Has the sleek, modern design of today’s operating systems left you feeling bored and yearning for the old days? Well, you’re in luck — a clunky operating system from a quarter century ago is available for download right now. A developer has labored long and hard to bring back Windows 95 as an app. You can install it on Windows, MacOS, or Linux. And just like that, it’s the mid-90s again.
The app version of Windows 95 comes courtesy of developer Felix Rieseberg, who has posted the installer to GitHub. It runs in Electron, a cross-platform application framework for desktop apps. The Windows 95 app is around 100MB in size for all platforms, and it’s based on an existing web project that can run a handful of classic operating systems. The main difference here is all the code is contained in the app, so it runs more like a “real” OS.
For those of us who live with Windows 95 for years, this app is a real trip down memory lane. There are a lot of us in that situation, too. It was a massive release 23 years ago that sold by the millions. It introduced features like the Start button, the Taskbar, and support for plug-and-play hardware.
The electron app is the real deal with all the standard pre-loaded apps. You can get a feel for what Windows 95 was like even if you never used it. It works for the most part and only needs about 200MB of RAM. That’s a lot more than Windows 95 itself needed when running directly on PC hardware. Microsoft recommended at least 4MB back in the day.
I put Windows 95 into an Electron app that now runs on macOS, Windows, and Linux. It's a terrible idea that works shockingly well. I'm so sorry.
Go grab it here: https://t.co/MIoFpezuFi pic.twitter.com/YquOnOGrSz
— Felix Rieseberg (@felixrieseberg) August 23, 2018
Programs like Notepad, Paint, and Solitaire all work like they did back in the day. However, Internet Explorer can’t detect an internet connection. That probably wouldn’t do you much good anyway. Virtually every site would be hopelessly broken in a 23-year-old operating system browser.
The Windows EXE works like a standalone file, so it’s quick to load up without installing anything. I also got it running on a Pixelbook running Chrome OS with Linux app support enabled. Although, that was much more buggy than running the app in Windows. You can load more ancient Windows 95 software into the Windows app — Rieseberg suggests Doom. You’ll have a hard time finding a lot of 95 software, but this is mainly about the nostalgia.
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