Windows 95: The operating system that brought us the “Start” button (August 24, 1995) - History Key

Windows 95: The operating system that brought us the “Start” button (August 24, 1995)

Launched on August 24, 1995, Windows 95 marked the start of an impressive ascension of the company led by Bill Gates. Windows 10 is the first Microsoft operating system officially provided on a flash drive and its users are advised to have at 16GB of free storage on their hard drive. In 1995 the situation was extremely different. Windows 95 as the company’s most advanced software and its minimum requirements were 4MB of RAM and around 40MB of free storage.

Mikol Furneaux waves two copies of Windows 95 at a midnight launch at a store in Sydney, Australia
Mikol Furneaux waves two copies of Windows 95 at a midnight launch at a store in Sydney, Australia © Image Source: mashable.com

What new features brought Windows 95?

Back then, all those who wanted to try the new Windows before its official launch could join a “Preview Program”. Thus, in exchange for $20, the participants received a standard 3.5-inch floppy from which they could install the operating system. With an extremely intuitive user interface, it was no longer an operating system that primarily addressed to businesses.

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates speaks on a television above a Windows 95 display at a store in Vienna, Virginia
Microsoft CEO Bill Gates speaks on a television above a Windows 95 display at a store in Vienna, Virginia © Image Source: mashable.com

Until then, the main method that users interacted with the PC was the keyboard, the mouse being used only at certain times. However, with the release of Windows 95, a “point and click” system was introduced, where the mouse gained an extremely important role. Microsoft has already prepared its users for this step by introducing games such as Minesweeper or Solitaire.

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates launches Windows 95 before a crowd of thousands in Redmond, Washington
Microsoft CEO Bill Gates launches Windows 95 before a crowd of thousands in Redmond, Washington © Image Source: mashable.com

Start me up

Some of the most important elements of Microsoft’s operating systems have been presented to the public with Windows 95. Unlike old text windows from the older versions, Windows 95 contained icons, images and other symbols that could be opened, copied and pasted extremely easily now with the help of mouse.

However, the most important feature was the “Start” button. The start menu included many groups of tools and quick accesses such as Programs, Settings, Accessories, etc. It also provided the possibility to shut down the computer.

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