back to article Twenty years since Windows 95, and we still love our Start buttons

Microsoft released Windows 95 on 24th August 1995, followed a week later by Office 95, and accompanied by a publicity campaign featuring the Rolling Stones song Start Me Up. Windows 95 was a great success, despite not being the most stable of operating systems. Microsoft’s own Windows NT 3.1, released two years earlier, was …

  1. dotdavid

    "accompanied by a publicity campaign featuring the Rolling Stones song Start Me Up"

    Haha, I mainly remember the parody song (NSFW) of that publicity campaign :-)

    1. Annihilator
      Paris Hilton

      NSFW?

      At first I thought you were referring to a different parody, but no. What's NSFW about that song? Unless you work at MS I suppose...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: NSFW?

        Not Suitable For Windows ?

      2. DropBear Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: NSFW?

        "At first I thought you were referring to a different parody, but no."

        Would that song be played at eleven, perchance...?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The question of why the public accepted a substantial user interface change

      "The question of why the public accepted a substantial user interface change in Windows 95, but not in Windows 8, would make a nice topic for someone to research."

      Er, no. The answer is known and well documented.

      Moving from DOS or Windows 3.1 to the GUI of Windows 95 was a step forward productivity-wise by making a lot of things easier, with just a mouse click or two.

      Moving from the Windows 7 GUI to the Windows 8 GUI was a step backwards by making many common tasks require more mouse clicks in 8 than in 7. Often many more.

      1. BobRocket

        Re: The question of why the public accepted a substantial user interface change

        Win3.x was effectively Microsoft GEM, a helper program that sat between the user and the OS.

        95 was graphical DOS.

        In the DOS world we had Xtree as filemanager, Sidekick as notepad/calculator (and an ASCII table).

        Office replaced 123 with Excel, Displaywrite/Wordstar with Word and dBase with Access, the only new thing it brought to the party was Powerpoint (and isn't the world a richer place because of that)

        I've been on Linux for years now (mint at the mo) but what I long for is a full Win95 interface

        1. Ogi

          Re: The question of why the public accepted a substantial user interface change

          Full win95 interface for Linux? Like fvwm95?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FVWM95

          It was full enough for me to switch over non-techie users from win95 to Linux back in the day. I even used it on my old PDA as well.

          Might actually install it now on my work desktop, just to go totally retro in the office (I might still have some of the old win95/98 wallpapers somewhere as well)

          1. LionelB

            Re: The question of why the public accepted a substantial user interface change

            Full win95 interface for Linux? Like fvwm95?

            Or IceWM? Light, fast, configurable, productive and ugly as sin - used to use that back in the day (before discovering the *boxes).

            I guess XFCE is not far off either.

      2. Ted's Toy

        Re: The question of why the public accepted a substantial user interface change

        Win 95 wasn't a new inter-phase just a copy of Apple and Amstrad operating system.

        1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Ted's Toy

          The first windowed OS was Xerox's Alto (and later Xerox Star) developed in 1973, which Steve Jobs & other Apple folk saw when touring the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) a few years after Apple's founding in 1976. (I believe the tour was 1979 or late 1978.) Alto even had a mouse & ethernet network interface also invented at PARC. (TCP/IP didn't come about until 1983, & I don't recall what protocol the Alto used) Apple in 1979 started working on their first windowed GUI for the Lisa, released in 1983 which was pretty much a flop. The Macintosh was released a year later in 1984, which clearly was not a flop.

          Amstrad's system was a version of DRI's GEM on Amstrad hardware released in the mid-80's.

          1. Belardi

            Re: Ted's Toy

            And Amiga's AmigaOS came out a year later with color GUI and pre-preemptive multitasking. It would take the great MS another 10 years to make that for the masses.

            Win95 did well since it was an OS, unlike Win3.x which was a GUI shell than ran on top of MS-DOS. IE: try running or installing Windows 3.x on a blank HD without MS-DOS. And of course the horrible 8.3 file names.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Ted's Toy

              Let's not forget about Atari TOS which had DEC's GEM GUI slapped on top!

              1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                Re: Ted's Toy

                > Let's not forget about Atari TOS which had DEC's GEM GUI slapped on top!

                GEM was a product of Digital Research Inc (DRI), not Digital Equipment Corp (DEC).

            2. Mage Silver badge
              Thumb Down

              Re: Ted's Toy

              No, Win95 was STILL a GUI semi-OS on DOS boot, exactly like Win3.x. The only differences were:

              1) All the media stuff optional in Win 3.x in basic install

              2) an expanded Win32s built in rather than option

              3) Explorer.exe replaces Program manager and File Manager.

              NT 3.5 was a real 32 bit OS and predated Win95, it ran 16 DOS and 16 bit Windows on 32 bits, using NTVDM and WOW + NTVDM. Win95 ran 16 bit code identically to Win3.x, natively. It ran 32bit code the same way as Win32s on Win3.x.

              Win98 was the same. Note that Win95 didn't initially have OpenGL, but it was standard on Windows NT.

              With ME they hid the DOS layer, it was a broken version of Win98SE.

              Real MS Windowing OSes:

              MS OS/2 in 1989 (Built in LAN Manager)

              32 bit NT3.1 in 1993

              32 bit NT3.5

              NT3.51 (changes to Win32 that were added in win95 to stop Office 95 working on Win3.1x stopped Office 95 working on NT3.5!). Just a Win API patch. 1995. (Explorer briefly available as a tech preview)

              NT4.0 1996 (Explorer, Graphics and Print moved to Kernel, Direct X added). There was 32 and 64 bit versions for Alpha. Also NT supported Power PC and MIPS

              W2K (2000) = NT5.0

              XP = NT 5.1

              Server 2003 = NT 5.2

              Vista = Windows NT 6.0

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Ted's Toy

            Re: "TCP/IP didn't come about until 1983, & I don't recall what protocol the Alto used"

            The physical network interface and signalling was: Alto Aloha Network protocol or "ALOHAnet" which was renamed "Ethernet".

            The protocol suite being used over this was an early version of XNS, parts of which were subsequently integrated into the then emerging TCP/IP protocol suite and other office network offerings such as Novell NetWare, 3Com 3+Share, Ungermann-Bass Net/One, Banyan Vines and AppleNet/AppleTalk. The real strength of this protocol suite (compared to SNA, DECnet etc.) was it's focus on document processing within a single office (ie single physical network segment/subnet).

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Ted's Toy

            You forgot to mention Laser printer came out of Xerox Parc too. John Warnock (Adobe founder) worked there along with Larry Tesler who was later part of the Macintosh team. I'm not sure what the arrangement was between Xerox and Apple but from what I understand Xerox heads in New York canned the projects at Xerox Parc and many of the staff went on to work for Apple. It wasn't a blatant steel or copy, if you look the Xerox Parc videos the GUI was quite rough, no actual toolbar menu that I could see, no X Menu ( Apple or START menu) so what you see in Win 95 really can be credited to Apple as it is a blatant rip off.

      3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: The question of why the public accepted a substantial user interface change

        Windows 95 behaves like a desktop OS.

        Windows 8 behaves like a tablet OS ported to the desktop.

    3. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re ?NSFW

      Especially since they cut the last two lines of the song in that video.

      Kind of like the Photoshopping that removed the cigarette from Paul McCartney's fingers on the Abbey Road picture, but even clumsier.

      What was it again? 'Makes a grown man cry, it's making Bill Gates.....' something or other.

      1. Chika
        Trollface

        Re: Re ?NSFW

        Come again?

    4. Dave Pickles

      Strange how they never used the next line from the song: "You make a grown man cry".

    5. Chika

      Hmm... wasn't Bob Rivers also responsible for the ACDC rip "Dirty Deeds Done With Sheep"?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The question of why the public accepted a substantial user interface change in Windows 95, but not in Windows 8.

    Problem solved, Windows 8+ are shite (bar m.e. as that was a big festering pile of dogshit)

    What happened to Windows 9?

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      The old ones are the good ones!

      Windows 7 ate 9.

      1. David Austin

        Re: The old ones are the good ones!

        For a less Official and Jokey answer, Look to the build numbers:

        Windows Vista: 6000

        Windows 7: 7601

        Windows 8.0: 9200

        Windows 8.1: 9600

        Windows 10: 10240

        The real question is where did Windows 8 go, which is interesting on both a technical and philosophical level.

        Supposedly the real reason there was no Windows 9 was for compatibility: lots of older/badly designed programs would assume Windows 9 = Windows 9x, and set themselves up for DOS instead of NT Windows - head that a lot, but don't know how true it is.

        1. david 12 Bronze badge

          Re: The old ones are the good ones!

          Build numbers just increase incrementally with the build. For a less Offical and Jokey answer, don't cut the version numbers off the front:

          Windows Vista ---------6.0

          Windows 7 --------------6.1

          Windows 8---------------6.2

          Windows 8.1 ------------6.3

          I haven't looked at Windows 10. Either we are up to version 7 now, or (more likely) we are still on version 6.

          1. HipposRule

            Re: The old ones are the good ones!

            10.0 - didn't take long to find from MSDN

          2. Named coward

            Re: The old ones are the good ones!

            Those version numbers are more related to the core OS (NT = 4, 2000 = 5, Vista = 6). The big difference becomes obvious once you delve into the kernel and driver architectures of the corresponding systems. Presumably 10 is still 6 (6.4) unless they changed it for marketing purposes.

    2. Peter Simpson 1
      Mushroom

      We (the public) will tolerate user interface improvements, but not changes, for change's sake (unless we have the option to retain the previous UI).

      Microsoft doesn't seem to "get", that users make an investment of time and effort in learning how to efficiently use a UI. They do this, not because they enjoy learning a new UI, but so they can efficiently do... whatever it is they are using the computer for. Often, this is Real Work, the kind they get paid for, or yelled at if they don't do it quickly enough.

      Hey! Microsoft! I have some news for you...your product is not a choice, it's a necessity. People need to have it, in order to use their computers at all. We don't enjoy it when you make us re-learn the UI. We enjoy it even less, when you do it EVERY G*DDAMN YEAR!

      Pick a UI, and stick with it. And take those tiles and that ribbon, and shove it where the sun don't shine.

      // and your "Clutter" folder, too

      // didn't ask for it, don't need it

      // spent the better part of an hour figuring out how to turn it off

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        "We (the public) will tolerate user interface improvements, but not changes, for change's sake"

        Exactly. Lots of apologist zealot eejits attack anyone rejecting any change with "you're just too damn lazy to learn!", wilfully neglecting to consider that most people are quite happy to learn changes they find a marked improvement. The thing is most of the time changes are fairly arbitrary and not for the better at all. As such, I have no problem learning how to operate an elevator if that means I don't have to use the stairs - but if you try to replace that with a body harness and a pair of tensioned bungee cords that are now supposed to fling me up five stories because "it's the cool new way to do it" don't be surprised if I punch you in the face at the first chance I get...

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge
          Pint

          dropbear

          a body harness and a pair of tensioned bungee cords that are now supposed to fling me up five stories because "it's the cool new way to do it"

          Best description of Win 8.x I've come across.

          Have a beer.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            But think of all the stock images of jumping and dancing youngsters. You wouldn't want to take away their god-given joy at being presented with a new non-boring and cool-again user interface, would you?

