Trivia Tuesday: Windows 95's golden days

Do you remember Windows 95? I’m sure that many of you do, and even though I was quite young when I first experienced it, I’m sure that it was the first operating system I had ever used. It was a marvel of graphic user interfaces and functionality at the time, and made Microsoft a boatload of money as well.

Did you know that Windows 95 had a beta program? Yep, users could pay to enter the Windows 95 Preview Program in the United States and they would receive a few 3.5” floppy disks containing the beta OS. It only cost $19.95, or around $30 now adjusted for inflation.

Reminder: Windows 95 was released on August 24, 1995. As of December 31, 2001 it is unsupported by Microsoft.

System requirements for Windows 95 are at least a 12 MHz Intel 80386 CPU, 4 MB of RAM and 50 MB of HDD space. Of course, Microsoft recommends that you use 8 MB of RAM for optimal performance. Windows 95 (at the time of release in 1995) could not support more than 480 MB of RAM or hard drives larger than 2 GB; luckily for 1995 this would have been huge.

The iconic plain-color Windows 95 desktop

Did you know that Windows 95 shipped without Internet Explorer? It turns out that if you wanted to connect to the internet via your shiny new Windows 95 installation you would have to purchase the Plus! Pack add-on which installed TCP/IP and Internet Explorer 1.0.

Marketing Windows 95 saw the Empire State Building in New York City lit with the four Windows colors. There was also a 300-foot (91 metre long) banner draped down the CN Tower in Toronto, and Microsoft paid for 1.5 million free issues of The Times in London.

$300 million was the total cost of Microsoft’s marketing and advertising strategy for Windows 95.
$209 was the price for a single full retail copy of Windows 95.
40 million copies of Windows 95 were sold in just a year after its release (including OEM sales)
$4.4 billion was approximately made by Microsoft in their first year of Windows 95 sales, assuming the average sale price of Windows 95 (for both OEMs and retail) was around $110.
$8.6 billion would be the revenue for Microsoft if all 40 million copies were sold at retail
$575 million was the profit posted for Microsoft’s first quarter ending December 31, 1995, five months after the Windows 95 launch
$45 was the cost of Windows 95 in 1998, just after the release of Windows 98

The Windows 95 box

19 megabytes is the approximate size of the full version of Windows 95 if you were to download it today. That comes close to 13 standard 3.5” floppy disks if you were to obtain a physical set, and if you do so desire you can buy boxed sets for around $20 on eBay. If you want Internet Explorer 3 to add on to your Windows 95 installation, be prepared for an extra six floppies.

Chicago was the internal codename for Windows 95 used during development.

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Images courtesy of Wikipedia

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I was in collage in the early 90's and remember seeing beta screenshots on the cover of the trade newspaper InfoWorld at the library. I had been using Windows on various Compaq and Zeos machines since version 1.03 and could not wait for Windows 95.

Yeah but the CD-ROM version wasn't 19 MB. And it's sad that the Windows 95 UX doesn't live any more. The unsuitable Metro's trying to take over on the desktop.

My first PC was an Olivetti P100. That's the only spec I can remember except for Windows 95 and an 800 mb hdd first, then when that died, a whopping 1 gigabyte drive.
And I can still remember being on the phone to tech support when the computer was screwed and crapping bricks while they talked me through a system restore.

It all comes flooding back...First ISP (AOL), being disconnected when someone picked the phone up, waiting for images to load...Remember when they used to load top-down in the browser...? Oh, the chat rooms..."Hey, wanna cyber...?" lol

Reminds me of the days when I knew nothing about computers. Maybe I should be a bit more patient for the people that bug me for help. Or tell 'em to ring tech support....

I remember the days before Win95 and working on someone's PC which was running 3.11. Remember DOS days a lot more.

