Run Windows 95 on MacOS as Easily as Launching an App
Have you always dreamt of running Windows 95 right now on your fancy modern Mac? Your dreams can now easily come true, thanks to a fun project that allows you to run a complete Windows 95 installation directly on MacOS as a self-contained native application. Yes really, running Windows 95 on a Mac is as easy as opening any other Mac app.
And believe it or not, Windows 95 actually runs pretty well this way too, at least on a MacBook Pro test machine. If you want to horse around and get nostalgic with a nearly 20 year old PC operating system, complete with the Windows Explorer, MSDOS prompt, Windows Paint, Notepad, Minesweeper, Internet Explorer, and all the rest, this is a remarkably simple way to do so.
Running Windows 95 on a modern Mac is incredibly simple, here’s how:
- Go to the Github project page here to download the release for Mac (labeled as windows95-1-macos.zip *)
- Unzip the “windows95.zip” file as usual
- Launch the resulting ‘windows95.app’ in MacOS to immediately start Windows 95
The zip file is about 135mb and the entire Windows 95 application is about 450mb after it has been unzipped.
Once you launch the “Windows95.app”, you’ll use the Escape key to toggle the mouse and keyboard lock in and out of the self-contained app.
The app has full keyboard support too, but unfortunately it appears that networking and internet access it not available (or at least I couldn’t get any networking functionality working even after fiddling around with various control panel settings, if you do then share with us how you accomplished that in the comments).
This is obviously mostly for fun – I wasted at least 15 minutes tinkering around – but if you’re serious about running Windows, than going with a virtual machine is a much better approach, using an app like VirtualBox, VMware, or Parallels, and then actually installing Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, XP, ME, 7, 8, or Windows 10 into a virtual machine (which can be free with VirtualBox), or just use Boot Camp for a complete experience. But for simplicity and just tinkering around, this particular approach with Win95 is hard to beat.
The project was put together by GitHub user @felixrieseberg with Electron (which might be familiar to you if you’re a node.js and npm user), and using the v86 base, which lets you run all sorts of x86 based operating systems in a virtualized environment within a web browser. Similarly thrilling retro virtualization projects are available focused on the Mac too, for example you can run Hypercard in Mac OS or run Mac OS Classic in a Mac Plus emulator via web browser too.
The only thing missing is that blissful Windows 95 start sound…
* While we’re focusing on the Mac version here, there’s also a version for running Windows 95 on Windows 10, and in Linux (.deb and .rpm) too. Hooray for crossplatform Electron apps!
I think this is safe to add to the cool retro computing stuff post list!