Return Thursday: Do you yearn for the days when operating systems were simpler and less bloated? If you have fond memories of the early days of Microsoft Windows and want to quickly kick the nostalgia out of your attic, just download Windows 95.exe.
You may have heard of a programmer named Felix Riseberg. He was a senior staff engineer and technical manager for Slack before moving to work for a financial infrastructure company. Band. It also helps support Electron.
Since 2018, Riseberg has been quietly working on a project that recreates Windows 95 as a compact executable, and it’s pretty cool. He released the latest version of Windows95 v3.1.1 about two weeks ago, and it caught the attention of BetaNews earlier this week.
The application works on Windows, macOS and Linux, and also has special versions for 32-bit, 64-bit and Arm architectures. The program is very light, from 234 MB to 313 MB, depending on the platform.
We tried it on macOS Monterey (version 12.6) and it emulates Windows 95 pretty well, including its occasional instabilities. It even runs Doom, which comes pre-installed along with several other third-party games. Microsoft classics (Minesweeper, Solitaire, Hearts and FreeCell are in the Accessories section of the start menu. And let’s not forget the good old MS Paint, Notepad and Calculator right in the same folder. Sound for Mac doesn’t work because it’s all still in version 3.0.0but this was reportedly fixed in 3.1.1 for Windows.
Network Neighborhood is present, but we couldn’t get it to work on our modern networking hardware, which is a shame since the desktop PC has a working version of Netscape Navigator that can’t wait to compete with modern websites. And let’s not forget those great pre-packaged internet installers like AOL, AT&T WorldNet and Prodigy that we all loved to uninstall immediately.
The program also has a floppy disk emulator. You are supposed to be able to mount a disk image (.img) and then run it from drive A: My Computer, but we didn’t have the old floppy files handy. Perhaps some readers will be able to leave a comment if they find a way to access the Internet using it.
Overall, Windows95.exe is a fun trip down memory lane, but most people won’t find it utilitarian enough, even if they can get the network working. It’s worth downloading, if only to play Doom for a while. All versions can be found at Github.