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Windows 95

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Windows 95 was the 5th version of Microsoft’s GUI operating system, released in 1995.

A huge sales success, Windows 95 was Microsoft’s breakthrough system. It introduced huge numbers of people around the world to the Internet and computers in general. Advertising used the Rolling Stones “Start Me Up” to celebrate bringing the start button (which first appeared in Windows NT) to the masses. 

Windows 95 facilitated hardware installation with plug and play. It also brought more colors, enhanced multimedia capabilities and TCP/IP network support. This version of Windows introduced Direct X and Direct 3D, which made Windows gaming possible for more demanding games. Prior to that only simple games, such as Solitaire, could be played on a Windows PC without exiting to DOS.

Apple was struggling and lost users to Windows-based PCs at this time, further solidifying Microsoft's hold on the market. However, Microsoft had focused on consumer usability to the point that security suffered and thus became a selling point for future OSes.

Microsoft’s ad for Windows 95 looked futuristic in the mid-nineties but every application that appears in it has become part of everyday life:

The introductory guide featuring Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry looks a bit more dated:

 

This was last updated in March 2014

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