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.

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.

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?

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. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 1:52 pm

    Does it come back after every “moment” update?

  2. Baloney said on March 9, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Yeah right.. Like this is going to stop defender from running =) This is comedy gold right here.

  3. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    no ‘about the author’ paragraph?

  4. Gregory said on March 9, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    For permanent disable defender is if removed complete from system no just change permission folder.

    Just this is joke.

  5. moi said on March 9, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    simpler, load Autoruns (SysInternals)
    – filter “Defender”
    – untag all entries
    – reboot
    nothing has changed since my 1st modification years ago

  6. John G. said on March 9, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    I wouldn’t disable Defender imho, it has too many hidden roots inside Windows itself. One time I tried to uninstall it using brute force scripts and then the Onedrive feature stopped working definitely. A reinstallation was needed and since those times I prefer to maintain Defender untouched. It’s a better method to install another antivirus and it will disable Defender in a safer and easier mode (e.g., Avast is the best in this way, and also Panda Cloud Free is good too).

  7. boris said on March 10, 2023 at 12:19 am

    You can not stop defender from running in background or remove it without some penalty. All you can do is to limit telemetry.

    1. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:52 pm


      It’s probably Smartscreen which is preventing WD from being disabled. Get rid of that and the problem should be solved: https://thegeekpage.com/disable-windows-defender-smartscreen/#How_to_disable_the_Windows_Defender_SmartScreen_via_Local_Group_Policy_Editor

  8. hoho said on March 10, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Remove Windows and go for Linux.

    1. basingstoke said on March 10, 2023 at 2:51 pm

      Linux sucks dude. Besides it’s not comparable to Windows, these OSes are in different classes entirely.

      1. Derp said on March 10, 2023 at 4:36 pm

        I use Linux as my daily driver. It’s far more stable than Windows. When’s the last time you used Linux, 2010?

      2. Bromosexual said on March 11, 2023 at 2:04 am


        You’re right, dude. Bro, linux is just a bunch of code that starts before the OS, dude. Brobrodude, that shit ain’t even got emojis, dudebrodudeman! Dudebro, it’s no way near as cool as Windows with its hardcoded abilities to make money off the user, bro. Yo brodude man, you’re the coolest dude ever man, bro. Dude.

      3. basingstoke said on August 16, 2023 at 7:20 pm

        Lol what? Windows 7 doesn’t come with any Emojis

  9. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    Download Autoruns and remove the checkmark from Windows Defender. It doesn’t remove it, but it will never run. https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/autoruns

  10. Simon said on March 10, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    Just use “Defender Control”:

    Per this video,
    it also works on Windows 11 too…

  11. Someone said on March 10, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    Win Defender, is completly the most succesful free-built in antivirus of Microsoft. Really nice product. Saved my ass a lot of times. Has updated malware database, completly strong defence
    from whatever smart screen disables. Or if you want better and more upgrated (paid) program,
    you can go further. But defender is always on your side.

  12. CalixtoWVR1 said on March 10, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    Why would one disable Windows (or Microsoft) Defender in the first place?. I consider this to be playing with fire big time. Everybody knows that if one is using another A-V, Defender will be disabled on its own and won’t be in one’s way.

  13. Ed D said on March 10, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    Why would I want to disable Windows Defender in the first place? It’s a great anti virus in my opinion. Been using it since Windows 8 and and never had a problem or a virus. Why mess with a good thing, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  14. owl said on August 17, 2023 at 1:57 am

    How a ridiculous article!
    I am thoroughly stunned.

    Why Should You Disable First-Party Windows Defender?
    I can only think that it is “malice or perversely intention (want you to buy a third-party AV where you can expect a back margin)” to guide invalidation without showing the premise.
    No sane company will use third-party closed source programs (such as AV).

    As I thought, “Ghacks Technology News” seems to be coming to downfall.

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