Windows 95

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Windows 95 is a legacy operating system developed and owned by the Microsoft corporation.


Figure 1: Architectural diagram of Windows 95

Windows 95 is a hybrid 16/32 bit operating system that utilises the same framework as its predecessor, Windows 3.1, but runs on top of a heavily-modified version of MS-DOS known as MS-DOS 7 (Figure 1).[1]

User Interface

Windows 95 uses a similar graphical user interface to modern Windows systems like Windows 7 & 10 with noted differences being in the search function. Icons on the desktop are still commonly used affordances in modern Windows OSs. Most of the common shortcut keys that work in Windows 10 also work on this dated version of Windows. The notable exception is Windows 8.0, which lacks a start menu and uses a tale-based user interface designed for tablet computers. In this way, Windows 95 is actually superior to Windows 8.0 from a usability perspective.

Blogger Alex Meub felt that the icons on dated Windows 9x OSs looked more "crafted" than their modern counterparts.[2] Three major improvements to the graphical user interface (GUI) were made in Windows 95: (1) a program launcher; (2) a file selection dialog and (3) a printer selection dialog.[3] The program launcher was replaced with a start menu and taskbar. The start menu enabled users to quickly launch new programs, whereas, the task bar showed minimized windows.

A user evaluation determined that, although, windows could be minimised in Windows 3.1, many users did not easily tell that the window had been minimised. On the other hand, the Windows 95 taskbar conveyed this information more clearly. Windows 95 also added the concept of "wizards" for completing complex, multi-part step-based tasks like adding printing devices.[3] Many users completed a series of common tasks is half the time it took users to do the same tasks using the Windows 3.1 UI, suggesting that Windows 95's user interface is empirically more usable than early generations of UIs.


  1. "WinWorld: Windows 95 OSR 2.5". Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  2. "Windows 98 Icons are Great · Alex Meub". Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sullivan, Kent (1996). "The Windows 95 User Interface: A Case Study in Usability Engineering". Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI '96. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 473–480. doi:10.1145/238386.238611. ISBN 978-0-89791-777-3. Retrieved 2018-05-13.