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Alert

        ".....your product is not a choice, it's a necessity."

        That's what MS want people to believe- and it's worked up to now... until-

        1. Peter Simpson 1
          Linux

          Re: ".....your product is not a choice, it's a necessity."

          Well, it's a necessity if you didn't buy an Apple product :-)

          // there's always Linux...

        2. Kevin 6

          Re: ".....your product is not a choice, it's a necessity."

          Its wasn't a necessity unless you wanted to run 98% of programs which started relying heavily on MS's library files.

          It also wasn't a necessity when I was in college... if I planned to fail out as none of the needed software could run on anything else.

          Then there is the whole computer game issue with how the extremely vast majority of them will only run on windows.

          Gaming is actually the only thing keeping me using windows still on my main PC as I migrated my personal web server from an older windows box to linux(on a raspberry pi 2) a few months back.

    3. Chika
      Alert

      The question of why the public accepted a substantial user interface change in Windows 95, but not in Windows 8.

      Actually, there were a couple of reasons why W95 didn't cause as much aggro as W8 did. First of all, bear in mind that W3 was not the huge powerhouse system in the home - in fact the number of different computer systems and operating systems was quite staggering back then. Also consider that some were CLI based and the ones that actually were GUI based, say RISC OS or AmigaOS, already made W3 look a bit cumbersome. As far as business was concerned, well they were fine as long as it ran their software. Considering that some of the underpinning of W95 was lifted from W3.11, that wasn't such a problem though I do remember the issue with some drivers caused some moans at the time (but don't they always?)

      The second reason, however, was that the new interface on W95 actually was somewhat more intuitive than W3 was. That isn't to say that it was perfect, but it included a number of features that were to last for many years afterwards, not just on Microsoft GUIs but on plenty of other GUIs, for example more than one Linux GUI resembles this same layout, from the start button to the menu layout and dialogue boxes.

      Problem solved, Windows 8+ are shite (bar m.e. as that was a big festering pile of dogshit)

      Generally speaking, I tend to view the whole business as trying to dress the system up to be something we have no need of rather than just concentrating on improving what is underneath. And even there we have a difference of opinion about what actually constitutes an improvement.

      Windows ME could have been a real improvement on W98SE but for the fact that Microsoft spent too much effort on trying to get WME to do things that W98SE users could accomplish in DOS or with third party add-ons and that they placed too much importance on releasing an operating system to commemorate an arbitrary date. This is the sort of thing that happens when marketing gets too involved.

      What happened to Windows 9?

      Apparently it was due to come out but Germany said no to it. ;)

    4. big_D Silver badge

      People didn't like the Start Menu at first, there was a vocal minority asking for Program Manager back... But unlike now, there weren't that many public platforms to shout from and most weren't on the Internet anyway...

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        If you wanted the Program and File Managers back you had until Me, you could run them or change the shell in the ini file. So you had about six years transition if you wanted. It wasn't like Windows 8.

      2. Pookietoo

        Re: asking for Program Manager back

        The Win3.1 Program Manager was an included option in Win9X, you could even set it as the default shell.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why did the public accept a UI change in Win95, not Win8

      I don't think they did really. I think that Windows 95 was the first UI most people really saw. So they used it, and put up with it. The "UI change" was from using typewriters and calculators. Yes, there were Macs and Amigas, but these were in a small percentage of homes and on a small percentage of office desks.

      By the time of Win8 everyone was used to the old Win95/XP/7 way. Microsoft did a terrible job of explaining why their new way was better and why people should take time to learn it. So they didn't.

      (And no, I don't think it was necessarily any better or worse. But it was definitely different. And suddenly people went from "I can use a computer" to "How do I use a computer?" And they didn't like it. Telling a person "You will get used to it" is unhelpful when it means missed deadlines or getting home later because they took longer to do a task the first few times.)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpMvS1Q1sos

    ^that's where it's at

  4. Anonymous Blowhard

    "The question of why the public accepted a substantial user interface change in Windows 95, but not in Windows 8, would make a nice topic for someone to research"

    I think the answer is twofold:

    1) At the time that Windows 95 was introduced, the number of home users on Windows 3.11 would have been a lot lower than the number of home users on Windows XP + Vista + Windows 7 when Windows 8 was introduced, so the number of people with a prior experience would have been much lower. The number of people using computers at work would have been higher but many would still have been using DOS or terminal based applications, so the user experience would have been completely different and users wouldn't expect any similarity with Windows 95.

    2) When Windows 95 was introduced the home-use of the Internet was almost non-existent, and there was no social networking for any disgruntled users to vent their frustrations on.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      MS just copied the best ideas from the Mac, the Amiga, and the ST and ended up with system which was actually quite usable. Nobody could argue that it was worse than Windows 3.1 or DOS.

      Unlike Windows 8...

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Devil

      Also, let's not forget that even back then the change from a two-panel file explorer to the now-classic windows explorer did not go down well AT ALL - I remember no end to grumbling, and I still see lots of people using some Total Commander clone even today...

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Explorer

        On NT 4.0 you could run NT3.51's File manager. Or indeed switch entirely to Program manager.

        The Explorer Desktop was better than Program Groups/ Program Manager.

        The File Browser in Explorer is STILL flawed. It should have consistent move/copy not based on parent drive, better options for overwrite/archive/newer and a two panel mode.

  5. John 110

    The public accepted Windows 95

    The public accepted Windows 95 because what they saw on screen finally bore some relationship to where their programs actually were. If you were coming from AmigaDOS or Atari's GEM, windows 3.1 was a pile of pants.

    The public didn't accept Windows 8 because Microsoft hid all the programs again.

    People like to know where things are.

    NOTE: People in this case are usually IT savvy, either professional or enthusiasts. The great unwashed couldn't care less about any of that stuff as long as they've got somebody from the first category to badger into doing hard stuff for them...

    1. Doctor_Wibble

      Re: The public accepted Windows 95

      Maybe it's easier for us to find our way through a tree than remember where on the screen an icon is supposed to be? Trying to think back to Program Manager here and I think that was the main thing I didn't like - plus the tree from a start menu has the branches available at a single slick instead of scrolling around icon groups and all that double-clicking to open them. Maybe.

      And perhaps weirdly the 'windows key' (in spite of crapping on games if you were careless) was good because you could go through to your program with just keys in a mere second or two - functionality (effectively or actually?) killed in Win7 for no sane reason I can think of.

      p.s. and the whole thing worked better anyway, so it wasn't really just the start menu that was different

      p.p.s in truth I'm probably remembering win98se and backdating somewhat - games! 2xVoodoo2! extra fans! the whole thing was a damn sight more fun...

      1. Irongut

        @ Doctor_Wibble

        The cursor keys still work to navigate the start menu in Windows 7 and indeed in 10 (I have no idea if they did in 8 and don't have a machine to test). Don't know where you got the idea that MS removed that capability.

        1. Doctor_Wibble

          Re: @ Doctor_Wibble

          Not the cursor keys, the letter ones - use of these makes it convenient to get to stuff by its start letter, being able to do 'up arrow' 50 times is not something I rate as convenient!

          So yes, the ability to fire up e.g. openoffice writer went from 4 keys (WnK-P-O-W) to nothing useful keyboard-wise unless I want to do lots of arrow key work or type the program name/description into the search box, both of which are annoying because I know it's now less convenient than it used to be unless I want a desktop full of icons like a retro program manager homage. Hurrah for progress...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @ Doctor_Wibble

            "So yes, the ability to fire up e.g. openoffice writer went from 4 keys (WnK-P-O-W) to nothing useful keyboard-wise "

            windows key o-p-e works for me. Actually, windows key, "o" <enter> is sufficient on my Win7 box.

      2. Andy Non

        Re: The public accepted Windows 95

        "And perhaps weirdly the 'windows key' (in spite of crapping on games if you were careless) was good..."

        I remember cursing the Windows key as it buggered up my keyboard skills playing Doom. Bloody great fat useless key right where it got in the way. To be honest I've never much used that key since, it seemed more like a PR exercise by Microsoft than something useful. The only time I do press it is on the rare occasions when the Start menu crashes.

        1. John 104

          Re: The public accepted Windows 95

          @andy Non

          Then you, sir, are the target "user" for Windows. There were and are all sorts of ways to get things to happen in Windows from the keyboard. The windows key is very useful in this respect. Hold it down and start pressing keys on your keyboard. You find it does useful things...Or you can continue to use the mouse like the rest of the unwashed.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The public accepted Windows 95

            There were and are all sorts of ways to get things to happen in Windows from the keyboard.

            But most of them seem to happen when you least want them to, because you don't have focus in the window you think you did. Then you have a chance to play the "what the fsck did I accidentally do there" game.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: The public accepted Windows 95

            @John 104

            I just tried that. It does nothing. But then I'm using KDE on Debian. I don't recall it doing anything with SCO either. Why on earth did H/W manufacturers let themselves get talked into wasting keyboard real estate for a key whose use is limited to one particular OS?

            1. Miss Config
              Holmes

              Re: The public accepted Windows 95

              @ Doctor Syntax

              "a key whose use is limited to one particular OS?"

              You're using the 'wrong' version of Linux. Here in Mint the Windows key is modelled on ....

              Windows !!!! So the key itself gives the Start menu ( equivalent ) and Wnd+E shows me what's in my Home folder ( so is the equivalent of Windows File Explorer ).

              1. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: The public accepted Windows 95

                Re: "a key whose use is limited to one particular OS?"

                This raises an interesting point. With the success of Windows and the release of the MS enhancement of a standard 101-key keyboard back in the late 90's. is that the majority of keyboards are now some variant on the MS 104-key "Windows" keyboard, complete with keys carrying the Windows logo - a registered trademark. I've yet to see a keyboard that has an OS independent legend for this key. Perhaps now is the time to promote such a legend and free vendors from paying MS for the use of their trademark...

                Aside: In Mint does the "context menu" key still bring up the "right click" menu?

                1. Baskitcaise
                  Unhappy

                  Re: The public accepted Windows 95

                  There used to be an excellent keyboard from Cherry ( google: cherry cymotion master linux keyboard ) which came with its own Open source config.

                  I had one for years, wish I could get hold of another.

                  The keys were just a tad bigger than norm ( great for fat fingers like mine ) an absolute pleasure to use for 10 hours a day, easy to clean, just unscrew the 5-6 base screws and after removing the circuit you could throw the whole lot in the shower, none of these stupid little rubber egg cups to hide under the furniture, when dry couple of screws for the circuit and put the back on.

                  Wonderful keyboard, shame they stopped making that one.

                  1. Roland6 Silver badge

                    Re: The public accepted Windows 95

                    Re: Cherry cymotion master linux keyboard

                    These keyboards do seem to be long gone, however Cherry do offer a Tux engraved keycap (and others):

                    http://www.keyboardco.com/type/mechanical-keyboard-keycaps-and-keysets.asp

                    Although they are only available in Black.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The public accepted Windows 95

              Maybe you don't comprehend that a keyboard vendor sells a million keyboards that are primarily specific to windows versus perhaps a hundred specific to some form of Linux (if any such keyboard exists). How are millions of dollars in profit versus a few thousand "wasting keyboard space"?

