Classic Windows and Mac operating systems running in the browser

By on January 20, 2014, 2:30 PM
windows, mac, browser, os, operating systems, classic windows

Microsoft and Apple operating systems have been around for about 30 years now, and for many of us, just the sight of the UI can provoke a strong sense of nostalgia. To do this, most people get their hands on the software and boot it up in some kind of virtual machine set-up, which can be quite a hassle for those that just want to take a quick peak.

There are a number of developers that have made this much easier, running these old operating systems (to some degree) right in the browser. Below we have a some links to where you can get a quick taste of Microsoft 1.0 all the way through to Apple's OS 8.6 and some of the more notable releases in between like Windows 95 running in right in the browser.

The Microsoft 1.0 operating system emulation, courtesy of jsmachines.net, brings up a basic version of the 1985 software (seen above). Although you can't save changes and it's in black and white, you can run some of the earliest Windows apps like Notepad and Paint. A site called VirtualDesktop.org has a number of Microsoft and Apple OS emulations available, one of which is Windows 95. This one isn't entirely functional so this is purely a nostalgia trip, but a quick look at Microsoft's first version of the Start menu will likely spark some old memories. You can also see Windows 3.1 in a much more useable state and Windows XP in action as well.

As for Apple's operating systems, developer James Friend has put together an emulation of Mac OS System 7 from 1991 complete with an image of the hardware itself (right). It is a little sticky and difficult to use, but there are a few games and apps to play with and it's interesting to see such an early version of Apple's OS that appears in many ways to look quite similar to today's (at least on the front end). VirtualDesktop also has a version of Mac OS 8.6 to check out. A significant release for Apple in that it was one of the latest versions put out before the company overhauled its system for OSX.

Unfortunately, we haven't spotted any older Linux emulations as of yet, but with the above links most of us should be able to find some of the very first operating systems we ever used. Which hopefully brings back positive memories and not ones of frustrating error messages.




User Comments: 5

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FLWrd said:

I've played around with the MacOS system 7 version (for old time's sake), and if it makes one thing clear, it's that java script  is not very performant. I used to run a System 7 emulator (or perhaps it was System 8) on a G3 that ran no faster than 200MHz, and it was much more responsive than this browser-based version; it was so fast that quite a few games became unplayable. Mozilla claims their asm.js approaches native speed, but if a 2.5GHz i7 cannot get near a 200MHz G3, then that claim is to be taken with a grain of salt.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I've played around with the MacOS system 7 version (for old time's sake), and if it makes one thing clear, it's that java script  is not very performant. I used to run a System 7 emulator (or perhaps it was System 8) on a G3 that ran no faster than 200MHz, and it was much more responsive than this browser-based version; it was so fast that quite a few games became unplayable. Mozilla claims their asm.js approaches native speed, but if a 2.5GHz i7 cannot get near a 200MHz G3, then that claim is to be taken with a grain of salt.

So I guess hoping to play Shufflepuck on it is out of the question..

MikeAcker said:

Users should remember: Windows was originally a SHELL program for MS/DOS.

it should have stayed that way: security was not addressed until XP SP/2 in August of 2004. UAC was not added until Vista -- and remains crippled today.

Guest said:

This is a big lie. Not true. Go to the web site and try to click on a sort cut on the desk top lets say IE 4.5. Does not open therefore it is not real. It is just a web page and a gag. I would believe if it had full functionality. What do you think we are 4 year olds?

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

GeoWorks Pro was fun though, too bad that didn't live too long..

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