Experience classic Windows versions in your browser

Martin Brinkmann
May 11, 2015
Updated • May 22, 2018

While it is theoretically still possible to install past -- and now unsupported -- Windows operating systems on modern machines, it may be difficult to do so especially when it comes to pre-Windows 95 systems.

If you just want to relive memories of the past or check out how things have changed in recent years, emulation may be an better option.

Programmers have created browser-based emulators for various Microsoft operating systems that you can load at any time without having to install and set up those operating systems first before you can do so.

While they are usually limited in some regards, options to install software or make persistent changes are not supported, they may help you relive memories of the past or simply explore how Windows was ten, twenty or even thirty years ago.

Windows 1.01

If you want to go all the way back to the beginnings of Windows, you may find the Windows 1.01 emulator on PCJS useful for that as it emulates that operating system for you.

Just load the page in your browser of choice, wait for the boot process to finish and you are in the graphical user interface that computer users worked with in the 80s.

The system used in the emulation runs at a clock speed of 4.77 MHz with 256 Kilobyte of RAM and a CGA display. Since hard drives were quite expensive back then, only floppy drives are emulated.

You can launch programs with a double-click, use the command line or insert different floppy discs to load other programs.

All programs that you start run in full screen in the environment which is not that different from how Microsoft envisioned apps to run on Windows 8.

The Hamburger menu may surprise you as it is widely used today especially in the mobile world.

The operating system won't save any changes and boot into a clean system whenever you load the web page.

Windows 3.0

Windows 3.0 was a huge improvement over Windows 1.x. The operating system shipped five years after Windows 1 and offered better multitasking, better memory management (introduction of virtual memory) and protected mode.

Windows 95

If you want something more recent than that, you may want to load the Windows 95 environment instead.

It provides you with access to a default Windows 95 installation which is rather bare bones based on today's standards. The operating system was launched about 10 years after Windows 1.0x came out and was considered a game changer by many.

What you can do however is play games and run programs that shipped with the operating system.

The environment was not overly stable during tests. It would lock-up regularly or slow down, and exceptions were thrown frequently during tests.

Various Windows versions Windows 95 to Windows XP

The Virtual Desktop website lists several different Windows 95 versions for you to boot (Microsoft released a total of five versions), as well as Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT Workstation, Windows XP and Windows 2000 Professional.

Not all programs and features are working when you boot one of the operating systems though. While you can run Internet Explorer 4 for instance on Windows 98, you will notice immediately that the browser won't let you interact with it at all.

Now You: What's your all-time favorite version of Windows and why?

Experience classic Windows versions in your browser
Article Name
Experience classic Windows versions in your browser
Run classic versions of the Windows operating system in your web browser of choice to re-live childhood memories or explore how it was using Windows ten, twenty or even thirty years ago.

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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):


  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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