Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

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Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-3-08 @ 15:06

I found this very humorous article:

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource. ... ug=2143253

And it got me thinking - what are the actual minimum system requirements that you might need to run Windows 95 *acceptably*? As in: the system responds snappily and you can multitask.

Maybe a 486 with 16 MB?
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby kixs » 2019-3-08 @ 15:21

I've tested it on 386DX-40 with 16MB, ATI Mach64 and CF card. I thought it was fast enough - I mean using Windows itself - File Explorer and such. Not running some big programs.
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby oeuvre » 2019-3-08 @ 16:28

Pretty funny read. Even goes to show you back then running a new OS on an 8 year old computer was not a good idea. Though I guess in 2019 you can run Windows 10 quite nicely on a sandy bridge or 1st gen Intel Core iX machine nicely with 8GB RAM and SSD.
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-3-08 @ 16:31

I'm still using a MacBook Pro from 2012 (i.e. the last great MacBook) with the latest MacOS.

Part of the reason I posted this was because I'm considering putting Windows 95 on my Thinkpad 365CD, which has a Cyrix 486DX4/75 and 24 MB of RAM.
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby konc » 2019-3-08 @ 16:43

keenmaster486 wrote:I found this very humorous article:

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource. ... ug=2143253

And it got me thinking - what are the actual minimum system requirements that you might need to run Windows 95 *acceptably*? As in: the system responds snappily and you can multitask.

Maybe a 486 with 16 MB?


I believe the key word here is *acceptably* and its interpretation. The responsiveness considered acceptable today, the same as the frame rate and lags in games, is not the same as during those years. A 486/33, 8MB of RAM and a dead-slow HDD were more than enough to run the 1st edition of Win95 perfectly acceptably back then. Today they're not, I'm sure people find Win95 sharp enough only in Pentiums with 16/32MB of RAM and some not-period-correct HDD/SSD.

Funny thing about the linked article is that when Win95 came out I had a 386/40, 4MB of RAM and an 80MB Conner HDD. The experience was indeed terrible.
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby Cobra42898 » 2019-3-08 @ 19:56

I remember win95 on a 486dx2/66 with 8 or 16mb ram, and a 420mb Conner HDD. Back then constant HDD churning of the swap file was considered normal. If it didnt, you had a real fast PC or a ton of ram. Either of tho$e had a $erious co$t.
I think shy of a 66mhz 486, it made much more sense to stick with win 3.11.
The 1st Gen pentiums didn't catch on super quickly - if you had a 66mhz 486, a 60mhz Pentium seemed like a questionable investment. There were still people upgrading from 286/386 class machines to 486s then, because costs were coming down.
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby canthearu » 2019-3-09 @ 02:50

The first 2 computers I ran windows 95 on were:

a) 386DX/40 with 8meg RAM, and ET4000 video. It was acceptable, for the time, did internet browsing on the sites of the time OK.
b) 486DX/40 with 4meg RAM and VLB video. It was a faster processor/video, but overall a bit slower because of lack of RAM.

Both machines had motherboard L2 cache.

For me today, windows 95 runs fine on a 486DX2/66mhz and the 32meg RAM I put into the machine. It wasn't that nice when it had 8meg RAM, but it was OK because I was using a fast modern drive. (it isn't so much that the old drives are slow, it is that they have annoying bearing whine, so I try to use more modern quiet drives whenever I can)
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby canthearu » 2019-3-09 @ 02:52

Cobra42898 wrote:The 1st Gen pentiums didn't catch on super quickly - if you had a 66mhz 486, a 60mhz Pentium seemed like a questionable investment. There were still people upgrading from 286/386 class machines to 486s then, because costs were coming down.


So many people had archaic computers back then, a REAL spread of performance in computers that were in use.
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby rmay635703 » 2019-3-09 @ 06:14

I used Windows 95 on a Dtk 386sx25 w/4mb as a business backup.

Things ran slowly but reliabily the few times I had to use the system
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby kixs » 2019-3-09 @ 10:58

I tested Chicago (some beta version of Win95) in late 1994 (or early 1995) on 386DX-40 with 4MB ram and Tseng ET4000AX 1MB. It run awful :lol:
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby _UV_ » 2019-3-09 @ 11:29

IMHO
As devs of original W95 and first DX release wrote in their memoirs, their target system was DX2 with 8 meg, they call it "hi-end" consumer platform.
486 DX4-100 or above + 16M RAM on 1-2 Gigs HDD doesn't hurt usability too much, Acceptable performance and responsiveness by today standarts, like Core2 + 4 Gig + speedy HDD for win7.
Pentium 133 + 32M on 10 Gig hdd would be like i3 + 8Gig + entry level SSD for win7.
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-3-11 @ 18:11

I've installed Windows 95 on the Thinkpad with a Cyrix 5x86 83 MHz and 24 MB of RAM. It works fine - I locked the disk cache at 1024 KB in order to free more memory and so I know it will never eat up memory with the file cache. It uses about 9 MB now after a fresh reboot at idle. Responsiveness is about what you would expect for what is essentially a souped up 486 - i.e. you can see the icons loading in Explorer when you open something, but it's not enough to disrupt your workflow. Runs Office 97 and Netscape just fine.

Compared to the experience running Windows 3.1 on the same machine, the UI is a little slower than 3.1, but definitely much more stable. No surprise there. A better experience overall, I'd say, especially with the improved user interface and stuff on the taskbar like the battery meter. Also, better PCMCIA card support is a big plus here as I can plug in an Orinoco WiFi card and it just works, whereas in DOS I cannot make it work - first time that's ever happened to me with that card; I guess the controller in this unit is fussy.

