I was there, in Redmond when it rolled out. With Jay Leno and Bill Gates. I got a private demo of Blackbird, which was supposed to be Visual Basic for the Internet.
Quite a day. It was the one time that Microsoft got an Apple-style euphoria for a product rollout. Long lines outside retail stores. They all wanted to buy a box with a CD inside. Back then you didn't download software from the net.
Windows 95 was the second to last release of Windows "old" technology, based on MS-DOS, if I recall correctly. Off on the side they had a project called NT. It was the future. On that OS, apps were protected from each other. On Windows OT, if an app went crazy it could kill the OS, and all the apps, and lock up the keyboard and screen. You had to press Ctrl-Alt-Delete or pull the power to reboot to continue using the computer.
OT was splashy, but it crashed. Jay Leno probably used OT. 20 years ago it was everyone was so excited about.
NT was cool and wonderful. I was a Mac user, but in a couple of years I would be an NT user. I never used Windows 95 or its descendants. I had used earlier versions of the OS, and wrote software that had to defend against hostile competitors that took advantage of the free-for-all OT approach.
NT was good. It was built on the tried-and-true principles of minicomputer and mainframe OSes, not from the wonderful free-for-all days of the early PC (it really was cool to have the whole machine at your disposal). Neither was bad or good, but the base to build on was the one where software couldn't go to war with other software, intentionally or unintentionally.