Windows 95...Ten Years Later

Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of the retail release of Windows 95.

I can't tell you how hard it was to resist that as a Geek Trivia topic,

but I'm certain that every major tech news outlet is going to have a

story on the subject, if only to get more mileage out of the stock

footage from 1995, when people were literally lining up at office

supply stores and software shops to get their hands on the OS (For

those of us who remember Windows 3.1, we understand why the general

public was desperate for a better GUI.) Also, I doubt there is any

serious technogeek out there who wouldn't consider Win95 trivia a

remedial subject.

That said, I remember Win95 as the DOS-killer, the OS that absolved the

end-user from any responsibility of knowing anything at all about the

command line, and dragged the mainstream market away from the efficient

simplicity that only Linux users may now seem to enjoy. I'd also argue

that this is the day the Windows-Linux feud really began, as the world

separated into "you'll take my command line when you pry it from cold

dead hands" holdouts and the "WYSIWYG at any cost, save me from typing

anything ever" majority. (Not that I don't prefer a GUI, I just hate

the notion of a one-size-fits-all uber-kernel that requires constant

fiddling and tweaking to keep safe and functional, to say nothing of

the regularly scheduled reinstall to clear out the WinRot.)

So, for all you tech historians out there, let's hoist a glass for a

decade since Microsoft abandoned x86 16-bit support, finally gave us

long file names, and forgot to tell its own A/V program for Windows 3.1

that the 95 upgrade file wasn't in fact a virus (that part is either funny, ironic, or scarily prescient, and maybe all three).

Ah, memories.

About Jay Garmon

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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