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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