PC Hardware

Lesson 2: Installing and Configuring Windows 95

In this lesson, we take a look at how to set up Windows 95.

After this lesson you will be able to:
  • Upgrade and install Windows 95.

  • Describe the Windows 95 boot-up process.

Estimated lesson time: 45 minutes

Installing Windows 95

Windows 95 can be installed as an upgrade to Windows 3.x; from MS-DOS; on a new machine; or as a dual-boot system with either Windows 3.x, Windows NT, or other operating systems. Each method has unique requirements and limitations. The basic process is the same for all installations, but you must be sure that you understand the differences that do exist so that the final result is the solution you or your client needs. In many cases, you might have to compromise to achieve the best results.

Hardware Requirements

The minimum recommended requirements (and you should be familiar with these for the Certification test) differ from the practical requirements to run Windows 95. Let's look at both.

Minimum Requirements

The minimum requirements recommended by Microsoft and covered by the test are:

  • A 386DX personal computer or better.

  • At least 4 MB of random access memory (RAM).

  • At least 40 MB of hard disk space reserved for the operating system.

By selecting the typical Windows setup, Windows 95 uses 30 MB of hard disk space and reserves at least 8 to 10 MB for swap space on the hard disk. Windows 95 still needs to create a VM environment and the more hard disk space available, the better Windows 95 operates.

If your computer suddenly gives you a number of different read/write error messages or its performance declines dramatically, it is possible that you don't have enough hard disk space to handle the swapping requirements of Windows 95. The first step in troubleshooting such conditions is to free up hard disk space and defragment the hard disk drives.

What You Really Need

In order to run Windows 95 with the applications commonly found on a desktop such as word processors, spreadsheets, and databases, you should not use anything less than:

  • A 486DX 66-Mhz machine.

  • 8 MB of RAM or more.

  • A 520-MB hard disk drive.

Windows 95 will start outperforming Windows For Workgroups on a 486 computer after you increase RAM from 8 MB to 16 MB.

Additional Hardware

It is recommended that the following additional hardware be included on a Windows 95 installation:

  • Modem and/or network interface card (NIC).

  • Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device.

  • Sound card and speakers.