There are probably tons of reasons I use old/outdated OSs on virtual machine often, mainly bc I find myself interested in software evolution. Like experiencing trends in GUI from the retro 32-bit colors of w98 to the aero simplicity of w7. Which brings me to customization being another reason. For example I love using w7 on vm to personalize it more than I can on my native mac, with the aero shell, colored themes, slideshow wallpapers and gadgets…
For me, using these outdated OSs are like having secondary computers in a comforting aspect :).
I also use them to run old programs/games that can’t run on my actual OS.
Another reason just hit me, I also use old beta OSs like longhorn for example. Coming back to development, I think longhorn’s features were really interesting, with concepts way ahead of its time.
I think it’s easy to tell now i’ve only used windows on vm. I think I tried macOS 9 once too, but never tried linux distros which are next on my list.
I’ll just say all the OSs I remember using on vm: windows 1.0, windows 98, windows xp, windows Longhorn builds 4029 and 4074, windows vista, windows vienna(custom mod), windows 7, windows 8 beta, windows 8, windows 8.1, windows 11. I did try windows 10 but it wouldn’t boot up for some reason while I was on UTM for silicon, but I used windows 10 on real hardware anyway.
Honestly my favorites (while not being blinded by nostalgia) are all OSs from windows xp to 7. I think they were all significant in UI and functionalities; even if Vista had its problems before, my experience went pretty well with Vista, even under just 1 GB of ram in vm.
The 2000s dominated the computer world imo, and there are so many components I love to explore, it makes legacy computing like experiencing other dimensions (as ridiculous as it sounds lmao). It’s just so different from how modern software is like today: bloatware in every corner, lifeless… remember the phrase “if it’s not broken don’t fix it”? i’m looking at you, windows 8… (・・；)
loll i don’t hate metro, imo there’s a good spark to it too but that’s reserved for another story.
Basically, using legacy software is like a virtual migration for me, reflecting simpler times having all that i’ll ever need in computing anyway. I’d pretty much be better off with windows xp if it was still in service and still supported today’s programs.
Since I’ve only used the software on vms, I get my ISOs from isoriver(ofc) and many websites I also personally trust like techworm.net and internet archive.
For hardware honestly, good luck trying ebay. I remember really wanting the iMac G3 flower power, which was limited edition and I found auctions on ebay. I also tried looking for a windows 7 laptop with stylus support and that was also on ebay so that’s all I can talk about finding hardware since i’m not a hardware geek. d(•‿• )
Honestly for reccomendations, look at as much OSs as you’d like on free-to-use vm, and let that branch out beyond windows, like look at other distros or macOS as well.
If you own anything BUT a silicon mac then I highly recommend vmware, I had the best experience with it but there’s also virtualbox which many people also use.
If you own a silicon mac (like me) then use UTM. Emulation is a tad bit slower but it gets the job done with built-in QEMU, except with some faults at times like lacking a few drivers(such as for aero support).
If you’re planning to own legacy hardware do your best research. I’d say it’s good enough to get a cheaply priced but well-working laptop that can dual boot multiple different old OSs on the applicable hardware. You can also look at tutorials and forums on the internet.
Legacy computing is highly encouraged, especially if you’d like to give it a try. Though I had only 1 year of experience as i’m 15, i’d say it’s worth it. I rlly hope i’ll get my hands on legacy hardware someday ^^