Installing Windows 95®


Whether you are installing Windows 95 for the first time or reinstalling Windows 95 in order to clean out an accumulation of old files and clutter, with a little planning and forethought, the installation can and does go through smoothly.

Installing Windows can be as simple as you make it!

Much has been written over the last few years about Windows 95 and all of its failings, but if any of you used computers before the advent of Windows then you may remember what computer use was like before the Windows environment. Recall those drab black screens and white characters?, or those awful orange screens with black characters. Most importantly, do you remember having to manually type in all those commands in order to accomplish something, or mistyping command and getting the glaring message "syntax error"?

Anyway, enough of that, let's get on with understanding the different versions of Windows 95 and the vagaries of loading the Windows 95 operating system.

Windows 95 came in seven (7) versions. While there are a few odd version numbers floating around, the following are the common released versions:

  • Windows 95 Original Version* (The first retail version)
  • Windows 95 OSR1 (The first version with Service Pack 1 added)
  • Windows 95 OSR2 (1st Original Equipment Manufacturer version)
  • Windows 95 OSR2.1 (2nd OEM version - 4.03.1212)
  • Windows 95 OSR2.1 (2nd OEM version updated - 4.03.1214)
  • Windows 95 OSR2.5 (3rd OEM version without USB support)
  • Windows 95 OSR2.5 (3rd OEM version with USB support)

*Issued in a floppy disk (13 diskettes) or CD-ROM version.

While there are differences between the versions, some of which are major, those differences are not sufficient enough for us to dedicate an entirely separate area when discussing the loading of the operating system. Suffice it to say that the OEM versions provided for allot more device recognition and contained allot more basic device drivers than the initial version of Windows 95. For those of you who may be confused regarding the term "device", this refers to those parts that make up your computer, such as the hard drive, CD-Rom drive, floppy drive, drive controllers, modem, video card, sound card etcetera.

When Windows 95 was initially developed, it was developed around the 486 MHz style computer. In the short time span from when Windows 95 development began and its final release, and then the release of the OEM version, computers had evolved substantially, starting with the small Pentium 75's and 90's and then into the 233's, 266's and now the 850+MHz of today. Obviously, motherboards and their chipsets and devices evolved as did modems, sound cards, video cards and an array of other devices. Therefore you must keep in mind that, if a particular device in your computer was being developed during the development of Windows 95 or after its release, then in all probability the devices drivers for that device will have to be added after the initial installation of the operating system.

Regardless of whether you are loading the operating system from the floppy disk set or from the CD-Rom disk, the principles of loading and setting up the operating system are the same.

Let's review first what has been done (or should have been done) at this point, as well as a checklist of items that you should do before starting the actual installation process.

You should have:

  • partitioned your hard drive (if need be) and chosen whether you were using Fat 16 or Fat 32. Note: If you are using the earliest version of Windows 95 (the first version), there is no choice, as this must be Fat 16.

  • made the very first partition the active partition.

  • formatted the hard drive and transferred the system files to it.

  • created config.sys and autoexec.bat files that contain your CD-Rom drive drivers to enable the use of your CD-Rom drive if need be. Obviously this is unnecessary if your are installing the floppy disk version.

What you will need to do if they haven't been done already:

  • You will probably need drivers for the chipset on your motherboard, especially if it has the "TX" chipset or later, such as BX, FX, GX etcetera.

  • You will need drivers for your modem, sound card, video card and if equipped, your SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) card or network card.

If you have everything together that you need, then let's get started. Depending upon the configuration of your computer, there are a number of ways to start the Windows 95 installation procedure. If your computer's Bios supports booting to a CD Rom drive, you can insert the Windows 95 CD into the drive and then boot to it. If you cannot boot to a CD Rom disk, or your are using the diskette version of Windows 95 then follow this procedure.

Windows 95 Diskette version:

  • Insert disk #1 into the floppy drive. From the MS-DOS prompt, "A:\>" type "setup" (without the quotes) and touch enter. If you have booted to the "C" drive, your MS-DOS prompt will look like this, "C:\>", at which point you can type "A:\setup" (without the quotes) and touch enter. Either one is correct.

Windows 95 without CD Rom drive boot: (Boot files on the "C" drive)

  • Presuming that you have created Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files with your CD Rom drivers in place and you can boot to your "C" drive and the CD Rom drive is enabled, then at the MS-DOS prompt "C:\>" type "D:\setup" (without the quotes) and touch the enter key. "D" represents your CD-Rom drive letter. It should look like this before you touch the enter key: C:\>D:\setup

Windows 95 without CD Rom drive boot: (Boot files on floppy)

  • Presuming that you have created Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files with your CD Rom drivers in place, but they are on a floppy disk, then boot to the floppy and make sure that you can access the CD Rom drive. Next, at the MS-DOS prompt "A:\>" type "D:\setup" (without the quotes) and touch the enter key. "D" represents your CD-Rom drive letter. It should look like this before you touch the enter key: A:\>D:\setup

Note: If you click the "Next" button below, we will walk you through each phase of the Windows 95 installation setup so that you can become familiar with it before actually proceeding.

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