      3. Lennart Sorensen

        Re: The public accepted Windows 95

        Well one big thing Microsoft also did right in windows 95 with the new UI was to also include program manager for those who were not ready for the new UI. You could run windows 95 with the same program manager UI from windows 3.1 if you wanted to. I never saw anyone do it, but you had the choice. Same when they later did the new colourful stuff in XP, there was the option to stay with the older look if you wanted to. Windows 8 was the first time you were force fed a new UI with no option of saying "No thanks" and sticking with the previous UI until you got used to it (and no one will ever get used to the dreadful UI of Windows 8, which was a shame given the improvements in every other part of windows 8). With windows 8 Microsoft managed to simultaneously make a new UI that was awful and not give people the choice to not use it, rather than as in the past, make a UI that was usually considered better and give the option to stick with the old one.

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Discovery

      A simple concept, you have things with recognisable names such as "start", "file", "edit" etc for menus and buttons and folk can guess what they do and see where to find them. Works well.

      Now look at the efforts of today's GUI muppets who hide thing behind bizarre icons or simply remove them altogether and folk get pissed off. Where are settings, and why is a cog-thing where you would expect to see them? They are not gears after all. Or is it some sort of burger icon, or maybe some dots for no bloody good reason. Left hand or right? Looking at you Chrome, Android and Firefox.

      Then we have Win8 where you have to somehow know to swipe from some obscure corner to find something, and by touching the touchpad by accident in some equally obscure way you get the metro stuff thrown in your face. Fine for kids and some geek folk who are happy just to slap things around until something happens, but have you tried to help or support an OAP with this shit?

      Yes, I know about the Windows key and search, but again for a lot of computer users they don't know the names of stuff, but are able to recognise them in a familiar menu location.

      Oh and the same dumb-ass approach is what made Gnome 3 a whole lot shittier than Gnome 2. The whole "we know better than our users and their 20 years of experience" ideology so lets bugger around for no good reason.

  6. Richard 22

    Windows 3.1 was awful

    Surely the main reason why people accepted Win95 was that prior to that Windows was godawful. Confusing, ugly, unreliable, unremittingly bad. Windows95 was a huge improvement in usability, and that got refined right up to Windows7 (with some Vista and ME bumps on the way). Windows8 was trying to fix a problem most people didn't have when using a computer (ie work better on the touchscreen most people don't have).

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Windows 3.1 was awful

      "Windows 95 had better design, less competition, and more obvious benefits."

      I have to believe there were many more logical minds inventing the Win95 start menu, than designing user interfaces we must endure today.

      I guess I'm holding it wrong...

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Windows 3.1 was awful

      Win 3.1 wsa fine at first. When there were few programmes, in a few groups. All nicely displayed around teh screen.

      But when things got more complex you needed a better way to list the groups and organise stuff.

      Win 8 made that rather more difficult. The combination of "charms" - i.e. hidden controls, compulsory links that were difficult or impossible to organise, built in (cr)apps links that couldn't be moved or organised easily if at all and a desktop that would vanish if you twitched made it unusable.

      Win 10 is a vast improvement, but still worse than having a well organised 95/7 start menu.

      IMHO all that was need was a better way to organise the start menu. Something that makes it easier to put related programmes together in a folder of choice, with a place for uninstall links, stop installation programmes creating their own folders, and get rid of the stupid sh*t links that get put in those folders.

      e.g.. a folder for "graphics" programmes but not a folder each for each and every single f***ing graphics programme.

      Instead, Win 10 does just the opposite.

      Start is full of Windows (Cr)apps that can't be moved, in alphabetical order, that come between the nice folders.

      The two concepts of organise and declutter have been missed. (As it was with the "ribbon")

      But to do work that's what we need

      1. Peter Simpson 1

        Re: Windows 3.1 was awful

        Windows 3.1 was fine...unless you actually wanted to DO anything with your PC. Like edit a document more than a page or two long, or work on a multipage schematic.

        Remember QEMM? Worked fine until you really needed it to manage memory, then it fell on its @ss.

  7. moiety

    "The question of why the public accepted a substantial user interface change in Windows 95, but not in Windows 8, would make a nice topic for someone to research."

    Easy answer for me personally - W95 worked. And it was a huuuuuuge improvement on W3.11 Not sure how universal this is; but I can remember where a program is, but not necessarily what it's called; which -according to my personal theory- is why there has been such an almighty bitching over the start menu.

    Windows 8 failed in particular because it largely ignored existing desktop users to try and accomodate tablet/touchscreens. Making everything harder for your existing customers in order to try and attract new ones just isn't the way to make friends. Adding lots of features for hardware people haven't got at the expense of functionality is just going to piss people off.

    1. Roger Greenwood

      " but I can remember where a program is, but not necessarily what it's called "

      That's me as well - any system I have a choice on I pepper the screen with icons/links to make stuff easy to get to. Sometimes apps, sometimes documents, sometimes folders. The search bar in Unity, for instance, is a pain sometimes e.g. I forget the name of that sound editing program I might use twice a year (Audacity!). I don't forget where I pinned the icon or how to find it in a menu.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        @Roger

        Filling your desktop background with icons/folders is only really useful if you can see it!

        For years and years (25 or so, pre-dating Windows 95), I have run on UNIX systems with screens covering the background almost completely. Not just a single maximised windows, but lots and lots of overlapping ones (at the moment, when I log on to my main work machine, my start-up configuration fires up 11 automatically, one of which is a browser with three tabs opened on start-up, spread over 8 virtual screens. And that is just the start of the day!)

        I know that modern window managers often have a 'show the desktop' button or key sequence somewhere, but I don't want to minimise the open windows. I want to be able to pull a menu up over the top of the windows that are open. This makes desktop icons useless (and very ugly) to me.

        A configurable pop-up menu, triggered by a suitable mouse/keyboard event, with 'walking' sub menus suits me perfectly. The Start button, on an auto-hide window bar works, so does a key-mouse combination (as I used to use on twm and derivatives) and a swipe to screen edge also works. I don't care beyond the first day or so while the action gets committed to muscle memory.

        Of course, I expect the menu order and basic layout to remain fixed (none of this automatic management and re-arrangement of items thank-you-very-much) so that the menu looks the same each time it's brought up. Once I'm used to each system, I can work with it provided it does not change.

        Currently, I'm very comfortable with all of win95/XP/Vista/7, Gnome 2 and KDE 3 style systems, mixed and matched on a daily basis. The whole concept of Unity, and my limited exposure to the Windows 8 'Modern' desktop feels foreign to me, and I can only get on with the Android type interfaces on devices where I'm pretty much forced to only do one thing at once.

        1. moiety

          Re: @Roger

          Audacity! I've had problems remembering that one too! The way I solve it is to have a bunch of rough categories off the start menu (graphics, multimedia, system, office, games, web etc.) and then plonk the programs into the appropriate one (just the program shortcut - I delete all the doc and uninstall links). Keeps everything tidy and easy to find.

          If you put an underscore in front of the category name (_system) and arrange things alphabetically then your categories stay at the top and all the recent installs you haven't got round to yet are underneath. The same applies, by the way, to folder names...put an underscore on the one you're working on so it floats to the top and it saves quite a lot of time. Delete the underscore when you're done

        2. Peter Simpson 1

          Re: @Roger

          My moment of revelation came in 1994, when I downloaded (Slackware?) Linux, installed it on a second drive and used it solely as a remote Xterm to our Unix system. The contrast between the speed of a remote Xterm and local schematic editing software under Win3.1 was enough to convince me that Linux and not Windows was what was going to be on my home PC.

          Took a few years (!) before I got god desktop apps, but I'm quite happy with Mint 15.

  8. Jim 59

    "Windows 95 introduced long filenames and a redone user interface including the taskbar and Start menu, replacing Program Manager in Windows 3.x."

    At the time, those were killer features. Proper multitasking and a start button. That basic UI really solved the UI problem, and continues to this day in desktops such as MATE. Windows 95 was indeed a pleasure to use. The start menu let the user see where everything was, without looking.

    Windows 8 in contrast baffles the user, and has been deservedly rejected.

    Which shows that people really do like new features, when those features are good, and dislike them when they are bad. Who knew.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > The start menu let the user see where everything was, without looking.

      Indeed, this is the key point that Microsoft doesn't seem to get: discoverability.

      With the "Start" menu button, you were able to find anything from that single starting point.

      It allowed the new user to navigate their way through the system.

      It is also why people find the spraying of configuration options around various parts of the system so infuriating. The old Control Panel way of grouping *everything* made configuring the system discoverable to a newb.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        people find the spraying of configuration options around various parts of the system so infuriating

        The clue is in the name.

        Control panel.

        The place where you find the controls.

        Like on the front of any other normal everyday usable machine. Or in a car.

        A Microsoft car would now have the steering wheel on the door, the hand brake on the roof and the pedals distributed randomly along the floor.

        A Windows 8 car would have the brake pedal hidden under the driver seat.

        1. ScottAS2
          Joke

          With apologies to GM

          "A Windows 8 car would have the brake pedal hidden under the driver seat."

          This is the company that required you to push the "Start" button to turn your computer off...

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Devil

      NT - Long filenames

      NT existed for two years before Win95.

      The only thing that Win95 added was the Explorer desktop. Long file names were a horrible kludge on win 95's FAT compared to NT's NTFS (long filenames, token based security, journalling and larger partitions / files).

      Win95 was garbage compared to NT 3.5x and compared with properly installed Wfwg.311 + Win32s was buggier and only plus was Explorer desktop. NT 4.0 added Explorer and some of the WORST win95 features (autorun and moving Graphics/printer drivers to Kernel) vs NT3.51

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: NT - Long filenames

        but NT did things properly, such as requiring graphics to be arbitrated by the kernel... and we understood that that was much harder and slower to do. The NT model we knew was the stable, sensible thing to do but we just couldn't afford it yet and there were many times when speed was a more useful attribute than stability.

        Yes, 95 was a kludge, but only if coming from NT, not if you were coming from 3.11 and still had to operate in a DOS world. You could say NT 3.51 failed because it was too far ahead of its time (not as far as LISA/Apple ///). W95 gave NT the breathing space needed to let the hardware catch up and when it did NT4/XP was waiting to step in. The software (even OS software) was driving the hardware requirements market and that was ok because it was better (in some way) than what went before.

        MS' current problem is that their software is not "better." W8 was written for tablets not PC's. It wasn't better for a PC so no-one wanted it there. It was fine on x86 tablets. W10 with Cortana is actually worse. Apart from Cortana sounding like "[Ford] Cortina", it is basically the PC equivalent of the Samsung fridge which leaks login details. You don't really need the USPs - Windows store and Cortana; the security turns out to leave something to be desired and still with the tablet interface? Is Cortana useful? Probably, like Siri, when you're in your car and want to dictate a text message or for voice calling. On a PC - desktop, laptop or tablet? Not really.

