Today, while making rounds on the internet, I was hit by the greatest nostalgia of all. The Windows 95!
Yes, Windows 95 still exists online. If you missed the experience of Windows 95 back in the days, Click here for a firsthand experience.
The creator of the online Windows 95 emulator has made it appear so real, that I actually felt like I have traveled back in time. It awakened the 90s in me. The days when I could play Putt-Putt, Pajama Sam, and Freddie fish all night on my dad’s Windows 95 PC. It felt awesome at the time, it was the best of the best technology we had at that time.
It is over 25 years now, but you can still see the close resemblance between Windows 95 and Windows 10. They are not so much far from each other. Just a refined look and a few additional features, but the functionality of the two remain the same.
Sometimes I feel I was a little geekier when using Windows 95 than the current spruced up UX/UI. Back then, if I wanted to open the website: https://geezezone.com, I would not even launch it the normal way using Internet Explorer. No, that would not make me look cool. I would instead use the command prompt. It would be something like this:
Yes, that made me look cool and knowledgeable. Many thought I was a programmer when I pulled such stunts in the library PCs at school. I would ping IP addresses and leave them scrolling on my screen, sometimes in green like in the movies. Well, very few noticed I wasn’t doing anything important, most of my classmates and those sitting around me in the library thought I was some computer geek. A title that I gladly accepted!
Writing on the emulator still feels smooth, easy, torn down, and basic as it used to feel back in the mid-90s.
Do you want to have a look and feel of Windows 95?
Worry no more, the beauty of the internet is that it archives almost everything. You can travel back in time and feel, listen and empathize with us! You can either access Windows 95 through the emulator here or you can now download the App, install and have a better look at Windows 95 with all the necessary features.
Thanks to the developer Felix Rieseberg’s who has developed a 128MB image of the entire Windows 95 experience. The good thing is that you can download this vintage operating system in under 5 minutes. You will be able to have all the features just like the original OS had.
Computing nostalgia is now becoming easier to enjoy, with this Windows 95 App. You can easily download and boot the Operating system in minutes. This App allows to you run your Windows 95 on your local machine. You can install other programs and test them just like using the original OS.
The desktop version operates smoothly and is fully responsive. The initial installation is bare-bones, but unlike the classic online version, it includes your old favorite games including Minesweeper, Solitaire, and Paint among other accessories.
But if you want to test any old applications, the program support disks that can be installed by users as images (.img files). Some retro fans have even documented having played Doom 95 very well on the OS. Old applications like Microsoft Office 2003 can also be installed and be fully functional.
The good thing is that the app comes with a choice of Windows 95 or its predecessor Windows 98.
Background History of Windows 95 Operating SystemWindows 95 was Windows 3.1 Successor that came with additional features like:
- Windows 32-bit application support.
- Filenames for long mixed case to up to 255 characters.
- Upgraded Graphic User Interface (GUI) features like Start button, Taskbar and Keyboard shortcuts.
Windows 95 brought together the MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows Products which were previously separate from Microsoft. This was a significant improvement on the features of its predecessor. It had better GUI and was simple easy to use with a click to go interface.
The key components of the operating system of the OS were greatly upgraded; for instance, switching from the primary 16-bit architecture to the 32-bit multitasking architecture. Windows 95 introduced many features and functions that led to its increased sales at the time. Coupled with the usual aggressive marketing strategy of Microsoft, they managed to sell millions of copies on its release.
Windows 95 was proceeded by Windows 98 three years after it was launched. On 31 December 2001, Microsoft stopped the support for Windows 95.
Design and Development of the Windows 95 Operating System
Design and development of Windows 95 dates back to 1992 around the time when Windows 3.1 was released. Work started on Windows 95 immediately. Windows 3.11 and Windows NT 3.1 were both under production and Microsoft future plans were based on Cairo at this time. Cairo was supposed to be the next-gen Windows-based operating system with a modern user interface and an object-based file system from Microsoft. But ti wasn’t expected to launch before 1994. Cairo would ship as Windows NT 4.0 in July of 1996 without the object-based file system, which would later be converted to WinFS.
IBM began shipping OS/2 2.0 in accordance with Windows 3.1’s introduction. Microsoft realized they needed an improved Windows version that could support 32-bit apps and preemptive multitasking, but still run-on base hardware. Windows NT could not do this. Thus, Microsoft developed the latest version called “Chicago” which was released as Windows 93
What Made Windows 95 to stand out back in the mid-90s?