I do remember though, when I was so excited to get a hold of a Win 95 OEM CD for $40 from a guy, racing home and firing up the computer to do a first time install of the OS. The install was so different compared to Today's. I remember sitting there waiting about an hour for all the billboard screens to pass by during the install while the CD spun away and HDD copied the image. Then, the moment of truth came and I was running Win95 with my 14.4 modem which went to 33.6 later. To get internet, I used Compuserve, then AOL (It was free for a month hey!) , then Juno Internet, and other various Free Internet providers (ad supported), to get online.

Things are different now for sure, but one thing that remains the same, the excitement and thrill of installing a new OS for my personal use was worth every bit of the wait for the install to complete.

I actually took part in this program at the age of 14/15. My dad sprung for copies for himself and for me. It came with free access to The Microsoft Network (dial-up predecessor to MSN) until the end of the beta period.

Win95 was the first graphical (not CLI) system I used consistently. Up until that point, I would install, and then uninstall, Windows 3.1 when I had to test a Windows program for some reason on my home PC. I was an avid MS-DOS user, using DESQview for multi-tasking DOS programs and I absolutely hated Windows.

Needless to say, Win95 changed all that.

Was i the only one when I first tried windows 95 (in my case was at the library) I started by renaming a file with a really long file name. I was wow'd by how big the file name was.

Then when I got done I clicked start and looked at recent documents and saw this long file name

49508qrofjurogjfsg;lsjdflgjsdflg;jfsgddddddadfads;lkfjas;ldfj

I was like OH Crap.... now how do i get it out of that list. lol

warwagon said,
Was i the only one when I first tried windows 95 (in my case was at the library) I started by renaming a file with a really long file name. I was wow'd by how big the file name was.

Then when I got done I clicked start and looked at recent documents and saw this long file name

49508qrofjurogjfsg;lsjdflgjsdflg;jfsgddddddadfads;lkfjas;ldfj

I was like OH Crap.... now how do i get it out of that list. lol

Haha.. that's so funny, exactly what I did.. didn't believe you could have non 8.3 file names and long names, so we created stupid long folder and files to prove it could be done.. only to be shattered a year or two later after finding out DOS would simply maintain 2 file names for a file a short name with the ~1, ~2 and the LFN version.. so it wasn't as "exciting" after we found that out.

qdave said,
And i still have pc with windows 95 on...i just never use it

Well almost close.. we have 98 that still runs a couple of programs.. original machine too, it's a pain to rebuild / restore the data.. so we don't even THINK of touching it..

Windows 95 cannot support more than 480 MB of RAM or hard drives larger than 2 GB

This statement is incorrect.

Here's a screenshot I just took on Windows 95. As you can see, 768 MB of RAM and an 8 GB hard disk are working just fine. Link: http://i.imgur.com/HMKdF.png

StarLion said,

This statement is incorrect.

Here's a screenshot I just took on Windows 95. As you can see, 768 MB of RAM and an 8 GB hard disk are working just fine. Link: http://i.imgur.com/HMKdF.png

Is that an original release or some kind of update? I'm sure they eventually released some sort of "large" disk support...

StarLion said,

This statement is incorrect.

Here's a screenshot I just took on Windows 95. As you can see, 768 MB of RAM and an 8 GB hard disk are working just fine. Link: http://i.imgur.com/HMKdF.png


As can be see in the screenshot, 'C', that is the final update to windows 95 that added features, that version supports USB too.

I remember installing this on one of the computers at school. It was so different from Win 3.1.

But I was a Mac user at the time, so I wasn't impresed.

seebaran said,
This is the stuff! Anyone remember Active Desktop? Bleh!

Yes, wasn't that Windows 98 though with IE4? My memory isn't very good, but I remember it being ****

glen8 said,

Yes, wasn't that Windows 98 though with IE4? My memory isn't very good, but I remember it being ****


You could get IE4 with Active Desktop for Windows 95 for quite some time before Windows 98 came out. And it was only "****" at the time because most people had dialup and it really worked best with a constant connection to the internet. We still have Active Desktop in a way, in the form of desktop gadgets, etc.

