Run Mac OS8 as an App on Your Modern Mac or PC!

One of my least favorite things about constantly ‘chasing technology’ is how much I have left behind. I love new laptops, so I sell old ones to help fund the next trip on the merry-go-round! Sadly that often means abandoning older operating systems, processor families, and software compatibility – and there are a few laptops I wish I had kept.

But fortunately, a small group of developers has put together a fully functioning Mac OS8 virtual machine that fully emulates a complete installation on a modern PC. It comes loaded with the OS and also a few demo discs that provide you the ability to sample several games and applications.

Here is their description:

Does it work?

Yes! Quite well, actually – on macOS, Windows, and Linux. Bear in mind that this is written entirely in JavaScript, so please adjust your expectations. The virtual machine is emulating a 1991 Macintosh Quadra 900 with a Motorola CPU, which Apple used before switching to the PowerPC architecture (Apple/IBM/Motorola) in the mid 1990s.

Should this have been a native app?

Absolutely.

Does it run my favorite game or app?

The short answer is “Yes”. In fact, you’ll find various games and demos preinstalled, thanks to an old MacWorld Demo CD from 1997. Namely, Oregon Trail, Duke Nukem 3D, Civilization II, Alley 19 Bowling, Damage Incorporated, and Dungeons & Dragons.

There are also various apps and trials preinstalled, including Photoshop 3, Premiere 4, Illustrator 5.5, StuffIt Expander, the Apple Web Page Construction Kit, and more.

Can I transfer files from and to the machine?

Yes, you can. Click on the “Help” button at the bottom of the running app to see instructions. You can transfer files directly – or mount disk images.

Can I connect to the Internet?

No. For what it’s worth, the web was quite different 30 years ago – and you wouldn’t be able to open even Google. However, Internet Explorer and Netscape are installed, as is the “Web Sharing Server”, if you want to play around a bit.

Should I use this for [serious application]?

Probably not. This is a toy – it’s not the best nor the most performant way to emulate an old Macintosh. It is, however, a quick and easy way to experience a bit of nostalgia if you’re not trying to do anything serious with it.

I have been thrilled playing around with this – playing old copies of games like the included Duke Nukem, or my old Mac copy of Dark Forces makes my smile. You should really give it a try!

Head to Github and grab Macintosh.js for your platform now!

Please be aware that we sometimes place affiliate links in our posts. If you make any purchases through those affiliate links, you will be supporting this site with a small percentage of your sale. Thank you.


About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!