        I'm sure how much to blame MS. Yes they've got things really wrong, but if we really have reached the point where we don't need new features then they're in trouble regardless. However, I suspect that like many incumbents they can't think outside the solution they already have. As I've said before, I think they should have spent the time working on a new security model, with the OS arbitrating security access to raw sockets and the like. That would have been a feature to at least make the IT people happy. They could have crowed about it, demonstrated how it keeps your data safely on your computer, rather than snaffling your data themselves. They could have shown how it blocks zero-days and forces malware/trojans to reveal their network traffic via OS-provided HTTP and TLS services. That DVD backup software you downloaded, would you like to allow it to connect to a w.x.y.z? (Located in Outer Mongolia) (Yes/No/Always/Log Transfer/Log Data): Sent A bytes / Received B bytes....

        It would be really cool to have IPSEC tied to a user, not a host, providing network connection authentication not a tunnel.

        They could have offered a subscription service to their cloud providing IP-address geo-blocking because I rarely need to talk to servers in eastern Europe or China or Russia or the Middle East or Japan or south-east Asia.

        How about restricting applications' disk access unless done via an OS-provided and logged GUI element/api call? No, that flash streaming player can't have access to My Documents, even if it running under user "me," but it can store cookies in this nice little ramdisk filesystem I have located here...

        All these features would have slowed things down. But would they be worth it? I think so. I think you'd have business such as Sony and the OPM crying out for such features. A new browser MS? Is that what the world needs most?

        And yes, the tablet GUI would have been a great option, but I don't need it without a touch-screen so it must be an option. It's one I simply don't need.

      2. Jim 59

        Re: NT - Long filenames

        Long filenames were a kludge, but what a relief it was to break out of the old "8.3" file name limitation. It is strange, when you think about it, that 8.3 continued for so long. I mean it would barely have been acceptable in the early 70s, let alone 1994/5.

        Another top notch Windows 95 feature: right click context menus. Nice to use and time-saving.

  9. Paratrooping Parrot

    I remember the first time I used Windows 3.1 after coming from a DOS background. I hated it! I couldn't use Program Manager properly. I abandoned it until I got a PC of my own which came with MSDOS 6.1 and Windows 3.11 for Workgroups.

    Windows 95 which came out while I was at university was a much better system. All your programs were visible in one place unlike Program Manager where you had to double click each icon to check if the program was in there.

  10. Chronos Silver badge
    Devil

    Bloat

    I think we need to remember that, along with new features and shiny bling, MS have had to put up with "my stone-age application, cavepaint 22B.C., must work, dammit!" from all comers. It's this backwards compatibility that has caused a lot of the beer gut Windows currently has.

    I'm not for one second saying MS is blameless for the lardy arse-cheeks dangling pendulous over the edge of the platters in your HDD, just that they have been, on occasion, unfairly criticised for bloat when it's in response to customer demands for legacy code not to break - without the ability to recompile it against newer libraries. It's a bit like the stick Pirelli is currently getting for crap tyres that don't last 31 laps after F1 management asked them for crap tyres that won't last 31 laps...

    Icon: Devil's advocate, natch.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Installing and firing up Windows 95 was my first experience of seeing video on a PC.

    I realise it had been done before, and the included videos were pretty grainy, but it was a cool thing to see. It was some kind of music video, the name escapes me, but I remember people gathering around the machine to watch.

    1. ma1010 Silver badge
      Happy

      I remember Windows 95, too

      The music video was Edie Brickell and New Bohemians singing Good Times. I remember it, too, and the folks gathering around to watch it on my new PC - I was the first one with Windows 95 in the office then. Yes, Windows 95 was a major improvement in computing experience, especially for normal (non-geek) people, and that's why Microsoft got so rich. In the Linux world, Mint is focusing on this same sort of thing, and having pretty good success at it.

      Want success? Take something that people need to do (such as use PCs) that was complicated for most people and make it easy. MS need to think about that.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: I remember Windows 95, too

        The music video was Edie Brickell and New Bohemians singing Good Times.

        Also Weezer - Buddy Holly - if I recall correctly, that was on the Windows 95 Plus Pack CD, or maybe it was on the CD edition of Windows 95 itself?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kemivUKb4f4

        The animator Bill Plympton did a Windows 95 spot too:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAb3uVpf_v0

        Again, I think that was on the Plus Pack CD.

        1. Lennart Sorensen

          Re: I remember Windows 95, too

          Weezer - Buddy Holly and Edie Brickell - Good Times videos were on the windows 95 CD. No idea what the plus pack CD had on it.

  12. iMap

    Well, windows 95 was good for Quake and dual booting with Windows NT 4.0 on a 3.2Gb Quantum Bigfoot hard-drive, 200MHz Pentium and 32Mb of EDO ram. But prefered NT4 hands down.

    ah, the good old days..

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Joke

      But, but - did the case have a TURBO button....?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Turbo-blast from the past

        Did that button actually do anything?

        1. BobRocket

          Re: Turbo-blast from the past

          Yes, it should've been called the Compatibility button, it slowed your PC down to 8Mhz for programs that used the processor clock of the XT and later 12Mhz for the AT.

          (similar to 'Sport' mode on your car, you only use 'Normal' mode in exceptional circumstances)

        2. N2 Silver badge

          Re: Turbo-blast from the past

          Yes, it slowed the system down for compatibility with older games which ran too fast as clock speeds increased.

          Not sure about the 'Turbo' name tho

          1. Peter Simpson 1

            Re: Turbo-blast from the past

            Marketing named it.

            The choice was between "Turbo" and "Sluggo"

            // first against the wall...etc.

        3. MacGyver

          Re: Turbo-blast from the past

          "Did that button actually do anything?"

          Yep, it turned the Turbo LED on.

        4. Baskitcaise

          Re: Turbo-blast from the past

          "Did that button actually do anything?"

          Yep,

          A little sign popped up saying:

          "Please do not press this button again"

      2. Jim 59

        My Dan 486 DX (4 MB (yes, MB)) of RAM / 120 MB disk / S7 video / VESSA bus was top of the line and ran Quake & Doom beautifully. Windows 3.1. Turbo button. And it opened "Word" just as fast as a modern PC does.

        I remember the week '95 launched. There really was a sense of a corner being turned. At the time, Microsoft was everybody's friend, not a creepy monopoly, and their strange policy of ignoring the Internet had not yet done any damage.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          > At the time, Microsoft was everybody's friend, not a creepy monopoly, and their strange policy of ignoring the Internet had not yet done any damage.

          You just weren't paying attention.

          Before Windows 95 Microsoft had used 'AARD code', 'per box pricing' and 'bundling' to drive DR-DOS out of the market. They had damaged Novell with 'the next release may not support Novell' and selling 'Advanced Server concentrator' which could support 100 client to a 10 client Novell Server (and thus kill Novell's revenue). They had given away IE for free to kill Mozilla (and deny Spyglass their revenue). They had broken Lotus 123, they changed to API so WordPerfect for Windows had to be delayed, they had secret APIs so that Word and Excell ran faster than others ever could.

          They were nobody's friend, except the shareholders.

          It wasn't so much that they ignored the Internet, they wanted to replace it with their own MSN that they would have full control over. The original retail Win95 release only had access to MSN, it required Plus pack or 3rd party to get to the Internet.

  13. Johnny Canuck

    That video

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqL1BLzn3qc

    There were 2 versions on the disk - low resolution and not quite so low resolution.

  14. Old Handle
    Windows

    One detail overlooked in the question of why people accepted the new interface in Windows 95 is that Windows 95 actually came with Program Manager. I think it even persisted into early versions of Windows XP. It wasn't particularly publicized, but it was there if you looked for it. And nobody did. I'm guessing that's, because the Start Menu system was actually better.

    I remember when I found progman.exe I got a little nostalgic, but had very little temptation to actually use it for anything. If Windows 8 had a startmenu.exe, do you think the reaction would have been the same?

  15. Philip Storry

    Ah, memories...

    My first job was supporting Windows 95 for Microsoft.

    Not actually working for Microsoft, I should point out - in the UK they outsourced their support. I actually worked for ICL Sorbus in Footscray, near Sidcup.

    We spent from March to August training on and supporting the Public Preview of Windows 95, then Microsoft picked the two best performing companies from the five that they'd managed to con into doing months of free telephone support for them in the guise of a tender.

    The two best were ICL Sorbus, and DEC.

    Yeah. I know. I have no idea what criteria they used, and frankly I don't wish to know. But I was there, and that's my recollection of events...

    Anyway, I suppose I should now say that I was there on the day of release, answering the support calls from hell, battling the stupidity and cursing the bugs.

    But no. I may have only been 18, it may have been my first job, but I'd read BOFH via Fidonet and I knew a thing or two. I'd booked the whole damned week off as annual leave back in April, before management thought to ban such applications. I then kept very quiet about it, lest my colleagues get any similar ideas. (And gathered blackmail material, as a backup plan. The building was only three stories high, so sadly the lift shafts weren't really an option.)

    Still, I did spend quite a few months supporting Windows 95 by phone, so I'm going to go for the pity vote here. PITY ME! PITY ME AND MY WINDOWS 95 MEMORIES!

    Oh, and a quick note - back in those days, 13 floppies was pretty close to the definition of Bloat. Only Windows NT, OS/2 and perhaps a full install of Office 95 could make you do more floppy swapping! Oh how we rejoiced at CDs...

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Ah, memories...

      Oh, and a quick note - back in those days, 13 floppies was pretty close to the definition of Bloat. Only Windows NT, OS/2 and perhaps a full install of Office 95 could make you do more floppy swapping! Oh how we rejoiced at CDs...

      I didn't think of it as bloat back then, since games such as Ultima 7 and Wing Commander 2 (with the speech pack) needed even more floppies... And I think Win3.11 came with 9 floppies - with the last 3 or so floppies containing just drivers. I was of course a somewhat masochistic OS/2 user but defected later to NT4. I'd like to remind that OS/2, Win95 and later came with 3,5" diskettes that were specially formatted to contain more than 1.44M.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Ah, memories...

        >I didn't think of it as bloat back then, since games such as Ultima 7 and Wing Commander 2 (with the speech pack) needed even more floppies...

        I seem to think NT3.51 came on 1.44M floppies. 31 of them, IIRC. I did install it a couple of times and yes, I got nearly to the end before finding a corrupt disk... grrrrr!

      2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: Ah, memories...

        I'm pretty certain that Ultima 7 and Wing Commander 2 weren't that big. From the looks of things, Ultima VII was six disks, can't tell about WC2. I have the original Black Box U7 at home, but it's easier to use a CD or GOG download..

        OS/2 was of course a lot larger, back in the 2.0/2.1 days where floppy install was the main installation method. XDF format arrived in v3 Warp, and was only really useful for squeezing more drivers onto boot disks 1 and 2 - beyond that point the remainder of the install was usually off CD.

        I migrated from Warp 4 to NT4 before the millennium, but it was really only with the release of Windows 2000 that it surpassed OS/2 in pretty much all respects.

  16. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Windows

    Misty eyed...

    That all seems so long ago. Or was it yesterday? What with the malevolent spying toads that seem to run MS these days, I find myself pining for "classic Microsoft".

    You've made a grown man cry.

  17. thomas k

    while enabling ... the Windows Store

    People are sick to death of being marketing fodder, especially when the effort to fleece them is so transparent. And now the Windows 10 'taste' is 'free', that's pretty transparent, too. I've always been a big MS fan but I'm starting to think Linux may be the way forward for me..