I'd say these specs make for a "good enough" Windows 95 experience. It's obviously not a speed demon but that's what the tricked-out Pentium desktop is for, isn't it? Kinda makes sense for 1995. This laptop came out in November 1995. I can imagine buying it when it was brand new, and Windows 95 was the latest and greatest - and when the best desktops that were available had a Pentium/133, and if you had a lot of money you could upgrade to 64 MB of RAM. Get one of those on your desk and you would have a "full set" so to speak. And that was about as good as it would get!
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby GL1zdA » 2019-3-11 @ 18:34

I've used 95 recently on a Pentium 60 and a Pentium 90 with 16 MB RAM. While Windows worked quite well, even the latest version of AIDA64 or Total Commander worked, it was not enough even for the oldest 95 games. There were slowdowns in Red Alert, Diablo was fluent (well, I played Diablo even on a DX2-80), but the loading times were a bit long for my taste. Personally, I would like to have at least a Pentium 133 for Windows 95.
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby Unknown_K » 2019-3-11 @ 20:26

Win95a ran OK on a decent 386 with 8MB of RAM. Once you get into later editions with IE as part of the OS and other updates you needed a fast 486 or Pentium and much more RAM.
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby Jo22 » 2019-3-12 @ 01:29

I can't agree more than that. It's an old story now, but my father ran the original, retail, non-English copy of Windows 95
on a 386DX40 just fine. Fine, as in the sense of the day. It was a business machine only, but some degree of performance
were important for him. He used if for homebanking (anyone remember Videotex services ?) and software development.
Back then, he upgraded to 16MiB of RAM using expensive 4MiB 30pin SIMM sticks, which was a lot in '94-'95.
About the same time, I had got my 286 with 4MiB of RAM, running good old Windows 3.1.
As you may guess, the hard disks also weren't cutting edge. My HDD was an 80MB Conner, as far as I remember,
whereas his 386 got two drives and a QIC streamer. The HDDs were 125MB and 250MBs, afaik, the latter being used for data only.
Ironically, my PC's HDD hardly ever had anything to do. Good old 3.1 mainly lived in those 4MiB of RAM and didn't do any swapping in Standard Mode.
His PC was differently, though. Its HDDs always "were on the run" (busy) and doing their stuff from time to time ("tick-tick-tock-tohhck".
In contrast to the article, though, an installation of our Win95 on that PC didn't take up six hours.
Just about 30-45min from CD-ROM, for the standard components, if my memory serves me well. :)

Edit: I perhaps already wrote that before, but that 386 was about the most stable platform i saw our copy of Win95 ever ran of.
It wasn't until the 486/586 time when I made contact with those infamous "blue screens" and machine hangs.
Perhaps because these new machines had PCI, ACPI and more and complicated chipsets which were too advanced for 95.
And as far as computer jokes go, Windows 9x and MS-Office really brought them to a new level.. ;)

Edit: If I had to rebuild our old 386DX40, I would install 32MiB of RAM (8x 4MiB SIMMs) along with
the right amount of cache, provided that the motherboard in question would have enough RAM slots..
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby Azarien » 2019-3-12 @ 07:15

Unknown_K wrote:Once you get into later editions with IE as part of the OS and other updates you needed a fast 486 or Pentium and much more RAM.


IE itself was not the problem, it was the "Desktop Update" (or whatever it was called) that was an optional component of IE4, and which once installed changed Win95's Explorer to an early version of what Win98 later had (the Explorer with clouds in the background on Win98, and some circles or such on Win95).
This slowed down my 486 DX4 100Mhz considerably, and seemed to be CPU-bound.
Having Win98 resource requirements but still being Win95 - worst of both worlds ;-)
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby GigAHerZ » 2019-3-12 @ 08:33

I've run Windows 95 on 386SX 20MHz, 8MB ram and some random 512k videocard on a 99MB HDD.

It was awfully slow, but it worked.
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby dionb » 2019-3-12 @ 13:03

As late as 1997, someone at the university I was studying at had the brilliant idea to upgrade the old computerlab Win3.11 install to Win95. This lab had 486DX-33 systems with 4MB of RAM. It was painful, very painful, but it worked, at least if doing a single, simple task on them. Unfortunately, sending something to the networked printer wasn't 'simple' and trying to do so frequently crashed the whole system. This gave you very hard lessons about the importance of writing to removable media before trying to print...
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby bregolin » 2019-3-12 @ 17:34

GigAHerZ wrote:I've run Windows 95 on 386SX 20MHz, 8MB ram and some random 512k videocard on a 99MB HDD.

It was awfully slow, but it worked.


We had a Am386SX 25MHz (the 16-bit data bus one), 4MB RAM and an Oak videocard. We tried the Chicago pre-release, and it took more than a day just to install. My older brother would have classes in the morning, and I had in the afternoon, so he'd wake me up before he left for school so I'd keep an eye and switch floppy disks, and he'd do the same in the afternoon when I was at school. I don't recall how well, or better yet, how bad it performed once it was installed, but I know we went back to WFW 3.11 pretty quickly after that.
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Re: Windows 95 *actual* minimum system requirements?

Postby oeuvre » 2019-3-12 @ 19:16

GigAHerZ wrote:I've run Windows 95 on 386SX 20MHz, 8MB ram and some random 512k videocard on a 99MB HDD.

It was awfully slow, but it worked.


So how big of a masochist are you?
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