Nostalgia overload: Online Mac emulator takes you back to 1991 (and folder tabs spotted in Windows 95, too)

Apple Mac Mini M1 computer on a desk with keyboard
(Image credit: Djordje Novakov / Shutterstock)

There’s a pretty cool online emulator that lets you play with a virtual Mac running System 7 (also known as Mac OS 7).

9to5Mac picked up this one, noting that while there has been an app giving you a full System 7 experience, you can now run a virtual installation of the ancient OS simply by visiting this web page.

System 7, which first debuted in 1991 – and was renamed Mac OS 7 with the release of the final version in 1997 – works in all its monochrome glory.

System 7 emulator

(Image credit: Leonardo Russo)

It was a somewhat controversial operating system at the time because it required a lot more RAM than its predecessor, System 6, and couldn’t be run from a floppy disk (remember those?).

Furthermore, with the second version of the OS, System 7.1, Apple began the practice of charging a fee for the operating system (for a time). As you might expect, that wasn’t well-received.

Of course, you won’t have to pay a cent to have a nostalgic spin on the web-based emulator.

Analysis: Windows into the past

It’s pretty cool to step back in time in such an easy and convenient way, even for those who didn’t have a Mac in 1991, or weren’t even born then, perhaps.

What was Microsoft doing in 1991? It had Windows 3.0 running as a graphical interface on top of MS-DOS, and at the time, users faced similarly steep hardware requirements for Microsoft’s desktop OS, with many existing PCs not being able to run it. The times, they were a-changin’…

Interestingly, for those wanting to reminisce about the computing days of yore, we saw on X (formerly Twitter) that someone had tweeted (see below) that early builds of Windows 95 actually had folder tabs in File Explorer (a feature introduced with Windows 11). It was long before the world was ready for that innovation, though.

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).