Xbox Series X|S can now run Windows 98, Quake, Half-Life, and other PC classics through virtualization

Xbox Series X and Series S with controllers
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • It's now possible to run Windows 98 and classic PC games on the Xbox Series X and Series S.
  • The feat is possible thanks to the RetroArch emulation system and DOSBox Pure.
  • Digital Foundry shared a video showing off classic PC titles running on the Xbox Series X through virtualization.

Remasters and remakes are great, but sometimes you want that vintage feel of classic games. Nostalgic gamers now have another option to relive their favorite titles, thanks to some developers that managed to get Windows 98 to run on the Xbox Series X and Series S. With support for the older operating system comes some of the best retro titles, including Quake, Half-Life, and Turok.

The ability to run these titles and the older OS on the Xbox Series X, Series S, and other devices come courtesy of the RetroArch emulation system and DOSBox Pure. The folks over at Archades Games have a guide on how to get Retroarch onto the Xbox Series X and S (via Eurogamer).

Note that using certain emulation software violates Microsoft's terms and can result in a ban from Xbox Live.

Digital Foundry shared a video showing off Windows 98 and classic games on Microsoft's latest consoles. Fun fact, the script for the video was also written using Microsoft Word on an Xbox Series X.

There are some limitations of this setup, as you'd expect. For example, you can't use a mouse with Windows 98 on the latest Xbox consoles. Instead, you'll have to use a controller to move your mouse around. DOSBox Pure relies on Xbox CPUs rather than GPUs, meaning that you can't use the powerful consoles to run Turok, Half-Life, or other games.

While the classics don't look as good as the best Xbox games, they deliver a high dose of nostalgia that you can't get from newer titles. If you prefer modern graphics, don't miss our collection of the best video game remakes of all time.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).