Windows 95 — How Does it Look Today? (and other old "consumer" OSes)

I found this latest article in the series, but at the end there are links for the earlier articles: Altair, CP/M, Apple II, Apple MacIntosh, and Windows 1, 2, and 3.


I recently installed Windows 98 and other software in response to the EU’s outdated software recommendations in the “Brexit” agreement. The link to the article (in German): Ich hab' sie noch alle! - Michael Detambel

I have a fully kitted-out Thinkpad X23 that has WindowsXP on it. With the graphical extensions disabled it looks exactly like Windows 95/98 (or 2000) with a slightly different color scheme. I like it a lot. In terms of interface responsiveness it’s much more fun to use than my Windows 10 desktop.

I know Windows 10 has a lot more going on under the hood (for better or worse) than WindowsXP, but I really feel like it’s embarrassing for Microsoft that my triple-core 3Ghz gaming hog can’t do something like draw a right-click menu without noticeable lag. I recently upgraded it to a SSD and did a clean install. That helped, but it still feels like any time I want it to do something I’m subjecting it to a burden of distraction from whatever it would rather be doing.

I guess I’m a narcissist when it comes to computers. I want me, the user, to be the priority…


I’ve been using Windows 98SE and Windows NT 4.0 lately to run old programming environments. The biggest hurdle to running them is finding software that works. I wanted to run TortoiseSVN and Notepad++ and it was quite an adventure to find versions that worked. Not only do you need to find something old enough that it’s not trying to call Windows API functions that don’t exist yet but you also need to find a multi-byte or Unicode build depending on which OS you are installing it on. Plus the confusing thing where common control changes are distributed with IE.

It’s interesting how Windows 10 looks more like Windows 95/98 then Windows 3.1 does.

The one thing I wish the old OSs had is the press Start and type the name of the application you want to run. So many seconds lost having to actually look through the menus and find the application myself.

Edit: “It is interesting that the “Shut Down” window allows to boot a PC in the MS-DOS mode:” I hope that’s a tongue in cheek comment.