Windows 95 is an operating system released in 1995 by Microsoft Corporation. It was the first 32-bit consumer-orientated operating system released by that company; its success would later spur on video game development due to a string of new features and advancements in programming.

Features at launch

On launch, Windows 95 included many new features, and included access to many older ones found in Windows 3.1 and Windows 3.11.


While now seen as a security risk, the feature at the time allowed video game developers to instantly load their media from the CD-ROM, rather than rely on the user manually navigating to the main executable.

MS-DOS Shell

Windows 95 retained access to a limited version of MS-DOS, specifically, MS-DOS 7.0, which allowed the vast majority of existing MS-DOS-developed video games to run.

Features after launch

After its initial launch, Windows 95 would later gain access to several new technologies and features.


Perhaps one of the most important software developments in video gaming history, DirectX would by itself unleash a new wave of video game developments, by allowing video game developers to have to code only one, common interface for their game to run with, rather than have to waste development resources on having to create custom drivers for each major chipset of the day (which, at the time, included ATI Technologies, S3 Technologies, 3dfx, and NVIDIA)

DirectX 1.0 was finalized and launched in September 1995.