I remember when Windows 95 first came out it was a huge deal and people were lined up before the store opened to buy a copy. What was the big deal with it? I don’t remember much from that time.
Mainly that it wasn’t Windows 3.1, which was basically a DOS shell wrapped in GUI of sorts and that Win 95 had better memory management (vs 3.1)
It had very good marketing. At the time, I felt that was the only thing MS did better than IBM (OS/2).
Amen! OS/2 was a real OS. Fully integrated Java, and has always run Win/DOS executables better than Win/DOS, with a better filesystem, not to mention more stable. The list goes on. It’s a shame that IBM could never market it; the world would be much better off running OS/2 than Windows, IMO.
It was also the first time Microsoft tried their hand at something approaching real multitasking. IIRC, the closest they had come was support of TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident), which means a program would terminate and leave a stub program which could be used to call up the main program again.
Actually, Windows 3.1 had some kind of multitasking. It wasn’t pre-emptive IIRC, but I think it was better than the TSR technology. Inferior to Win95 still, of course.
Windows 95 had a good Solitaire.
OS/2’s problem was when it first came out it was too far in advance of the capabilities of the average computer. Consequently it ran like a dog. I know, I tried it. I worked on an IBM computer that IBM itself had supplied to show off OS/2. It was a gorgous machine (for the time), but OS/2 still choked it. Especially when compared to Win 3.0, which was also installed. Guess which got used.
OS/2 never recovered from that setback in most people’s minds.
You could finally use a joystick. You didn’t have to worry about freeing up memory under the 640K.
I know it’s fashionable to hate Windows, but it was a HUGE improvement over DOS and 3.11.
Windows 95 introduced the taskbar (the strip usually at the bottom of the screen), which most desktop environments subsequently copied. It seems obvious now, but at the time it was new.
Good point, usram. That taskbar is the reason I’m using icewm under Linux. It’s just a convenient place to know where your windows are, but icewm’s the only lightweight window manager to incorporate it. The taskbar is probably the best UI idea to come from Microsoft.
(pause) (blink) Ten years ago I was working with an 80 MB hard drive. (blink) (blink blink)
Yes, the taskbar was what the layperson–read, me–noticed. I was completely bewildered the first time I saw it.
Wow, good point. What an incredible pain the nuts that could be. Almost forgot about that crap.
It didn’t introduce it to Amiga users. Even now I see a lot of the old Amiga guys running XP with their taskbar moved to the top of the screen.
Old habits and all.
The Amiga UI had an area at the edge of the screen that showed you which programs were running, and allowed you to click on the programs in order to switch to them? That is news to me.
<em look down front of shirt>
ahem…and old amiga grrls …
drives mrAru nuts <evil grin>
That marketing campaign was so good and so convincing that Mr Cazzle informs me they had customers who didn’t even own a computer lined up to buy Windows 95. They weren’t sure what it was, just that they had to have it. Now, I don’t know if Mr Cazzle is exaggerating (and he’s not here right now to ask), but given my memories of how dominating that advertising was, it wouldn’t surprise me at all.
It was a happy day for me. For a long time, I’d been doing my utmost to convince my parents that a 40MG and and 80MG drive simply weren’t big enough any more (thank you Mr Computer Shop Guy circa 1991 who said “You’ll never fill this drive!”… my Dad never forgot that comment and took it as his motto). When I was able to drag them into a store and show them that Windows 95 said on the box “Minimum disk space: 120MG”, I finally got through to them that WE NEEDED A NEW HARDDRIVE!
It’s a little sad that my l337 memory management skillz became obsolete with one install. No more twiddling with the autoexec.bat and config.sys. No more working out how to free up a massive 157 megs of hard disk space so I could copy Privateer over and not have to waste memory on CD drivers. Ahh, those were the days…
You’re kidding, right?
The Win95 intro stands out as The Day We Finally Killed MS-DOS!!
Isn’t that reason enough to cheer?
The programming model was the real triumph of Win32 – a real 32-bit model that would scale to the machines we have today – very large memory spaces running on fast processors. In that sense, Win32 (Win95) was a very big deal for Intel machines.
Parts of Win95 were still mired in Win16 land, but the OS finally graduated to lucious gooey 32-bitness with Win95. This was a real triumph for MS.
(yes, I know that xNix and others did this first; but Microsoft did a damned good job of herding the installed base of Win16 towards a new standard. Credit where credit is due.)