    1. Test Man

      Re: while enabling ... the Windows Store

      Bye

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: while enabling ... the Windows Store

      Yes I agree with the first part. but.

      Linux is a long way from being user friendly for most members of the species.

      No way ready for ordinary users. Even if they had some means to identify and evaluate the best "distro" from the dozens out there.

      I happen to have switched one of my boxes to MINT yesterday.

      I haven't used Linux for years, and then was never more than a reasonably knowledgeable general user - definitely far from being a Linux Guru.

      And I soon remembered why I went back to Windows last time I did that.

      Getting the install to work was bad enough.

      The page that offered me a list of install options contained one which sounded most suitable, because it seemed to be the one that would let me create partitions, or maybe keep the two I already had. At least that's what it said on the page

      But no. That option took me straight to a page that was barely comprehensible to me and would have been gibberish to an ordinary user. Nothing offered what was listed on the previous page., except to resize the existing partitions, but that was actually useless/acaemic, it turned out.There was a list of partitions with funny names that an ordinary user would not have even known were partitions/drives. There was an apparent option to resize and install Linux onto one of these, including the Windows restore partition, which would have been an ideal place to store Linux, but no clue whether it was big enough.. Yet this made no real difference, because pretty much all the options on that page threw an error message to say that it couldn't find something or other. I can't remember what that thing was, some sort of entry point or something, I think. But I do know that since I hadn't, by definition, installed Linux yet, working from a live session - anything missing was missing because they hadn't put it there. But the only option at that point was to click OK and go back. No option to create or find the missing whatever-it was. And no definition as to what it was wanting or why.

      No clue, nothing, nada. Dead end.

      So I had to go back and do a full wipe and install with a whole HDD single partition. No option presented to create extra partitions or keep the spares ( with or without contents).

      So I had to do that.

      It was fine then until I found that Pale Moon didn't appear in the list of software offered and I had to get it installed myself, downloaded from the web site. At which point the download file comes with a barely comprehensible set of instructions about how to install it.

      But I got that done, with a bit of tinkering. No way an ordinary user would have got there.

      Which was nothing compared to the printer driver. Downloading that from the Epson site there was no clue whatever about how to install it. Let alone an auto install routine.

      In neither case was there a simple file called "click me" or "install me".

      Most of the files I looked at had downright incomprehensible names.

      And the instructions themselves read like something in a comic book for 10 year old boys, circa 1970, full of jokey geek names and jargon that would totally alienate any ordinary user, ("tar ball" "sudo") but with no definitions or explanation of what these things are, are for, or how to use them.

      By now could they not have found a way to install stuff like that easily? or at least written help files that gave.... help?

      Frankly the whole thing was like a geek game for geeks to show how geeky they were to other geeks.

      1. Chika
        Alert

        Re: while enabling ... the Windows Store

        To an extent, I don't disagree with you but I would point out a couple of things that may temper what you say about this.

        First of all, I'm not that familiar with Mint's install though the last time I fiddled with a Mint distro (I think it was Nadia) it was fairly minimal. I'm not sure if that's the right way to go - I've always preferred the openSUSE install or possibly the CentOS install. The trouble is that too many people decide to pitch on a particular distro because it's the current flavour of the month (before Mint it was Ubuntu, for example).

        Secondly the jargon used in Linux isn't that much worse, when you get down to it, than the jargon used in Windows. It's just that many users are more used to the Windows brand of jargon, so they know what a zip file is where they don't recognise what a tarball is, or they know how to elevate themselves to administrator level but have no idea what su or sudo are used for. Yes, some of the terms are pretty old but not all of them are meaningless; it's just a matter of doing a little research.

        Finally, yes, I can agree that some applications, those that aren't pulled into your system using whatever you use for a package manager (I know that it's based on the .deb system on Mint but the name escapes me right now), can be a pain to install but many of them follow a simple pattern. You start with the configure script followed by the make or make install command. It's not uncommon for the application in question to even give instructions for installation.

        When you are new to a system, or you haven't used a system in a very long time, it can take time and patience to sort everything out. I daresay that if I was presented with the CLI from a PDP11 right now, having not touched one for over twenty years now, I'd be a bit clueless right now until I got myself straight. The same could also be said for somebody that hadn't touched a Windows machine since W98 but had to now make sense of W10.

        It's the main reason, I suppose, why I am curious about all these commenters that have said that they would switch to Linux, how many have done it and whether any of them have switched back.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: while enabling ... the Windows Store

          Chika

          That's sort of a valid point, for me.

          But I have to think of my users/friends/family/etc.

          "Zip" makes sense outside of geek language. We all know what zipping things up is. We all have zips on things.

          But a "tar ball" is something that melts and ruins your clothes.

          And ditto "adminstrator". It allows you to adminstrate. Logical.

          A "Sudo" ? pure gibberish. Even written in full, something along the lines of "substitute user do" and it's still gibberish.

          And those installation instructions all run along the lines of telling users to do something complicated with a meaningless file name, often extracted from a different file that has to be downloaded.

          It's not actually a problem with MINT/Linux.

          It's a fault with the people who would promote LINUX but don't seem very interested in making it easy to use.

          Is it so difficult to have a file called "setup" as with most Windows programmes?

          Or menus that are in something that resembles comprehensible English? Or at least do what they say they do.

          Or have messages that refrain from referring to technical components that the new user will never have heard of, when they click on something they are meant to click on.

          In fairness Windows still puts up bloody stupid error messages, after all these years.

          And yes, a running MINT installation looks just like a running Windows (7) one.

          Until the user has to do something that ought to be a little more complicated, at which point it becomes a lot more complicated.

          It's as if there was an egg shell layer of usability. It's probably ideal for the totally basic user who will only want to use the same 3 or 4 programmes, to write a letter, send and email, etc.

          1. Esme

            Re: while enabling ... the Windows Store

            @Terry 6

            Please read my previous comment - you're trying to run before you can walk, and thus, unsurprisingly, having entirely avoidable accidents. Linux isn;t any more difficult than Windows. But it is different - and if you use a newbie-friendly distro, it;s easier to use and maintain than Windows. But you do need to educate yourself as to what those differences are. It;s clear from what you've written here that you haven;t done that and have made the mistake of expecting Linux to be Windows with a different paint job. It is not.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: while enabling ... the Windows Store

              No. Wrong.

              I readily got Linux up and running fine, for myself. Within 24 hrs.

              But I am fully aware of how much tech savvy I used.

              And an ordinary user wanting to switch to Linux (Mint) would find a very steep learning curve.

              So, for example, even if you didn't know how to install a printer in Windows, the printer website will have a driver, which you can download without even knowing what a driver is, then click on install, and Bingo, you have a printer.

              Whereas setting up my Epson printer ( reasonably, but not too recent) was a real struggle. The Epson driver was typical geek package. Full of jargon and additional things to download to get the setup to appear, if it ever would. Because I couldn't get it to work, but I know how to get a generic driver for Linux and have the knowledge to make a pretty good guess at which gibberish name is actually the one I want.

              The problem isn't Linux, it's the people who write the names of programmes in geek Speak, give installation packages meaningless names, and make set up systems that are opaque.

              This is not about me expecting too much too soon.

              It's about hobbyists not wanting to make a "commodity" OS that the ordinary user can administer, without joining the club, visiting the forum sites, etc.

          2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: while enabling ... the Windows Store

            Until the user has to do something that ought to be a little more complicated, at which point it becomes a lot more complicated.

            1) Make the mundane simple.

            2) Make the demanding possible.

            Windows used to stop at 1). To reach 2), difficulties and hits on your credit card increased exponentially.

            Well, at least there is PowerShell now.

        3. Vic

          Re: while enabling ... the Windows Store

          You start with the configure script followed by the make or make install command.

          IMO, that's not good advice. You lose all the benefits of pagkaging...

          I've found that most authors are pretty helpful when they can be - so if you email them and *ask* for a package, they'll often give you info on where to get one. It's worth remembering, though, that these people are not your paid bitches, so the instructions they give will often require a little though on your behalf. If the words are initially unfamiliar, Google helps...

          Often, you'll just be told to go and use alien. Whilst that's not a complete solution to the problem, it's a tool that you really ought to understand...

          Vic.

      2. Esme
        Linux

        Re: while enabling ... the Windows Store

        @Terry 6

        Sorry, but I completely disagree. The newbie--friendly versions of Linux are just as easy to use as Windows - to someone who has no experience of computers.

        I have yet to see a complaint from a Windows user complaining that Linux isn't easy to use that doesn't seem to be fundamentally complaining that Linux isn't like Windows. Well, duh. If you've learnt how to use Windows, and had years of experience of it, then of course encountering something different may be a bit jarring. Even very jarring (it was for me, when I first tried Linux. But Windows was jarring to me too, having used AmigaOS previuously). But let;s face it - how many Windows users have ever had to install Windows? And just why IS that, eh? And how much cheaper is Linux than Windows?

        As for drivers, there are good reasons why drivers for relatively recent hardware isn't available in Linux. Manufacturers have tended to support only Windows for years, and even those that have supported Linux to some extent have often given the impression that their Linux efforts have been a bit of an afterthought. And so the Open Source community has to collectively take the time to find how to make new bits of kit work with Linux. This takes time and may be imperfect at first. It improves over time.

        That said, when one compares like with like - ie: someone new to Linux presented with a PC running Linux already set up with them (as against someone new to Windows), my experience has been that they take to it like a duck to water. Heck, some years ago, I helped a church that asked me to help them to switch from Windows to Linux to save money. This is back when Mandriva Linux was something you could buy paid-for support if you wish. I installed the free version from a Linux magazine coverdisk, made sure the office software required was there, and the vicar got back to me and said that his secretary was delighted with it - and I never had a support call from them.

        Linux nowadays is MUCH better than it was back then. If you're not sure about installing it yourself, then you probably need a quick bit of instruction from someone who is used to it to explain it - much as I did when I learnt to install WIndows way back. And if you are new to Linux, it's far better to stick with the software available from your distro of choice's software manager than it is trying to do the Windows thing and download stuff from websites then try to figure out how to install it. Linux software CAN be done that way, but that's for advanced users who know what they're doing.

        If it's Mint that you're using, and you absolutely insist on trying to install something that your software manager doesn;t offer, then you need to look for the .deb package version of the software. Then use GDebi to install it (it's rather like an archive extractor, it unpacks the .deb archive in such a way that the installed OS can then use the software just installed). And if you can't find a .deb package for it (if you;re using Mint, Ubuntu or Debian, mind), then you need to accept that the software is effectively out of your reach for now - there might be a version that can be compiled, but honestly, yer average user doesn;t need to use a compiler these days and hasn't for years. I have NEVER used a compiler except a couple of times out of sheer curiosity, many years ago.

        (Above I mentioned about .deb packages - if you;re using RedHat/Fedora or some other distors, it'll be .rpm p[ackages that you need to look for. Sorry, can't explain how to install those, my experience of doing so is years in the past).

        You emphatically do have my sympathy if you've struggled using Linux - but you need to approach it realistically. If you've not installed an OS before, then you need to find someone to teach you - and it's ALWAYS a good idea to have someone experienced to take you through your first steps with a new OS no matter what OS you're moving from/to, if you're anything like an average user.

