Related People: Bill Gates
Version: Windows 95
Release Date: August 24th, 1995
Previous Version: Windows for Workgroups 3.xx
Next Version: Windows 98
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New Key Features:
- A complete operating system rather than a graphical user interface running on top of MS-DOS.
- After boot up, the system completely run without MS-DOS environment.
- Improved windows control and appearance of windows
- Windows 95 has a new system control that located on the upper left corner of each window as an icon. In the upper right of each window, it has a new designed system box. Usually, it displays "Minimize", "Maximize/Restore" and new added "Close" buttons.
- New introduced Desktop
- Not only to store minimized icons, Windows desktop in Windows 95 can store files, shortcuts and system icons such as "My Computer" and "Recycle Bin".
- Right button menu
- Right click an object in system usually can bring a pop-up menu with some items like "edit", "copy", "paste", "properties" and "help".
- New help system
- The help window can resize and jump to anywhere in the screen. It splits to two areas in which left side is the index or keyword window and the right side is the content window.
- Task bar and start menu
- Similar to the concept of reserved area in Windows 1.x, Windows 95 began to have a task bar to store the links that can active or inactive an running program and display some system information in the tray area. A start menu was include in the task bar can let user access the shortcuts to all programs in a tree structure menu system.
- Build-in network support with dial-up for different protocols
- The build-in dial-up with support of TCP/IP protocol made user easier to access Internet. In OSR2 version of Windows 95, Microsoft began to integrate Microsoft Internet Explorer in Windows 95.
- Folder view of all kinds of files and resources
- In Windows 95, files, drives, shortcuts and network resources can all be displayed in a folder view in the new Windows Explorer which replaced Program Manager in pervious version of Windows.
- Support of 32 bit application, pre-emptive multitasking and thread
- These functions made Windows 95 to have the ability to run more complex tasks and programs.
On August 24, 1995, Microsoft released Windows 95 which originally scheduled to release on July 11th. Later in that year, Windows 95 Service Release 1 was released on Dec 31st. Then, one year later than the original release of Windows 95, Microsoft released Windows OSR2 (OEM Service Release 2), which integrated Microsoft Internet Explorer and began to support FAT32 file system.
Windows 95 is a big successor of Microsoft to their Windows for Workgroups 3.xx. It is no longer a graphic user interface on MS-DOS, but a complete operation system. Although users can see regular MS-DOS window in the boot process, the system take over MS-DOS 7.0 after it loaded completely. The windows control in Windows 95 was improved too. The system box in the upper left of each window is designed as an icon of the program. In each window, the system box, "Minimize", "Maximize/Restore" and "Close" are usually located at the upper right corner. In this version of Windows, desktop was no longer a place to display minimized icons. Desktop now can not only store shortcuts and system icons such as new introduced "My Computer" and "Recycle Bin", but also store files and programs. Before Windows 95, Microsoft almost never provided functions that could be accessed by a right click in Windows system, from Windows 95, right click pop-up menu became more popular and important. User could use right click to access the functions of "copy", "paste" and "cut" almost everywhere in the system. Some functions such as "properties" and quick "help" can also be accessed conveniently. Windows 95 came with an improved help system, which added another window to the left of the content window to show index, and keywords. The new help system can be displayed in any place of the window with any kind of size. It also supported hyperlink with different functions, such as closing the help system.
The concept of task bar did not first appear in Windows 95. Although Windows version 2 and 3 removed the idea of the reserved area to display minimized programs in Windows 1, Microsoft took it back in Windows 95. The task bar displays all the running programs and let user use a single click to activate or inactivate a program. The tray area which located at the right of the task bar can show some system information, such as time and system icons such as volume control. There was a start menu system on the task bar. It gives user the ability to access the shortcuts of their programs by one click via a tree structure menu system. But user had to access the same 4 or 5 levels of menu structure to access a program again even if they just closed it.
Other features like Build-in network support with dial-up for TCP/IP protocol, support of 32-bit application, pre-emptive multitasking and thread made Windows 95 stronger to meet the requirement of Internet access and other complex tasks.