Posted on Windows 7 News & Tips
Today, August 24th, marks the 16th anniversary of the launch of Windows 95 and the 10th anniversary of the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows XP. Is this important? Well it’s actually very significant as we approach the official unveiling of Windows 8 in just three weeks from now.
Windows 95 was the first radical departure for PCs, and only the second radical departure overall; with the first being the introduction of the GUI with software including Windows 1.0, PowerDesk and GEM. It gave us the new Start Menu and two additional keys on every computer keyboard thereafter. It was billed at the time as the most radical version of Windows, is this ringing any bells with you yet?
Microsoft have also said that Windows 8 will be “bold” and other words of that ilk. They are proudly shouting that “Windows 8 changes everything” much in the way that Windows 95 and Windows XP did before it. Windows 95 introduced so much more though that revolutionised personal computing and that helped Bill Gates realise his dream of “a computer on every desk and in every home”. Innovations such as plug and play and USB support again changed things forever, as anyone who tried to install a device driver in Windows 3.11 would tell you.
Windows 95 was also the first Microsoft operating system to include Internet Explorer and to properly embrace the Internet. Until this time Netscape and the very first web browser, Mosaic ruled the roost.
There was also the move to a 32-bit operating platform, a huge jump at the time, making Windows far more stable and secure than it had been before. Now today that last statement seems like a bad joke given everything that’s happened since but as the final laugh Windows 95′s move to 32-bit gave use long file names, something that we take completely for granted these days.
There was no doubt that it changed the whole of personal computing and at launch received an unprecendented amount of attention from the worldwide press and television news. The launch of Windows 95 was, much to the surprise of many, simply everywhere.
It wasn’t until 2011 that Windows XP changed everything again, but this time in a way that brought some proper stability for a change. This has caused Microsoft a major headache with XP still popular today, though there’s now only about 900 days support remaining for it. The XP RTM milestone is more significant as, while Windows 7 has made tremendous inroads into the PC market, XP is still there and still a thorn, not just in the side of Microsoft, but of security researchers, Internet merchants, big business and banks everywhere (though in fairness to three of these groups, it’s mostly big business keeping it going).
Microsoft need an operating system as ‘bold’ as Windows 95 or Windows XP to really get people to sit up and take notice this time. While Windows 7 has done extremely well, and while it’s completely set to rest the ghost of Vista, it’s done so quietly and unobtrusively. What Microsoft need, and what I’m sure they want this time around, is a media circus much more akin to those they had when 95 and XP were first launched.
The other thing to note however is rumoured changes to the main desktop interface with Windows 8, and here I’m not just talking about the new tablet interface. It’s possible we may finally be saying goodbye to the Start Menu, first introduced with Windows 95. This makes sense and I genuinely hope it happens and is replaced by a beefed-up taskbar and a more Mac like approach to application control and launch. It’s odd to note thought that everyone I’ve spoken to feels like the Start Menu has been with us forever. It’s curious to think then that it’s only been here for 16 years which, while in computing terms is generations, isn’t actually that long.
So happy anniversary Windows 95 and Windows XP. May you both have a long and happy… actually, scrub that. Bring on Windows 8!
Windows 95 is 16 today, XP is 10. Anniversaries all round! is a post from Windows 7 News & Tips - Latest Microsoft Windows 7 News, Tips, Themes, Wallpapers & Guides. Visit Windows 7 News & Tips for the Latest Microsoft Windows 7 News, Tips, Themes, Wallpapers & Guides.
Windows 95 is 16 today, XP is 10. Anniversaries all round!
Mike Halsey (MVP)
Wed, 24 Aug 2011 14:13:45 GMT