Windows 95


Windows 95 Essay, Research Paper

Windows 95

James Connell

Windows 95 may very well be the most talked about software release in history.

With more people than ever using personal computers, and given Microsoft’s

dominance in this still growing market, Mr. Gates’ newest offering has caused

quite a stir. As with any new product in this ultra-competitive industry,

Windows 95 has come under intense scrutiny. Advocates of the new operating

system applaud its new features and usability, while its opponents talk about

the similarities to Apple’s operating system. As I have never used an Apple

computer, I can’t address this point, but I will attempt to outline some of the

more interesting “new” features of Windows 95. Arguably the most welcome

innovation Win 95 offers is the “task bar”. Use of the task bar eliminates the

need to navigate through several open application windows to get to the one you

need. When you first start an application, a corresponding button appears on the

task bar. If after opening other windows you need to return to the original

window, all you need do is click on the application’s button on the task bar and

the appropriate window will come to the fore. According to Aley, “the most

gratifying, and overdue, improvement is Windows 95’s tolerance for file names in

plain English” (29-30). Traditionally, users had to think of file names that

summed up their work in eight letters or less. This was a constant problem

because frequently a user would look at a list of files to retrieve and think

“now what did I save that as?”. Those days are over. Windows 95 will let the

user save his or her work with names like “New Speech” or “Inventory Spreadsheet

No. 1″, making the contents of those files obvious. Much to the annoyance of

software developers, Windows 95 incorporates many features that previously

required add-on software. One such feature is the Briefcase- a program for

synchronizing the information stored on a user’s desktop and notebook computers.

Keeping track of which files were the most recently updated was a big problem.

As Aley puts it, “Which copy of your speech for the sales conference did you

work on last, the one in the laptop or the one in the desktop?” (29-30). One

solution was to use programs like Laplink which would analyze which copy of a

file was updated last. Now that Windows 95 provides this utility, there is no

need to buy the add-on software. While mice have always come with two or even

three buttons, most programs have only provided for the use of the left. With

Windows 95 there is finally a use for the right. “Clicking it calls up a menu of

commands that pertain to whatever the cursor is pointing at”(Aley 29-30).

Clicking on the background will open a window that will allow you to change the

screen savers and wallpaper. Clicking on an icon that represents a disk drive

will bring up statistics about that drive. To use Aley’s words, “Windows 95 is

still clearly a work in progress” (29-30). The software included to let a user

connect to The Microsoft Network cannot be used yet because there is no

Microsoft Network. The dream of plug-and-play compatibility for pc’s has not yet

been realized, although in fairness, part of the responsibility for that lies

with hardware manufacturers. However, even with these drawbacks, Windows 95

offers many much needed and useful new features.

Works Cited

Aley, James. “Windows 95 and Your PC.” Fortune 3 Apr. 1995: 29-30.

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