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What is an emulator?

Emulators allow one computer system to mimic the functions of another computer system. They help run software designed for other systems and use peripheral devices not available in the host computer.

Every computer and operating system has a specific set of requirements. This means that a program or app that works on one system may not work on another. This is especially true when comparing systems like Windows and macOS or completely different devices like a laptop and a PlayStation.

Emulators allow programs to work on all sorts of hardware. They bridge the gap between different devices, allowing software to run on practically any machine.

Through emulation, digital preservation overcomes obsolescence. The emulation focuses on recreating the original computer environment to preserve a closer relation to the digital object and retain its authenticity. The emulation process can be time-consuming and challenging, but it is helpful.

Emulators usually have three components:

  • CPU emulator (the most complex part)
  • Memory sub-system emulator
  • Different input/output device emulators

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