Microsoft's Windows 95, with a comparatively intuitive user interface for the time, was released to desktop PC users on 24 August 1995. Twenty years after the release of the OS which brought about a revolution in the PC segment across the globe, Windows PCs have been dealt a blow from tablets and smartphones. These mobile computing devices offer the functionality of a computer and keep users connected to the internet all day.
Windows 95 introduced the now iconic "Start button" without which today's Windows OSes are considered incomplete. Redmond's Windows 8 which offered custom options for tablets and smartphones, but came without the button, was roundly criticised, forcing Microsoft to bring back a new start button in its more recent Windows 10.
With emphasis laid on graphics (such as a visually rich taskbar), and slowly eliminating DOS-style OSes, Windows 95 is still considered as the OS that let people properly use a computer. Microsoft's PC fortunes also sky-rocketed with the OS.
Windows 95 was followed by even more popular OSes such as the Windows 98 and Windows XP. The latter is considered to be Microsoft's most popular OS, and the operating platform continued to be supported officially by Microsoft for more than a decade.
Now, with Windows 10 having been released to Windows 10 PC users across the globe, let us take a look at the key timelines of Microsoft's Windows launches:
- 1995: Windows 95 and computers running Windows 95 released. OS introduces the now iconic Start Menu and a visually rich taskbar, along with enough emphasis on GUI (graphical user interface).
- 1998: Microsoft's most popular OS of the late 90's, Windows 98 is released. Operating system introduces Internet Explorer for the first time.
- 2000: Microsoft focuses on business needs, releases Windows 2000 and Windows ME Millennium Edition OSes.
- 2001: Windows XP is released, boosts PC usage across the world. Receives official support from Microsoft till 2014.
- 2007: Microsoft releases Windows Vista; OS fails to replicate Windows XP's success due to inherent security issues.
- 2009: Another one of Microsoft's popular OSes Windows 7, is released. OS continues to drive more than 50% of world's computers even after six years of its release. Windows 7 enters the "extended support" phase from 13 January 2015.
- 2012: Microsoft releases Windows 8, its first OS without the iconic Start Menu. Redmond comes under severe criticism from loyalists for eliminating Start button.
- 2015: The much expected Windows 10, featuring an all new Start Button is released; introduces new Edge web browser. OS said to be the last Windows version. Rumour mills indicate that Microsoft will be offering Windows as a service to bring new innovations and newer updates.