Windows 95 celebrates its 20th birthday

Today (Monday, 24 August) Windows 95 celebrates its 20th birthday. It was 20 years ago that the famed operating system made its debut and completely changed the way we used our personal computers.

The software is considered one of Microsoft's most influential operating systems, ushering in a new age of computing in the mid-1990s.

Among the operating system's best features was the Start menu, as well as the plug and play feature, which were both hailed as revolutionary.

The effect of the Start menu is seen even today, when Microsoft was forced to bring it back, after killing it in Windows 8. The Start menu was back by popular demand.

Windows 95 allowed you to manage files, folders and applications by simply interacting with icons presented in Windows Explorer, the successor to File Manager. Allowing users to double click on files and applications, Microsoft gave users the power to manage most everything on their hard drives. Touted as a groundbreaking feature at the time, double-clicking a document allowed the user to open the document as well as launch the application that created it.

Windows 95 spearheaded the charge from mainly 16-bit architecture to pre-emptively multitasked 32-bit architecture in the PC sector.

Mainstream support for Windows 95 ceased on 31 December, 2000, and extended support was folded one year later.

Twenty years later, Microsoft releases Windows 10, an operating system it calls more of a service, and less of a product, and saying it will be the last version of Windows.

Times have changed in the past twenty years, and the desktop has long ago stopped being our main device. Even though it is still extremely important, mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops have taken over.

For a trip down memory lane check out the Windows 95 promo video above, featuring Friends stars Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry.