Windows 95 turned 25 years old yesterday. The operating system, which marked a before and after in the history of Microsoft, arrived on the market on August 24, 1995. Of course, computing and technology in general have evolved significantly since then. However, we cannot forget how Windows 95 influenced the digital culture of the time and established the basis for other software products that would come later.

For Microsoft, Windows 95 defined the future of its desktop operating system. In fact, some features that debuted in this version are still present in Windows 10. For example, the iconic start menu, which is now a fundamental and intrinsic element of Windows, first appeared in 1995. While it has received visual and functional improvements over the years, its goal of being a starting point for navigation remains intact 25 years later.

The taskbar is another component of the interface that, after its introduction in Windows 95, remained in future versions of the system. Today we use it naturally to manage multitasking, but 25 years ago it was a novelty that changed forever the way we navigate between applications in Windows. And if there were still doubts about how important these features were, in the commercial below you can see how Microsoft promoted the “Start” button to the rhythm of The Rolling Stones.

Microsoft’s amazing marketing campaign paid off. At the launch there were hundreds of people trained outside stores to acquire Windows 95, just as it happens today with smartphones or video game consoles -before the pandemic, of course-. After five weeks on sale, they had managed to sell seven million copies. Three years later it was already the most used operating system in the world with a market share of 57.3%, an excellent figure before making the leap to Windows 98.


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