This document details the steps needed to make older web browsers run on modern computers.

Netscape 0.92 running on Windows 10 version 1909

Classic browsers on Windows 10 #

Windows 10 will run surprisingly old software as long as you’re running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of the application. There are some quirks that need to be taken into account to make old web browsers run or install properly on Windows 10. This becomes sometimes apparent when trying to run 16-bit Windows software designed for Windows 3.x. Any 16-bit software will function in a 64-bit copy of Windows 10, however software compiled for 32-bit will usually work, with some tweaking. Many early web browsers had 32-bit versions available.

Update: There now seems to be a way to run 16-bit applications on modern versions of 64-bit Windows. See WineVDM project for more details. You can find a compiled binary on the right side of the page under “Releases” which at the time of writing was 0.8.1.

How to run old versions of Netscape Navigator #

I’ve noticed that the 32-bit edition of Netscape for Windows 95/NT will not successfully install on a computer with a 64-bit edition of Windows. This is because the installer is 16-bit, even though the browser itself is 32-bit. While a 64-bit edition of Windows 10 will run 32-bit software, running the installer is impossible, since it is only 16-bit. To get around this limitation, you’ll need to install the software on a 32-bit Windows system to extract the files. Once you’ve installed the browser, you can copy it’s binaries anywhere on a 64-bit Windows 10 computer and run them from there.

  • For your convenience, I’ve created a preinstalled portable packages of Netscape that will run directly in Windows 10 without installation. Scroll down to the Downloads section to grab them. You may unzip anywhere, and add a shortcut to the executable on your desktop.

RetroZilla #

This is a web browser with modern enhancements that is based of the Mozilla 1.8 web browser, supporting tabs, scrolling, HTML source syntax highlighting, and many other modern features, while remaining compatible with old websites.

Downloads #

Please see this page for downloads of specific web browsers. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the download links.