Windows 95 is a consumer-oriented graphical user interface-based operating system. It was released on August 24, 1995 by Microsoft, and was a significant progression from the company's previous Windows products. During development it was referred to as Windows 4.0 or by the internal codename Chicago.
Windows 95 was intended to integrate Microsoft's formerly separate MS-DOS and Windows products and includes an enhanced version of DOS, often referred to as MS-DOS 7.0. It features significant improvements over its predecessor, Windows 3.1, most visibly in the graphical user interface (GUI). There were also major changes made at lower levels of the operating system.
In the marketplace, Windows 95 was a major success, and within a year or two of its release had become the most successful operating system ever produced. It also had the effect of driving other major players in the DOS-compatible operating system out of business, something which would later be used in court against Microsoft. Some three years after introduction, Windows 95 was succeeded by Windows 98.
Windows 95 was superseded by Windows 98 and could still be directly upgraded by both Windows 2000 and Windows Me. On 31 December 2001, Microsoft ended its support for Windows 95, making it an "obsolete" product according to the Microsoft Lifecycle Policy. Even though support for Windows 95 has ended, the software still remains in use on some home and school computers because of budget issues, a lack of knowledge or lack of desire to upgrade to newer editions of Windows. In addition, some video game enthusiasts choose to use Windows 95 for their legacy system to play old DOS games, although some other versions of Windows such as Windows 98 can also be used for this purpose.
Windows 95 has been released on both floppy disks and on CD-ROM, as some computer systems at the time did not include a CD-ROM drive. The retail floppy disk version of Windows 95 came on 13 DMF formatted floppy disks, while OSR 2.1 doubled the floppy count to 26 (the version we have here, with Internet Explorer, is 17 disks). Both versions exclude additional software that CD-ROM might have featured. Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95 was also available on floppy disks.