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If you’ve ever wished for a chance to revisit the golden years of Windows 95, today’s your day to make it happen. Developer Felix Rieseberg of Slack has turned Microsoft’s famous operating system into a free app that runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux computers, each requiring nothing more than a sub-130MB download from GitHub.
Listed as “windows95 v1.0,” the app appears to be a full version of Windows 95, including a functional desktop, all the expected Start Menu apps, and standard settings. For the time being, it runs Notepad, Paint, and classic Microsoft games such as Solitaire and Minesweeper, but other Microsoft and third-party apps are non-functional. Internet Explorer is a no-go, as are apps for AOL (“FREE Trial!”), CompuServe 3.0, and The Microsoft Network.
To accomplish the port, Rieseberg used Electron, a cross-platform app development framework from GitHub. While the original version of Windows demanded a fairly small chunk of RAM — 4MB — the emulated version uses between 200 and 300MB on a Mac, which apparently is due to Electron overhead. That aside, users are completely spared the extended Windows 95 boot process, as the desktop comes up almost instantly after pressing the start button.
It’s unclear whether Microsoft, which announced its acquisition of GitHub back in June, will raise any objections to the use of its code and services in this way. But nostalgic users, including gamers, may briefly enjoy the ability to revisit the company’s long-abandoned operating system.
Perhaps the best part of the Windows 95 re-release is that the OS, currently less than two hours old, is already spawning tech support requests on Twitter, where Rieseberg is gamely fielding questions about how to make CD drives and mountable volumes work properly. Clearly, no matter how many years pass, some things never change.
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