I often need to run software on old operating systems (e.g. Windows 95, Windows 98, MS-DOS). Currently I have a bunch of old hardware that runs these machines but I was wondering if there was a better solution.

One possible solution is perhaps a DVD containing a number of virtual machines, with each VM corresponding to a particular old OS. An even better solution for me may be some online service, which allows me to logon or VNC into a VM (or real machine) running these OSes.

Do you know of any service or product that is capable of this?

  • I could be completely wrong but I don't think services would do this, due to copyright laws on the operating system / pirating / etc. I could be completely wrong, but I could only imagine seeing Linux virtual machines online. – cutrightjm Dec 13 '11 at 18:02
  • I am willing to pay for the service and submit to reasonable licensing terms. – speedplane Feb 14 '12 at 5:51

You can install those with the free VmWare player, though the developer eddition comes with some ver nice features if you can afford it. While VmWare Player may want to write to the virtual machine files, you can make a DVD with a library of images and copy the image over to a harddrive much like installing a program.

You could also look at application virtualization depending on what you need.

  • I think that local virtualization is the way to go. There's nothing to be gained from running a VM remotely. Bonus link: a Linux VM written in Javascript. – Andrew Lambert Dec 13 '11 at 18:11
  • The nice thing about a remote VM is that I don't have to manage it. That's also the trouble with putting VMs on a DVD. It's a pain to setup. – speedplane Dec 13 '11 at 18:58
  • I have never used it so I am not endorsing it, but cloudshare may do what you want. I'm not sure it will free you from managing it though. Many cloud providers take care of backup and high availabilit for you, but, especially when talking about a VM, you still have to configure and maintain it. In the database world for instance, SQL Azure relieves you of some administrative burdens even as it creates others. – TimothyAWiseman Dec 13 '11 at 20:11

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