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Windows 95 is 20 years old today, and Windows 10 still has a lot of its features

Windows 95 launched 20 years ago today, on August 24, 1995. Back then, the Internet was just beginning to be available to the general public, and the CD-ROM disc and drives were still considered to be a "new" thing in personal computers. 20 years later, a lot has changed in the PC industry, but remarkably, Microsoft's just-released Windows 10 retains many of the same features as Windows 95 did.

In 1995, the release of Windows 95 was the most important version of the Windows family since Microsoft started the operating system with Windows 1.0 in 1985. While it could still run old 16-bit Windows programs, and even older MS-DOS applications, Windows 95 brought support for 32-bit computing to the PC. However, it was its user interface that was the biggest change. The Start button and menu allowed users to quickly access and launch programs. Microsoft tried to remove both on the desktop with Windows 8, but the response from users who still had to access the OS with a mouse and keyboard was so negative, the company brought back versions of both for Windows 10.

Windows 95 Start

Windows 10 also still uses things like the taskbar, the recycle bin, and more that were first introduced in Windows 95. While the "Modern" UI that was first launched in Windows 8 in 2012 is still there in Windows 10, it's clear that Microsoft wants desktop and notebook users to have something familiar as well for as least the foreseeable future.

By the way, Windows 95 was released on both CD-ROM and floppy disks 20 years ago. Today, Windows 10 is available via download or on USB Flash drives. Windows 95's hardware requirements included a PC with at least 4 MB of RAM and between 50 and 55 MB of free hard drive space. Windows 10 requires at least 1GB of RAM for the 32-bit version and 2GB of RAM for the 64-bit version, and 16GB of free storage.

Source: Microsoft (opens in new tab)

