Gandalf_The_Grey

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Windows 95 pioneered the Windows experience, and it turns 25 years old today.
What you need to know
  • Windows 95 launched 25 years ago.
  • Windows 95 introduced several features that went on to become staples of all Windows operating systems.
  • Windows 95 was the first user-friendly version of Windows.

Windows 95 turns 25 years old today, capping off a quarter of a century of user-friendly versions of Windows. While Windows 95 was not the first version of Windows, it was, in many ways, the first consumer-friendly Windows operating system. Its navigation mechanics were innovative, and some of them live on to this day.

Windows 95 introduced or greatly improved several elements that went on to become staples of all Windows operating systems, including the Start Menu, Windows Explorer, and the Taskbar. While Windows has evolved greatly since the launch of Windows 95, it looks similar in many ways to modern operating systems. It's somewhat similar to comparing the original iPhone to modern iPhone models; the bones are surprisingly similar.

Windows 95 also introduced the Recycle Bin and the buttons to close, minimize, and maximize windows. It was also the first operating system to run Internet Explorer, though it didn't launch with the browser initially. Internet Explorer dominated the browser space for years and is still only being fully phased out today.

The operating system also made managing files much easier, as it allowed you to use long file names. Previous versions of Windows limited file names to eight or fewer characters.

"Krazy Ken" from the YouTube channel Computer Clan has a great breakdown of the history of Windows 95 and some of the things that made it so innovative.

Arguably the biggest change that came with Windows 95 was its relatively simple interface. You didn't have to know DOS to run a program, though you could if you preferred to. The simple point and click interface of Windows 95 greatly opened up the computing space to the average person.
 

Spawn

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System requirements would be overwhelming for modern users.
Windows 95 took a major leap forward over Windows 3.1 and started putting demands on system requirements including a 386 or 486 processor and 4 to 8 MB of RAM.
  • Personal computer with a 386DX or better processor (486 is recommended)
  • 4 MB of memory (8 MB is recommended)
  • Hard disk space: 35 to 40 MB (to upgrade).
  • Hard disk space required to install Windows 95 on a clean system: 50-55 MB.
  • 1 x 3.5 inch high-density floppy disk drive
  • Video: VGA or higher resolution (recommended: 256-color SVGA)
Source: Windows system requirements - From Windows 3.1 to Windows 10
 

show-Zi

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田ミ
HappyBirthday!
Era when floppy disks were essential.
ZIP, MO, PD drives...It was a time of good and bad times.
 
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