Windows 95: the operating system of the future. Or so, we were told in the summer of 1995, during and following the biggest OS launch to date. The predictions proved right! Win95 was a huge leap over the ancient Windows 3.11 DOS shell. Huge mostly because from that day on practically all new software would be incompatible with the old OS, making Win95 a necessity. Businesses picked it for its grand features like “user-friendliness,” “multimedia,” and long file names. The latter proved the OS’s only redeeming value. Speaking as a disgruntled employee forced to use Windows 95 for eight excruciating hours at work each day, seven years after the OS’s release, I can say with confidence: this product blows.
Stability: Stability is missing from Windows 95 altogether. I think Microsoft forgot to program it. Just this morning, 95 failed to load my work profile, refused me network access, crashed upon booting, and repeated this five times. Wasn’t even 10:00 AM. Later in the day I faced such wonderful menus options as “Spool32 has encountered an error and needs to close, press OK/Ignore/Cancel” (while these might have looked like different options, they are all portals to the Blue Screen of Death) and “I’m sorry, but Windows 95 has decided to freeze for no reason upon any of the following requests: Shut down, Restart, or Log Off. Ironically, if you close explorer.exe, which is causing the hang, explorer restarts itself, un-dims the screen, and welcomes you back into the wonderful world of Microsoft Windows Situation Event 95.
Compatibility: Overall, very good. Except for explore.exe, spool32.exe, Mcaffeevirus.exe, iexplorer.exe, anything by Oracle.fu, and whywontthisgoddamncomputerrun.dll, most programs run. Other than Transport Tycoon, most legacy programs amazingly run on 95. The real problem, though, is new software. It pretty much doesn’t exist. Granted, you’d be a fool still to have 95 on, well, anything. But in case you’re that dumb, don’t expect many new programs.
Usability: I just love that task bar. It was actually a good idea. To bad the windows and Start Menu weren’t. Just try to delete a link on the Start Bar. Bet you can’t! Even though there’s no good reason why it won’t work, you can’t right-click! You get the joy of going through the task bar sub-menu. How about moving backwards and forwards through My Computer? Forget it! Thanks to Windows 95’s revolutionary design, if you click too far, you’re out of luck. No back button! No file tree! Not even an address bar at the top of the screen. Top notch scores to Microsoft for conserving valuable screen space by omitting necessary features.
Oh yes, and don’t get me started on the default graphics. Sailor-sick Green for the default desktop? Grey buttons, bars, and tabs? Grainy, low resolution icons for everything? What exec’s inbred, art-school-reject nephew came up with this junk? Oh wait, never mind …
Features: All the features you know and love, in their earliest forms -- The amazing graphics power of DirectX 3! Buried, but not dead MS-DOS 7.0! Ugly, buggy, almost-useless Windows Media Player 6! Full 32-bit crashing! And the beloved BSOD.
Conclusion: I remember Windows 95 fondly. Then I arrive at work, want to hug Bill Gates, and vomit.