Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

VirtualBox and older operating systems

  1. #1

    VirtualBox and older operating systems

    Hello Guys,

    Has anyone managed to get older O/S's like Windows 95, 98 and ME running on VirtualBox on Windows 8, I used to be able to run all Operating Systems when I had my Vista set up. Strangely I can install and run DOS and Win 3.1 but not Win 95, Win 98 and Win ME. Anything from XP works fine.



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  2. #2

    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

    Is this a filesystem problem? - Whereas MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 resided on FAT formatted hard disks. FAT32 was for the Windows 9x brigade, and NTFS for XP etc.

    Let's see how we used to do it in the old days...

    Before you started you needed a boot floppy with CD-ROM support, A Windows '95 install CD, which was not bootable, a CD-ROM drive and a Hard drive usually between 512 and 1024 MB - 1 gig or less - bigger drives were a problem and quite rare then.

    You needed a formatted DOS 6.2 or better boot partition with the system files on it to install to, I recall, the method in those days was boot from a DOS system floppy in the a:\ drive, run Format c: /s but not reboot yet, so that the CD-ROM drivers on the floppy would still work and then copy the contents from the CD-ROM to the hard drive, which was faster than installing from the CD-ROM. The DOS commands (in red)were as follows:
    C:\>md windows
    C:\>cd windows
    C:\WINDOWS>md options
    C:\WINDOWS>cd options
    C:\WINDOWS\OPTIONS>md cabs
    C:\WINDOWS\OPTIONS>cd cabs
    C:\WINDOWS\OPTIONS\CABS>copy d:\win95\*.*

    Where d:\ was the CD-ROM drive. Once the files had copied, it was time to reboot, removing the CD-ROM and Boot floppy.
    On rebooting from the hard disk, you were taken to the C:\prompt, and it was a case of navigating to the setup folder that had all the setup cabs in it.

    C:\>cd \windows\options\cabs

    I think that the setup complained that there was no HIMEM.SYS, but just continue, it would be configured on rebooting, and it was best not to select any of the hardware, even if prompted to at this time, because that often caused setup to hang.
    When asked where to install windows, choose c:\windows
    After Setup has completed, reboot.

    Plug and play often found most common devices quite well, but not all...

    You may then need to open device manager to install some of your devices, one way was to delete the device and reboot so that Windows found it, another was to pick the exact driver yourself. I don't know if Virtualbox has device drivers for Windows 9x. In its guest additions or whatever.

    If you think that Windows 95 was tough to install, you should try OS/2 2,1 or Warp 3. All those floppy swaps - nightmare, but the system was stable once installed and ran windows 3.1 seamlessly, or so it seemed for a few months until Windows 95 came along.

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  3. #3

    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7
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  4. #4

    I've installed VMware now guys, last night i had a right trip down memory lane installing win95 OSRII , I had to dig deep to remember how to partition and format the HD, good old fdisk, we don't know lucky we are with our modern bootable installation DVD's. it only took about 20 minutes, if I remember correctly it used to take 1-1.5 hours!.

    What version did the windows disks come through as bootable, was it XP?

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  5. #5

    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64

    Quote Originally Posted by tonymarcus View Post
    What version did the windows disks come through as bootable, was it XP?
    It was Win98 SR2. This one boots in VMware from CD.
    ...Start with CD ROM support and without using any floppy disk.
    XP also boots from CD but with SP2 to be sure. I don't know about the first release but it needed 6 floppies in some cases!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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