Early iterations of Microsoft’s Windows operating system catered more toward the business user than anyone else. That changed on August 24, 1995 with the launch of Windows 95.
It featured a few key technical upgrades: Windows 95 was Microsoft’s first “mass-market” 32-bit OS. It was the also first to add the Start button that we use today. The first integrated web browser, Internet Explorer, just missed the launch and shipped later.
With a promotional budget of hundreds of millions of dollars, much of what we remember about Windows 95, though, was tied up in the marketing: a midnight launch, an ad campaign built around the The Rolling Stones hit “Start Me Up,” a partnership with Brian Eno that produced the iconic boot melody.
Oh, and Windows 95 also allowed users to pay $19.95 to try out a time-limited beta of the OS, which expired at the launch. Good times.