After developer Nick Lee realized that the Apple Watch's 520 MHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage made it more powerful than many desktops running Windows 95 in the 1990s, he felt confident he could get it to run Microsoft's successful operating system.

applewatchwindows95

Photo via Nick Lee

To get Windows 95 to run on the Apple Watch, Lee knew he couldn't rely on Apple's WatchKit SDK because it doesn't allow developers to directly access user touch locations. Instead, the SDK forces developers to use Apple's stock controls. So Lee had to patch certain files within a WatchKit app to load his own app code rather than Apple's. Lee tells MacRumors the process, which puts an x86 emulator into a self-contained Watch app, essentially turned Windows 95 into an an app.

Once Windows 95 was loaded onto the Apple Watch, the booting process took an hour because it's being emulated rather than virtualized. Lee also had to attach a straw to a small motor that nudged the Digital Crown periodically to keep the Watch awake. Once the Watch is all booted up and ready, users can control the mouse with their finger. However, because the emulation is so slow, Lee told MacRumors that "it only registers a few pixels per movement on the screen." To combat the lack of speed users can queue up commands by rapidly swiping on the display.


The Watch can be seen booting up and running Windows 95 in the video above, and Lee goes into further detail about the process in his Medium post.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

garirry Avatar
102 months ago
It's quite impressive how a once very big computer can all be ran on a tiny watch today.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
andrewgasson Avatar
102 months ago
('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/04/29/apple-watch-windows-95/')


After developer Nick Lee ('https://twitter.com/nickplee') realized that the Apple Watch's 520 MHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage made it more powerful than many desktops running Windows 95 in the 1990s, he felt confident he could get it to run ('https://medium.com/tendigi-insights/i-installed-windows-95-on-my-apple-watch-589fda5e36d#.3h04a5jwq') Microsoft's successful operating system.


Photo via Nick Lee
To get Windows 95 to run on the Apple Watch, Lee knew he couldn't rely on Apple's WatchKit SDK because it doesn't allow developers to directly access user touch locations. Instead, the SDK forces developers to use Apple's stock controls. So Lee had to patch certain files within a WatchKit app to load his own app code rather than Apple's. Lee tells MacRumors the process, which puts an x86 emulator into a self-contained Watch app, essentially turned Windows 95 into an an app.

Once Windows 95 was loaded onto the Apple Watch, the booting process took an hour because it's being emulated rather than virtualized. Lee also had to attach a straw to a small motor that nudged the Digital Crown periodically to keep the Watch awake. Once the Watch is all booted up and ready, users can control the mouse with their finger. However, because the emulation is so slow, Lee told MacRumors that "it only registers a few pixels per movement on the screen." To combat the lack of speed users can queue up commands by rapidly swiping on the display.



The Watch can be seen booting up and running Windows 95 in the video above, and Lee goes into further detail about the process in his Medium post ('https://medium.com/tendigi-insights/i-installed-windows-95-on-my-apple-watch-589fda5e36d#.3h04a5jwq').

Article Link: Developer Gets Apple Watch to Run Windows 95 ('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/04/29/apple-watch-windows-95/')
Laggy as hell. Just like watch OS.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
edenwaith Avatar
102 months ago
My initial reaction was an amused laugh. Quite clever what can be done.

Still, not as impressive as Dilbert's web browser in a ring:

('http://assets.amuniversal.com/57a9bd10a12a012f2fe600163e41dd5b')
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
corbindavenport Avatar
102 months ago
I got this working on Android Wear a while back. Was really fun to try, and certainly didn't expect for it to go viral:



For that video I was using a pretty awful port of DOSBox to Android. I found out after that video you could add RAM/CPU cycles by changing the config file hidden in the app's files.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacsRgr8 Avatar
102 months ago

BUT WHY?
Because:
a) You can
b) It's amusing
c) Gives perspective to how the tech of modern a smartwatch compares to a desktop PC of some 15 - 20 years ago.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MH01 Avatar
102 months ago
That's cool, beats constant news about new bands.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Apple car wheel icon feature yellow

Apple Cancels Electric Car Project

Tuesday February 27, 2024 11:05 am PST by
Apple has canceled all plans to release an autonomous, electric vehicle, reports Bloomberg. Apple has been working on an Apple Car for more than a decade and invested millions of dollars into development before deciding it was not a viable project. Apple's Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams today told approximately 2,000 employees working on the Apple Car that the project was canceled,...
iOS 18 Mock iPhone 16 Feature Gray

iOS 18 Rumored to Be Compatible With These iPhone Models

Tuesday February 27, 2024 6:31 am PST by
iOS 18 will be compatible with the iPhone XR, and thereby also the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models with the same A12 Bionic chip, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS updates. The post was spotted by MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris, and it has since been deleted. However, this was likely because the...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Coming Soon With These New Features for Your iPhone

Monday February 26, 2024 6:08 am PST by
In a press release last month, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU, Apple Podcasts transcripts, and an iMessage security upgrade. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay...
applearcade

Game Developers Describe 'Smell of Death' Around Apple Arcade

Monday February 26, 2024 7:24 am PST by
Some game developers are dissatisfied with Apple Arcade amid concerns about the subscription service's future, a new report claims. Sources speaking to mobilegamer.biz described a "smell of death" around Apple's games subscription service and noted the difference between the company's investment in TV and music, and its interest in games. "At the very top of the company there needs to be a ...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iPad Air 5

iPadOS 18 Rumored to Drop Support for These iPad Models

Tuesday February 27, 2024 6:55 am PST by
iPadOS 18 will drop support for iPad models equipped with the A10X Fusion chip, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS and iPadOS updates. This means that iPadOS 18 would not be compatible with the first-generation 10.5-inch iPad Pro or the second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro models released in 2017. It...