Windows 95The first 32-bit Windows operating system and a major upgrade to Windows 3.1. Introduced in August 1995, it added a completely redesigned user interface featuring the Start menu and Taskbar. The Windows 3.1 interface (Program Manager and File Manager) was also included as an option. Windows 95 became popular very quickly.
Windows 95 improved networking and added long file names and Plug and Play, the latter a welcome relief for users. Memory limitations, plaguing users in Windows 3.1, were greatly diminished. Windows 95 also included preemptive multitasking, which allowed programs to be timeshared together more effectively than in Windows 3.1.
No More Booting DOS First
Windows 95 was the first Windows that booted directly. Previously, Windows 3.1 was loaded after the machine booted into DOS. In Windows 95, DOS was built in. See Windows, Win95B and Win 9x/3.1 Differences.