Windows 95 JavaScript App Runs on Basically Any Platform

The Windows 95 shutdown screen
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 95 was certainly a breakthrough moment in operating system design, bringing so many of the things we take for granted today to PCs, such as the desktop and the Start button. This week, Microsoft announced the latest 22H2 updates for Windows 10, and gave us a flash of a possible Windows 12 (opens in new tab) at the Ignite conference — and it might make you wonder if Windows 95 really was all that innovative (or if nostalgia has rose-tinted your memories). 

Well, now you can find out: Slack developer Felix Rieseberg has created a cross-platform Windows 95 that runs as an app, and it’s just reached version 3.1.1. (Thanks to Betanews for bringing this to our attention.) 

And yes, it can run Doom

Windows 95 running on Windows 11

(Image credit: Felix Rieseberg / Microsoft)

It’s all done through the magic of Electron (opens in new tab), GitHub’s open-source software framework used to create desktop apps out of web technologies such as CSS and JavaScript, which is what Rieseberg has used here. Download the .exe file (for Windows — Linux and Mac versions are available). It simply executes without an installation, and pops up the familiar, if old-fashioned, desktop with a welcome message open in Notepad.

Installed software includes Netscape Navigator, as well as classic games such as Wolfenstein 3D, A10 Tank Killer, and Doom. This project displays Electron’s capabilities for creating cross-platform apps with versions for Windows (32-bit, 64-bit, ARM64), Mac (Intel, Apple M1), and Linux (64-bit, ARM64, ARMv7). 

It runs reasonably well — though the author admits it would be even better as a native app. In a cursory test, we found the mouse pointer to be erratic, and Doom got stuck on the menu screen.

As the third release of the portable OS, this Windows 95 sees an update to Electron v18, and also moves to a newer version of the v86 virtualization app that emulates an x86 processor. The new version uses the WebAssembly language and also fixes a few bugs. You can even add new apps to by mounting hard drive images — though if you’ve got a project-critical Windows 95 app, you’re better off with a VM or even an old PC. If you’re using Linux, you can run it in Docker.

On his GitHub page, Rieseberg apologizes for what he’s done, and adds: “Bear in mind that this is written entirely in JavaScript, so please adjust your expectations.” The app is available under an educational license, and has no approval from Microsoft. Download it from GitHub (opens in new tab).

Ian Evenden
Freelance News Writer

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.

  • AstroFloof
    This article is incorrectly titled. Java and Javascript are totally different languages. Java has nothing to do with the topic of the article.
    Reply
  • YouFilthyHippo
    I wonder when we will be able to connect to the internet within the app. Also, whens the Windows 98 and Window Sex Pea versions coming?
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    YouFilthyHippo said:
    I wonder when we will be able to connect to the internet within the app. Also, whens the Windows 98 and Window Sex Pea versions coming?
    Looking at the github page it does have a network card emulated so you can go online with it...if you dare.
    https://github.com/copy/v86/
    An NE2000 (8390) PCI network card.
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    Windows 95: We did the UI right!
    Windows 11: Look how much more right we are 27 years later!
    Reply
  • coromonadalix
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    Windows 95: We did the UI right!
    Windows 11: Look how much more right we are 27 years later!
    loll that's a good one, made my day ... totally right :)
    Reply
  • atomicWAR
    Mandark said:
    Yep. I don’t think any of the authors here really know ANYTHING.

    That's a little harsh. Not every writter is a pro about every little thing PC/tech related. Just like the real world of tech/IT everyone has their specialities. Strengths and weaknesses come with the territory. I'm all for letting TH writters know of errors. I always read carefully and don't excpect them to have every detail right. So I let them know, like posters have, of errors... stay civil, keep a keen eye and post corrections as needed. No need for blame or fanboyisms.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    Edit
    Reply