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August 24, 2010

15 Years Later: Remembering Windows 95

15 years ago today, Microsoft launched Windows 95. In 1995 I was 11 years old and in the 5th grade. At that time, I never thought that today I’d be working at Microsoft – let alone helping to tell the story of Windows. So this is a really fun and personal topic for me to recall my memories of Windows 95 – today has been a neat day.

Windows 95 was the first operating system that I ever beta tested. My dad, who worked for a technology company at the time, brought home an unbranded package of disks labeled “Chicago” from Microsoft (“Chicago” was the codename for Windows 95) a few months prior. When he brought these disks home, I desperately wanted to see “the new Windows”. My dad tried to explain to me what beta software was. I didn’t care – I wanted to see the new Windows! Eventually he caved in to my excitement and decided to install the “new” version of Windows on our family’s (translation: my dad’s) HP Vectra PC. Windows 95 introduced the Start Menu in Windows for the first time and presented a different way of using Windows over previous versions. I had grown used to Windows 3.11 at the time. I was literally stunned with excitement when I saw all the “new” Windows. My dad and I share a common interest in Windows and the PC and this was what I consider the biggest defining moment in a bond with my dad that would continue to grow as I also grew older and with each new Windows release. I also still remember seeing the Windows 95 “Start Me Up” commercials on TV and all the news segments about the people lining up to pick up their copy in stores!

Snap to (pun intended) Windows 7 today. Looking back at the launch of Windows 7 and actually being part of it myself, it is clear to me that much of the excitement seen back with Windows 95 is still alive today with Windows 7. I’ve said this numerous times before here: Windows 7 is the fastest selling version of Windows to date, and it’s also the fastest selling OS in history. And aside from people buying it, people seem to love it – our customer satisfaction is at an all-time high.

In combination with all the great PCs our OEM partners are coming out with, and of course the awesomeness that is Windows 7 – there has never been a better time to “be a PC”.