EmuOS: run retro games and apps right in your browser

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 19, 2023
Updated • Apr 19, 2023
Added information about related projects, which also emulate classic operating systems in the web browser.
Internet, Windows

If you experienced the late DOS days or early Windows days first hand and want to relive those, or want to experience it for the first time, then you may want to hop over to EmuOS to do just that.

EmuOS emulates Windows in the browser, and it comes with a number of games and applications for you to run right from that browser as well.

Want to replay Quake, the original Doom, or Half-Life? How about Transport Tycoon Deluxe, Worms 2, or Microsoft Solitaire? There is also Winamp, classic Paint, and Clippy to play around with and use right from the browser.

All it takes is a modern web browser. Nothing needs to be installed and it should work in most environments. It is far better than having to install the ancient operating systems on a device and the apps or games that you want to play, or having to install emulators on Windows devices to run the games and apps using those.

The main advantage of EmuOS is convenience. Load the website in your favorite browser, click on one of the icons to launch the linked game or app, and enjoy the experience.

Windows emulation


When you first open the EmuOS website in your browser (there are multiple mirrors), you get the choice between running an emulated Windows 95, 98 or ME interface, all emulated in JavaScript directly in the web browser.

Note that faster machines and browsers may offer a better experience. Everything is emulated in JavaScript, and that means that the experience depends largely on the computer's processor, graphics processing unit and the web browser used.

The three operating systems that EmuOS supports were released between 1995 and 2000 by Microsoft. Windows 95 was released in 1995 and Windows ME, the ME stands for Millennium Edition, in 2000. The classic boot screens are displayed once one of the supported operating systems has been selected.

The desktops look identical and are quite messy, as they are plastered with shortcuts. These shortcuts point to apps and games that users may start with a click. Most of these may look familiar, even to users who never experienced the period in computing first-hand.

Operating system controls, such as Settings or the Start Menu, do not work in the current version. There is also no option to install more games or apps. The emulator is a work in progress, and some content is still under development, according to the developers.

doom 2 emulated game

Some apps and games are newer than others, but all have in common that they are quite old based on today's standards. The original Diablo game was released in 1997, Wolfenstein 3D in 1992, and Lemmings in 1991 on the Commodore Amiga.

Shortcuts are available for the chat app Discord, Winamp and some newer JavaScript games, but the majority of games and apps are several decades old.

Here is a list of popular apps and games that you may play using the service:

  1. Doom 1 to 3
  2. Wolfenstein 3D
  3. Quake 1 to 3
  4. Street Fighter Alpha
  5. Lemmings
  6. Command and Conquer: Red Alert
  7. Diablo 1
  8. Half-Life
  9. Minecraft
  10. Tetris
  11. Pong
  12. Worms Armageddon
  13. Prince of Persia
  14. Dune 2
  15.  X-Com: UFO Defense

Just double-click on a game or app to start it in the browser; these are emulated as well, and performance depends largely on your system's capabilities. While you should be able to run most games and apps on any fairly modern machine, some may stress low performance machines, despite their age.

Many games and apps open instantly in a window on the emulated desktop. Windows may be moved on the desktop, closed and maximized, just like regular program windows on Windows PCs.

Access to the underlying system is required for some games and apps. When you start Quake 2 for example, you may get a browser prompt to allow EmuOS access to the file system.

Some shortcuts, mostly those pointing to Microsoft games, open new tabs in the browser. There is no indication about that on the desktop and probably a bug.

pc game doom

Some games support saves, which means that it is possible to continue them at a later point in time.

Open Source emulation of Windows 95, 98 and ME

You are probably wondering what EmuOS is all about, and how the project came to be. The GitHub project page provides a short description of the project and intention:

The purpose of Emupedia is to serve as a nonprofit meta-resource, hub and community for those interested mainly in video game preservation which aims to digitally collect, archive and preserve games and software to make them available online accessible by a user-friendly UI that simulates several retro operating systems for educational purposes.

The project website provides information on the supported browsers, emulators used by the projects, the list of supported games, apps and demos, and the libraries that the developers used.

EmuOS is not the first project designed to preserve and archive computer games and applications. The Internet Archive hosts a lot of game and application collections, e.g. this DOS games collection, C-64 emulation library, or Internet Arcade, all playable in the browser.

