Windows 95

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Software > Operating Systems > Windows > Windows 95

Windows 95 was a version of Microsoft Windows released in 1995 with a massive publicity campaign unprecedented for operating-system releases (previously only generally of interest within the geek community). The Rolling Stones song "Start Me Up" was licensed (reportedly for millions of dollars) to use as a theme for the promotional campaigns, leading some wags to note how other lyrics in that song (not used in the campaign) said "You make a grown man cry," which described some people's experience with the system.

Windows 95 was the first Microsoft operating system to boot directly into a graphical environment; earlier Windows versions (up to 3.x) were add-ons to the command-line-based MS-DOS system, where you had to boot DOS first and then start up Windows (though this could be automated through the use of batch files). In old Windows versions you could also exit Windows and return to DOS, while starting with Windows 95 there was no "exit" feature; you stayed in the Windows environment from start-up to shut-down, though a "shell window" using DOS command lines could still be opened. However, "under the hood" Windows 95 was still built on top of DOS (a new version of it embedded in the system), though this was hidden from the user; it wasn't until the later Windows NT architecture that Windows was a truly self-contained operating system.

On the user interface front, Windows 95 introduced many things from the Start button to the taskbar that have been common in later systems. It also had built-in support for that newfangled thing called the "Internet", though initially Microsoft attempted to get people to use this via Microsoft's proprietary MSN network (their less-successful answer to AOL).


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