I have seen inevitable change in a package of raw meat - it's called "Rotting")

  5. Andy Non Silver badge

    Happy memories

    Having been a software developer for DOS for a number of years, Windows 95 was a breath of fresh air, a new age, things only got better with Windows 98, then ahem MS and Vista (cough). NT was pretty good and Windows 7 rocked. All downhill from there. I used to look forward to the latest MS operating system or major update. Now I don't use Windows at all - exclusively a Linux Mint user.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Happy memories

      Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!

      Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!

      Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!

      (also a Mint user)

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Happy memories

        I watched Ballmer do his 'Developers' thing at one of the conferences - I think it was the 1993 PDC in Anaheim, wasn't it? [this was back when MS was "cool"]

        [FreeBSD and Devuan user, now.]

        1. DJV Silver badge

          Re: Happy memories

          ...back when Microsoft thought they were cool...

          FTFY

    2. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Happy memories

      Things got better with Windows 98 SE, Windows 98 needed reinstalling once every few months.

      1. Andy Non Silver badge

        Re: Happy memories

        Ah yes, I remember it now.

      2. David 132 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Happy memories

        Around that time, I had a not-very-profitable sideline building PCs for family and friends. I put 95 on them, then 95OSR2 (which inched towards USB support), then 98 and 98SE. Each new OS and version just got better and better. Carried away by this enthusiasm, I’m afraid that I may have unthinkingly put Windows ME on a few PCs before I realized the terrible, terrible thing I was doing.

        I’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to the innocent victims of my enthusiasm who had ME inflicted on them. It’s been 20 years now and I hope they’ve forgiven me.

  6. abortnow

    One account of the Windows 95 experience

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOwQKWiRJAA

  7. CT

    Macintosh 89 badge

    Anyone else remember the "Windows 95 = Macintosh 89" badges given out at some Apple exhibition?

    1. Snapper

      Re: Macintosh 89 badge

      I've still got mine!

  8. Binraider

    Christmas 1993. The Amiga 2000 is finally replaced by a 486-DX2 50MHz. DOOM, TIE Fighter, and a thousand other classics. DOS 6.22 & Win 3.1. 2 years later Win95 launches and that amazing PC was suddenly ruined with 5-min boot times and woeful performance; not to mention it's hard drive filled with bloat.

    Upgraded "back" to DOS & 3.1 probably within just a few days of getting 95 booted.

    98SE was the first one that I took seriously for gaming purposes; and even then it's infamous need to be rebuilt literally every couple of months was still utterly infuriating. 2000 was the first copy that impressed me as both a stable and capable system (with the odd dual-boot back to 98 for unsupported titles). It's been downhill since then.

    1. Dave K Silver badge

      To be fair, a 486 50 is quite a low spec for Win 95. I recall at the time you needed a 486 66 and 8MB of RAM for serviceable performance with 100Mhz (or a Pentium) being preferred. I ran it on my 586 133 system (16MB RAM) and it was fine there. Saying that, "Restart in MS-DOS mode" was a regularly used option for gaming at the time...

      1. Binraider

        Yeah, the 486 was on the low-side for 95; though the minimum requirements were listed as a 386DX with 4MB RAM! I dread to think how awful that might have been. I had 12MB of RAM at the time.

        A 2 year old system should not have been brought to a halt by what was ostensibly a OS Kernel that was supposed to make better use of the underlying hardware than 16-bit real mode could.

        A couple years later (1997?) I got a Cyrix 200MHz which, to be honest, I still preferred that with Dos 6.22 too. Only resorting to 95 for a Voodoo 2 card. Being a Cyrix, of course it largely sucked at that too, but that's what happens with the budget option!

        1. Robert Moore
          Pint

          > Yeah, the 486 was on the low-side for 95; though the minimum requirements were listed as a 386DX with 4MB RAM! I dread to think how awful that might have been.

          I did try that setup once. It was completely unusable. As I recall, boot-up time was around 12 minutes. Starting any program would cause it to start swapping. Even a shutdown was painfully slow. This was an install on a freshly formatted hard drive. Fun experiment, back in the day though. (For certain nonstandard values of fun.)

