Windows 95 under Windows Vista

After I had been able to get a Windows XP running under my Windows Vista using Sun’s Virtualbox I was still experimenting to get a Windows 95 running as well. I had been running into the problem that setup of Windows 95 failed at the point where it started to copy files to the disk. After I got myself the latest version of Virtualbox (3.1.2) I tried again and failed again. Nevertheless, this discussion thread in the Microsoft Server Forum made me a bit smarter so that I could overcome a few problems and finally got Windows 95 installed. The solution was to start the setup from c: root drive as "setup\setup.exe" instead of changing to the setup directory and starting it from there, and to apply the following virtualization configuration settings: 8 MB video memory, 128 MB RAM, 500 MB hard disk ( I actually used the 2 GByte initially recommended by Virtualbox, but configured my primary partition to be 500 MByte ), disabling VT-x/AMD-V and pae/nxBut. So far, so good. After a successful looking installation I attempted to boot it the first time it bumped into an “invalid or corrupted command.com” problem.

I discovered a newer version of Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 which now runs on Windows Vista ( even during the install it told me it wouldn’t be supported on my home edition of Windows Vista ) and thus tried this one to setup a Windows 95 on my Vista box. Same result. Apparently something wrong with my installation media ? But why did the install succeed ?

Finally I got the idea to grab a copy of my virtual Windows 95 hard disk from my old XP machine where I had setup Windows95 under Windows XP using an older version of Microsoft Virtual PC 2007. After I had copied this over my Windows 95 booted up nicely. At least the first time. During the second boot it ran into this problem. A patch is recommended in this discussion thread and it is assumed this error can be caused by the processor speed being too high. Before I tried the patch I disabled hardware virtualization and see: Windows 95 now boots without any problems.

Windows 95 running on Vista

Thus, time now to play Tomb Raider 3 and other good old games in a Windows 95 box on my Vista PC.

Update on February 10, 2010:

After fixing my command.com by copying it over into the root and windows directory from my working Win 95 computer I got Windows 95 also to run using Virtualbox. Network started to work after I manually added the TCP/IP protocol, sound works with Soundblaster 16 support, after I ran the hardware assistance.

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