It is unclear if the project is abanonded. The last update dates back to 2022 and it is unclear if a newer version will be released in the future.

EmuOS users may check out other operating system emulators that run in browsers. There is 98js, which emulates Windows 98. It includes the default apps that came with the operating system and just a few third-party tools, including Winamp. You may use the emulator to play Solitaire or Pinball, but that is about it.

Closer to EmuOS are the two web-based Windows variants Windows 93 and Windows 96, which offer a few more games than 98js. Last but not least, there is also this Windows XP emulation, which comes with the operating system's default list of games and apps, and Winamp.

Closing Words

EmuOS offers an interesting look at early PC gaming and apps that users ran on their systems when Windows ME was the latest rage. Some of these apps and games are still available today, and you can even buy many of these games on Gog instead to play them locally and not in the browser.

The emulation is fairly limited at this point. There is no access to system functions or options, other than very basic features such as displaying the calendar when clicking on the clock icon. Installation of games or apps is not supported, and users are stuck with the selection provided.

While that is limiting, it still offers value, as several apps and games are all-time classics that are still popular today.

Now You: What is your take on game and application preservation projects?

EmuOS: run retro games and apps right in your browser
Article Name
EmuOS: run retro games and apps right in your browser
EmuOS emulates Windows in the browser, and it comes with a number of games and applications for you to run right from that browser as well.
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  1. Jenna Tailia said on April 25, 2023 at 5:03 pm

    Whatever happened to UNREAL TOURNAMENT? Love those games!!¡¡

  2. X (Aumsville OR) said on April 21, 2023 at 9:31 am

    This is another one of Gen Z’s brain dead moronic ‘bright ideas’ that don’t go anywhere. This generation peddles forward while the bicycle goes backwards all in the name of PC (Political Correctness) not the good kind of PC.

    1. Anonymous said on April 24, 2023 at 8:36 am

      Well. I’m sure you *never* did anything foolish, wasteful, or pointless in your younger days! ?

      You enjoy your lawn, old fogie.

  3. TelV said on April 20, 2023 at 12:11 pm

    I got hooked on playing Lemmings back in the good old days. I loved that game and spent hours on it.

  4. John said on April 20, 2023 at 7:13 am

    I’ve noticed that Civilization II is absent from a lot of these things, as well as from services like Steam, Good Old Games, and others.

    Civilization III through Civilization VI are available for purchase, and I have my files for the original Civilization, which can be installed to DOSBOX and works.

    Civilization II is the game that tends to fall between the cracks- not compatible with DOSBOX or with modern 64 bit Windows. A 16-bit Windows emulator like this seems like it’d be perfect, but I’ve never seen one include it, or even allow one to install an outside program. Its not just because of copyright- plenty of those games seem to be under copyright.

    I wonder if there’s some technical hurdle involved. At one time, Civ 2 was the best selling strategy game of all-time, so it’s not like it’s some obscure game only I have fond memories of

  5. Tachy said on April 20, 2023 at 4:59 am

    Just buy the game from GOG, it comes with it’s own dedicated emu and ZERO need for internet.

  6. Anonymous said on April 20, 2023 at 2:12 am

    either option to dl the binary or nothing, playing stuff in browser is just another braindead artificial dependency.

  7. Anonymous said on April 19, 2023 at 10:53 pm

    For your information: The Desktop Pet (esheep) is available for Windows 7,8 and 10 via Github: https://github.com/Adrianotiger/desktopPet. I tested it on Windows 10 and it works fine. Definitely recommended for the ultimate nostalgic feeling! :)

  8. Karl said on April 19, 2023 at 6:12 pm

    Good to know why this post (originally posted in 2020) today showed up in “latest posts”:

    Updated • Apr 19, 2023
    Added information about related projects, which also emulate classic operating systems in the web browser.

  9. Jim said on April 19, 2023 at 3:27 pm

    For nostalgia I’ve got Mame and 2GB of old arcade games. Who has time though?

  10. John G. said on April 19, 2023 at 3:26 pm

    This article is new or old? It seems old. :S

  11. itsyaboy said on January 28, 2023 at 5:46 pm

    Retrogradetom, why did you bring me here?

