If you’re someone who grew up in the 90s, you may remember the legendary Windows 95 launch, the version that played an important role in shaping the OS into what it is now. The event had everything from Jay Leno’s cringey jokes to Steve Ballmer’s awkward dance, peak geeky Bill Gates, and nerdy Microsoft crew trying to fit in.
In this article, let’s look at what made Windows 95 the ultimate and the most important release, which changed the entire course of the operating system.
Windows 95: A Throwback to Computing in the 90s
Windows 95 was a 32-bit operating system that launched three years after 3.1, and it brought loads of new features, changes, and improvements.
Every release starting from Windows 1 brought transcendental changes to the GUI, but Windows 95 had the most GUI changes, which highly impacted the course of future releases.
The release had a configurable desktop, taskbar, that nostalgic start button, and context menus that made the OS easy to use for general people.
Windows 95 Internet Explorer
IE’s story is sad, but the browser was a big deal when it started shipping in Windows 95. The Internet Explorer 1.0 shipped in two packages — via Microsoft retail channels in Microsoft Plus! add-on and the release of 95 service release 1.
Automatic hardware installation, legacy hardware compatibility, preemptive multitasking kernel
Windows 95 was the first version to ship with automatic hardware installation, meaning you could plug in a device, and the OS would automatically detect, install, and configure it. The device would be ready to use in no time.
The OS also shipped with legacy hardware compatibility, meaning people could still run 16-bit Windows applications. Apart from that, the kernel could now multitask with Win32 and MS-DOS-based apps.
A boon for network admins and general users
Windows 95 added support for hardware, user profiles, and long filenames, making it easier for both network admins and general users to configure networks and files on the OS. Not to mention, Windows 95 was also the first version to support multimedia sound and video apps.
Dial-up networking and new software
Dial-up networking was… painful. However, it was one of the easiest ways to connect to the internet compared to the internet connection wizard in Windows 3.1. Windows 95 came with new built-in networking software like Novell NetWare, Banyan Vines, and Microsoft Networks.
If you were born in the late 90s or 2000s and didn’t know what the OS looked like or worked, here’s a great video.
Don’t forget to leave your thoughts about Windows 95 in the comments section below.
Our friends over Gizmodo have complied with the best Windows 95 launch event moments that you might want to check out.