112 Comments
  • My favourite os, remember having a dos pc that couldn't run 95 as direct x wouldn't work
  • I owned the first PC running windows 8.1 and windows 10 later on. anyway, I used to use windows vista, XP, and windows 7 in schools.
  • microsoft has crossed some privacy borders that is not acceptable..
  • Please give this a rest. The things in the EULA basically refer to Cortana and Windows Defender. They sound bad, but really are pretty obvious when you think about it.
  • No worse the android but you don't care if google spy's on you just not Microsoft
  • Here's a thought Symantec for example opens up a backdoor for govnmnt agencies to spy on people what a counterintuitive idea
  • My favourite has been windows 98 plus and windows xp. (apart from windows ten of course.)
  • Its my bday today :) woot
  • Happy bday ksmith
  • Happy Birthday Services..!!
  • It also my bday so happy bday to you :)
  • Happy birthday to both of you!  
  • Yes happy birthday to both of you!
  • It's my un-birthday today. :)
  • Somebody died today.
  • Condolences.
  • "Windows 95's hardware requirements included a PC with at least 4 MB of RAM and between 50 and 55 MB of free hard drive space" Yikes..Reminds me of Chandler! Chandler: All right, check out this bad boy. Twelve megabytes of RAM, 500 megabyte hard drive. Built-in spreadsheet capabilities and a modem that transmits at over 28,000 BPS.
    Phoebe: Wow. What are you gonna use it for?
    Chandler: Games and stuff.
  • Yeah remember that one!
  • Episode also came out in the year 1995, he could be talking about a laptop running Windows 95. :P
  • LOL... Friends TV series.... :) My favourite
  • "Don't touch the computer! NEVER touch the computer!"
  • Lol. Lol.
  • Whoa, is that baud rate? Lol Haven't heard that I forever
  • My first modem was 9800 baud and you had to connect the landline handset into the cradle. 
  • Aww man! You stole my words. This was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the requirements.
  • I started using from Windows 95, now using Windows 10. Such a great journey
  • I started from XP. Skipped Vista.Never touched that dreadful thing. Then went to 7 and 8 and 8.1 and 10 and a lot of previews in between and a few versions of the servers :)
  • I started from windows 98 and have used all windows version from then except the ME!
  • Vista was lovely after the first 6 months.
  • Exactly. I avoided Vista due to all the horror stories, but my work ended up getting new PC's with it installed... it was after SP1 or possibly after SP2, so all the major kinks were ironed out. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was, and it vastly improved many aspects and annoyances in XP.
  • '95, '98, '98SE, ME - sucked, XP, skipped Vista, jumped to 7, skipped 8/8.1, insider to 10 1st pc was a pentium 133 mhz with 16 MBRAM, and a ... 4gb of hdd with a crt monitor of 14", mechanical keyboard and a... i think it was a genius mouse, motorola modem of 45kb on dial-up.
  • Hahah had exactly the same specs on my first pc, had windows 98 on it. Although I think I had to add a modem seperately.
  • I started with 3.1. Win 95 was nothing short of Paradigmatic! It has been an amazing journey tracking through the systems. With amazing continuity and discontinuity. Can't wait to see what the future holds. But I think I'll be happy with 10 for quite some time! I think it represents the first time I've been more of a Windows fan than a Mac fan (though I still like Mac quite a bit). Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • 3.1, 95, 98, me, xp, vista, 7, 8, 8.1, & TBD. Still run ms-dos just for the games. zelda classic was an interesting clone
  • Myself as well. Started with 3.1 and have used every windows since. Windows ME was probably my favourite ( which most people hated for some reason), and windows 8/8.1 is my least favourite. Vista is a close second for least favourite..damn thing froze all the time if you were running two video cards in SLI mode.
  • Started with Philips P2000p homecomputer with only Basic, no HDD, with m'n mini cassettes. After that a IBM 286 with 1MB RAM and 10MB HDD and FDD with only MS-DOS. First Windows I touched was 3.11 on my uncles PC, he was also the first with Windows 95. I still remember the blue desktop background with the CD-ROM on it...I was 12 years old back then...
  • I started with 98. Then went to XP, 7, 8.1 and now 10.
  • Geeks unite!
  • Wonder how windows 20 will be Posted via the Windows Central App for Android on my Oneplus One
  • Windows 10 will be final version of Windows..... Further updates will change the Changelog number but O.S will not rename other than Windows 10
  • Never say never.... they might change the windows relase  say windows 11 but just as a cumulative update via windows update... who knows....
  • That's not set in stone. I'm pretty sure Microsoft will bump the OS number at some point once the "Windows 10" brand becomes stale.
  • That's a long sig
  • 95 to 10 wait 20years.. For win 20 maybe 20years later, worth to wait :) lets see ICYMI 20years later ^^
  • Similar? I didn't know 98,95,xp,7,vista and heck 8 was being banned by the torrent sites! Why does ms have to be so snoopy that torrent has to ban its newest os?
    EDIT: I meant only 10 being blocked! Not the others!!
  • I like the part where you pulled that statement out of your ass.
  • He didn't pull it completely out of his ass. There is at least one tracker that blocks Windows 10 users. Morale of the story, don't pirate and you can use the latest version of Windows. Or at least don't use that tracker lol.