I was part of the beta (not the paid) and even attended the launch at the MS campus... but then, I had to suffer through watching Bill dance to the Rolling Stones. <shudder!>

I couldn't say I had windows 95 but I had windows NT 3.51 workstation omfg the os was drivers nightmare... but good memories, and trying watch porn slow ass internet back than good days...

It turns out that if you wanted to connect to the internet...

I downloaded WinSocks w/ a PPP dialer off of a BBS in order to connect to the Internet (through my local university).

Windows 95 OSR 2 came with IE
Windows 95 OEM rev. D+ came with IE

If I recall correctly. Its been many years. Used to work at a computer store back in the day.

My dad picked it up at midnight. I was pretty young (8 at the time) but I remember using Prodigy on DOS (I even remember my Prodigy handle! HDNP27C!!! my dad was A, my brother B), and using 3.11. He was very excited to get 95 and I "helped" him do the upgrade that morning. Good times!

Windows 95 did actually include TCP/IP support in the box, though I don't believe it installed it by default.

The Plus Pack included Internet Explorer 1.0 (which was horrible until 3.0), but you could use any other browser (such as Netscape) with the built-in TCP/IP and dialup support. IE could also be downloaded for free from Microsoft.

hitman05 said,
Windows 95 did actually include TCP/IP support in the box, though I don't believe it installed it by default.

The Plus Pack included Internet Explorer 1.0 (which was horrible until 3.0), but you could use any other browser (such as Netscape) with the built-in TCP/IP and dialup support. IE could also be downloaded for free from Microsoft.

I think you're right.

Pwrmad said,
Creepy to all these details now. I wonder what the price of 480MB RAM and a 2GB HD was back then.

My first Windows 95 system had 32MB of ram and 200MB hard disk drive (33MHz 386). I'm fairly certain that 2GB disks were affordable within a year after Windows 95. 480MB of RAM was a LOT of ram up until around the year 2002.

I have the 24 disc floppy version, I think it is. I know it's 20+ some, of Windows 95 I bought off E-bay way back when! I paid $5.00 for it!

My first computer wasn't until 1997 and it was Windows 95 with memory upgraded to 32MB's the day I bought it. I upgraded the monitor from 13" to 14" also that day.

It was all great back then, but remember what kind of a crash & burn OS's all those were up until W2K, comparitively? I sure don't miss that!!

I purchased Windows 95 on day of release. The CD version shipped a week later than the floppy version so I bought that instead. Doh! That's my for being impatient.

It wasn't without its problems though in the early days. Microsoft was making a big push at this time for 32bit, but most vendors were still stuck with 16bit device drivers. This was a major pain, especially if you have an E-IDE device without 32bit native support. Windows ran in 16bit emulation mode which made it slow. My sys req at that time was something pretty decent IIRC a first generation Pentium P66Mhz (without the floating point bug) and I think 4mb of RAM. Not good enough to play MPEG2 Videos!!!! which is why I got an ISA Realmagic Mpeg2 decoder card LOL The chip was made by Sigma Designs who are still going strong today (althought their chips are now found in settop media player boxes). These were the good old days!!!!

I bought Windows 95 the day it was released and it was an exciting time. Thinking back to Win 95, it's hard to believe how long Windows has had a Start button/orb.

I guess I can take comfort I'm not the only one here who still have a Windows 95 CD somewhere. I have the Original OEM build and the OEM B version on my CD shelf along with Win98 and Win2k as well

Up until a few weeks ago, I had all the disks for 95, NT 4.0, 98, 98se, ME, 2k, XP and Vista. I copied them all to my home server with the CD Keys and tossed the disks. One of these days I will put 95 back on a system for the fun of it!

The good old days. I remember when they released keyboards with the Windows Flag on it just for people to press on it to bring up the Start Menu. That was the OS that Bill Gates allowed the all 1's as the install key. I think I reinstalled it at least 2 times a week for the first 6 months that I had it.