        2. LDS Silver badge

          "A 2 year old system should not have been brought to a halt "

          You forgot how fast the hardware was evolving in those years.... it took very few years for a CPU to become outdated and unable to run the next operating system.

    2. John Riddoch

      Oh, yes, the regular reinstall of Windows to keep it running well... Don't miss that at all, I wound up moving my profile to a Samba share simply to avoid the endless resetup of all the options every reinstall (please stop hiding file extensions....). Recently, the relative stability has meant the hassles of profiles outweigh the advantages. Doesn't help that a bunch of games store their save files there; took me a while to figure out why logins/logouts were running so slow until I found the 100s of MB of Skyrim save files stashed in there....

      1. 0laf Silver badge
        Trollface

        Ah the heady days. My first PC in 96 was a Pentium 1 with a 200MHz processor and 16Mb or RAM (nearly wrote Gb there).

        TBH It wasn't until I got a Ryzen 7 with 16Gb Ram and an SSD that I got close to the Win95 boot times again.

      2. David Lewis 2
        Trollface

        ... the regular reinstall of Windows to keep it running well...

        Isn't that what today's Windows 10 Updates are for? Haven't we come a long way!

        * For some obscure definition of "well" with which I am not familiar.

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: it's infamous need to be rebuilt literally every couple of months

      I counted. I have reinstalled Win98SE a grand total of 312 times. And that, only on my computer. I have also reinstalled it dozens of times on other people's computers.

      XP was truly an Operating System. It worked for weeks at a time (well, my memories are mostly about SP3, so there may be some bias there), had one or two orders of magnitude less BSODs, and was fun to use (ie it didn't get in the way of what you wanted to do). Of course, it had the godawful Registry, but that was its worst point.

      Win 7/64 is, for me, the best MS OS. It'll be Mint after that.

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        Re: it's infamous need to be rebuilt literally every couple of months

        I skipped the 95 and 98 editions, and went from 3.1 directly to NT workstation edition on our home machine (in part so the missus wouldn't inadvertently "clean" some mess from the root directory (like config.sys or the like)). Rather liked its stability, even though it was quite resource hungry. Mostly used SUSE Linux on the machine, however.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: it's infamous need to be rebuilt literally every couple of months

          "even though it [NT] was quite resource hungry"

          I never saw a machine that would run Win9x faster than the contemporary version of NT. Architecturally, 9x was a 32-bit "kernel" that had a "DOS box for drivers" with a whacking great mutex to serialise access. It was an impressive hack, but one that had obvious costs in performance and stability.

          The only reason to use 9x was that you had some DOS software that needed to bit-bang on the hardware. (That was usually an actual DOS device driver, but it could have been an application.)

          1. rajivdx

            Re: it's infamous need to be rebuilt literally every couple of months

            Agreed. I used Windows NT4.0 instead of 95 using dual boot (NT had a boot selector) to run 95 only for games. NT ran everything else for months on end without needing a restart and was rock solid. There were even a few games that ran on NT (WinDoom/GLDoom, Quake, MS Monster Truck, etc). To Me Win 9x was only a wrapper to run Win32 apps over DOS, now NT was a proper OS.

          2. DJV Silver badge

            I never saw a machine that would run Win9x faster than the contemporary version of NT

            Unfortunately, I did - had to put it back to 98 in order to get it to do anything other than an impersonation of a lame snail. Can't remember the spec now as it was someone else's PC.

      2. Da Weezil

        Re: it's infamous need to be rebuilt literally every couple of months

        My laptop only retains win 7 to run diagnostic software that won’t run on a VM (VCDS) apart from that it’s dual booting with Mint. Windows 10 will never be on any machine I own

    4. disgruntled yank Silver badge

      Rebuilding

      Time to rerun the Verity Stob piece on "cruft factor"?

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Rebuilding

        Oh yes, indeed. As relevant now as it was almost two decades ago.

