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article image'Dull and ancient': Teens react to using Windows 95

By James Walker     Mar 9, 2016 in Technology
Microsoft's Windows 10 is filled with flashy graphical effects and smooth animations but it wasn't always that way. Windows 95 was a rather more austere environment, one that today's teens never experienced. Their response was filmed in a new video.
Fine Brothers decided to create an episode of their "Teens React" series dedicated to Windows 95, VentureBeat reports. The show films the reactions of a group of people after being shown something they've never encountered before, in this case Microsoft's operating system triumph from 20 years ago.
The teenagers initially react with incredulity at the ancient hardware and software they are presented with. One exclaims "this is like the first computer ever made" while another describes Windows 95 as "prehistoric" and "like an old dinosaur."
The operating system is perceived as "rough," "blank" and "impersonal" by the teens who find the plain teal desktop background a little less homely than the customisation offered by Windows 7, 8.1 and 10. The lack of Wi-Fi proves to be an issue, with only a couple of the teens involved realizing a dial-up connection is required to use the Internet.
Windows 95 may seem alien today but in its time it represented a huge breakthrough in operating system development. For the first time, a proper graphical interface was provided, making computers much more accessible to consumers and bringing PCs to the home for the first time.
Windows 95 is a very different operating system underneath than Windows 10 today. It ran on top of MS-DOS, Microsoft's traditional command-line OS that required users type in commands to run programs. The DOS subsystem remains in Windows to this day but the OS is no longer built on it. Since Windows 2000, the much more advanced Windows NT kernel has been used instead.
Some of the innovations of Windows 95 can still be observed today. It marked the introduction of the Start button, now synonymous with the Windows brand and a vital component of Windows 10. When Microsoft tried to remove the famous button in Windows 8, it was met with a frosty negative reception by reviewers. Windows 8's all-new Start screen failed to gain fans and ultimately forced Microsoft to reinstate the Start menu with Windows 10, proving the influence that Windows 95 had on PC interfaces.
Windows 95 was reviewed more popularly at launch. It sold over seven million copies in the first five weeks of availability, huge numbers for 1995's emerging computer market. Its grey shades, minimal connectivity and basic hardware support left it outdated years ago but the aging operating system will remain an essential piece of computing history.
The teens are quick to accept this, noting that people should be reminded of how easy it is to use a smartphone today and how far technology has come. Just 20 years ago, Windows 95 was cutting edge as the "Start" button was pressed on graphical desktop-based operating systems.
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