Installing Windows 95 on an older computer

Posted on 1998-05-19
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-16
If I install Windows 95 on a computer that currently has Windows 3.1 will I lose all my applications and files that are currently in 3.1?
Question by:kimg
  • 3

Accepted Solution

blij earned 100 total points
ID: 1755945
No if you have the upgrade version of Windows 95.
Be sure to have the first floppy of win3.1 at hand , because
Win95 will do a check for the old OS, just browse onto that floppy and the win95 install will continue.
Another solution (f.i. when you don't have the w95 upgrade) is
to install win95 into a directory other than windows, take
f.e. c:\win95,  this way you'll have a dual boot between dos/win
3.11 and windows95.
After this copy all .grp files you find in win3.11 in the win95\system directory and point in the autoexec PATH command
to the old windows directory.
PATH=c:\windows;c:\windows\system   , this way your groups and icons will be copied to win95 and when clicking the icons, the
programm in question will find all the required .DLL's.
Good Luck
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 1755946
If you want to dual boot?? It's really good to have your old DOS handy for fixing things.
Based on material developed by Robert Winthrop and Guy Gallo

For the first few months (perhaps more) of your use of Windows 95, you may want to be able to boot into Windows 3.1 and

By default, Windows 95 installs itself into your WINDOWS directory. Once this is done, your old version of Windows and your
old version of DOS are removed and cannot be recovered. Windows 95 provides a dual boot option. This lets you install
Windows 95 into a different directory from the one in which you have installed Windows 3.1. However, this option will not install
any applications into the new Windows 95 directory. This means that you have to install each application twice. This is
Microsoft's recommendation for dual-booting, since it guarentees that any applications you install into Windows 95 will be
complete installations. The method described below avoids this. It lets you install Windows 95 for a dual boot while retaining
your Windows 3.1 and DOS installation.

Note that once you use this dual-boot method, you will have essentially two systems. From this point on, any application you
then install in one will not be installed in the other unless you explicitly install it.

CAUTION: Don't attempt this if you are not comfortable editing system files, changing PATHs, etc.

In the directions below, we use the following names for directories. If your directories have different names, use those names.

Windows 3.1 directory: C:\WINDOWS Windows 95 directory: C:\WIN95 Old DOS directory: C:\DOS Second DOS directory:

To create the dual boot:

1.Exit Windows.
2.Copy your entire Windows directory into a new directory. In these instructions, we use the directory name WIN95. Make
 sure to copy all subdirectories as well. You can use XCOPY: XCOPY C:\WINDOWS\*.* C:\WIN95 /s
3.Boot into Windows and run the File Manager.
4.List the .INI files in your WIN95 directory. Make sure you are in your WIN95 directory. One by one, edit every .INI file.
 Replace every reference to your old Windows directory with your new Windows directory. For example, if the reference
 is to C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM replace it with C:\WIN95\SYSTEM. Note that double-clicking on an INI file will load it into
 Notepad which will allow you to edit it. Notepad does not provide search and replace operations, so you may want to
 use a different text editor.
5.Copy your DOS directory to another directory. For example, you could copy C:\DOS to C:\DOS6.22.
6.Edit your AUTOEXEC.BAT file:

       Replace your path to C:\WINDOWS with C:\WIN95.

       Change any other references to the Windows directory in your AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files to the new directory.

7.Exit Windows.
8.Reboot your system. You should be in the WIN95 directory.

       Make sure your principal applications still work.

       Make sure you are in the WIN95 directory.
       (The easiest way to do this is to open an application that writes to your WINDOWS directory, such as WRITE or PAINT, and do a File
       Open. If the directory shown is C:\WIN95, you are ok.)

9.Install Windows 95 and verify that it and your major applications are working.
10.Run an MS-DOS prompt from Windows 95.
11.Change to the root directory of your hard disk (C:\ usually).
12.Edit your AUTOEXEC.DOS file (Note the extension. IMPORTANT!!!):

       Change the Path to point to your old Windows directory.

       Change all references to the DOS directory to the new directory into which you copied DOS (DOS6.22 in our instructions above).

       If you are using a network or a CD-ROM, you will notice that the Windows 95 installation program has added REM statements to your
       network, CD-ROM, and other commands. Remove these REM statements.

13.Edit your CONFIG.DOS file in the same way.
14.If your AUTOEXEC.BAT file called other Batch files, the Windows 95 setup may have changed those as well.

       Copy these files into Batch files with different names.

       For example, if you have a file called: STARTNET.BAT that starts your network, you should copy it into another file: START31.BAT

       Edit the new files and change your AUTOEXEC.DOS file to call the new files.

       For example, if your AUTOEXEC.BAT called a file STARTNET.BAT, you would: Copy STARTNET.BAT to a new file, START31.BAT. Edit
       START31.BAT to remove REM statements, change directory paths, etc. Edit AUTOEXEC.DOS to call START31.

15.Change the attributes on your MSDOS.SYS file: ATTRIB -H -S -R MSDOS.SYS
16.Edit the MSDOS.SYS file. In the Options section, add the following lines: BootMulti=1 BootMenu=1 BootMenuDefault=1
17.Save the file.
18.Test the new configuration:

       Exit from Windows 95 and reboot your computer.

       A menu will appear. Option 1, Normal, will boot Windows 95. If you do not select another option within 15 seconds, Windows 95 will

       Option 8 will be called Boot Your Old MS-DOS system [check wording]. Select this to boot MS-DOS and Windows 3.1.

 Once the system is working properly, you will automatically boot into Windows 95, but can select Window 3.1 when you
 want. Remember that after you install Windows 95, any applications that you then install to Windows 95 will not be
 installed into Windows 3.1 and vice versa. This procedure will only install applications that were installed at the time of
 the Windows 95 installation.
Do you run OSR2?
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 1755947
Here's another way:
A dual boot will give you the option of what operating system you load (ie) Windows95 or Windows

                           Why would I ever need to have a dual boot option?

well, we all know that Windows 95 is not totally bug free and that certain software does not run too
good on Windows 95, by setting up dual boot you have the best of both worlds, Windows95 and/or
Windows 3.1x.

                   To install a dual boot, just follow the step by step instructions below.

  1:Install Dos 6.2x and then Windows 3.1x.

  2:Install Windows 95 as per instruction manual, but when asked what directory to install to, change the directory from
C:\Windows to something like C:\Win95.

                You MUST install to a different directory and NOT to the existing C:\Windows directory.

  3:After Windows 95 has been installed and setup correctly, open up the Dos window or exit to the Dos prompt (ie) C:\.
There is a file called MSDOS.SYS.At the C:\ prompt type ATTRIB MSDOS.SYS -S -H -R.

  4:Copy the MSDOS.SYS file to a floppy disk just in case you screw up the file on your hard disk.

  5:At the C:\ prompt type EDIT MSDOS.SYS.

  6:Move the cursor under the line that says [OPTIONS] and add the new line BOOTMULTI=1.

           Note: This line may already be in your MSDOS.SYS file, if so, just exit and return to the C:\ prompt.

  7:If you had to add the line BOOTMULTI=1 in your MSDOS.SYS file then SAVE the file NOW over writing the file on
your hard disk.

  8:At the C:\ prompt type ATTRIB MSDOS.SYS +S +H +R, this will put the file back to its original state

  9:Restart your PC and if you want to load WINDOWS 95 then let the machine boot up as normal, however if you want to
load up DOS 6.2x and/or WINDOWS 3.1x, press F4 when you see the message, STARTING WINDOWS 95 on your monitor

  10:Thats all there is to it.
A real good metod
How to DualBoot

LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 1755948
If you are going to load OSR2, then go here:


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