Steffan said,
The good old days. I remember when they released keyboards with the Windows Flag on it just for people to press on it to bring up the Start Menu. That was the OS that Bill Gates allowed the all 1's as the install key. I think I reinstalled it at least 2 times a week for the first 6 months that I had it.

my keyboard has a Windows button - i use it all the time for shortcuts!

I guess "wow" is the only thing that can be said here. It's amazing how far we have come in such a relatively short period of time.

este said,
I guess "wow" is the only thing that can be said here. It's amazing how far we have come in such a relatively short period of time.

The "wow" starts now?

i actually used 3.1 up until 1997 when i finally upgraded to win95. it wasnt too long after i installed 95 that 98 was released. i bought 98 on day 1 at a CompUSA midnight sale

Jdawg683 said,
i actually used 3.1 up until 1997 when i finally upgraded to win95. it wasnt too long after i installed 95 that 98 was released. i bought 98 on day 1 at a CompUSA midnight sale

Same here. Were the original hippsters. Now people lineup in front of Apple stores.

"12 MHz Intel 80386 CPU, 4 MB of RAM"
LOL you have to be joking! If you ever tried to run Windows 95 on this rig you had serious problems. I remember several work colleagues trying this with terrible results. It was best advised to suck with 3.1 unless you had at least a 486.

Mateus said,
"12 MHz Intel 80386 CPU, 4 MB of RAM"
LOL you have to be joking! If you ever tried to run Windows 95 on this rig you had serious problems. I remember several work colleagues trying this with terrible results. It was best advised to suck with 3.1 unless you had at least a 486.

I did. But my 386 has 33MHz.

I had a 486 DX2 66mhz baby! A whole 16MB of RAM and I think a 160MB HDD! Flying!! Started off with a 14.4bps modem them got a 33.6! Fastest dude on the block! My friends used to come over to my house to download stuff to floppys and take them back home. LOL

SHoTTa35 said,
I had a 486 DX2 66mhz baby! A whole 16MB of RAM and I think a 160MB HDD! Flying!! Started off with a 14.4bps modem them got a 33.6! Fastest dude on the block! My friends used to come over to my house to download stuff to floppys and take them back home. LOL

OMG was your machine an Acer? Those were my EXACT specs...

Not sure what it was actually - it didn't even have a case as it was a left over system at my high school when they upgraded to Pentium 120Mhz systems. We helped out in the Library so they gave us the old systems to play with and learn. Still remember starting downloads at 9pm when my mom went to bed and would stay up till 1am to "watch" it so it doesn't get knocked off when someone calls. LOL

With those requirements, that OS would FLY on today's systems! We need to petition Microsoft to save Windows 95, and release a new service pack for it to bring it up to spec!

Dot Matrix said,
With those requirements, that OS would FLY on today's systems! We need to petition Microsoft to save Windows 95, and release a new service pack for it to bring it up to spec!

and then it would become Win7

Dot Matrix said,
With those requirements, that OS would FLY on today's systems! We need to petition Microsoft to save Windows 95, and release a new service pack for it to bring it up to spec!

it can not support present ram/hdd/etc etc

Dot Matrix said,
With those requirements, that OS would FLY on today's systems! We need to petition Microsoft to save Windows 95, and release a new service pack for it to bring it up to spec!

Until 2 or so years ago, companies were allowed and still were buying windows 3.1 for embedded use... Try THAT on today's hardware

marshallz said,
Gotta love that Buddy Holly music video by Weezer they bundled with it :-)

Oh yeah, I forgot about that. I played that video over and over when I got my "State of the Art" Windows 95 Machine with a 5GB hard drive, 32MB RAM (I didn't want to go overboard because you don't need that much memory) and 120GHz Pentium processor.

Once I hooked up my 33.6 kbit/s modem and installed AOL (for you younger folks, this was another Operating System installation just to get on the Internet at the time. j/k), I was the envy of my block.

