Here's a look at the Windows 95 launch 20 years ago today

Bill Gates Jay Leno Windows 95Jeff Vinnick, ReutersJay Leno helped Bill Gates introduce Windows 95.

It was 20 years ago Monday that Bill Gates stood in front of a crowd at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington headquarters and unveiled Windows 95.

The iconic operating system introduced the world to the Start button, which would become a fixture on Windows operating systems until the introduction of Windows 8 in 2012. (Microsoft brought back the Start button this year with Windows 10).

Microsoft spent an estimated $US150 million on marketing the operating system at the time, which The New York Times’ Stuart Elliot said was as much as “Pepsico Inc. spends in a year to advertise Pizza Hut or Taco Bell and 50 per cent more than the Philip Morris Companies spends annually to advertise the nation’s best-selling cigarette, Marlboro.”

The company also hired comedian Jay Leno, who at the time was the host of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” to help introduce Windows 95.

Check out some highlights of the launch 20 years ago:


Jay Leno helped introduce Windows 95.

Jeff Vinnick, Reuters

'Welcome, Microsofties,' Leno said, before he introduced Bill Gates. 'I'm the host of 'The Tonight Show' on NBC, which stands for 'Now Bill Compatible.'

With that, the audience roared with laughter, according to a video showing highlights of the event.

'But now let's welcome the chairman of Microsoft,' Leno said when he introduced Gates. 'This is a man so successful his chauffeur is Ross Perot, ladies and gentlemen.'

It also introduced a newly-designed desktop interface.

'Windows 95 is to computing what colour TV was to black and white TV,' Steven Rudin, a computer consultant, told The New York Times right before he bought the CD at a CompUSA in Manhattan.

Thousands of people tested Windows 95 before it went on sale.

(AP Photo/Barry Sweet)

The image shows Larry Kurfiss, one of 50,000 testers, trying Windows in his Seattle home. Kurfiss was among 50,000 testers of the new version of the Windows personal computer operating system, scheduled to ship in late August.

Check out these highlights from the launch of Windows 95.

As an added bonus, Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry starred in a Windows 95 'cyber sitcom,' helping new users get acclimated to the system.

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