Why Windows 95 Was a Game-Changer for Computer Users Everywhere

The software that shaped our computing future was released 20 years ago today.

ByABC News
August 24, 2015, 3:25 AM

— -- Windows 95, the operating system update that changed the way millions of people interacted with their computers, was released 20 years ago today.

It may be a dinosaur and virtually extinct today, but PC fans have a special reverence for the update that helped shape future generations of Windows and the way we navigate our computers.

After the launch of Windows 95 on Aug. 24, 1995, Microsoft reported the software sold 7 million copies in its first five weeks as more people began to have home computers. The release came the same year Bill Gates published his famous memo "The Internet Tidal Wave," predicting the Internet would become "the most important development since the advent of the PC."

A screenshot of Microsoft's Windows 95 is featured in this undated file photo.

While Windows 3.0 ushered in an era of graphics on computers, Windows 95 made the computing experience more accessible to the everyday user.

Start Menu

The familiar start menu, usually located in the bottom left corner of the screen, was first introduced in Windows 95.

Tool Bar

Windows 95 catered to multi-taskers by debuting the first ever toolbar in Windows.

Minimize, Maximize and Close

The now ubiquitous buttons in the upper right corner of a window were first included in Windows 95.

Long File Names

Windows 95 also took away the file name limit of Windows 3.0. Users could now run wild with long, descriptive file names making it that much easier to locate a file.