        I'm no expert, incidentally - I am now an experienced Linux user, but I have a casual computer users attitiude to it - I want my PC's to 'just work' and not make me feel like I'm fighting my PC every durned time I switch it on. I really do not want to have to muck about with command lines or compilers, nor have to worry whether I can trust the source of the software I use. And with Mint, I turn it on, it all works, and I get the stuff done that I want to do quickly and easily. Beeyootiful. Quite a contrast with the Windows PC at work, which causes me to swear nearly every single day.

        In a nutshell then - if you are new to Linux,

        (a) If possible, find someone Linux experience that can give you that first intro and help you through any initial teething problems.

        (b) If possible, try it first on an older PC first, don't try going for dual-booting with Windows on a newish PC if you have no experience of doing that kind of thing. Failing an old PC, try running Linux in a virtual machine. That's a far better option than trying a dual-boot for your first experience of Linux (IMHO).

        (c) Once you have Linux installed, stick to the software that your distro of choice offers you until you have some experience under your belt. If you have questions, for preference, ask your tame Linux maestro from (a) above. Failing that, try the forums for your distro.

        (d) Remember, it's Linux, not Windows. If you reach a point where you feel stumped, there's a good chance it's because Linux does things differently and your Windows experience is leading you astray.

        I hope that helps you if you give Linux another try. Good luck!

      3. gerdesj Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: while enabling ... the Windows Store

        It's a shame that your initial flirtation with Linux was a bit shit but you might like to cast your mind back to what Windows or whatever you are used to looked like when you first encountered it.

        Did you discover the huge number of forums that would help you out? The Ubuntu, Gentoo and Mint ones are in my experience pretty damn good. I personally spend time in the Gentoo ones (networking mostly) helping out if I can and I couldn't give a shit which distro you use.

        A "tarball" is so called because an old backup program called Tape ARchive rolled lots of files into a .tar archive. That became a convenient way to distribute a tree of files and with compression gives rise to the classic .tar.gz (you ungzip first and then untar, although you can do both with tar -xzvf filename.tar.gz)

        "sudo" is a play on the word pseudo, ie you impersonate someone, usually root. That seems a pretty good name for a command to me - short and descriptive.

        I could go on but I suggest you ask for help before giving up also a simple Google would answer all of your questions mentioned above.

      4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: while enabling ... the Windows Store

        @Terry 6

        Ah diddums!

        Oddly enough my strictly non-IT cousin-in-law Terry has no problems with Linux. He can do just what he did with his old XP.

      5. Jim 59

        Re: while enabling ... the Windows Store

        Hi Terry 6, Linux is different from Windows, and there will be strangeness for first time users, especially non experts. But in some ways new users will find it easier than Windows: No viruses, no popups, no malware scanners, no bloatware, no adverts, no nagging. No software installing "free" evaluation copies of itself. No awful slowing down as the system gradually sinks beneath the weight of these things.

        We have all been called on to help friends/family with Windows, and half the task has usually been to clean off the reams of rubbish that has installed itself over the years. Sometimes we even find that several competing nagware/evaluation packages have become installed, each interfering with the other and both nagging the user, hourly, to purchase the full version. The less expert the user, the more of this stuff is usually found. Software companies do this deliberately, of course. Computer shops in many UK towns make a modest living just from "cleaning up" Windows PCs.

        Linux is different but equivalent. Anything you do in Windows, there is a way to do it in Linux. Not the same way, but an equivalent way, sometimes requiring the learning of a few new concepts. For the beginner coming from Windows there is strangeness, but the added simplicity might make up for it.

        1. Vic

          Re: while enabling ... the Windows Store

          Linux is different from Windows, and there will be strangeness for first time users, especially non experts

          IME, it's the other way round: non-experts pick it up very rapidly. It is those who know Windows well who find it difficult. There are many learned behaviours which just make life difficult in Linux-land...

          Vic.

    3. Chika
      Linux

      Re: while enabling ... the Windows Store

      I've seen so many comments in the various W10 stories where a commenter states that they are shifting to Linux instead.

      I use both Linux and Windows, but this actually leads me to wonder how many of those that have said that they are shifting to Linux have actually done it? Generally speaking there's more to it than just downloading a distro - you need to also consider what you actually use your system for so that you can select the software that you will need, either running a Windows application under Wine or using an alternative version for Linux or finding an application to replace something that you need.

      Believe me, I've been down that path and I've often said that I would like to see the back of Windows altogether, but there's always something that sods me up, usually because a bit of software I use needs Windows because the developer has decided to lock themselves into that ecosystem and there's nothing equivalent available.

      Thankfully that situation is improving so I suspect that other than work, the days of Windows on my own systems are numbered but it's still an interesting thought.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: while enabling ... the Windows Store

        >how many of those that have said that they are shifting to Linux have actually done it?

        I moved to linux quite a while ago.

        I still have W7 in a VM on my work laptop because I need "work" apps which are windows only.

        I actually two instances of W8 as well. One is for Steam with a Steam icon on the taskbar which is all I need to click. Every few months I load it up and run updates but I don't really use it, as I have Steam under Linux too. The other instance is for one piece of software which is Windows only and needs more 3D acceleration than VMware can provide. Both instances are on the same hardware so I get away with a single license. Not sure if I'm supposed to do that or not...

        It was the non-pirate-able W7 and lack of Windows functionality which pushed me over the edge. I have a server in the garage, a big-screen/stereo connected desktop in the lounge, a work laptop, a laptop running video on the back porch for exercising, an imac desktop and now two mac laptops (wife's work and kids school).

        How much is that going to cost me to license for windows? One laptop has an OEM XP license, one has an OEM W7 home license. Given that I'm likely to want a domain rather than a workgroup? The macs were using iscsi for time machine. Everyone thinks iscsi is a business protocol and charges correspondingly for target software. No problem with linux. Apple doesn't even bother with a client so AFP is my clean way of getting off snow-leopard which has a free 32bit iscsi driver from SNS. Again, no problem with Linux.

        It turns out that MythTV is the linux/osx killer app for me and it needs access to the hardware to run fast enough on my laptop, so no VM under Windows. XP is unsupported but guess what? The hardware still does what I need it to do - video display. Ok, that's disingenuous, support has never really been an issue, but I do like the fact that I never have to deal with licensing. Drag down an ISO every year or so, pop it under my TFTP boot server thing and off I go. I don't usually need to do even that, but I do it in case things go badly wrong with the online updates.

        I'm not MS-free. The imac has vnc which I use to edit CVs in Word. Matching presentation for a CV with who's going to read it is important, but I don't use it when it isn't critical - normally I use libreoffice and output to PDF, but contract agencies like Word because their search software seems to deal with it better.

        So congrats MS - I no longer infringe on your "intellectual property." You have made an honest man of me. I'm not sure if the result was what you intended. I'll still use your stuff when I have to, but I've gone with "that could be quite useful" for W7 to "I don't really need that (but I guess I might eventually have to go there)" for W8 to "I'm never gonna touch that with a bargepole - and I can't see anyone else touching it either." for W10. MS seem to have taken their Vista experience and asked the question... "double or nothing?"

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I preferred 98

    I think 98 cleaned up on most of 95's deficiencies, and pretty much did the job. Win XP was the next version of Windows where things were usable but hey, that whole circus had to continue of selling more resource hungry versions of Windows to allow the sale of more powerful PCs, which in turned allowed even sloppier code (etc etc)..

    Personally I prefer a dock, though. Not a big fan of start buttons.

    1. Chika

      Re: I preferred 98

      I think 98 cleaned up on most of 95's deficiencies

      To an extent, yes, but I preferred the second edition of W98. It was a lot more stable than the first edition IMHO.

  19. martinusher Silver badge

    CUA and no bloat

    Win95 was the first consumer version of Windows that had Internet access baked in -- before that Microsoft, like others, was trying to push its own proprietary form of networking. The user interface was based on the IBM CUA standard, something that was well researched (like the old IBM keyboards -- not the prettiest to look at but ergonomically hard to beat, even today).

    What sent Windows down a path to its present awful state was the realization that you could tweak class methodology to simplify writing GUI applications. The GUI methodology itself was a bit of a hack that rolled into the interface implementation a mechanism to give OS-like behavior to a non-OS based system. This was all that was needed to start systematic bloat, poor software design and the general morass that characterizes a lot of contemporary software. Once you add in travesties like the invention of 'push' technology in the 90s you had everything you need to turn a computer into a perverted form of television set (not to mention generating a whole new industry writing both malware and anti-malware software).

    (I'm a bit jaded, but then the machines I make have limited user interfaces and are designed to 'just work' without being updated every five minutes (its called 'embedded software'). )

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: CUA and no bloat

      No, by default Win95 installed NetBEUI.

      Win3.11/WFWG3.11 had free MS 32bit TCP/IP as option nearly two years earlier, more or less the the same option you had to manually add on Win95.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: CUA and no bloat

      The only thing that came with WIndows 95 was an icon to "Microsoft Network", which was meant shield the user FROM the Internet into an ill-defined Microsoft walled garden into which you had to dial via some local access point in partnership with some operator.

      Bletch.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: CUA and no bloat

      I think it wasn't till OSR2 or something that Windows 95 had built-in Internet access with Internet Explorer.

      1. Dan Paul

        Re: CUA and no bloat

        Win 98 Second Edition fixed all the internet browser & stability issues and the majority of overall Windows problems. That was a vast improvement on Win 95 or 3.1 or Windows for Workgroups.

  20. J J Carter Silver badge
    Trollface

    To be fair, Linux has cloned that 1995 era UI with 100% fidelity.

  21. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Devil

    So you're saying that I should purchase an automatic floppy disk changer to install Windows 10 from DMF floppies?

    A:\ is not accessible. Please insert disk 2,297. Then press any key to continue.

    1. davidp231

      Please insert disk...

      at 99% it craps out with a data error.

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Please insert disk...

        ...hey, at least you don't have to rewind it to the precise point it starts, after a "TAPE LOADING ERROR, 0:1"...

  22. JP19

    A)

    Shit I feel old.

    B) "The question of why the public accepted a substantial user interface change in Windows 95, but not in Windows 8, would make a nice topic for someone to research."

    People are quite prepared to accept change when it is for the better.

    Win 8 UI changes were only better on hardware most people didn't have or want.

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Childcatcher

      Re: A)

      Shit I feel old.

      Me, too.

      // Linux user (on and off) since 1993

  23. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Windows

    Excitement even

    I can almost recall a smidgeon of excitement in anticipation of getting my paws on Win 95. More importantly from a historical perspective was Balmer advising people to "Calm down. It's only an operating system". Balmer!!!

  24. YARR

    MOM + DAD

    Judging from the pre-beta screenshots, the idea for the Win95 UI almost happened by accident...

    https://sites.google.com/site/chicagowin95/index

    http://www.betaarchive.com/screenshots/index.php

    Does anyone remember the MOM (Microsoft Office Manager) which offered an icon-bar / drop-down apps menu that bypassed the awful Windows 3.x Program Manager? As I recall there was a similar offering from a rival (Borland / PerfectOffice ?) suite which they called the DAD (Desktop Application Director) toolbar.

    Also, weren't PC HD floppies only 1.44Mb?

