Installing Windows 95

24

22 years ago, in an age of huge desktops, and thick laptops, Windows 95 came out. It was a truly revolutionary Microsoft OS, in that it introduced the desktop with the start menu. It made using Windows, so much better, especially from Windows 3.1!

Today I decided to resurrect an old 1996 Dell XPS P200S, and install Windows 95. It was actually pretty easy, almost as easy as Windows 10. I did notice some similarities, 22 years later.

First, I stuck in the boot disk, and booted Windows 95 right up.

It then went to formatting the hard drive, to install Windows 95. This went relatively quickly.

Then, it went into the Windows 95 setup screen. It is a pretty looking splash screen!

After that, I went through the process of inserting the license key.

I agreed to the license agreement

Now, it began copying the files for Windows 95

Windows need to restart

Now, getting Windows 95 ready for the first time. Just like Windows 10 does with the changing colors :).

Windows 95 boots up now.

Finally, on the Windows 95 desktop greeted by the Welcome Screen!

In the end, I still have to scour the internet for drivers, for the old Matrox video card. I have to say, going back 22 years and installing Windows 95. It wasn’t a bad experience! It brought back many memories of the old days of Windows!

Comments (24)

24 responses to “Installing Windows 95”

  1. arunphilip

    Very nostalgic pictures, especially as it reminds me of the numerous installs of Windows 95/98 I did in my school years (tinker with the PC -> break something -> reinstall!).


    The one thing I'd say that Microsoft have improved on tremendously is the approach to copying files and initializing the registry. IIRC, a Windows 95 setup took up about 100-ish MB. But those steps took a noticeable amount of time. Compare that to the GBs installed for an OS like Vista (~10 years later) or Windows 10 (~20 years later) and the difference in time taken is measurable.


    Yes, IO interfaces and processors have gotten faster, but there's no denying that the installation of XP and Vista on the same hardware itself showed the progress Microsoft made, and likewise Vista vs. Windows 7 - the use of image-based copy, and other optimizations.

    • polloloco51

      In reply to arunphilip:

      Agreed! Microsoft has improved the setup process of Windows significantly, especially with installing updates and drivers! I remember after installing Windows XP, I still had to install drivers manuelly. Windows does also install considerably faster too, compared to the past.

  2. bharris

    I started out on Windows 3.1 and the one thing I remember....Putting the 7 floppy disks on my hard drive and whenever something was acting weird, you just blew away the Windows directory and re-installed from those floppies on the hard disks. Took 10 minutes and you were back up. Of course, back then, Windows was just a shell than ran on top of DOS. Windows has come a LONG way!

  3. Tim

    This is kind of awesome for some reason.

  4. AshlyThompson

    Oh, I feel so nostalgic...

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  6. hrlngrv

    If only I still had a 3.5" floppy drive. Yes, my only set of Windows 95 install disks are floppies.


    I have a Windows XP VM, and it can run everything from the 1990s I still want to run. DOSBox and dosemu have handled everything even older I've tried to run.


    How does IE3 handle today's Internet?

  7. mmcewan

    Did it immediately get a virus from the internet? I have to imagine with all the dire warnings about 'internet background hiss' that there'd be something out there ready to infect a defenseless system within minutes of going online?

  8. arunphilip

    @jimchamplin and @irfaanwahid - I wouldn't laugh at your references to Windows ME - I liked it myself. It looked pretty and modern, was a nice step forward from Windows 98, and heralded things to come with the unified Windows XP line.


    I don't know if it was my age, or the OS, but back then each new OS had a strong desirability factor - I remember that itch all the way up to Windows 7, and then it fizzled out.


    @skane2600 - Very nice point. On those lines, I think the ribbon was probably among the last well thought out and innovative UIs to come out of Microsoft. I remember reading the blog of the Microsoft product owner who pushed through the ribbon design, and it was a great read.

  9. skane2600

    I believe that Windows 95 was unique among operating systems due to the extensive usability studies performed with average people. Today the design seems to be more about idiosyncratic artistic expression.


    The Windows® 95 User Interface: A Case Study in Usability Engineering http://prior.sigchi.org/chi96/proceedings/desbrief/Sullivan/kds_txt.htm

  10. jimchamplin

    Man... I miss those days. My favorite versions were Windows 2000 and - don't laugh - Windows Me. They ran so nicely on a Pentium II!

  11. irfaanwahid

    Pollo, this is fantastic and as Arun said, very nostalgic.


    To me, those were the days for the OS! Hype, excitement, joy of watching the installing, first boot up, playing around the new shiny OS.


    It was fun installing new OS, reinstalling because of issues.. I feel new Windows OS excitement died after the base Windows 10, after that it has become pretty much just get the update and move on.


    I personally like Windows ME, the intro video was fun and plethora of new features, with bugs too.


    Another OS I was really hyped about was Windows Vista, as much as it was maligned and resource hungry, I went all the way spending aprox $150 buying new compatible graphics card to support Aero and RAM, I personally liked the OS, after Service Pack 2 it was quite a stable OS for me.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to irfaanwahid:

      Windows Me was just fine. I never ran an OEM version of it. I had a retail installer and it performed beautifully. That was the time I learned never to trust an OEM install of an operating system, I had so many friends who got Windows Me machines and bitched to high heaven.


      I'd reinstall it for them clean and ALL OF THE PROBLEMS WERE GONE.


      Now I don't even try to trust an OEM install. Even if I lose a few custom bits that go along with the hardware, screw it.

      • arunphilip

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        Ah - so that explains why my Windows ME experience was quite painless, and surprisingly free of the bugginess for which it was criticized.

        • jimchamplin

          In reply to arunphilip:

          Yeah, those were the days when shovelware and heavy OEM customization were just starting. Power your new box on and it takes seven minutes because the three CD burner apps, five photo share apps, and nine chat apps are all set to autorun.


          Half the desktop is covered by crap ware icons including the required Yahoo, eBay, and whatever else. Also, Norton’s hideous yellow crap flying up at you CONSTANTLY.

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