windows95: A Windows 95 Emulator

Lately, I’ve been exploring various emulators for the Macintosh platform. But what about emulators for the PC? After all, I haven’t covered a PC emulator since DOSBox.

windows95 is an emulator that, like it’s younger sibling (Macintosh.js), doesn’t beat around the bush with a fancy name. It’s name is simply what it emulates. In this case, Windows 95 is being emulated. (Macintosh.js emulates Mac OS 8.)

Both windows95 and Macintosh.js come from the same person – Felix Rieseberg. Both emulators are Electron apps that can run in a modern version of Windows or macOS. (Linux/Unix distros are likely supported, as well.)

windows95 running in macOS

To put it bluntly, windows95 is a near-useless emulator. Let me explain.

First, setup of windows95 is just as easy of a process as Macintosh.js. In Windows, just download and run. In macOS, download, drop in the applications folder and run.

Unlike Macintosh.js or most other emulators, transferring files between the virtual machine and host is nearly impossible in windows95. So if you have a file or something you’d like to open in Windows 95, you can’t use it with this emulator.

Another major problem with windows95 is the lack of sound. Most PCs (as in PC Clones) required an additional sound card to get sound output from the computer. DOSBox tackles this with OPL emulation, so you get sound and OPL MIDI playback. However, windows95 overlooks this issue. If you have a game you want to play, don’t expect there to be any sound.

There are no included games or programs in windows95 like there are in Macintosh.js – what you get with a standard Windows 95 installation is what you get. (Although there are some programs installed used for BBS and transferring files via modem, although there isn’t any modem support in windows95.) There is a way you can load floppy images into the virtual machine, though.

The Start menu shows the sparse amount of programs included with windows95… essentially, most of the programs are found in typical Windows 95 installations

Some parts of windows95 are broken – especially the MS-DOS prompt. If you enter in to the MS-DOS prompt or shut down Windows, you will have to force quit the program and restart.

The glitchy MS-DOS prompt…

Internet Explorer 3.0 is installed, but windows95 cannot connect to the internet.

No internet here…
…but that did not stop me from creating a simple HTML document to test in Internet Explorer 3.0. (Also, this screenshot was taken from the Windows version.)

Playing around with windows95 reminds me of my earliest experiences with a computer. When we were given the Gateway 2000 486, we didn’t have internet (I don’t even think it had a modem.) I don’t think the Gateway 2000 had a sound card, either. We didn’t have any software for it. So basically the only things I could do with it was play Minesweeper or Solitaire (which I was horrible at then… I still am), paint a pretty picture in MS Paint, or write something in WordPad. The Gateway 2000 ran Windows 3.11.

MS Paint in windows95
And who could forget WordPad?

While windows95 is a good way for me to reminisce about my earliest experiences with a computer, it isn’t a very useful emulator. There’s no sound capabilities, file transfer between VM and host is nearly impossible and some parts are buggy at best.