Microsoft's Windows 95 is 20-years-old today

Windows95

When Microsoft kicked off work on Windows 95 way back at the beginning of the 90s, the company wasn't to know how much of an impact it would have on our lives two decades on.

In one fell swoop the new version of Microsoft's OS brought a swish graphical user interface (GUI) to desktops for the first time and the much vaunted Start menu began life inside the mid-1995 edition of the OS. You only need look at the disquiet that surrounded its removal from Windows 8 and subsequent return inside Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 to realise how influential some parts of Windows 95 still are.

With 20 years under its belt, it's a fine time to have a look back at some of the moments that defined the popular OS which was Windows 95.

Now it’s the new era, Windows10 age.

Microsoft now has six million Windows Insiders

Windows10-six-million-insider

In a video posted earlier (see it below), Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella once again accepted the challenge of former NFL player Steve Gleason, who suffers from ALS, and poured a bucket of ice cold water over his head along with Terry Myerson and members of the Windows 10 team.

At the same time, Myerson, head of the Windows and Devices division, confirmed that six million have signed up to the Windows Insider program that sees users able to test preview releases of Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile, according to Windows Central.

Windows Insiders were among the first ones to get their hands on Windows 10 when it was in full preview mode and the next version of Microsoft's mobile OS is currently being tested by those people that are still a part of the program.

Over 20 million installs

Becoming a Windows Insider is easy and there are plenty that have decided to remain a part of the program for Windows 10 despite the fact that it is out in all its unadulterated glory.

Windows 10, which was released two weeks ago, has, depending on where you look, already achieved well over 20 million installs and figures released yesterday suggest that it is well ahead of the adoption rates enjoyed by Windows 8 in its first six months, let alone two weeks.

Microsoft pushes out a big update for Windows 10

windows10-update

There haven’t been many updates for Windows 10 since Microsoft launched its new operating system last week, but today the software giant is rolling out a cumulative update designed to "enhance the functionality of Windows 10 through new features and improvements".

If you’ve been experiencing problems with the new OS, as I have, then this update may go some way to overcoming them.

The cumulative update, KB 3081424, contains all of the previously released fixes (see KB 3074683), as well as some new ones. There are no security-related changes.

The full list of updates can be viewed here, and it’s extensive, if rather unexciting. Although there has been talk of this being Windows 10 Service Release 1 (SR1), Microsoft's Gabriel Aul says it doesn't has a name, as far as he knows, and is "just a cumulative servicing update".

You can update your Windows 10 installation now by going to Settings, Update & Security, Windows Update. Even though it's a ~325MB update it should download and install very speedily, and you will need to restart your PC afterwards to action the changes.

Windows 10 uses peer-to-peer networking to distribute updates by default

WUDO

Now that Windows is a service (WaaS), which means it will constantly be updated rather than have big regular updates, Microsoft has put some features in to Windrows 10 to speed up the delivery of those updates. One feature that may have escaped your notice is called Windows Update Delivery Optimization (WUDO). This feature isn't mentioned in the "Get Started" app but needs to be searched for in the documentation.

This new Windows 10 feature works in a similar way to torrent technology which uses a peer to peer network to distribute files quickly over the internet. The torrent system works so effectively because as files are downloaded, parts of the file are also uploaded to the next computer and so on. In order to receive, you have to give a little back.

Windows 10 works in a similar way with the WUDO feature. If your computer has downloaded an update but a computer on your local network hasn't, then your computer will send that data to the other computer. It's faster than updating over the internet. To change how Windows distributes downloads, do the following:

Go to Settings > Update & security > Under Windows Update, hit Advanced options > Choose how updates are delivered

Then choose to get updates from only PCs on your local network, or PCs on your local network, and PCs on the Internet

Also, by default, the WUDO is set to send updates to computers over the internet (similar to torrents). Happily, Microsoft assures that no personal information is sent in the transfer and no changes are made to any files on the PC. The feature will also only use limited and unused bandwidth and if your connection is set to metered, then it won't do it at all. However, if you have a capped Wi‑Fi connection, you should make sure Windows 10 sees it as a metered connection by doing the following:

Go to Start  [Start button icon] , then Settings > Network & Internet > Wi‑Fi > Advanced options.

Use the toggle under Set as metered connection to set your Wi‑Fi connection as metered.

While this feature will help get Windows update faster and that's a good thing, Microsoft needs to be wary about eroding any positive feeling Windows 10 has built up. To do that, it should at least highlight this option during the update process.

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