  • ONE insignificant fear mongering tracker that blocks Windows 10. The rest of his statement is beyond false. W95 - W8.x being blocked? MS being snoopy? Come on!
  • Windows 95-8.1 aren't being blocked and he didn't say they were. It was an obvious sarcastic remark to attempt to make a point (albeit not a very good one)
  • Oh ok, sorry about that.
  • LOL I still have my Windows 95 upgrade CD, I wonder how it would run on my surface?
  • Blazing fast .... Might not be able to run in 2k display
  • It wouldn't. Windows 95 won't boot up if you have more than 2 gigs of RAM. Also, as an upgrade cd, you would need windows 3.1 installed first in order to upgrade to Win95. Good luck!
  • I keep disk 1 of my 3.1 install floppy set just for this reason. It only needs to read disk 1 to proceed with the 'upgrade'.  
  • It wouldn't. I mean, you could run in a VM, but not natively. If you could get it to boot from the UEFI BIOS (which I doubt), you would still have memory issues and driver issues and who knows what else going on.
  • Download VMware player, create a new VM and even in that it will run smooth as silk...
  • I don't know if I should be happy or sad about the title
  • Hint: You're old.
  • How things change but still remain the same. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Ah, the memories! I used to play C&C on my Gateway2000 PC all the time - Happy Birthday '95, you legend!
  • Windows on Floppy Disks? Jesus Christ How Many Disks It Took? (in a southern Leonardo Di Caprio voice)
    ____
    Anyway, Happy birthday Windows 95
  • 23 for windows 95B, they were formatted at 2.88mb each disk
  • About the same amount for office pro from that era if you include ppt viewer
  • Fun Fact: Windows 8.1 install kit requires about ~3700 floppy disk to fit.
  • In fact it is somewhere sold in floppies. I saw an image of w8.1 in floppies.
  • I remember exactly that day. Switching from 3.11 to 95 was a huge step. I run initial setup without smartdrv.exe and copying installation files took few hours. Good old days...
  • 4 MB of ram Dred, we've come far lol.
  • Yeah.. Now we have jpegs bigger than that. Whatsapp is 22mb.... But 4mb means a supercomputer 20 years ago :D I'm 3 years older than 95 :P
  • So you are 98 :)
  • Ha ha! :-D Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • Lol
  • Thanks, Windows Central, for reminding me that I'm old, and that I need to update LinkedIn to say that I have over 20 years' extensive experience with Windows Server et al instead of 19... (NT4 beta 1 chick here)
  • Did you use the 95b exploit with nt4? And 98se?
  • What about NT 3.51 server os? I had the loving task of upgrading several servers from that to NT 4. Was like windows 3.1 for server to win95 for server
  • Yay for WinNT 4.0!
  • Makes me feel old too. I was 15 when 95 dropped. However, since I didn't get my first computer til 1998, and as an ardent console gamer, I was largely oblivious to the particulars of computing before that time. So I share this with these young bucks who weren't even born in 1995: I missed out on the significance, import, and magic of the Windows 95 launch. Oh how I now wish I could've experienced it. Although, when I got my first computer, it had 3.1 on it, and it wouldn't be til a couple months later that I'd upgrade, so I guess I did get to experience at least a small taste of the paradigmatic awesomeness that was making the transition to 95. :-) Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • NT 3.51 here...Now working with 2012 R2... and waiting on 2016... :)
  • It had the best screensavers I've ever seen in Windows. Good old gold times.
  • I still recall a comador 64 with a casette drive. Played a tank game on that with brother for hours. Took about that long to load up as well.
  • 4MB RAM????
    I can not believe it.
    I wasn't even born when it released!!!
  • I was 15. But I didn't get my first computer til I was 18. So we both missed the impact of the launch, I suppose. :-) Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • I started on the Atari 800XL, 640 kb memory, external floppy drive. Starts out learning DOS cmds using a cartridge on Atari. Eventually jumped to a nice 386SX with 20mb hard drive, and Dos 6.2 if I am correct. Just upgraded with each, skipping ME of course.
    Oh the memories!!!
  • I remember the news articles about people buying Win95 who didn't know it was for a computer and didn't own a computer. Talk about getting caught up in the marketing.
  • Wow, so Win 95 isn't old enough for a legal drink in the US. Seriously though, I vaguely remember Windows 95. I remember MS-DOS though...
  • LOL that 4 MB ram would make a good joke in today's era.
  • Remember the jingle " YOU GOT TO START ME UP" by the stones I still use the win95start up tone.on my gaming rig.
  • Lol we have still an old Windows 95 PC which my parents bought 20 years ago standing around in our house and its still working perfectly well :D
  • Also should be noted that 99.9% of us had to use dial up to connect with the cracklings' noises in the bg
  • I was in school that time and they just introduced computer in our school and it was like WOW
  • Though I never understood DOS because our teachers knew less about it
  • From before that I used 3.1 , 95, 98, 2000, millennium, XP home and professional, vesta, server 2003, 7, and 10.
    I missed 8.1 .. I still remember that nature theme with frog sound.
  • Oh yeah! I totally forgot about that!The frog was awesome!Wasn't there like a couple of "theme pack" releases? I seem to remember you could get them on cd.
