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You can now enjoy Windows 95 running in your web browser

by Mark Tyson on 1 February 2016, 12:31

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacycj

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Nineteen year old student and 'occasional programmer' Andrea Faulds has managed to get a twenty year old Microsoft Windows OS running in a browser window. The project uses emscripten, to convert the OS software to run on a modern JavaScript enabled browser - no plugins or downloaded extensions are required - and it only took me a couple of minutes or so to boot (a 47MB gzipped system was apparently transmitted to RAM during most of that waiting time).

Hearing the Windows 95 Startup chime again brought back memories of my first Windows PC, a Dan Pentium 133 machine. But this time the sound came from my Sony VAIO i7 laptop, in one of my Firefox browser tabs. Clicking around, everything seemed quite snappy, after a slightly juddering start, all the built-in apps such as Solitaire seemed to work with aplomb. Only when I thought I'd step up the resolution from 640x480 to 1024x768 did I get a 'system' hang - and that's apparently the fault of Em-DOSBox timing out.

The online Windows 95 in a browser works as follows: Windows 95 OSR2 was installed in DOSBox, then the disk image packaged with a custom config file to work with emscripten. Ms Faulds says that "all the hard work was done by the emscripten, DOSBox and Em-DOSBox people", as well as browser vendors - but she just put the components together.

A sizeable chunk of the Windows 95 in your browser site is devoted to the thorny topic of copyright. Using the site is said to be 'at your own risk' and 'strictly for educational purposes'. It is noted that the OS is still protected by copyright and a strong-arm copyright communication is likely to arrive in an email, probably soon. At that time the win95.ajf.me site will be taken down quick sharpish, says its architect.

Nevertheless the Windows 95 in a browser site is a fascinating reminder to how far the tech we use day to day has progressed in 20 years. Tech news watchers will remember that Windows 95 has been seen running on the Nintendo 3DS and even on smartwatches in recent months.



HEXUS Forums :: 18 Comments

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Yo Dawg, we heard you like windows so now you can run windows to open a window which lets you run windows !
hhm Inception, 4 levels, Windows 10, Edge, XP, IE
wonder if you can run windows 3.1 via dos through win 95 on the browser hehe
windows 95 operating system on a browser uses less memory than GOOGLE CHROME on its own ….how ironic.