Virtual OS

By gbhall
Jan 15, 2009
  1. I currently run XP-home SP3 but have occasional need to run earlier operating Systems, especially Win98se. I have in the past dual-booted Win-XP and Win98, but recently find great difficulty in even installing Win98 and peripherals such as printer because of a lack of drivers.

    I have become aware of the huge potential of Virtual OS's and have quickly come to realise that to appeal for advice from people who have used these things could easily save me literally weeks or months of frustrating trial and error and even starting in the wrong direction.

    Anyone generous enough to share their experiences with any of the following virtualisation systems would be hugely welcome.

    MS virtualPC (can this run on XP-home, the website seems not willing to reveal)
    Sun Virtualbox
    VMware (could this run 'on-the metal' as well as, or instead of, running under XP ?)

    In hopeful anticipation
  2. lopdog

    lopdog TS Maniac Posts: 295


    I only have experience with Sun Virtualbox, and I think it's great for anything EXCEPT Win9x.
    This VM does not support Win9x, and their Guest Additions (drivers, OS integration etc.) doesn't work for this Os's. You'll only get 640x480 resolution and 16 colors (!). I managed to get true color and higher resolution using SciTech Display Doctor, but Windows 95-98-ME runs so slow that it can't be used to anything. Every time you click the mouse you have to wait a few seconds for anything to happen.

    But for win2k and above it works perfectly, also with most Linux distros.

    I've added some screenshots, just do a search for "OS history" in the picture gallery.

    Just ask if you have any other questions.
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    That makes me happy to hear. I tried WinME on it twice, with a full wipe and install of the host OS on that machine between the trials and both times got such terrible performance it literally felt like it was running on a 386, seriously, like 3+ hour install times and a completely unusable OS.

    So another vote against VirtualBox for 9x.
  4. lopdog

    lopdog TS Maniac Posts: 295

    Ok, I've used Virtual PC a day now, using a Windows 95/98/ME, and this is what I think:

    It's a very easy (and basic) VM, not many options, and basically it only works with Windows and OS/2 Warp (I haven't tried, but you can probably run other systems, like Linux). I found it to be very picky about floppy disk images, most of mine did not work.

    But old versions of Windows runs fast and without problems. I didn't need any extra drivers to get high screen resolutions and true color, and it felt like I was really running Windows ME on a Core2Duo! I even got OS/2 Warp 4 to run.

    Installing the OS's was a little problematic, not because of Virtual PC, but because these old windows-versions aren't even bootable.
    I still haven't tried VMWare, but if I do I'll let you know. But if you need a VM for anything before Win2k, Virtual PC is better than VirtualBox.
  5. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 1,971   +10

    No problem installing Win 98 SE, in Virtual Pc.

    1. Easy to install Virtual Pc2007 SP1.
    2. Easy to Install Win98 SE in the Virtual Machine.
    3. Physical DVD/CD writer not accessible from VM. USB support limited (no USB printers accessible).
    4. Local LPT can access printer.
    5. Can drag and drop files/folders between Host and Guest. (must load VM Add On)
    6. A variety of network configurations possible.
    7. Very little help info on the net, but plenty of it in the Help Menu of Virtual PC.
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