  • I remember on my windows 98, it had a hell lot of themes and my favourite one was with the scary witch castle. It had a screensaver of a haunted castle and lights going in n out, the clouds over the moon and bats flying.
  • Cool: http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/cultuur2Bmedia/media/1.2418786  They added a start button on the website.    
  • Good times, bad times, happy days! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kemivUKb4f4  
  • Nice right on the Windows 95 CD...
  • Started with windows 98 when I was around 4. Climbed upon every single edition xp,me,vista,7,8,8.1 and now on 10.,and also dos sometime in the middle.. screensavers,webshots, dsl modem, crt screens,etc.. So much has passed since I was born!! I am as old as win95, just a month older.
  • I skipped Windows 95 because of my computer had only that 4 MB of RAM, that was maybe enoguht to thechnically run Win95, but not in practise. I installed it, but had to downgrade soon to DOS 6.22 + Win 3.1, that worked so great on that hardware I had. Those were the days! In 1998 bought a brand new, a really expensive computer with latest hardware, lots of RAM, nVidia TNT, etc and Windows 98. Great computer that served a really long time,  mosty because of the superb gaming speed of TNT graphics card. After upgdading to a newer one again, I left that old computer as a disk server that I had till last year.  
  • Woo! Started with 95\98, used XP for a LONG time, used vista, 7, 8/.1, and now 10! I think my favorite was XP, because of all the good memories associated with it. (childhood)
    But 10 has been pretty fun, and 7 was very solid until the last couple of weeks. Edit: The Welcome sound for 95/98 was so good...
  • From windows 98se > XP > 7 > 8 > 10.
  • My first computer was a Spectrum Plus2 128k. We though we were living in heady days then.. those spectrum 48k users were such peasents.
  • Our first home computer was a 386 running windows 3.1 Later we got our hands on an update to 3.11. I think I was about 9 years old at the time. I remember me coloring some pictures on that pc and playing silly games. We only had a floppy disk installed. Later we upgraded to a magnificent 486 running Windows 95... I witnessed Windows 98, SE, skipped millenium and stayed for what seems ages on windows XP. Had only one vista install but moved on to Windows 7. Never had a Windows 8 version on my PC, but my wife is still on 8.1. Updated to w10 the day after launch on my pc and loving it... From a mobile perspective I've always been a big Nokia fan with Windows Mobile 6.0, Symbian! (loved the E50 and E52) , Windows Mobile 7 (Lumia 800) an 8/8.1 (Lumia 925) Looking back on this post I must admit I'm a Windows fan :-)
  • I remember playing around in my dad's pc running 95.. Used to play games like vanguard ace, aoe 1 and 2 and mega man x4.. Happy times!!!
  • I was at the launch party on the Microsoft campus. Bill Gates was about as psyched as I've ever seen him during his presentation. Jay Leno was the host of the event. There were booths everywhere with demos of new products and software from scores of comanies. I remember the IE booth where they were showing IE 1.0 (which did not come with Windows 95 and had that cool animated icon) was located just across a small display area from the larger Netscape booth. I'm sure none of the people there that day could imagine all the drama that was to result from the struggle between those two teams beginning just a few months later. There was lots of swag available for those of us attending. I walked out with a Windows 95 shopping bag full of stuff. Some of it is still around here somewhere.
  • And a lot of its icons too.
  • The character table application looks like they never changed it since Windows 95. Today it's so small on modern screens that the keys are even in the zoomed mode to small to recognize.
  • You used to be able to move the Start button along the taskbar. They called it a bug and removed the feature in the 95b release.  
  • Still have an old intel PC to run it and an amd(xp era) that could run it aswel
  • Can anybody imagine we still have to support a couple of W95-driven CNC controllers?! Running on a special vintage type of hard disk, which crashes every year or so due to vibrations.
  • Sneak peek at build 10525: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edlE4Yvv5-s  
  • Oh, I remember the BETA program for WIndows 95....I had it in mid 1994, and with the beta we got to test the Microsoft Network. Free dial up internet for almost a year (yea, and that was fast for the time because dial up was all you had access to). I installed Windows 95 OR2 (final before killed off), in a VM, runs fast, even can browse modern websites like this, on IE 5.1. No .Net support so no 3rd party browsers woudl run on it. I still boot it up time to time...with the Plus! pack for Windows 95 :) WIndows 95 was the most innovative OS ever and still to this day it still is, Most of what you see in even windows 10 can be referenced in Windows 95...
  • My first computer was a Microbee. This was an Australian pc based on a Z80 processor running Microworld BASIC. It came in a kit form and required some basic soldering skills to assemble. I remember buying the Word Processor module which came packaged in a EPROM which had to be piggybacked onto another chip on the motherboard. A key combination then activated the program. Once my Microbee died I entered the Wintel era and progressed from the 186 and Windows 1 (and various BASICs) through to Windows 10 and Skylark. There has been many bumps along the road but it has been a fantastic ride. I just cant wait for whats around the corner :)