Classic Operating Systems That Run in Web Browser

By | May 13, 2024

Finding some old floppy disks I wondered how I could read them. Assuming that I have a floppy reader, how could I then open some of the old file formats? A quick search led me first to the “Mini vMac” site but this option only emulates very old Macs and has the complication that one has to supply the “ROM file” which was a proprietary built-in read-only memory on the Mac mother board.

This other option runs a self-contained Mac OS 8 as a JavaScript emulation but can share files if placed ahead of time in a specific directory. The GitHub site is macintosh.js and presented on this 16min YouTube:

But then I discovered other options on “” that offers various macOS versions from Mac “System 1.0” (1984) all the way to “Mac OS 9.2.2” (2001) and all “NextStep” OS versions as well, all running within a modern web browser. In addition, it is also possible to transfer files in and out, even if a bit quirky. The story for this is in this blog titled “”Infinite Mac: Turning To The Dark Side as I found on this other blog by Ben Lovejoy “Mac emulators for System 7 and Mac OS 8 run on M1 Macs in a web browser“. A demonstration is shown in this 8min video:

The “” series will probably be the one that is most useful for me.

There are other Mac emulations but that seem to only serve as demos without possibility to bring data inside. For example: running System 7.0.1 (1991)

There are in fact a lot more OS besides the Macintosh versions that are available to run in the web, in various forms, and include various Linux, DOS, Microsoft Windows, and other less know OS.

x86Alpine Linux 3.12.0ConsoleYesclick hereurl
x86Alpine Linux 3.12.0X WindowYesclick hereurlRight mouse button for the menu.
x86Windows 2000GraphicalNoclick hereurlDisclaimer.
x86FreeDOSVGA TextNoclick hereurl
riscv64Buildroot (Linux)ConsoleYesclick hereurl
riscv64Buildroot (Linux)X WindowYesclick hereurlRight mouse button for the menu.
riscv64Fedora 33 (Linux)ConsoleYesclick hereurlWarning: longer boot time.
riscv64Fedora 33 (Linux)X WindowYesclick hereurlWarning: longer boot time. Right mouse button for the menu.

More fun to have from this 15min video from 2021:

This goes even further… Quoting from

The Internet Archive recently added the original Macintosh to the list of classic computers of which they provide emulation, so you can run their archive of software titles in your browser, without installing anything. This is great because it provides the same level of accessibility and convenience to emulation as you’d expect of playing a media file or viewing a document.

When you start up the emulated computer on these pages of the Internet Archive, you’re running the PCE emulator, originally a piece of software intended to run natively on desktop operating systems, which has been adapted and recompiled to run in your web browser. As I did the initial work of porting this emulator to the browser (back in 2013), I thought it would be worthwhile to provide a run-down of the tools and hacks which made this possible.

Note: To run the software click on the green-ish button within the top graphic. Here is the example for the Oregon Trail. This will start a Mac System 7.0.1 emulation where the game can be played within. There does not seem to be a way to upload or download files.


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