"Windows 95 information with details of advanced Windows 95 features."



"Windows 95 (codenamed Chicago) is a consumer-oriented graphical user interface-based operating system. It was released on August 24, 1995 by Microsoft and was a significant progression from the company's previous Windows products. During development, it was referred to as Windows 4.0 or by the internal codename Chicago."

"Windows 95 integrated Microsoft's formerly separate MS-DOS and Windows products. It featured significant improvements over its predecessor, Windows 3.1, most notably in the graphical user interface (GUI) and in its relatively simplified "plug-n-play" features. There were also major changes made at lower levels of the operating system, such as moving from a mainly 16-bit architecture to a pre-emptively multitasked 32-bit architecture."

"Accompanied by an extensive marketing campaign,[4] Windows 95 was a major success in the marketplace at launch and shortly became the most popular desktop operating system. It also introduced numerous functions and features that were featured in later Windows versions, such as the taskbar, the 'Start' button, and the way the user navigates. It was also suggested that Windows 95 had an effect of driving other major players (including OS/2) out of business, something which would later be used in court against Microsoft."

"Some three years after its introduction, Windows 95 was succeeded by Windows 98. Support for Windows 95 ended on December 31, 2001."

"Windows 95 was released with great fanfare, including a commercial featuring the Rolling Stones' 1981 single "Start Me Up" (a reference to the Start button).[10] It was widely reported that Microsoft paid the Rolling Stones between US$8 and US$14 million for the use of the song in the 95 advertising campaign. According to sources at Microsoft, however, this was just a rumor spread by the band to increase their market value, and Microsoft actually paid a fraction of that amount.[11] A 30-minute promotional video, labeled a "cyber sitcom", featuring Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry, was also released to showcase the features of Windows 95.[12] Microsoft's US$300 million advertising campaign featured stories of people waiting in line outside stores to get a copy."

"Windows 95 Architecture was designed to be maximally compatible with existing MS-DOS and 16-bit Windows programs and device drivers, while offering a more stable and better performing system.[16][17] Windows 95 architecture is an evolution of Windows for Workgroups' 386 enhanced mode. The lowest level of the operating system consists of a large number of virtual device drivers (VxDs) running in 32-bit protected mode and one or more virtual DOS machines running in virtual 8086 mode. The virtual device drivers are responsible for handling physical devices (such as video and network cards), emulating virtual devices used by the virtual machines, or providing various system services. The three most important virtual device drivers are:"

"Windows 95 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM32.VXD) Responsible for memory management, event handling, interrupt handling, loading and initializing virtual device drivers, creating new virtual machines and thread scheduling."

"Windows 95 Configuration Manager (CONFIGMG) is responsible for implementing Plug and Play functionality, monitoring hardware configuration changes, detecting devices using bus enumerators, and allocating I/O ports, IRQs, DMA channels and memory in a conflict free fashion."

"Windows 95 graphical user interface is started, the virtual machine manager takes over the filesystem-related and disk-related functionality. MS-DOS itself is demoted to a compatibility layer for 16-bit device drivers.[21] This contrasts with earlier versions of Windows which relies on MS-DOS to perform file and disk access (Windows for Workgroups 3.11 could also largely bypass MS-DOS when 32-bit file access and 32-bit disk access were enabled). Keeping MS-DOS in memory allows Windows 95 to use DOS device drivers when suitable Windows drivers are unavailable."

"Windows 95 User interface has new interface was introduced by a "Welcome" dialog on its first startup. Windows 95 introduced a redesigned shell based around a desktop metaphor; the desktop was re-purposed to hold shortcuts to applications, files, and folders - unlike Windows 3.1 where it was used to display running applications. Running applications were now displayed as buttons on a taskbar across the bottom of the screen, which also contains a notification area used to display icons for background applications, a volume control, and the current time. The Start menu, invoked by clicking the "Start" button also contained on the taskbar, was introduced as an additional means of launching applications or opening documents. While maintaining the program groups used by its predecessor, Program Manager, it now displayed applications within cascading sub-menus. The previous File Manager program was also replaced by Windows Explorer."

"Windows 95 Internet Explorer originally shipped without Internet Explorer, and the default network installation did not install TCP/IP, the network protocol used on the Internet. At the release date of Windows 95, Internet Explorer 1.0 was available, but only in the Plus! add-on pack for Windows 95, which was a separate product. The Plus! Pack did not reach as many retail consumers as the operating system itself (it was mainly advertised for its add-ons such as themes and better disk compression) but was usually included in pre-installed (OEM) sales, and at the time of Windows 95 release, the web was being browsed mainly with a variety of early web browsers such as Netscape."

"Windows 95 System requirements were an Intel 80386 DX CPU of any speed, 4 MB of system RAM, and 50 to 55 MB of hard drive space depending on features selected. These minimal claims were made in order to maximize the available market of Windows 3.1 converts. This configuration was distinctly suboptimal for any productive use on anything but single tasking dedicated workstations due to the heavy reliance on virtual memory. Also, in some cases, if any networking or similar components were installed the system would refuse to boot with 4 megabytes of RAM. It was possible to run Windows 95 on a 386 SX but this led to even less acceptable performance due to its 16-bit external data bus. To achieve optimal performance, Microsoft recommends an Intel 80486 or compatible microprocessor with at least 8 MB of RAM.[34] Windows 95 fails to boot on computers with approximately more than 480 MB."


"Windows 95 end of support date December 2002."