The Xbox Series X Can Run Windows 98, Play Classic PC Games
by Adrianna Nine
(Photo: Billy Freeman/Unsplash)If you’ve missed the sweet, sweet boot-up noise of Windows 98, we have good news: your Xbox Series X can run the classic operating system.
Digital Foundry, a blog and YouTube channel specializing in hardware and game reviews, recently tested the OS through a fork of the DOSBox emulator called DOSBox Pure. The emulator itself is typically reserved for Windows, Mac, or Linux systems, but participation in Microsoft’s paid Partner Network and turning on the Series X’s developer mode allows access. (This is best performed by actual Xbox developers and it’ll cost you money if you want to try it) It was from here that Digital Foundry installed Windows 98 Second Edition directly onto the machine.
( Editors Note: Windows 98 SE wasn’t always stable with more than 512MB of RAM unless you modded the installation, but that doesn’t appear to be an issue when running it via emulation)
The goal wasn’t to revisit Internet Explorer 5.0 or good old MSN Messenger, though Digital Foundry’s video of the experiment implies they could have if they’d wanted to. (The team did pay Microsoft’s Clippy a visit and fool around with MS Paint, both of which should frankly be necessary if you’re going to install Windows 98 anywhere.) Instead, Digital Foundry sought to test a handful of now-vintage PC games on the modern Xbox console. Because the Xbox Series X can’t read 20-plus year old discs, running each game required the team to create ISO files on an actual PC, then boot them up through RetroArch.
Digital Foundry played Roller Coaster Tycoon, Quake 2, Turok, and nine other titles with few issues. Playing the games required Digital Foundry to emulate a mouse on the Xbox controller, as RetroArch currently won’t facilitate a connection between the console and a physical mouse. Otherwise video and audio playback were both relatively…