virtualization for windows 95 system?

Posted on 2008-06-24
Last Modified: 2013-12-02
I know is a extremely old system i'm about to mention....but the client isn't going to change please bare with me.

My client has a windows 95 system that has a special program they use once a month....i had set it up as a removable hard drive in an older box so they could pop it in only as needed...well the motherboard in that box died and of course i can't get parts for such an old system....and the program they use on the win95 hard drive they dont have the install this hard drive is critical for them...i was wondering if i could copy this hard drive with Ghost and install in a virtual environment on an XP box?...I was thinking about using microsofts free virtualization software but i can used VMware if i have to....

Is this possible to ghost a win 95 drive and copy to a virtualization environment?

any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Question by:scs2007
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Expert Comment

ID: 21858185
You can import ghost 9+ images into vmware
LVL 14

Accepted Solution

agriesser earned 250 total points
ID: 21858203
Yes, it's possible, but you might get driver issues.
The free VMware Server or VMware workstation could help you in this case and if the win95 app does not need a graphical user interface, I made very good experiences using DosBox.

Usually on Win95, programs can be copied from one computer to the other without much additional customization. Have you tried that already, e.g. install a fresh copy of Win95C in any virtualization product and copy the files over to this new installation?

Have you tried to start the Win95 app in XP's compatibility mode already? That sometimes works for very old apps too...

Author Comment

ID: 21858468
thanks for your suggestions...both are very helpful...i'll try some things...and left you know and which works best....and assign points...if you think of any more simple solutions let me know...although both options should be pretty simple.
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

ID: 21861876
You won't get windows 95 to run on a PM (protected mode OS) correctly, because any PM prohibits direct access to the hardware.  Simply clone the disk to a new one, find an old hardware setup, and put the new hard drive into it.  Windows95 will adjust for the new hardware (you will need drivers).  This is the ONLY way you will get 95 to run natively.  Even VM is a PM OS, and it will prohibit 95 from accessing hardware directly.  This may or may not affect the application.  But if you want to make your client happy, don't give him a complex thing like a virtual machine, just give him another old system dedicated to 95.  He will be happy

Author Comment

ID: 21862797
Well thats what i've done twice already was setup an old system that would work with win95..but the problem with old systems is they are old and of course cant get parts for at some point i'm going to run out of old systems that will work......thats why i'm trying my best to thing of a more long term solution like virtualization if at all possible...of course if virtualization isn't possible that we'll have to take alternative means, for the immediate future i'll prolly stick to the old system setup as i have another that will work....just trying to think ahead.

Thanks for your input
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 21863228
I wouldn't say that virtual machines are very complex things for clients to handle. When they see the benefit of having their applications virtualized, they usually are eager to learn how to handle it (including online snapshots of the whole installation, easy access to network printers and file shares using either the HGFS module or some other means like that, copy paste from one machine to the other, etc. etc.

Personally, I virtualized many old Win95 and Dos installations and my clients were always very happy with the virtualized solution, no complaints by now.

Author Comment

ID: 21863378
what virtualization product did you use for the windows 95 installation? VMware or microsofts?

my issue may be i may have to use a ghost they dont have the installation disk for their win 95 application....hopefully that wont be an issue.......i'm going to try and copy the application over i know that older applications wasnt as tied to the registry as they are some will let you just copy the program over without actually installing it.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 21863456
I do always stick with VMware, but that might be a personal thing.

Do you have the license key for win95 available? If so, an iso image of win95 shouldn't be that hard to find...

Expert Comment

ID: 21870455
as others commented before, yes you can boot your VM using a ghost disk and restore the image on it. Maybe you will face drivers issue but nothing to worry about: install vmtools, follow the instructions and that's it.

Also, you can download a iso image of Win95 (I'm totally sure it is out there... just need a Win95 key), boot your VM using the ISO image and install a clean version of WIn95 and move your app to this clean installation (maybe it s not the desired since you must re-isntall and configure that old app that maybe don't have support).

I recommend you for this scenario to use VMWare Server (for free) or a better approach is to use VMWare Workstation ACE that allows you to, once your VM is created, deploy it on a DVD or pendrive among VMWare Player.

LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Casey Herman
ID: 21874073
IT has been awhile since I touched a windows 95 machine but I would imagine that you can ghost that into vmware then boot it in safe mode remove all the hardware from device manager.  Then reboot and it should work fine. After it detects all the hardware and reboots a few hundred times then you whould be able to install vmware tools. I have ran windows 95 before in a vmware instance so I know that it does not have an issue with direct hardware access.

LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 21924337
Have you tried any of the above suggestions so far?

Author Comment

ID: 21960741
well i tried to copy the program folder to xp but it gave errors...i installed a fresh install on of win95 on vmware and its worked liked a charm...only thing left to test is if it will print to a Parallel printer..Thanks for all your input

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