UndergroundWire said,

Oh yeah, I forgot about that. I played that video over and over when I got my "State of the Art" Windows 95 Machine with a 5GB hard drive, 32MB RAM (I didn't want to go overboard because you don't need that much memory) and 120GHz Pentium processor.

Once I hooked up my 33.6 kbit/s modem and installed AOL (for you younger folks, this was another Operating System installation just to get on the Internet at the time. j/k), I was the envy of my block.


Can I borrow your 120Ghz Pentium processor??? ;-p

UndergroundWire said,

Oh yeah, I forgot about that. I played that video over and over when I got my "State of the Art" Windows 95 Machine with a 5GB hard drive, 32MB RAM (I didn't want to go overboard because you don't need that much memory) and 120GHz Pentium processor.

Once I hooked up my 33.6 kbit/s modem and installed AOL (for you younger folks, this was another Operating System installation just to get on the Internet at the time. j/k), I was the envy of my block.

5gb hard disk in 95? As said in the article, your copy of windows 95 wouldn't even know what to do with it

marshallz said,
Gotta love that Buddy Holly music video by Weezer they bundled with it :-)

At one of the computer shops I worked for at the time, playing that video was the final test for any computer we built, since it verified that the sound and video drivers were installed and working correctly.

XerXis said,

5gb hard disk in 95? As said in the article, your copy of windows 95 wouldn't even know what to do with it

Actually you are right. It was 2GB. That's even sadder than I remember.

UndergroundWire said,

Actually you are right. It was 2GB. That's even sadder than I remember.


2GB was HUGE for windows 95, are you honestly sure it was 2GB? We had a few PCs and only got a 2GB H/D in 1998, in 1995 we had a 670MB western digitial (I sent a humourous email to WD a few years ago asking about my warranty status on it and they sent a funny email back )

n_K said,

2GB was HUGE for windows 95, are you honestly sure it was 2GB? We had a few PCs and only got a 2GB H/D in 1998, in 1995 we had a 670MB western digitial (I sent a humourous email to WD a few years ago asking about my warranty status on it and they sent a funny email back )

Yeah, now that I am thinking about it, I had the computer for a long time (from 1995 to 1999). When DSL came out, I started to use Napster. I downloaded about 1.2GB of music and my computer started to slow down because it was running low on virtual memory. Then I bought a Dell XPS with a 40GB drive in 2000. It came with Me which I downgraded to 98 SE.

Wasn't Windows 95-98Se limitation up to 2GB. Specifically FAT system can have up to 2GB and FAT 32 changed that? I don't remember but I do remember eventually buying Windows 2000 and converted the drive to NTFS.

Voice of Buddy Christ said,
Maybe he got it later on when it was OSR2.

Yes, I did actually because I have it on CD, not floppy disk. OSR2 was released on CD. I got it preinstalled on a Gateway Computer around Sept/Oct of 96. It also had Active Desktop which was not on the original version of Win95.

Thanks for jogging my memory.

UndergroundWire said,

Yes, I did actually because I have it on CD, not floppy disk.


Even the original version of Windows 95 was available on CD, so that really doesn't mean much.

roadwarrior said,

Even the original version of Windows 95 was available on CD, so that really doesn't mean much.

I guess you didn't read anything I posted after that. Of course that by itself doesn't mean much but if you know how to put two and two together I wouldn't have to respond to your comment.

I had it! I dont have it anymore though. Wish I did. I think even getting close to the end of the beta they had a gold copy but it was actually on a cd... it had a gold windows logo on the cd if I remember correctly.

NerdyTech said,
I had it! I dont have it anymore though. Wish I did. I think even getting close to the end of the beta they had a gold copy but it was actually on a cd... it had a gold windows logo on the cd if I remember correctly.

yep, still have the gold CD

NerdyTech said,
I had it! I dont have it anymore though. Wish I did. I think even getting close to the end of the beta they had a gold copy but it was actually on a cd... it had a gold windows logo on the cd if I remember correctly.