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: MOM + DAD

      Also, weren't PC HD floppies only 1.44Mb?

      Technically the HD DD 3.5" floppies were 1440 KB, but yes. There were also DMF (the 1.68 MB mentioned in the article) and XDF that were done by MS and IBM respectively because software had gotten rather large and CDs had yet to become ubiquitous. Both required special utilities. I believe I still have XDF floppies of PC DOS 7 hanging about somewhere; I don't believe I still have a drive but perhaps it's worth a look if only for fun.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: MOM + DAD

      You reference the significant amount of pre-beta work was also a reason for the uptake; MS had invested heavily in UI/UX R&D - they badly needed to catch-up with Apple specifically, but Sun and others also had workstations with window-based UI's well established in the market.

      MS have given no indication that the UI/UX of Win8 was based on anything more than some key people being obsessed by the untried ideas of a 'purist' design school. Additionally, it is obvious that these people had no experience of real experience of design school ideals coming face-to-face with normal daily life and toddlers...

      Aside: It is interesting that MS are also a late entrant to the 'ecosystem'/closed garden marketplace, but this time around they haven't seemed to have spent so much on trying to get it right.

  25. fruitoftheloon
    Holmes

    YOU feel, old, I'm cattle-trucked then...

    I remember the 'joy' of using Windows 286....

    It was so long ago, I don't remem if it was on a feckin awful Apricot qI PC, which IIRC cost £7,000.

    Jay

    1. JP19

      Re: YOU feel, old, I'm cattle-trucked then...

      "I remember the 'joy' of using Windows 286"

      My first PC came with MSDOS 1.1

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: YOU feel, old, I'm cattle-trucked then...

        F**kin CP/M.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: YOU feel, old, I'm cattle-trucked then...

      "I remember the 'joy' of using Windows 286...."

      So did I. It came as a package from VisionWare which also included an Ethernet board with a BNC connector and an X-server which was, of course, the raison d'etre of the package. And on the other end of the net was an HP running HP Vue desktop which contributed to the subsequent CDE desktop.

      Many of the ideas which went to W95 were in there*. Notably there was the start of the menu system but it was a bar with several pop-up menus. The major contribution of W95 was to condense these into a single button with cascading menus. As has been said elsewhere CUA principles were also followed - that's the File Edit etc menus. Those could be implemented in pure text as well as in GUI form.

      What MS achieved was to combine a lot of what was already about in such a way that it hit a sweet spot. I've no idea whether this was good luck or good management but they did it. It offered some scope for refinement in implementation and a few features - auto-hide menu bars and multiple desktops for instance. But on the whole it was a feature set that was easier to bugger up than improve as a good many interface designers have proven in the last couple of decades.

      *HP New Wave which was an interface revision dropped on top of W3.x also contributed to W95. It introduced the idea of an OO interface, namely that by clicking on a data file the OS would recognise the associated application and start that to open the file. And its text editor had a spill chucker. W95 copyright statements included HP along with the Regents of UCB.

  26. nematoad Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Thanks Win 95

    I have never had any time for MS, but there is one thing that I have to thank them for.

    When we rolled out Win 95 with the B.P. Common Operating Environment (COE) it meant that we no longer had to support DECNET and for that alone MS have my most sincere appreciation.

    Oh, and the Edie Brickell video of course.

    1. Mage Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Thanks Win 95

      By 1993 or so you could do that on Win3.11 /WFWG 3.11 and MS 32bit TCP/IP. Win95 only added Explorer shell and all the 32 bit options and video media support in the Win95 floppies rather than separate floppies.

  27. Mage Silver badge
    Devil

    Windows 95

    1) A waste, they should have put the effort into NT (first released in 1993). It set back the PC industry by nearly 5 years, destroyed NT Security (people writing 32bit programs and ignoring security settings because only NT used them), it killed the Pentium Pro (no easy return to 16 mode)

    2) Autorun was the stupidest thing ever.

    3) The Entry level spec wasn't enough memory to have TCP/IP, Word and Browser at same time.

    4) The first version had no USB.

    5) It was really just WFWG 3.11 with Win32s, VFW, and 32bit disk driver all bundled with a new better shell, but file explorer was inferior to File manager has STILL has some of the same bugs/stupidity, like you have to hold shift or control to be sure to Move or Copy, if you lose track of which drives which folders belong. Still Explorer file copy is primitive compared to xcopy. Why are overwrite options broken and can't be set at start? Why no copy only newer etc. Only NT3.5 was a real 32bit Windows.

    6) Office 95 deliberately used specially invent APIs to stop it running on WFWG. Which made it fail on true 32bit NT 3.5, so they brought out NT3.51 with later tech preview of Exporer Shell.

    7) They added the worst bits of Win95 (and later Win98) to NT4 .0 (and later Win2K and XP)

    8) The "Start" button should have been called Main, Main Menu or Menu. Start is stupid, as in many cases it was only used most days to "shut down".

    9) Ran 16 bit code natively instead of on a VM like NT. (NTVDM and NT WOW)

    10) Could only connect to named Pipes. Couldn't create Named pipes. The stupidest 32bit / NT feature to omit. Forces use of COM and shared memory evils instead.

    Later "Personalised Menus" and desktop clean up and hiding icons in Task Tray was UTTER stupidity as then how do you find the less used things or even know they existed.

    GUI only went down hill after the initial improvement of using the desktop better than previous "Program Groups". The nadir being ribbon and then making buttons/menus look like ordinary text. Stupid on windows, web and Kobo. Where the hell you supposed to click/touch?

    1. Chika

      Re: Windows 95

      1) A waste, they should have put the effort into NT (first released in 1993). It set back the PC industry by nearly 5 years, destroyed NT Security (people writing 32bit programs and ignoring security settings because only NT used them), it killed the Pentium Pro (no easy return to 16 mode)

      Considering how NT progressed at the time and how poorly W3.1 was taken up outside the business world, I suspect that this couldn't really be avoided.

      2) Autorun was the stupidest thing ever.

      Agreed. An obvious bug hole waiting to happen. Those were happier times though...

      3) The Entry level spec wasn't enough memory to have TCP/IP, Word and Browser at same time.

      The hardware upgrade path. And they wonder why people looked at the "Vista Ready" campaign fiasco and said "Toldya!"

      4) The first version had no USB.

      Not surprising. USB was a comparatively new technology back then and not that much hardware supported it.

      5) It was really just WFWG 3.11 with Win32s, VFW, and 32bit disk driver all bundled with a new better shell, but file explorer was inferior to File manager has STILL has some of the same bugs/stupidity, like you have to hold shift or control to be sure to Move or Copy, if you lose track of which drives which folders belong. Still Explorer file copy is primitive compared to xcopy. Why are overwrite options broken and can't be set at start? Why no copy only newer etc. Only NT3.5 was a real 32bit Windows.

      I suspect a bit of a bias here in some parts. Mind you, you did know that File Manager and Program Manager were still there in W95, didn't you?

      6) Office 95 deliberately used specially invent APIs to stop it running on WFWG. Which made it fail on true 32bit NT 3.5, so they brought out NT3.51 with later tech preview of Exporer Shell.

      You can blame Microsoft for that. They do this so often.

      7) They added the worst bits of Win95 (and later Win98) to NT4 .0 (and later Win2K and XP)

      Care to be specific?

      8) The "Start" button should have been called Main, Main Menu or Menu. Start is stupid, as in many cases it was only used most days to "shut down".

      No, here I certainly disagree. "Start" was a good idea since it was where everything started, including the shutdown routine. Yes, I've heard the joke about Windows needing to Start in order to Stop but the idea of calling it "Main" or something like that is too vague to be useful.

      9) Ran 16 bit code natively instead of on a VM like NT. (NTVDM and NT WOW)

      I can see your bias showing! Actually, WOW does have its drawbacks and you have to remember that a lot of companies were running software that didn't sit too well unless you had full 16 bit support. As time went on, this improved so that WOW became a more reasonable option but when W95 came out it worked out reasonably well.

      10) Could only connect to named Pipes. Couldn't create Named pipes. The stupidest 32bit / NT feature to omit. Forces use of COM and shared memory evils instead.

      Yes, I can see this one. Indeed one bit of software inflicted this terror on me comparatively recently.

      Later "Personalised Menus" and desktop clean up and hiding icons in Task Tray was UTTER stupidity as then how do you find the less used things or even know they existed.

      Not sure that I follow this one.

      GUI only went down hill after the initial improvement of using the desktop better than previous "Program Groups". The nadir being ribbon and then making buttons/menus look like ordinary text. Stupid on windows, web and Kobo. Where the hell you supposed to click/touch?

      You mean https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTYet-qf1jo

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Windows 95

        "4) The first version had no USB.

        Not surprising. USB was a comparatively new technology back then and not that much hardware supported it."

        IIRC neither did NT4.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have company directors that ring me when they want to change one header in a power point project... how the hell can they work out windows 8/10 interface

  29. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Misty-eyed about '95

    I'm not sure I get the misty-eyed attitude to Win 95. It came out a year after I finished Uni.

    It was certainly an improvement on Gem I'd used on an Amstrad 1640, certainly better than Win 3.11 and better than Amiga Workbench, but the first and third were afflicted by lack of HDD which limited applications to whether you had a second disk drive or not.

    I don't think I was massively impressed by the start menu.

    As to why users accepted the Win 95/NT ui 'revolution' and not Microsofts, Gnomes or even Canonicals later 'revolutions' I think only one commentard so far has pointed out the crux of the reason.

    1) The user base 20 years ago was a hell of a lot smaller than todays, and most of the then user base had only been using a pc for a small number of years prior to that. Fewer preconceptions does wonders for peoples willingness to pick up something new without complaint. 20 years of 'mostly' using iterations of or similar Uis and it's familiar, like writing left to write or driving on the left (or on the right if you're not in the UK).

    2) Compared to Win 3.11 and other early attempts at a graphical interface, Win 95 was a definite improvement over these in terms of usability. Does this mean it was the pinnacle of usability, which is why it's become a de-facto standard until Win8? No, it was mostly luck, strong arm tactics and missed opportunities by other players in the industry.

    I upgraded my personal computer in 97, I'd been using NT at work for a year or so. I do recall really enjoying my first experiences with it, but I must have become bored with it's limitations as I switched to linux in 1999, where I encountered KDE, Gnome and WindowMaker.

  30. John Doe 6

    Actually...

    ...when Windows 95 arrived everyone except Bill Gates hated the start menu and wanted the good old Program Manager back (and File Manager).

    People DO NOT like changes because they need to learn something new and they don't want to "waste" their time on learning new things.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Actually...

      Some people enjoy learning something new just for the sake of it.

      Some people are open to learning something new if they judge it worthwhile.

      Some people are opposed to learning something new because they think they can't.

      Some people are opposed to learning something new because they can't be bothered.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Actually...

        Some people are opposed to learning something new because it's inferior to what they've got.

        BIG CLUE: If it's not broken don't fix it.

        BIGGER CLUE: If marketing think it's broken because they want something new to sell that doesn't mean it's really broken.

  31. david 136

    The key reason W95 worked for consumers compared to NT 3.51 was that it played the games you wanted it to play, and NT would not.

