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You can run Windows 95 inside your browser now

We’ve seen Windows 95 running on smartwatches and handheld game consoles, but now you can run the 20-year-old operating system directly through any web browser.

The browser-based version of Windows 95 was created by programmer Andrea Faulds, and was recently discovered by The Next Web. Essentially, Faulds used the popular DOS emulator DOSBox to boot up a copy of Windows 95, then compiled the DOSBox code into Javascript using a program called Emscripten.

Because the operating system isn’t running natively, it does have a fair share of limitations. Launching certain programs, such as Internet Explorer, will make the emulation crash. In my brief experience, just launching and then closing Sound Recorder caused a crash as well.

The operating system itself also takes a long time to load. Be prepared to wait upwards of 10 minutes before the classic Windows 95 startup sound kicks in, letting you know it’s up and running.

As Faulds notes, the web version of Windows 95 may wade into some sketchy legal territory, as the software remains copyrighted by Microsoft. Faulds argues that the webpage is strictly educational, is a non-commercial use, and should fall under fair use in the United States and fair dealing in the United Kingdom.

Why this matters: Running Windows 95 in the browser isn’t good for much beyond nostalgia, given its tendency to crash and the fact that the entire file system is wiped once users close the browser window. But if you can tolerate the lengthy startup times, it might be the most straightforward way to play a classic game of Windows Solitaire, without the ads and subscriptions that have infested Microsoft’s modern versions.

IDG Insider

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