  12. John G. said on January 26, 2023 at 6:01 pm

    Nice article, thanks!

  13. yobany said on January 18, 2023 at 8:03 pm

    i wont to play

  14. Raul Júnior Romeiro said on January 28, 2022 at 1:49 am

    Muito legal

  15. Googely eyes said on March 8, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    This is dum

  16. RobG said on November 27, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    Please, not more encouragement to play more computer games. The world faces numerous serous challenges (Covid, Global warming, pollution etc) and time is short for the human race. And we’ve all wasted far too may months and years already being ‘sucked in’ to playing games!! But on the other hand, those retro games and apps do look quite enticing and familiar! Surely playing a few of those oldies for just ten minutes wouldn’t do any harm now, would it? I’ll be quick!

  17. Cigologic said on November 27, 2020 at 3:03 am

    @John G. — Just for laughs, your father (& perhaps you) might to explore ‘1995’, which is about a certain “ancient technology” known as Windows 95.

    It’s a small game, just extract the EXE from the ZIP archive, & play away on your (probably less ancient) Windows OS.

    2.44 MB zip download from either of the following:
    â–¶ http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-36/?action=preview&uid=40711
    â–¶ https://shaunjs.itch.io/1995

    > @Anonymous (Nov 26, 2020 at 6:12 pm): “binary + emu locally or nothing”

    Hear, hear ! For those who want the real Windows 95 offline — albeit as a standalone Electron app:
    â–¶ https://github.com/felixrieseberg/windows95/releases

    The latest v2.22 (03 Aug 2020) for 64-bit Windows is a 296.7 MB no-install ZIP download.

    The developer apologizes in advance, “Yes, it’s the full thing. I’m sorry.” :)

    â–¶ FAQ: https://github.com/felixrieseberg/windows95/blob/master/HELP.md

    1. John G. said on November 27, 2020 at 2:39 pm

      @Cigologic thank you for the useful information! :]

  18. Anonymous said on November 26, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    na, stop trying to run everything a browser. thats just a hidden dependency. binary + emu locally or nothing.

  19. John G. said on November 26, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    Amazing! Thank you @Martin and also thanks from my father too, he is happy with EmuOS! :]

  20. George said on November 26, 2020 at 7:03 am

    > I remember my first PC, an 8086

    Hah! Newb.

  21. John C. said on November 26, 2020 at 5:46 am

    What? No Heretic or Hexen 1? Works great though. Thanks, Martin!

    1. SanctimoniousApe said on April 24, 2023 at 8:23 am

      Pfft. Need Kings Quest, Maniac Mansion, and Leisure Suit Larry first!

  22. TacoT said on November 26, 2020 at 4:09 am

    Wow, these are really cool, right down to actual classic Tetris.

    1. Anonymous said on August 19, 2022 at 3:14 pm

      yo i love love love it this game so good

  23. Dave said on November 25, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    History should be preserved.

    I remember my first PC, an 8086 that had to be booted from a 5 1/4″ floppy and how thrilled I was when I was finally able to add a 100MB HDD!

  24. Anonymous said on November 25, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    thanks for the info.

  25. Yuliya said on November 25, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    >game and application preservation projects
    Should be done in a way the user can download the binary to their computer and execute it locally with no insternet connection required at all, and the least amount of dependencies possible. For DooM, for instance, GZDoom is absolutely fantastic.

    1. Billy Walden said on November 26, 2020 at 1:31 pm

      It might surprise you, but many of these games still have copyrights. They can’t provide download links for those.

      ** [Editor: removed, unfounded]

      1. James Kirk said on November 26, 2020 at 2:13 pm

        How long until the copyright on these games expire?

      2. Gubment Cheez said on November 27, 2020 at 8:01 am

        In the USA copyright expires either 70 years after creation, or, if the work is for hire, the shorter of 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication

      3. SanctimoniousApe said on April 24, 2023 at 8:24 am

        Yeah, thanks for that BS, Disney!

    2. sureGoAhead said on November 26, 2020 at 8:25 am

      Yeah I don’t think any “insternet” is required at all.

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