  32. david 12 Bronze badge

    Windows 95 - fairly stable

    What I remember was how hard it could be to install, sometimes taking hours of re-installation before it got it working. Win98 was a big improvement in that regard.

  33. ben_myers

    Windows 10 IoT???

    Spare me. IoT security is bad enough without a Microsoft finger in the pie!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For me

    Win95 made playing Duke Nukem 3D all the more easier and reliable.

    For that alone, I salute it.

    "Your face, your ass, what's the difference?"

  35. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Flame

    Nostalgia...

    I love that song,

    "You make a grown man cry"

    I tried to avoid 95, and kept to OS/2 or NT whenever possible. 95 was just another GUI over DOS. When the filesystem is still FAT, long filenames are just a kludge, the real filename is still 8.3 characters. Plus, whoever thought that allowing long filenames AND keeping special meanings for extensions AND hiding known extensions by default was a good idea should be forced to clean up every virus infection this enabled, worldwide, while crawling on broken glass</rant>. Sorry, breath deeply, clam down...

    On the plus side, 95 did kill off boot sector viruses... they didn't support 32-bit drivers, so when it booted, Windows was forced into compatibility mode. Everything worked, apparently normally, except the CD driver disappeared (most CD drives depended on 32-bit drivers). Users complained about that, so the virus was discovered and eliminated. Easy to diagnose, once you knew.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Nostalgia...

      Turning off the hiding of known extensions is still one of the first things I do with a new installation. Bloody stupid idea. Mind you I also always turn on single-click and accelerator underscores :)

  36. This post has been deleted by its author

  37. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    FAIL

    95 was crap

    Spend an hour or so creating a fancy letterhead with some (forgotten) DTP software and press "Print".

    The laser printer data light starts to flash and you realise that you hadn't saved the file. An hour later the printer is still flashing, nothing has been printed and Windows 95 has crashed, losing all your work.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: 95 was crap

      "you realise that you hadn't saved the file"

      And whose fault was that?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: 95 was crap

        Clippy's?

  38. AndrueC Silver badge
    Happy

    Win95 was the only Windows version I never used. The reason was OS/2 Warp. Back when everyone else was crashing and struggling to do two things at once I was enjoying the benefits of a proper protected mode OS. Playing Crammond's Formula One GP while downloading from CompuServe at 9600bps (good old Golden Compass - multi threading genius for the time).

    But as we all know OS/2 failed in the home market so I eventually put Win98 on my home machine until WinXP came along.

  39. MrXavia

    I've just downgraded back to 8.1 from 10

    Windows 10 is a privacy nightmare, it broke my built in touchpad, plus my VPN software does not work, making it useless for doing work!

    I think I will be switching to linux soon, I would already made the switch if it wasn't for a couple of programs that won't work in linux :-(

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Linux

      @ MrXavia

      If you switch to Linux, try Mint MATE. Has been working well for me since I ditched Ubuntu over the UNITY interface (tiles, like Win 8, non-starter)

      For those Windows apps you just can't live without, I've been using VirtualBox. I run XP in it, because I have install media for it.

      I have found, that a spare HDD is handy. Unplug your Windows HDD, install the new spare HDD and install Mint on it. Now, you can play with Mint all you want, and always go back to Windows by moving the plug to the other HDD. Should you decide Mint is for you, you can mount the Windows drive as a secondary drive, and access it as a slave drive from Mint.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Whaah....crybaby!

      Let's see everything you have an issue with is a KNOWN problem with Windows 10 and if you had ever read any article about Win 10, you would have known.

  40. MJI Silver badge

    Same day

    Real/32 was released.

    I went to the launch, was a pretty powerful OS and I remember they supplied Austrailian wine.

    As to 95 I went from Real/32 with 1 screen running Windows for Workgroups (I had the server) to 98 and Netware.

  41. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Never bothered with Win 9x or ME for serious use

    Busy using better operating systems such as OS/2, NT or Linux at the time. Swapped straight from Warp 4 to NT 4 in 1999 (I held out on OS/2 a long time, but wasn't about to cross to y2k still running it - really was on its last legs then), and Windows 2000 soon after it came out.

    98SE is basically alright, I've mostly used it for playing old games, given that it has DOS 7 as part of the install. MS really did bend over backwards to maintain compatibility (not necessarily a great idea), and plug and play, plus modems in general, became substantially easier to configure than under most other operating systems, unless your requirements were fairly specialist.

  42. Mike Bell

    Windows CEMENT

    Remember that one?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Witless Complainers, Ingrates and Thieves

    All this "Linux is better than Windows" malarkey is making me ill and is wasting space. P.R.O. please

    Linux will be better than Windows when:

    You put in the CD or DVD or whatever media and it just installs without considerable user intervention and all that sudo/apt/get stuff what ever you want to call it or trying different "distributions". That isn't needed except for keeping stinky, bearded, posers feeling "superior" about themselves. Literally half the so called IT people fit that description and are useless overhead with way too much say.

    Last time I installed Windows 7 it just installed and found ALL my newer and older hardware, installed the drivers including wireless keyboard and mouse and network, graphics etc, and others and there were very few times I had to tell it what to do besides "Do you want to download updates" and put in the "key". And I gratefully didn't need to pay one of you pompous asswipes anything to build the 20th computer I have done. And there wasn't a yellow exclamation symbol on any hardware in device manager. Try to get the right network drivers in Linux, good luck.

    Lets face the real reason why all you folk didn't like Windows 7 versus XP. You cheap bastards couldn't easily get a free cracked "key" off the web for 7 and had to "validate" that your install was genuine. Waaahhh, You think everything should be "free" even though the original cost for Windows was marginal. Then you complain when they give it away for free with Windows 10, by following the Apple/Google model they "monetize" by extracting data; that you could have opted out of if you were only smart enough to choose "Custom Install" after you put in the disc. You can't do that with Android or Apple. Both are far more "Closed" operating systems than Windows and far less secure considering that Windows comprehends and is more compatible with more hardware and software than any OS does. Could Microsoft make a better product? Sure, and they even listen to customers occasionally. Admittedly, not as often as they should. But then again, neither do you.

    You Windows haters are the laziest ingrates in the world, all you want to do is steal other peoples work and complain that the operating system isn't up to your standards, "I would have done this and that" ad infinitum and yet I don't see any of you actually creating a new OS on the level of Windows. Maybe a very few of you have contributed some "code" to OSS at one time or another, but never a complete OS.

    Just how are you "better" than Microsoft?

    EVERY computer in commercial use runs a Windows or Mac OS besides many servers that run a Unix variant. Anything else is marginal at best or special use.

    You ungrateful idiots made your living off Windows for years or you didn't make a living. I have no pity for self inflicted wounds, you learn best by screwing up. How many Windows pc's have you serviced versus those running a Unix variant? Maybe 10,000 to 1 is a good ratio and that is being generous to Linux.

    Why not direct your energies into something productive instead of complaining all the time?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Witless Complainers, Ingrates and Thieves

      Commendable effort. Some stylistic errors and author nearly comes across as too retarded to be believable. Would troll with. 8/10.

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Witless Complainers, Ingrates and Thieves

      > You ungrateful idiots made your living off Windows for years or you didn't make a living.

      In my 47 years of working with computers, Windows was a short blip. I made a good living without Windows.

      > I have no pity for self inflicted wounds, you learn best by screwing up. How many Windows pc's have you serviced versus those running a Unix variant? Maybe 10,000 to 1 is a good ratio and that is being generous to Linux.

      You are correct that each Windows PC requires a lot more servicing than other systems. I have client's machines that have more than 2 years 'uptime', ie without a reboot.

    3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Witless Complainers, Ingrates and Thieves

      > You put in the CD or DVD or whatever media and it just installs

      That (and similar with USB sticks) is one of the main security flaws in Windows. Put in a CD and Windows will automatically install whatever malware is on the disk*.

      > and it just installs without considerable user intervention

      Get a Linux Format DVD, or indeed almost any, and a couple of mouse clicks will have it running in 'live DVD mode' to try out. A couple more clicks will have the install starting. A few questions later and it will be dual booting. It is only your FUD, or ignorance, that gets in the way.

      * eventually fixed by turning the 'feature' off.

    4. fruitoftheloon
      WTF?

      @AC (the fuckwit...) Re: Witless Complainers, Ingrates and Thieves

      Hi,

      Have you had any nookie recently?

      Were you bullied excessively at school?

      Also what is with the cowards curtain, I mean, what have you got to hide?

      Just wondered...

  44. Kepler
    Windows

    What the heck version of Windows 8 did HE use???

    "The question of why the public accepted a substantial user interface change in Windows 95, but not in Windows 8, would make a nice topic for someone to research. There are some parallels, with Windows 95 trying to accommodate DOS while moving users to Windows, and Windows 8 trying to accommodate desktop users . . . ."

    Evidently the author never actually used Windows 8.

    Not only did Windows 8 not try to accommodate desktop users, but it did just the opposite, deliberately and gratuitously removing long- and well-established modes of operation and interaction that were crucial to desktop use, and erecting many gratuitous new obstacles to desktop use (booting to the Start screen instead of the desktop, making Metro/Modern apps unclosable, causing them to reappear and cover the entire screen every time one accidentally glanced in the direction of the upper left corner, and so on).

    Windows 95 actually did take away as well as give. Most strikingly, it took away the theretofore traditional mode of mouse-menu interaction (under which an actual click was required for a submenu to open) — which was actually better in Windows 3.0 and 3.1 (and OS/2, and on the Amiga) than on the Mac — and replaced it with a mode in which one must always worry about the precise path the cursor takes from point A to point B, lest one inadvertently open an unintended submenu, because the system was now responding to the mouse's position instead of just to actual clicks. Most of us have long since gotten used to this change, but it did take away the ease with which we could control menu behavior, and put a new and unnecessary premium on the precision with which we moved the mouse across the screen.

    But on the whole, Windows 95 preserved previous ways of doing things while making new ways available. Right down to even retaining Program Manager for those who still wanted to use it!

    In contrast, Windows 8 deliberately abolished previous ways of doing things, in an undisguised effort to force new ways upon us.

    If Tim had actually used Windows 8 himself, he would already know this. He would not have written what he did, nor posed the utterly unpuzzling question he posed, which — as others have pointed out already — requires no research at all.

    (And if he had migrated from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, and then to Windows 8.1 Update, he would have seen some of the problems I cited above considerably ameliorated.)

  45. Terry 6 Silver badge
    Devil

    Using Mint

    Since a few commentards have been insisting that using Linux is as intuitive as Windows, here's my latest little adventure.

    I installed Dropbox.

    If I'd been using Fedora, or Ubuntu there would have been no story.

    The link in the email that took me to the installer had both of these listed.

    But with Mint I had to click for the unlisted distro, which took me to the instructions for compiling it.

    Which were fairly straight forward, if you knew what you were doing and could manage path names etc.

    But not for an ordinary user who just wants to be able to install a Drobox.

    And even for me it seemed like an awful lot of faffing around.

    Instead I chose one of the distros listed, ( Ubuntu I think). I'd expected that it would either work or throw an error.

    In fact it sort of did both. It told me that there was a newer version ( for that distro) available.

    And when I accepted took me to a Mint version.

    Go figure as the Americans say.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019