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The Computer Revolution


The way of the computing world is changing at a neck
breaking pace. People are looking for computers to be easy
to use, and to make life easier for them. The computer
manufactures and software developers have started to tailor
computers and programs to fit the needs of the new
"computer age". Graphical Interface Software (GUI) began to
make computing easier and people who never dreamed of
owning computers began to buy them. Macintosh was one of
the first GUI computers to hit the market, but it was not
IBM compatible, so it did not take over the mainstream of
the computer industry. Since most computers where being
make to fit the IBM compatible standards, Microsoft saw the
need to replace DOS (Disk Operating System) with something
easier to use. That is when they developed Windows, which
covered the difficult to use DOS with a new face that made
computing easier. The first Windows was a start in the
right direction. In an effort to make computing meet the
needs of the public, Microsoft developed Windows 95.
Windows 95 has the appearance of being a completely user
friendly operating system and it pretty much is as far as
the average user is concerned. The compatibility with most
hardware makes it easy for someone to upgrade their
computer. The desktop is designed so the user has point and
click access to all their open and closed programs.
Utilizing the 32 bit programing it was written with, users
are able to work with more than one program at a time and
move information between programs. This gives the user the
freedom they need to begin to explore the world of
computing without having to learn all the "computer stuff".
Today everyone wants the fastest computer with the best
monitor and fastest modem this was an interrupt address
nightmare until Windows 95 was developed. People didn't
know what jumpers needed to go where to make their hardware
work. Or why their CDROM wouldn't work since they changed
their sound board. Most hardware periphials have all the
configurations built into a chip that communicates with
Windows 95 to find out where it needs to put itself in the
address map. This allows users to have fancy big screen
monitors and connect to the Internet with high speed
modems. They can also put in faster video cards that use
all the nice Windows 95 features, thus making their
computing less complicated Windows 95 is set up with novice
users in mind. As with Windows 3.x, it has boxes that open
up with the program inside called windows. These windows
are used to make computing more exciting for the user. No
one wants to look at a screen with just plain text anymore.
Before a window is opened, it is represented by an icon.
Double clicking this icon with the mouse pointer will open
the application window for the user to work in. Once the
window has been opened, all visible functions of the
program will be performed within it. At any time the window
can be shrunk back down into an icon, or made to fit the
entire screen. For all essential purposes the user has
complete control over his windows. Since more than one
window can be open at a time, the user can work with more
than one program. Being able to work with more than one
program brings out other special features of Windows 95. In
a regular DOS system only one program can be open at a
time. With previous versions of Windows more than one
program could be open, but they did not work well together.
Since Windows 95 is a 32 bit program, it manipulates memory
addresses in a way that makes it look as though your
programs are running simultaneously. This makes it easier
to share information between programs. For example (I run
Windows 95) while I am writing this paper using a word
processor, I am logged onto the Internet and have five
different programs running. I can move information from the
Internet, or any other open program, into this paper
without stopping anything else, something entirely
impossible in DOS. Some people think the because they never
see DOS anymore, it is not there. This could not be farther
from the truth. DOS is alive and well hidden under the
Windows 95 curtain. But unless the user wants to use DOS,
there is no reason to even bother it. In Windows 95, DOS
(version 7) has a few added goodies the some users enjoy.
The biggest one is being able to open Windows applications
by typing the program file name at the DOS prompt. Another
one is being able to run more than one DOS application at a
time. This does not work as well as with Windows
applications, but it has similar effect. DOS can be used
alone, outside of Windows 95, as before. Or it can be
opened in a window on the desktop like a normal Windows
program, and can be manipulated in size and style. The
desktop is where the icons and windows we discussed before
live. In older versions of Windows the icons lived in the
Program Manager. In Windows 95 they live under the Start
button. Once the start button is clicked, it displays a pop
up windows. Moving the mouse pointer in the pop up windows
gives you access to the different programs available. Icons
can also be moved onto the desktop itself, these are called
shortcuts. Double clicking a shortcut will open the program
the shortcut represents. Shortcuts can be linked to a
program or a file, and can be moved to any position on the
desktop the user likes. You can also change the picture of
the icon to any "Icon" picture you have available. The
desktop can be fashioned in any way the user likes. For
example colors and background pictures can be changed. Even
the colors and thickness of the window outlines and menus
can be changed. While programs are open on the desktop,
they are displayed on the Task Bar at the bottom of the
screen as buttons. One option with the task bar is that it
may be moved to any of the four sides of the screen. The
buttons have a picture and word identifier on them so the
user knows which button is for which program. Clicking once
on the button will switch to the program represented, which
makes it easier to switch between more than one program.
This just about gives the user total control over his
computer, which is what most users want. The ease of use is
what makes Windows 95 appealing to the "modern" computer
user. In time Microsoft will improve on the reliability of
Windows 95, making it easier to work with. Being the most
complete and user friendly IBM compatible operating system
on the market, I feel that Windows 95 will be the dominant
operating system for several years to come. 


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