Raspberry Pi 3 meets Windows 98: Project brings classic Windows OS to DIY 'watch'

The Windows Wrist Watch 2.0 boots the classic Windows 95, 98 and XP operating systems on the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and displays them on a wearable touchscreen.

If you're nostalgic for pixelated charms of Windows 95 and XP, and own a Raspberry Pi, here's a project for you.

The Windows Wrist Watch 2.0 boots the classic Windows 95, 98 and XP operating systems on the Raspberry Pi and displays them on a wearable four-inch touchscreen.

The project is a fun experiment rather than serious endeavor, with the classic Windows operating systems running incredibly slowly, due to the sizeable overhead of running them on the QEMU emulator on the Pi, and suffering from showstopping bugs.

The "watch" itself also looks rather clunky, and is basically akin to strapping a large phone to your wrist.

Nevertheless modder Michael Darby has succeeded in getting the operating systems to boot on the Pi, running them from the Raspbian operating system using voice commands powered by the online service wit.ai.

"The Windows versions themselves look really great on the screen, the pixel density is quite high and Windows XP especially looks very nice, invoking some serious nostalgia for me," he wrote.

SEE: Hardware spotlight: The Raspberry Pi (Tech Pro Research)

The project requires a Pi 3 Model B+, Pimoroni's HyperPixel 4.0 screen, and various other components, which require a bit of light soldering to assemble. Setting up the software may also take some time, and will require you to run QEMU on another PC. The instructions for piecing together the hardware and the software, along with links to the necessary code, are included here.

The Windows Wrist Watch is an ongoing project for Darby, who showed off his first Windows 98 wearable last year, and who plans to emulate newer versions of Windows on his next device.

"As for what I can do for the next one - I may actually sit down and properly design some aesthetics for it, maybe work with someone who can help me on this and get something 3D printed so it looks a little more pleasing to the eye," he says.

SEE: Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

"I may also look into trying to emulate Windows Vista on a Pi or something ridiculous like that."

If you've got a Raspberry Pi and an old copy of Windows knocking around, then you can also try your hand at getting them running without going to the trouble of building a watch. Instructions for Windows 3.1 are available here, for Windows 95 here, for Windows 98 here and Windows XP here.

windowswatch.png

The Windows Wrist Watch 2.0 runs Windows XP.

Image: Michael Darby / Hackster.io under GPL 3.0 http://opensource.org/licenses/GPL-3.0

By Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.