The switch from Windows 3.11 to Windows 95 was a major leap for both the developers and home computer users at the time. It was around this time that computer manufacturers upgraded their systems in terms of hardware and processor speed. Thus, the software developers had to move with speed to keep up with this.
It wasn’t an easy task to keep in track with the trends, but Microsoft managed to do this by having several products in the production line simultaneously. For example, by the time they were launching their Widows 3.11, Windows 95 was at advanced stage. The designers were already working on a better, faster and user-friendly version.
Windows 95 was the game changer in the Operating systems revolution. Much o what we see on OS today was introduced at the Windows 95 development stage. Win95 came equipped with an entirely sophisticated environment. It came with a unique Start button and a desktop feature (which have remained the primary features of Windows based systems since that time).
Here are some of the features that made Windows 95 to stand out from the rest:
- The “Start Me” Button – The now famous Microsoft’s Start button, was introduced in a high-octane promotional campaign back in the 90s. Windows 95 came with the Start Menu and the Taskbar; two features that remain to be the staple of all Windows Operating system. Linux and Unix based system borrowed the same. In the last 25 years, Windows has consistently included the Start Menu in all its versions of Operating system. The start menu considerably reduced the number of clicks required to access your favorite programs on a Windows system. With one click, the user was able to access almost all the features of their PC. Additionally, all the running applications would be neatly listed in a tabbed format on the taskbar.
- New Plug & Play feature – This was a revolutionary feature that automated the installation of software to run hardware systems. This feature did not require jumpers to set up your hardware. Thus, anybody with limited knowledge on computers could easily assemble one. This simple feature opened up the computer for use by more professional because you it did not require any expert knowledge to run and operate one.
- Device Manager – Windows 95 introduced the device manager which was a helpful feature for home users who would wish to do some changes or updates on their computer. The device manager presented to the user all the drivers installed. With a touch of a button, the user could easily uninstall, upgrade or downgrade a device driver.
- Windows 95 – 32 Bit – Windows 95 is famously remembered for being the first 32-bit operating system which enabled the computer to function faster and efficiently and to support 32-bit applications.
- Introduction of the registry – Windows 95 combines multiple configuration files power in two registry files making it easier to find device configuration. This was a huge step from the working of Windows 3.1.
- Improved Memory – Windows 95 came equipped with a superior memory compared to its former OS Windows 3.11. Windows 95 could handle multiple processes at a go with little or no strain on the device. It was faster and more reliable for home and industrial use at the time. In the Mid-90s, gaming had started gaining traction all over the world, and having a good memory, Graphics and superior processor was the primary factors that people looked at to make decision on purchasing a computer.
- Introduction of the Right Mouse click – It is at this time that Microsoft came up with the now widely used right mouse click. This was to allow the user to manipulate text by offering more text manipulation functions that popped up on a menu when a user right clicked the right mouse button. This was a timely feature for home users who would simply use the OS for basic operations. It was also an important feature for industrial processes. It was easy to manipulate the industrial processes right from the screen of the desktop screen with even fewer clicks and maneuvers.
- Implementation of a CD Player – another timely feature that was targeted to the ever increasing home and industrial users was the CD player. The inclusion of a CD player was a fancy addition to the Windows line of products. Having a computer that doubles up as a music media player was an amazing feature at the time. This gave other OS developer a run for their money as windows was already ahead of the pack with this simple implementation. The CD player enhanced usability and enabled the user to Autoplay. Some advanced games required a CD in order to play, thus this was the gamers most favorite feature at the time.
Here are the minimum requirements for a computer to run Windows 95:
- Should have a DX 80386 or above.
- Minimum of 4MB RAM.
- Minimum of 35 MB of free Hard disk space.
- Have a Soundcard that is compatible with the Sound Blaster.
- Have a VGA or High-resolution.
- Must be compatible with Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard
- In order to upgrade, the system must have a DOS 5.0 and above.
Windows 95 remains one of the best Microsoft’s operating systems that did set the trend for all the Operating systems that were developed after. Unique features like the start button and the Task bar have remained the key component and must-have in all UX/UI for Operating Systems.
Such small tweaks on the functionality and usability helped Windows 95 to be among one of the top selling operating systems by Microsoft. Windows 95 sold over 1 Million copies in the first week of its sale and over 40 Million copies by the end of the first year of sale. This was a record success for Microsoft.
Did you use Windows 95 back in the days? How do you remember it?
What was the best feature on Windows 95 that you loved?