        "Cruft Force 1. New. Description: User has taken time to rename cutesy desktop icons incorporating the first person singular possessive pronoun.

        Twice, the mouse cursor has done that poltergeist trick where, with the actual mouse stationary, it drifts three inches due east and then stops. For no reason at all. Works fine afterwards though. Brrrrrrr."

  9. PghMike

    Good summary of MSFT

    Great summary, not only of Windows, but of MS in its entirety. Their approach was, until Azure, to just throw a random collection of poorly implemented functionality into Windows, all bundled together for whatever they charged (around $100 for the weakest tea, IIRC), cutting into the market for anyone who wanted to do a better version of whatever Windows threw in for free. I believe Ballmer called it 'cutting off the air supply' of their competitors, in an accurate turn of phrase that I believe he probably regretted.

    Windows NT was the first system whose internals you could study without becoming ill, and that only if you didn't look at its VM or file system interfaces. I haven't dared look at it for years, but I have no reason to believe it's improved. SunOS did the file system / VM system much better than anyone else at the time (thanks, Steve).

    MS definitely violated all sorts of anti-trust laws, but what really did them in was the Internet. They just didn't get it, and their browser's attempts at doing things proprietarily continued to hurt them, as their attempts to innovate were labeled, not incorrectly, as 'extend and extinguish'. It took Amazon's success with AWS to define the market well enough for MSFT to actually start competing again, with Azure, in an environment where, for the first time, they weren't leveraging their position in Windows to get an unfair advantage for mediocre technology.

    1. Maximum Delfango Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Good summary of MSFT

      Now they throw their random collection of poorly implemented functionality into horrors like Teams or Sharepoint or whichever odd development environment they're trying to inflict on the world this week.

  10. Archtech Silver badge

    "... Windows XP – built upon its actual proper operating system foundation, the Windows NT family..."

    Interesting that the author does not give credit to DEC for providing the "actual proper operating system foundation". Windows NT was essentially a somewhat downgraded version of VMS, with the unfortunate Windows GUI bolted on rather like a perpetual ball and chain.

  11. NATTtrash Silver badge
    Trollface

    Microsofts biggest invention...

    In a move that cemented its place in computing history and made Bill Gates the richest man on Earth, Microsoft stopped stealing its ideas from the likes of Xerox PARC and Apple – and came up with a few of its own, forming Windows 95. And the biggest was the Start button which, even a quarter of a century later still exists albeit after various redesigns and rethinks.

    Redmond Windows 8 Brilliant New Idea Taskforce: "That Start Button thing is useless, let's remove it."

    1. Daniel von Asmuth

      Re: Microsofts biggest invention...

      You are forgetting the invention of Clippy the Office Assistant and his later removal.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Microsofts biggest invention...

        But that removal was actually a real improvement, something nearly unheard off when it comes to Microsoft.

  12. Jon Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    And it's still almost impossible in the high street to buy a non Apple PC without an OS installed. How this is acceptable I will never understand.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      MS and Anti-Trust

      has never really been resolved. They are really a monopoly supplier and I'm in no doubt that they have abused their position for decades. Brown Envelopes perhaps?

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Because almost no one of high street buyers looks for a PC without an OS installed. Anyway, that is not the only available channel to buy a PC.

      There are also many other things you won't be able to buy in a non specialized shop.

    3. DS999

      That it was impossible

      to buy a PC in a store with an OS was never the problem, as the tiny demand would have never justified stocking such a thing. It was that it was impossible for a consumer to even order them for shipment that way due to Microsoft's contracts with the OEMs.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: That it was impossible

        I always bought PC without an OS - even then - because I never installed a consumer OS but was using OS/2 and NT which I bought separately- but I didn't buy from generic "electronics" shops either.

        MS did anti-competitive agreements with OEMs - but that barred pre-installing other OSes, not installing nothing.

