• Technology
  • by Jakub Szczęsny
  • 23/08/2019

24 years ago, Microsoft launched a revolution. Happy birthday, Windows 95!

24 years ago, one of the most important premieres took place in the history of Microsoft. Windows 95, released on August 24 1995, introduced a host of characteristic and revolutionary interface elements to the most popular computer operating system. The successor of Windows 3.1x has made a BIG name for itself in the history of new technologies.

Concise Software Windows 95

Many of you may remember the Windows 3.1x interface, which was really intuitive in its day, but over the years it wasn’t enough for users. Microsoft paid a lot of attention to improving the user environment in Windows 95, in this version the Start Menu replaced the Program Manager. A huge change was the appearance of the taskbar, as well as the icon “My Computer”. Of course, these were not the only significant changes that were introduced in Windows 95. 

Windows 95 – novelties under the hood

In comparison to Windows 3.1x, Windows 95 was a really well-developed project. Microsoft decided to use a 32-bit API and expropriated multitasking. From the viewpoint of operating system functionality, the following novelties were also important: multithreading and support for long file names using VFAT. The system registry was introduced, which took over the role of .INI files. 

Users remember the Plug and Play mechanism that was introduced in Windows 95, which made the installation of additional hardware really easy (as at that time). The operating system itself detected the appearance of a new component and asked the user to install the drivers. This simplified the complicated process of adding new components to the computer system.

Microsoft has been improving Windows 95 for 2 years – the last important update of this system was Windows 95 OSR 2.5, which introduced, among others, a new file system: FAT32. It was much more advanced than the archaic FAT16 and was designed for home users. It’s worth knowing that at the same time there was already an NTFS filesystem that was used in professional workstations (based on Windows NT systems). NTFS was introduced in later years to consumer versions of Windows (e.g. XP version).

Windows 95 – one of Microsoft’s major marketing campaigns

The release of Windows 95 was very important to Microsoft and the company absolutely did not regret the money to build positive publicity around this product. During the official release of Windows 95, The Rolling Stones played the song “Start Me Up”, which corresponded very well with the launch of the new system on the market. What’s more, the day that Windows 95 premiered, The Times was distributed completely free of charge in the UK: Microsoft paid for all copies printed that day. Of course, the newspaper included promotional materials for Windows 95. In total, Microsoft spent $300 million on the promotion of the new operating system.

Although the first versions of Windows 95 were criticized by some experts, the system ultimately proved to be a sales success. Microsoft’s main goal was to push OS/2 and competitive DOS versions out of the market. Only 4 days after the release of Windows 95, a million copies of the operating system were sold – an unimaginable result at that time. 

Shortly after the release of Windows 95, Microsoft started working on the Windows 96 project (Windows Nashville). However, the marketing changes caused that this edition was abandoned and all the planned changes were implemented only in Windows 98, which proved to be an even greater success for Microsoft. 

Happy birthday, Windows 95! We will always remember you!

 

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Jakub Szczęsny

PR / Marketing Specialist at Concise Software. Author of one of the largest technology websites in Poland - Antyweb

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