First Look

From our nostalgia department: A simulation of an IBM XT running Windows 1.01

And it's all in Javascript and runs on all modern browsers ....

windows 1.01

There’s something about heading into winter that’s makes us nostalgic. The year’s winding down, it’s getting cold (or, as here in California, less hot … there’s something so wrong about cooking Christmas dinner wearing shorts and sun block, but I digress), and along with the changing seasons there’s a tendency to look back … and so today I have a serious trip down memory lane for you; well, a trip down memory lane for some of you; you Millennials missed out on this …

A list-friend of mine, Dan O’Neil somewhere in San Diego, Calif., posted a link to a simulation of Windows v1.01!  “Oh, the humanity!” you might be crying but wait, it gets better. This simulation is actually of an IBM 5160 PC with:

… a clock speed of 4.77Mhz, with 256Kb of RAM and a CGA display, using the original IBM PC Model 5160 ROM BIOS and CGA font ROM. / This PC XT configuration also includes a 10Mb hard disk with Windows 1.01 pre-installed. This particular configuration will NOT save any changes when your browser exits, since it has been pre-configured to always start Windows 1.01 in the same state.

screen shot 2015 12 08 at 7.58.04 pm

Even better: Woo-hoo ... I just beat Connect4!

screen shot 2015 12 08 at 6.57.55 pm

The web site can also emulate an IBM PC (Model 5150), MDA, 64K, CP/M-86;  an IBM PC (Model 5150), MDA, 64K, IBM Diagnostics v2.20; and an IBM PC (Model 5150), CGA, 64K, Zork I.

This simulation is part of the PCjs Project on GitHub which includes:

  • PCjs, a simulation of the original IBM PC (circa 1981)
  • C1Pjs, a simulation of the OSI Challenger 1P (circa 1978)

What’s really impressive is that:

All the simulations are written entirely in JavaScript. No Flash, Java or other plugins are required. Supported browsers include modern versions of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer (v9.0 and up), Edge, and assorted mobile browsers.

I find it amazing that anyone would invest so much time and effort into reviving these now archaic systems but different strokes and so on.

As another list friend commented “Reanimating Windows 1 is a little like running a food poisoning simulator” although he did add, “but if it runs XyWrite, I want it.”

Yep, nostalgia ain’t what it used to be …

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