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article imageGamer gets Windows 95 running on an Xbox One

By James Walker     May 18, 2016 in Technology
An Xbox One owner has managed to get Windows 95 running on the modern games console by exploiting the capabilities of Microsoft's Universal Windows Apps platform. The experience lets you run classic PC games and programs on an Xbox.
YouTube user vcfan uploaded a video of an early version of the app this week. Vcfan got Windows 95 running on the console by porting open-source DOS emulator DOSBox to the Universal Windows Platform shared by all Windows 10 devices.
Because the Xbox One is now capable of running Universal Windows Apps (UWAs), vcfan could install the new app on the console and run it as on a PC. Once launched, the app fires up a Windows 95 emulator that lets you use the archaic operating system on the Xbox.
The emulation is good enough to allow you to run popular PC games from the period. The video demonstrates the classic title Duke Nukem 3D running on the Xbox One, although the frame rate isn't high enough for it to be a playable experience.
Vcfan said the DOSBox port is limited in capabilities because it relies on a CPU interpreter to emulate Windows 95. This restricts gaming performance for now, leaving the emulation more a way to try out Microsoft's classic operating system on one of its current flagship products.
DOSBox usually emulates the environment of Microsoft DOS, the terminal-based operating system that preceded modern versions of Windows. Windows 95 was based on DOS, placing a graphical user interface, the Windows desktop, on top of the existing code.
Microsoft stripped DOS out of Windows years ago, moving to the Windows NT platform. Because Windows NT works in a very different way to DOS, it isn't possible to natively run programs from the days of DOS on modern computers. This is where programs like DOSBox step in, providing you with a virtual DOS environment for your 90s gaming classics.
Unfortunately, you can't try the app out today unless you have an Xbox One configured to run in development mode. The Universal Windows Apps support is still in development and is currently in testing with app creators.
The feature will roll out publicly later this summer with Windows 10's Anniversary Update. It will let you install new apps to your Xbox One besides games. Developers will be able to bring the code for their existing Windows 10 apps directly to the Xbox console.
When Universal Windows Apps arrive, the potential for more projects like this DOSBox port to appear on the Xbox One will be much higher. By creating a simple UWA wrapper around existing console emulators, intrepid developers should be able to bring more classic games to the Xbox One, allowing you to play and experience the PC titles of yesteryear on the console of today.
More about Windows, Windows 95, Xbox, xbox one, Gaming
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