I still have mine. I don't know why I saved my Windows 95, 98, 98 SE, Me, NT, 2000, XP Home, XP Professional and Vista Ultimate. Maybe I'm turning into a hoarder of useless technology.

NerdyTech said,
I had it! I dont have it anymore though. Wish I did. I think even getting close to the end of the beta they had a gold copy but it was actually on a cd... it had a gold windows logo on the cd if I remember correctly.

I still have the 13 floppy set

UndergroundWire said,

I still have mine. I don't know why I saved my Windows 95, 98, 98 SE, Me, NT, 2000, XP Home, XP Professional and Vista Ultimate. Maybe I'm turning into a hoarder of useless technology.

What, Windows? Sorry... couldn't resist

Spirit Dave said,

What, Windows? Sorry... couldn't resist

Maybe it's because I haven't had my first cup of coffee or maybe it is an inside joke of some sort, but I don't get what you mean by that phrase

UndergroundWire said,

Maybe it's because I haven't had my first cup of coffee or maybe it is an inside joke of some sort, but I don't get what you mean by that phrase

Not a fan of explaining stuff like this but he was implying that the 'useless technology' you were hoarding is Windows itself (any version). I can see why you didn't pick it up, naff as it was.

Glorious said,

Not a fan of explaining stuff like this but he was implying that the 'useless technology' you were hoarding is Windows itself (any version). I can see why you didn't pick it up, naff as it was.

Yeah, I would love to see people use Civil 3D or ArcGIS on any other platform to accomplish GIS work. Oh wait they can't because Linux is for geeks and OSX is for hipsters.

Glorious said,

Not a fan of explaining stuff like this but he was implying that the 'useless technology' you were hoarding is Windows itself (any version). I can see why you didn't pick it up, naff as it was.

I actually like Windows. By stating my joke was 'naff', you've exposed yourself as a nerd who's actually slightly offended by the disrespect I've caused your God of an OS.

plur44 said,

I still have the 13 floppy set

The documentation is wrong and it's obvious you are lying just to get on the "bandwagon"... it was 26 disks.. I KNOW because I remember popping EACH and EVERY disk into the drive.... when I had the FIRST BETA, so if you have the 13 disk.. you are SO busted.

rijp said,

The documentation is wrong and it's obvious you are lying just to get on the "bandwagon"... it was 26 disks.. I KNOW because I remember popping EACH and EVERY disk into the drive.... when I had the FIRST BETA, so if you have the 13 disk.. you are SO busted.

Microsoft's floppy version of Win95 (not A, B, or C) came on 13 disks plus 1 setup disk. Win95 OSR2 (i.e. Win95B) installation had about 30 disks.

Just a helpful tip here.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnew...hive/2005/08/19/453612.aspx

Spirit Dave said,

I actually like Windows. By stating my joke was 'naff', you've exposed yourself as a nerd who's actually slightly offended by the disrespect I've caused your God of an OS.

Actually, you've exposed yourself as an idiot for for trying to dignify your comment as a joke. By trying to cover it up in a feeble attempt to mock me as a nerd, (having never crossed paths with me before in your life and basing your decision on two sentences on the Internet) you have made yourself look conceited and foolish.

Spirit Dave said,

I actually like Windows. By stating my joke was 'naff', you've exposed yourself as a nerd who's actually slightly offended by the disrespect I've caused your God of an OS.

No. He was right. The joke was naff

Glorious said,

Actually, you've exposed yourself as an idiot for for trying to dignify your comment as a joke. By trying to cover it up in a feeble attempt to mock me as a nerd, (having never crossed paths with me before in your life and basing your decision on two sentences on the Internet) you have made yourself look conceited and foolish.

lol

Intrinsica said,
Wow. Just...wow.

Excuse while I go and see if my microwave covers those system requirements.

It probably does, minus the 12" or higher VGA monitor