    4. Andy Non Silver badge

      I buy my PCs from the Chinese manufacturer (Eggsnow) via Amazon. It's the best way to buy a good quality high spec computer for around £500 that is ready for me to install Linux on. Haven't bought a computer from PC world since buying a Windows ME laptop - and that is going back a bit. I used to buy most Windows desktop computers from a local company that built them to my spec but they eventually went to the wall undercut by the likes of PC world. Very little choice on the high street nowadays for high spec desktop computers - take your pick Windows or Apple or nothing.

  13. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "And the biggest [Microsoft idea] was the Start"

    Or, to look at it another way, it consolidated the several menu buttons of CDE and its predecessor, VUE, into one. I'd been using Windows 3 to run VisionWare's X server to run VUE for since about '91.

    In fact W95 had a lot of HP ideas in it. It directly incorporated stuff from HP New Era; it was right there in the copyright declarations if you looked.

    MS repackaged stuff that had been going on for some time in the Unix world - X, Motif, VUE/CDE and others. The likes of Gnome and KDE picked up on the W95 interface PDQ and continued the evolution. Because of the way the GUI is layered on top of the kernel in Unix-like OSs it's been possible for them to develop in several different directions.

    The aspect of the GUI that was a real innovation to my mind was an unwelcome one.: adding the X button to close a window. Previously an application was closed from the system button, the one at the left of the title bar. Now there was a button that did that right next to the maximise button, just waiting for a misplaced click. Previously closing an application couldn't be done accidentally like that so there was less need for a confirmatory dialog box so quite a few old Windows applications didn't have one. I'm sure every W95 user must have lost work when a mis-click closed the application immediately. And it still galls me that the buttons are in the wrong order - minimise, maximise, zeroise.

  14. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Linux

    W95 was a pinacle

    and it has mostly been downhill ever since.

    W2000, Server 2008, Win 7 were good. The rest? Meh leading to the god awful Tiles in W8. W10 was the last straw for me. Now it is CentOS (server) and MacOS(laptop) with a few R-Pi's around the place as well.

    1. Daniel von Asmuth
      Windows

      Re: W95 was a pineapple

      Windows '95 was the Chernobyl desaster of IT. I wonder why Bill Gates was never convicted for genocide. Windows 3.1 was stable as long as you ran no third-party drivers or application programs.

      The odd thing is that Microsoft had a half-decent OS, called Windows NT, but it did not catch on, so they cobbled up Windows 4.00 (an extended version of Win32S with the new GUI designed for NT 4.00) in order to stop the growing sales of IBM OS/2 3.00, which was a decent 32-bit OS with 16-bit Windows compatibility.

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: W95 was a pineapple

        "The odd thing is that Microsoft had a half-decent OS, called Windows NT, but it did not catch on"

        Didn't run DOS software, had worse driver availability/quality than Win3.1. Slower to boot (and use) than Win3 and Win9x, harder for end user to manage and it cost much more per seat. Things started to change for the better after NT4. For consumers NT offered no benefits until WinXP.

        "so they cobbled up Windows 4.00"

        Cobbled? NT4 was quite stable and the new GUI was much better than the old one.

        "growing sales of IBM OS/2 3.00, which was a decent 32-bit OS with 16-bit Windows compatibility"

        OS/2 was the best multitasking PC OS at the time and I used it plenty, but it had poor selection of drivers and software and I especially remember the tardy boot times. Quite stable until you triggered the dreaded SIQ... OS/2 was a single-user system with no concern for security; both contrary to NT.

        1. rajivdx

          Re: W95 was a pineapple

          Ummm… NT *did* run dos software, it just didn't run badly written ones that liked to do direct IO to all peripherals. In fact NTVDM even captured some of these direct IO's (Like printer and VGA) and redirected them to the correct device driver via emulation.

          1. Sandtitz Silver badge

            Re: W95 was a pineapple

            You're right and upvoted. I remember not having much success in running DOS software unden NTDVM.

    2. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: W95 was a pinacle

      I found Windows 98 SE better than Windows 95, but then again I keep a Windows 95 machine running for 16 years until it died for good.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: W95 was a pinacle

        W98 was pretty good, it ironed out a lot of issues. ME on the other hand - what an absolute nightmare.

