Windows 95 under Windows XP

Last week I decided to try out Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 and to set up a Windows 95 virtual machine on a Windows XP host which is running on my SONY PCV-RX 202 with 512 MByte RAM and a 1.8 GHz Pentium 4 processor which I purchased in February 2002.

Installation of Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 was easy and also the set up of a virtual machine using the built-in wizard is a piece of cake. Blowing life into the virtual machine nevertheless turned out to be a little bit more complicated.

Challenge # 1 was to obtain a DOS or Windows boot diskette. From www.bootdisk.com I got me one and now was able to boot up my virtual machine the first time and to partition and format my virtual hard drive. Initially I did not seem to get access to my CD drive ( challenge # 2 ) but after I learned that in the CD menu of my virtual machine window I have to select “Use physical drive F:” ( F: is the CD drive of my computer ) this worked as well.

Challenge # 3 was to get an installable Windows 95 image. I did have a companion CD which came with my IBM Aptiva with a Pentium 2 266 MHz processor and 32 MB RAM which I purchased in April 1998 and which is still sitting somewhere under my desk in case I need to run some program under DOS or Windows 95. Unfortunately ( or intentionally I guess ) there is no setup.exe on this CD. Luckily I found this article explaining how to use a companion CD to install Windows 95 and all the missing files I had to add I found of course on my old IBM Aptiva:

  1. Copy the contents of the Win95 directory onto your harddrive into a new directory.
  2. Copy dossetup.bin, oemsetup.bin, oemsetup.exe, setup.exe, setup.txt, suhelper.bin, and winsetup.bin to the same directory (#1 above), from any version of Windows95.
  3. Run setup from the directory you chose in #1, above.

The installation succeeded but took a while and finally my virtual Windows 95 machine went alive. Nevertheless it took long to boot and also mouse movements have been very very slow. While investigating further I learned a couple more things:

Windows 95 running on Windows XP

After I figured out how to mount this version 2004 additions virtual CD and install the additions from there ( it actually starts automatically after a while ) and after I went through and actually ignored a few error messages coming up during this bumpy process I finally ended up with a smoothly responding and fast booting Windows 95 on my Windows XP computer.

It works quiet nice – the first program I tried was Tomb Raider 3 and so far I must say: it is real usable !

This means I now can kiss my old Aptiva good bye and get me some space under my desk for a new machine, after DosBox is doing a quiet good job to run all kinds of DOS programs on my XP box and Microsoft Virtual PC now gives me the option to also run Windows 95 programs which would not run under XP anymore.

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7 Responses to “Windows 95 under Windows XP”

  1. Aditya Says:

    Hi Axel. Have you tried using vmware virtual appliances (http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/cat/45)? There are quite a lot of variations available – mostly Linux-based of course.
    FreeDOS and ReactOS (Open Source implementation of Win XP) can also be run on MS Virtual PC.

  2. amagard Says:

    Thanks for these links, Aditya. As of now I have not tried any of those. For the vmware virtual appliances I guess I need the vmware player, and as I checked their site right now it looks like the player is available for free as well !

  3. Windows XP under Windows Vista « Axel’s Travelog Says:

    […] June 20, 2008 — amagard After doing my first steps with computer virtualization and getting Windows 95 to run under a Windowx XP host system on my old computer and after buying a new computer with Windows Vista installed the next logical […]

  4. Doug Says:

    I am not familiar with MS Virtual PC 2007 – but your information sounds like a solution to something I’m trying to accomplish. I have some old 5.25″ Floppies which have some legacy files which I’d like to see if I can “recover.” I have an old Dell Precision Desktop running Windows XP Pro SP3 and I have a 5.25″ internal floppy drive. I believe I have the ribbon cables as well. I’ve been told the Window XP machine will not permit me to install the floppy drive and that after Windows 95, it would work. So my question is: 1) would your solution solve the operation system and driver issue? and 2) is there a hardware problem that would prevent me from accomplishing my recovery attempt?

    Thanks for your help.
    Doug – Dallas, TX

  5. amagard Says:

    Tough question, Doug ! I have the feeling it won’t work since the Windows 95 guest system most probably won’t be able to access the floppy drive ( even you might be able to install the software driver under Windows 95 ) if it is not supported by the host system.

  6. Windows 95 under Windows Vista « Axel’s Travelog Says:

    […] Posts Planing by the hour in MS ProjectPerl Error “Not a CODE reference …”Windows 95 under Windows XPWindows XP under Windows Vista – with VirtualBox 2.0So you wanna print out your blog ?My third […]

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