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The Evolution of the Windows Start Menu: Windows 95 to Windows 10

Posted by Jim Tanous on August 3, 2015
windows start menu evolution

windows 95 start menu desktop

Windows 95

Codename: Chicago
General Availability: August 24, 1995

Windows 95 represented a dramatic shift in Microsoft’s desktop operating system strategy. Although still running on top of MS-DOS, Windows 95 contained a complete operating system in which virtually all standard tasks could be performed. The new Windows 95 desktop could now store any user file, including application shortcuts, documents, and other files, while the brand new Start Menu provided quick access to common functions and a complete list of user programs. Although primitive by modern standards, the Windows 95 Start Menu still offered access to the most important items that a Windows 95-era user would need: programs, documents, system settings, search (Find), Windows help, the command prompt, and power options. Not bad for a tiny little menu 20 years ago.

Looking at other innovations in Windows 95, the new taskbar offered a convenient method for managing open programs, and the system tray granted access to frequently accessed system info like the date and time, speaker volume, and communications status. Close, minimize, and maximize buttons were also available on every program and system window for the first time, greatly improving window and application management.

On the technical side of things, Windows 95 introduced support for plug and play devices, the FAT32 file system, preemptive multitasking, and the TCP/IP communications protocol which gave users easy access to the Internet via the rapidly growing dial-up connection industry. Microsoft’s infamous browser, Internet Explorer, also made its debut in Windows 95, although as part of a free upgrade in the summer of 1995.

[one_half padding=”0 5px 20px 0″]
1. Introduction
2. Windows 95
3. Windows 98
4. Windows 2000 Professional
5. Windows ME
[/one_half]

[one_half_last padding=”0 0px 20px 5px”]
6. Windows XP
7. Windows Vista
8. Windows 7
9. Windows 8.1
10. Windows 10
[/one_half_last]

2 thoughts on “The Evolution of the Windows Start Menu: Windows 95 to Windows 10”

Christian says:
The live tiles section of the start menu in w10 isn’t just useful for apps supporting live tiles,it’s also useful to create a quick list of apps we commonly use without messing up the AI ordering provided in the left side of the start menu..
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Krystle Garfield says:
“To help us keep things in perspective as we adjust to the new Windows 10 Start Menu, we thought that a nice high quality comparison of the history of the Windows Start Menu was in order. “ Well, this helps a lot. I’m planning to get Windows 10 this week, I just need to prepare and learn what are the do’s and don’ts in this new system.

Krystle of
pirate bay

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