Hacker loads Win 3.1 on N95

Hacker loads Win 3.1 on N95

Hacker Marcin-PRV has managed to shoehorn a copy of Windows 3.1 on to his Nokia N95 Symbian-based smartphone via the DOSBox emulator.

In what may well go down as the most awesome – and pointless – hack in smartphone history, a Polish programmer has succeeded in installing a copy of Windows 3.1 on his Nokia N95.

As reported over on BetaNews yesterday, a hacker by the name of Marcin-PRV posted an article on Polish-language bulletin board FrazPC earlier this week which demonstrates a copy of 16-bit operating system Windows 3.1 running alongside the Symbian S60 OS supplied with the 'phone.

The hack required a certain amount of cheating, it must be said: Windows 3.1 was only ever produced for the x86 instruction set, whereas the Nokia N95 runs on a pair of ARM processors – a completely different architecture, and a stumbling block that would ordinarily prevent the software from being installed.

By using a copy of the open-source MS-DOS emulator DOSBox – which is capable not only of emulating an MS-DOS compatible operating system, but also an x86 compatible CPU on otherwise incompatible hardware – compiled for the ARM chip, Marcin was able to get the operating system to install and run successfully, although sadly without access to any of the handset's more advanced hardware such as the in-built transceiver or camera.

Although the hack peaked at the installation of the rather ageing Windows 3.1, Marcin had one last trick up his sleeve: by using an alternative shell – specifically Calmira II – he was able to bring some of the functionality introduced in the 32-bit Windows 95 to the 16-bit Windows 3.1. This introduces a user interface which is a bit more usable on the small screen, but still rather difficult to see – an artifact of the fact that Windows is running at 640x480 on a physical 320x240 screen, which results in text that is a trifle hard to read.

Do you think that Marcin should find better things to do, or can't you wait to learn Polish so you too can have an exclusive Windows 3.1 smartphone? Share your thoughts over in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
p3n 24th February 2009, 10:42 Quote
I used to run full throttle on that emulator on my e61, since when was using an emulator a hack? :>
proxess 24th February 2009, 11:01 Quote
Pretty pointless imho. Even more with so many drawbacks.
UncertainGod 24th February 2009, 11:03 Quote
So the guy just ran dosbox, big whoop.
Timmy_the_tortoise 24th February 2009, 14:12 Quote
When I get a new phone I might try this out with my N95....

Just for the craic.
zimbloggy 24th February 2009, 18:12 Quote
You can't beat Windows 3.1 for quality!
Tyinsar 24th February 2009, 19:39 Quote
/ :) / :?
B3CK 25th February 2009, 20:17 Quote
With no functionality, that's like putting a 69' VW motor in a 2009 Jaguar, sure it fits, it works, and there was nothing wrong with it before, but hey it's there.
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.

Discuss in the forums