Old Operating Systems Emulation

Wanting to show the kids past operating systems, esp Mac.

Anybody who got older Macs (amongst others) virtualized successfully?


@balance got it in one. Sheepshaver will get you there for classic mac emulation.

For truly old DOS stuff, DOSBox is an excellent option. If you’re on macos you can use the even-better Mac port, Boxer. There’s also ScummVM, which is built specifically to support old adventure games.

For specific DOS or Windows versions, you’d likely need to go with full-on virtual machines. That means installing VM software (Virtualbox is free), and either building VMs from scratch using install media, or finding prebuilt VMs online.

One other option, though, is to just watch some youtube videos—there will be demo videos showing off every version of any operating system ever. Not as interactive as running it yourself, but far less hassle!


Echoing these recommendations. I use VirtualBox on a daily basis and it’s awesome and simple to use. DOSBox is great for emulating old games too.

Agreed wrt virtualbox.

Only hassle I have with it is that your VM’s doesn’t pause automatically when shutting down or reatarting the PC. Hyper-V does that.

But I like Virtualbox more, since it is portable across more than one host OS. Using it (and had used it previously) for production, but it is iffy (see statement wrt shutdown above).

Reason for this thread is I want to hear about your guys’ experience regarding VM’s.

Sheepshaver (mnaaaaarh!) it is then. Will download and try.


Everything here. Although I use mini vMac for my B&W Mac (Plus/Classic era) needs.

Or you could go hardcore and actually run it on original hardware. I don’t know ANYONE who’s done that before. :nerd_face: :rofl:

That is fun, but nah, too much of a hassle and schlepp to get working stuff - plus extra storage space, which Frau Ook won’t grant that easily.

Yes, yes it’s fun :slight_smile:

I do love my old machines that remind me of simpler times.

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Windows 3.11 + hotdog stand color scheme = teh lulz


And you actually had more control over things back then.


You had to mention that, didn’t you… Just when I thought I’d forgotten that particular shade of hell, you had to go and cause me to dredge that memory out of archival storage.

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heavy breathing intensifies

Kind of glad I avoided Windows for that era almost completely. Although some of the Kaleidoscope themes I ran on classic MacOS could be pretty hideous. I think I stuck with one that added ‘drafting mark’ accents or one that was kinda-sorta like BeOS.

Wasn’t there a Classic theme from the 90s PPC era (system 7? system 8?) that was basically just all squiggly lines and 90s pastel hallucinations?

Okay, since we’re now talking about things closer to pranks, there was a program on the Amiga called “Nightmare”. When you ran it, it did nothing for five or ten minutes. Then it flashed a picture of a metallic skull with a spike sticking out of it and played a sound file with someone screaming.

When the guy who ran the program not knowing what it was asked how to shut it off, we helpfully told him to run it again. The Amiga has great multitasking abilities. :smile:


It also allows you to run DOS games at their native resolutions in windowed mode, which leads to hilarity…


I’m glad I don’t have a retina screen sometimes, the native resolution on that would be like a postage stamp! To think, when I first played this it was on a 23" CRT…

I think that was the “Gizmo” theme which was oh so very 90s.

The good/bad is I think these weren’t really released, so had to be copied from betas. The official Appearance Manager was mostly ignored, but I think it got used to make apps running in Classic on OS X look more Aqua-era OS X like.

I ran “Kaleidoscope” in that era despite it probably being a huge RAM sink. Themed stuff and worked extremely well. It had hundreds of themes as it was open, unlike the official tools which never got opened up.

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You rotten b’stard…

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Good lord, yep, that’s definitely it. Nightmare fuel.