Windows 95 is now an app you can download and install on macOS, Windows, and Linux

Windows 95 is the operating system that’s now used as a yardstick for what’s possible on modern devices and platforms. We’ve seen Microsoft’s popular OS appear on the Apple Watch, an Android Wear smartwatch, and even the Xbox One. Today, someone has gone a step further and made Windows 95 into an app that you can run on macOS, Windows, and Linux.

Slack developer Felix Rieseberg is responsible for this glorious app, based on an existing web project that supports Windows 95, Windows 98, and a whole host of older operating systems. Now nostalgia lovers can play around with Windows 95 in an electron app. Rieseberg has published the source code and app installers for this project on Github, and apps like Wordpad, phone dialer, MS Paint, and Minesweeper all run like you’d expect. Sadly, Internet Explorer isn’t fully functional as it simply refuses to load pages.

The app its only 129MB in size and you can download it over at Github for both macOS and Windows. Once it’s running it surprisingly only takes up around 200MB of RAM, even when running all of the old Windows 95 system utilities, apps, and games. If you run into any issues with the app you can always reset the Windows 95 instance inside the app and start over again. Enjoy this quirky trip down memory lane.

Update, August 24th 9:15AM ET: Article updated to mention a web-based project this app is based on.

Comments

Any idea if you could run old PC games within this app? An app within an app?! Maybe easier than wineskin?

You can try!

Wolfenstein!!

Regrettably, nothing yet. It looks like the app is sandboxed in a dev environment, so you could potentially put in the work to let it see outside file systems (which is the only convenient way I know of to bring the programs in).

He added floppy disk *.img support later yesterday, so there’s now a way to get outside content in. Not sure how easy it is to find floppy disk img files for what you want to run, but it’s there in 1.1.

Oh man I want to play Mechwarrior 2 right now

"Sadly, Internet Explorer isn’t fully functional as it simply refuses to load pages."

So the emulator is pretty perfect then?

Bingo, a browser from 1995 isn’t going to be able to deal with the internet of 2018…

So strange…

joke
head

Once it’s running it surprisingly only takes up around 200MB of RAM

Considering my first PC in 1998 had 64 MB of RAM, no, this seems pretty standard, not surprising.

Exactly what I came here to say. Why is it surprising that it uses 200MB of RAM?

It’s not surprising to you that an electron version of Windows 95 uses less RAM than a Slack electron app in 2018?

It is not. A glut of resources leads to a glut of demand in the sense that it doesn’t cost developers anything to code inefficiently, or to add specific feature sets, et cetera. The fact that you’re hardpressed to find a phone with less than 2GB these days, let alone a computer with elss than 4GB, means for modern coders, there’s usually overhead available, and they code accordingly.

This isn’t to slag developers; it’s just the reality of things.

With that argument though why wouldn’t the guy make a Windows 95 electron app that hogs more resources.

He did. Windows 95 minimum install requirements call for 8 MB of RAM. Nearly the entirety of the Ram used by this app is overhead for Electron without optimized virtualization. The Windows 95 part is much lower demand than the wrapper.

Because of the resources needed to run the emulator or hypervisor beneath whatever ROM or VM this is, on top of another OS, one could assume this isn’t exactly as optimized as say Hyper-V or ESXi which run on bare metal and is backed by billions in R&D.

It’s pretty neat that it takes about as much RAM as a blank chrome tab.

I think I’m breaking out in hives…

My Friday night ritual as a shut in back then used to be to defrag my monstrous 20GB drive.

Don’t forget to degauss your monitor a few times, just for good measure.

I loved doing that for some reason.

It was just a nice satisfying sound and visual experience

Are you sure your hard drive was that big in windows 95 days? I don’t think my hard drive was that big on my first XP computer.

Mine was 1.2 GB in 1995. It was fairly big at that time! I remember being very proud of having a Pentium 133 and a nice speaker setup.

My first hard drive was 170MB on a computer running Windows 3.1. I think I spent around $500 for my first 1GB hard drive, but that was in the late 90s.

I don’t think by the late 90s it was 1GB? I remember buying 20GBs right in 2001, so by 97-98 it should be the 4GB drives at least.

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