        I am trying to remember if W2000 was ever a consumer OS - wasn't that where 95 first met NT - or was reserved for corporate/servers? I seem to recall liking it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: W95 was a pinacle

          There was Windows 2000 Server, as it was a replacement for NT 4 - so I would say corporate.

          IIRC, XP was the mixing of home and business versions

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: W95 was a pinacle

          W2K was most definitely corporate, though I ran it at home too until I replaced it with XP SP3 (before SP3, W2K was just better and more stable than XP).

  15. GlenP Silver badge

    Can't Believe...

    it's been 25 years! Somehow we got invited to one of the pre-launch events. Forget all the hype, the Start Button, etc. all anybody talked about afterwards was the Telly Tubby Mound on the stock wallpaper!

    1. John 110

      Re: Can't Believe...

      Surely that was Windows XP, so it's not been as long as you think.

      (willing to be corrected -- ooer missus)

      1. Dave K Silver badge

        Re: Can't Believe...

        Correct, 95 was just a picture of sky with patchy clouds. Teletubby land came along with XP.

  16. keithpeter
    Windows

    Win95 booklet

    I rather liked the little Windows 95 booklet that came with the restore disk on the PC I bought a year or so after Win95 came out. It had a series of task oriented examples based on the use of the file manager, wordpad, paint &c. Very logical build up that was a tour round the features.

    Some badge wearing microserf deep in Redmond must have had a clue about how to introduce ordinary punters to the system and managed to get it through the bureaucracy with all the dosh flying about.

    Icon: at work things got sane with Windows 2000. Very few issues. ME was utter madness.

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Win95 booklet

      "...Icon: at work things got sane with Windows 2000. Very few issues. ME was utter madness...."

      Weird how so many seem to think it went Windows 95, 98, XP.

      Windows 2000 was a solid OS and of course was the first to introduce Active Directory. And was the first platform built on Windows NT, not XP.

      Windows ME though...what the hell were they thinking?

      1. Dave K Silver badge

        Re: Win95 booklet

        That's the fun of MS's previous split between consumer and business operating systems. Hence you had:

        3.1, 95, 98, ME, XP etc. for home use

        or

        NT 3.51, NT 4.0, 2000, XP etc. for professional use.

        And yes, I know there's earlier ones as well...

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Win95 booklet

          "NT 3.51, NT 4.0, 2000, XP etc. for professional use".

          Or for anyone who preferred their computer to work more than about half the time.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Win95 booklet

        Windows 2000 wasn't regarded "consumer-ready" by MS, there were still a few possible compatibility issue with software written for previous versions, hardware drivers still had to catch up, and the hardware requirements were still higher, and the software itself costed more - there was no "home" edition. It was the successor of NT, evidently built on it.

        But on the proper hardware it could fully replace the Win9x line already with very little issues, without waiting for XP. AD made a big difference in business environments, consumers usually don't use it.

        Me was probably an attempt to still address the low-end market, but backfired spectacularly.

      3. Blackjack Silver badge

        Re: Win95 booklet

        They weren't.

        Not only it came a year after Windows 98SE, meaning people was unlike to buy an entire new OS just a year later but the thing was so buggy some stores still have unsold copies of it. Not even kidding saw one a few years ago!

  17. saxicola

    This was how I discovered Edie Brickell. On the disk was a sample video, "What I Am" I think it was. Or was it XP?

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      It was “Good Times”, I believe, and I’m pretty sure it was on the Plus! Pack which was an add-on for 95. Also had a Bill Plympton animation on it and the aforementioned Weezer “Buddy Holly” video.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        1. Sudosu

          I recall rebuilding a Sony laptop for someone with the FACtory bundled install media on 2000 or XP (I think it was XP).

          The background during the install was the standard default grassy field, however the grass was waving in a breeze with a really cool instrumental song in the background.

