The Microsoft Windows operating system has been, at one time, the definitive driving force of many desktop personal computers around the world for a decade or two. It did not, however, showcase its full potential until the middle of the 1990s, when the immediate successor of the DOS generation of Windows OS was launched: Windows 95. From there the Windows experience that has remained mostly unchanged to this day was codified. Perhaps that is the reason that several non-PC devices today feature hacked Win-95 via emulation and backwards compatibility. But now the revolution has come full circle: Windows 95 as a single app on PCs.
This feat was, according to The Verge, realized by Felix Rieseberg, a developer on cloud-based collaboration tool and services software Slack. His work is an electron app, wherein a functional desktop of Windows 95 runs inside a single application Window on a computer’s current OS. And it looks exactly like how longtime computer users would recall Win-95 in all its now-oldie glory. Almost everything in the electron app works, from games like Minesweeper, word processors like WordPad, and even some network functions like Phone Dialer. Unfortunately the internet has long evolved beyond the capacities of retro Internet Explorer, so it cannot load any pages anymore.
What is remarkable about Rieseberg’s work on the Windows 95 app is remarkably how little space it takes up. The app itself is only 129MB big; there are current-gen PC games which are bigger than that. Once running, the electron app also only uses some 200MB of RAM, and that includes all the Win-95 apps you can open on the emulated desktop. It is not always stable running, although if the desktop does hang your own actual desktop is not affected, and it is only a matter of resetting the Windows 95 instance inside the app window to try again.
For those who are interested in reliving some computing nostalgia from back in the nineties, underpowered it may be compared to today, you can try Felix Rieseberg’s Windows 95 app for free. He has put up its source code, along with several Win-95 era application installation packs, on GitHub. The app has versions installable on either current Microsoft Windows and even on macOS. There is also a Linux version already available or being planned. It ought to be fun to go back to the good old days for a while.
Image courtesy of Pureinfotech