Hewlett Packard has been known for manufacturing electronic instruments for a much longer time than they are known for producing the quality computers and printers. Before delving into the computers and their peripherals, they were already producing scientific calculators that were once very popular. One of those calculators that HP manufactured in the 1980s – the HP-42S is still a favorite among some people and they have created an open-source emulator for it that can be used to run an emulation of this HP-42S calculator in Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android.
As far as the HP-42S emulator for Windows is concerned, you can just download the emulator file, extract it to a folder and launch Free42Binary.exe from there. Unlike some other emulators, it does not require any ROM to be downloaded separately. It does not need any ROM files at all. You will see the HP-42S interface as if you are using the real physical calculator yourself. What is more, all the keys can be controlled using keyboard and numeric pad in addition to the mouse pointer.
The HP-42S emulator, just like the real thing, can be used to carry out a number of operations like scientific functions, statistics, probability, equation solving, matrices, complex numbers, variables & registers, and programming. While it does work, it looks a little complicated for today’s standards. You can achieve all these using much easier to use tools for your computers like Python programming language.
The HP-42S emulator comes with two original skins that look just like the HP calculator manufactured in 1985. But you can also download many more skins from its website. In order to use these skins, you can copy all the skin files (each skin needs a GIF file and a LAYOUT file) to the same folder as the Free42Binary.exe and Free42Decimal.exe. After this, you can launch the emulator and select a skin from the Skin menu in the emulator’s menubar .
You can download the HP-42S emulator from http://thomasokken.com/free42/.