          If I recall correctly it was New Order's Ruined in a Day (K-Klass Remix) playing, which I realized much later when I bought "The Rest of New Order" and instantly recognized the song and where I had heard it.

          Always thought that was so cool, though the name of the song is a weird choice for a commercial product.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    before producing the questionable Vista and Windows 8

    never mind what came in between...

  19. MJI Silver badge

    Same day as REAL/32 launch

    Now I did like that concurrent DOS done well.

  20. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Summer 95

    The summer of 1995 also gave you "DragonBall Z", "Mobile Suit Gundam Wing" and "Sailor Moon Super S" (not especially a DBZ fan myself, but it *is* a major series). We'd have to wait until the fall for "Neon Genesis Evangeleon"

    I just remember the first machine we installed a MSWin95 beta on (early-mid Spring '95). It was a Packard-Bell tower system, which would never run (or even boot properly) afterwards. Yes, a MSWin beta actually *trashed* the hardware.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Summer 95

      In spring of '95, MS's (beta) plus pack had internet access, unlike many other networks, via MSN. It took CompuServe another YEAR to get internet access... and AOL too, as I recall.

      I thought IE 1.0 was pretty cool. No excessive fluff, lightweight, did what a browser SHOULD do. And nothing more... pretty much what Netscrape and Mosaic were doing.

  21. Ozan

    Release of Win95 was the time I learned of existance of LInux, specially Slackware. Also release of Win98 was the time I started using Slackware for real.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not sure you've used enough semi colons in the article; could you add some more please?

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Coat

      Perhaps it’s a subtle allusion to the fact that Windows is a colostomy of an operating system...

      Edit: Until I posted this, the article had exactly 95 comments. I hang my head.

  23. OldSod

    One of the most important bits missing from the article...

    An important Windows 95 attribute that was left out of the article is the TCP/IP network stack. Prior desktop versions of Windows didn't come with a TCP/IP stack, leaving the third-party market open to "innovate." This led to multiple commercial TCP/IP implementations for those prior versions of Windows, and 3rd-party application vendors typically only worked with one of those alternatives. If a user wanted to use two different applications that themselves used different TCP/IP stacks, reboots were necessary to switch between applications. This was a pathetically non-user-friendly approach, and one that helped maintain about a 50-50 mix of Apple Macintosh (with Apple's MacTCP networking stack) and Windows desktops in the large corporation at which I worked at the time.

    The Windows Sockets API (not from Microsoft!) was a step in the right direction, but the Windows 95 TCP/IP stack, included with the operating system (and actually released separately and earlier to run on Windows 3.1), was a major boon. If Microsoft had continued to keep its head in the sand with respect to TCP/IP and the Internet, Windows 95 might not have been quite so successful. You can write encomiums to the Start button, but the native Windows 95 TCP/IP stack was just (if not more) important to the success of Windows 95.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: One of the most important bits missing from the article...

      It was another import from elsewhere. I think the copyright declarations cited UCB.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: One of the most important bits missing from the article...

      it didn't install TCP/IP by default and other OSes had it. And third-party stacks were available previously. I'll add it in anyway, ta.

      C.

  24. MOV r0,r0
    FAIL

    I'm so over Win95 but that out-of-whack monitor geometry in the Aniston/Perry skit is still really triggering me!

  25. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Linux

    Win 95 memories

    Good points : Doom and quake

    However.. bad points out weigh the good .DLL hell anyone?

    And really bad points : IE (bought from spyglass on the promise spyglass software got a % of each sale...... then m$ gave it away free)

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Win 95 memories

      Don't forget Earth Worm Jim Windows 95 edition.

  26. Lucy in the Sky (with Diamonds)

    I look just like Buddy Holly, and you're Mary Tyler Moore…

    One must never forget that the Windows 95 CD-ROM came with the Buddy Holly video from Weezer, which was the first music video for most people on a computer. Still, for word processing at first I dropped out of Windows to DOS and used WordPerfect until eventually moving via Ami Pro to Office, and for me all gaming was in DOS until Windows 2000 came out (Not counting a few-hours-a-day minesweeper addiction chasing the sub-100 second game on Expert, but I am all right now, thanks for asking).

