Windows 95

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Windows 95 is a consumer-oriented graphical user interface-based operating system. It was released on August 24, 1995 by Microsoft[2], 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.

In the marketplace, Windows 95 was a major success, and within a year or two of its release had become the most successful operating system ever produced. It also had the effect of driving other major players in the DOS-compatible operating system market 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.

Contents

Development

The initial design and planning of Windows 95 can be traced back to around March 1992,[3][4][5] just after the release of Windows 3.1. At this time Windows for Workgroups 3.1 and Windows NT 3.1 were still in development and Microsoft's plan for the future was focused on Cairo. Cairo would be Microsoft's next-generation operating system based on Windows NT and featuring a new user interface and an object-based file system, but it was not planned to be shipped before 1994 (Cairo would eventually partially ship in July 1996 in the form Windows NT 4.0, without the object-based file system however, which would later evolve into WinFS).

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