Windows 95 is 25 years old

And on the grandson’s desk. He uses his Chromebook, mostly, but there’s some old games that he’s been playing since he was little and has all the mods and such on it. Command and Conquer, and other such games.
It’s an antique nostalgic novelty to his gamer friends.

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I think the question to ask is: How much of Win95’s code is still lurking in Windows 10?

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And it you put it in, you lost NetBIOS/NetBEUI, because loading both stacks overflowed the 640K base area. I remember having to reboot to check email, and then reboot again to have printer/fileserver access.

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My first job was doing technical support for Microsoft, covering the betas of Windows 95 (both internal and the “Public Preview”) and the release.

Supporting an OS without remote control is difficult. You ask questions, trust the answers, give instructions, ask for feedback, and repeat the loop until the issue is fixed. It’s very difficult.

And doing so as a wet-behind-the-ears 18 year old was pretty challenging.

I’m really not sure I’d want a time machine to see how I handled it. I don’t think I’d like it. But the fact that I can admit that publicly at least means that I grew… So I have Windows 95 to thank (in part) for that.

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I had a similar reaction the first time I tried to log off of a Solaris Unix system in the campus computer lab. At least Windows had a gigantic “do the thing” button. Solaris had 3 menus, none of which seemed to have “log off”. Ages since I thought about that.

Given what Wine had to re-implement for compatibility purposes, I suspect a lot of user space DLLs that reach back to Win95 are present. But likely heavily modified over the years. Most pieces of modern Windows trace back through NT 3.5/4.0 rather than directly to Win95/98.

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For me it was Workbench 3.0 on Amiga 1200 :slight_smile:
Workbench (AmigaOS) - Wikipedia

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I breathed a colossal sigh of relief once the software that I distribute no longer had to support MSLU. And the libraries are still there (pointlessly, except for ABI compat).

Apple got in a number of good jabs about how some of the most impressive new features of Windows 95 were basically just playing catch-up to Macintosh '84.

introducing

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Me too, actually - with a 68030/50 accelerator card running Amiga NCSA Mosaic, as well as dual-booting into netbsd-amiga.

I am, however, not “most people” when it comes to that era of computing :wink:

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More than you’d like to think.

A lot of Windows code is just there for compatibility purposes. People were overjoyed when Notepad got some new features in the past few years - but one of the reasons it remains so basic is that it’s often used inside Microsoft as a basic test of new Windows builds. If Notepad runs, you’ve not broken anything fundamental…

I know that the old Windows 3.x style font picker is still in there. Some dark corners of Control Panel in Windows 7 were familiar to anyone using old versions of Windows. It was only with Windows 8 that Microsoft finally started changing some of these things - not that it went well!

Microsoft has many factions inside it. One of them is incredibly conservative.[1] For example you still can’t use CON, AUX, COM[1-9], LPT[1-9] and NUL as a filename, for compatibility reasons. That “feature” dates back to MS-DOS, but I’d place a wager that the code originates in the Windows NT project rather than being copied & pasted from command.com… Compatibility doesn’t always mean keeping the code, sometimes it’s just about keeping the features or APIs.


[1] This excellent long read by Joel Spolsky, dated 2004(!), is still relevant and explains the eternal war within Microsoft: https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2004/06/13/how-microsoft-lost-the-api-war/
He has an excellent explanation of the two camps within Microsoft, their motivations and why the backwards compatibility camp is so important.
The article was written at a point when the other camp was winning, but you only have to look at how many technologies references in the article are now dead or in maintenance mode to realise just how accurate he was. Although I would say he underestimated the .NET Framework somewhat. But we can nitpick all day - overall it’s still worth reading, some 16 years later.

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I remember watching an old interview with Steve Balmer essentially explaining that they had been too busy focusing their efforts on getting Windows 95 wrapped up to bother focusing on this newfangled “internet” nonsense at the time. Internet access was literally an afterthought.

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Typo? MC68050 never shipped. (If it had, it would have been a cleanup release of the 68040, just as the 68030 was essentially a power-optimized 68020 on a smaller feature size.) MC68060 shipped in 1994, to lackluster sales, but was available in some Amiga upgrade kits.

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Not only an afterthought, but their first instinct was to create a competitor that they could control. Remember MSN?

Uh, actually, don’t. My apologies to those who I just inadvertently triggered just now…

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I later had a Blizzard PPC accelerator card with both 68040 and PowerPC processor. It was seriously weird system, with two CPU with different architectures running at the same time.
I still like unusual systems, new consumer desktops with IBM POWER cpus are kinda tempting, but probably would be a hassle to actually do anything with, so I stick with my dual Opteron 6376 for now :slight_smile:

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But PPP was a relatively new thing in 1995.

The first local ISP started in 1993. I think shell access (where you ran a terminal emulator on your computer and the ISP ran the email, newsgroup and browser software) was pretty common then, the shift to PPP coming as Internet access became more common.

Thiugh it was a rather sudden shift, or rather as more ISPs came online, they were mostly PPP only. I checked in November 1996, and I could only find two, maybe three, local ISPs that offered shell access. I went with one, the oldest local ISP, and then mived to the secomd oldest in 2006 (I still keep a webpage there, I pay for shell access, no dialup).

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I have Windows 95 to thank for my early exploration of my elementary school computer lab classroom network. Placing incriminating icons on my fellow students’ desktops. Oh yeah, I was neck deep in the Intranetz in those days.

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The 68030 added memory management, though no math processor.

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Yep, typo, meant 68030/50. I think it was an Apollo 1230 turbo, I had the 6882 and a 32MB SIMM on it as well. I actually worked for an Amiga dev house at the time, which meant they funded my expansion fun :slight_smile:

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The wonders of W95 – gack. After a few days with it (and trying to make it handle separate logins for my teen kids) I dusted off an old 486 box, installed Red Hat, and set it up as a file server so they couldn’t trash each others’ homework. That was so surprising – it actually handled remote file access better than W95 did locally on new HW – that I switched to using it exclusively for myself.

Never looked back. W95 was the last MS system I ever willingly used, and in my line of engineering there wasn’t anyone insisting on my using MS until the last two weeks of my career. New manager insisted I use the same “standard” laptop as everyone else. Two weeks later I retired (not for the laptop, he was just that bad to work for. As everyone else in the department agreed and voted with their feet.)

Seven years later and two more degrees the household here is still non-MS (and my partner is a technical writer.)

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