    When the Internet arrived for me in 1997 I used Netscape and Outlook Express, which finally gave me reasons to spend more time in Windows then in DOS. I suppose back then, the real excitement was, that after installing the OS on a newly built box, one started the driver installation process for every card and port on the motherboard, every so often reconfiguring the IRQ jumpers on the extension cards.

    While NT4 had the same interface and was an actual operating system, it never had the drivers to make everything work on the gaming side until the great Domestic-Commercial unification that was Windows 2000. I have to admit, I still run a 95a, 95b & a 95c VM in captivity. Just for the fun of it.

    1. rajivdx

      Re: I look just like Buddy Holly, and you're Mary Tyler Moore…

      You could run 3Dfx Voodoo with OpenGL drivers on NT4 and then run OpenGL games like Quake on top. This was at a time when DirectX hadn't caught on and OpenGL was the only serious API around. Graphics card vendors like 3Dfx shipped OpenGL drivers with their cards as that was the only way to make them work. This was at the time when Graphics cards were strictly 3D and graphics acceleration just meant hardware 2D blitting.

  27. Aseries

    Microsoft's Big Show

    Back in those days Microsoft had flashy roll-out presentations for us geeks in movie theaters in certain large cities complete with free popcorn, software handouts, t-shirts and caps.

  28. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
    Pint

    Ah.

    The memories.

    Anybody else recall the frantic phone calls: "I've lost the whole interwebtubes from my computer - HEEEEEEEELP!"

    Yeah, somebody deleted the big blue 'Internet' from the desktop (IE).

    Actually, during a pseudo cleanup recently (you know - you basically move junk from one side of the room to the other but don't disgard in case you need it) and found all original floppies for MSDOS, Windows 3.1, Windows For Workgroups, Win 95, 95b, 98 plus updates and a heap of matching CDs for those posh enough to have those coffee cup holders installed.

    Memories.

  29. Knightbeat40

    Not That Big a Deal

    Windows 95 only took off, because IBM made a mistake with how they launched and allowed access to OS 2 Warp, which was a true multitasking OS. To this day Windows is still not true multitasking but preemptive.

    1. BPontius

      Re: Not That Big a Deal

      Microsoft screwed IBM over releasing Windows 95 instead of backing OS/2 as they had contracted. IBM's mistake was trusting Microsoft.

  30. JDX Gold badge

    Was it W95 came with an episode of Happy Days?

    I reemmber being amazed you could watch video on a computer... maybe it was a different version though

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Was it W95 came with an episode of Happy Days?

      Not "Happy Days" but the video for Buddy Holly by Weezer, which (pretty seamlessly) merged video of the band with original Happy Days footage. Similar to the conceit employed by Star Trek DS9 in the "Trouble with Tribbles" episode, albeit less sophisticated.

      Here's the video, thanks to da yootoobs.

  31. The Central Scrutinizer

    Ah Win 95. I changed from an Amiga 4000 to an Intel PC running Win 95. WTF was I thinking? Actually, I had to for various reasons. I remember thinking at the time "and people are actually excited about this"?

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Ah, if it was a 4000/40 then you almost certainly noticed a drop in performance.

      I still have my old Mod/Med/OctaMED file collection and play it occasionally. VLC’s talents know no bounds.

  32. RobThBay

    Giant banner

    I remember seeing a *huge* Win95 banner hanging down the side of the CN Tower in Toronto during the launch.

  33. Ian Reissmann

    Favourite Windows bug

    I loved the fact that a bug in Windows 95 and 98 caused it to hang after 49.7 days, and it took years for anybody to notice !

    https://sites.google.com/site/edmarkovich2/whywindows95andwindows98wouldcrashafter49.7daysofuptime

  34. bikes are best

    I remember the alternative

    Back then I was using OS/2 which, if I remember correctly IP was sold as an additional feature.. old times but good times

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