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Old OS's on modern PCs: Win95 and DOS

Posted on 2013-06-11
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Last Modified: 2013-06-12
I have a client who's super old computer finally gave up on him and he is getting a new one. I didn't really pry to much on why, but he wants me to install Windows 95 and DOS on his new computer (in addition to win7/8 that it comes with).

The oldest OS that I am familiar with is WinXP (I know not that old, but neither am I).

Is this possible? Will modern hardware run such antiquated stuff? Are their drivers? How does it install? Floppys?

Better yet, is there a way that I can download what I need and virtualize it without actually having to partition a hard drive and install it?

I am really out of my element here!

Thank you
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Question by:Jonathong
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15 Comments
 
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Accepted Solution

by:
Manuel Marienne-Duchêne earned 250 total points
ID: 39238153
Yes Virtualise With VirtualBOx it's free

https://www.virtualbox.org/

I've a VM with dos and Windows 3.11
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Expert Comment

by:CompProbSolv
ID: 39238224
I had a similar circumstance recently with a client's old Win 98 computer that died.  I searched through my used computers (mostly 2.8G P4s) and had a very difficult time finding one that would support Win98 completely.  Most of the problems were with the sound and video cards, which he required to work properly.  I was able to resolve it with the oldest of the computers.

I suspect that you will have a VERY difficult time finding drivers for a new computer if you need everything to work properly.  Manumd's suggestion about virtualizing is very likely to be your best choice.
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LVL 118
ID: 39238259
yes, it works on, we still have old OSes on virtual platforms for testing.

VMware Player 5.0 Free Download [FREE]
http://www.vmware.com/go/downloadplayer/

VMware Server 2.0.2 Free Download (discontinued) [FREE]
http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/datacenter_downloads/vmware_server/2_0

VMware Workstation 9.0 (60 day trial, $199) [EVALUATION]
www.vmware.com/go/downloadworkstation
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Assisted Solution

by:Steve Knight
Steve Knight earned 250 total points
ID: 39238323
I have DOS, Windows 3.11, Windows 95, 98, NetWare etc. VM's playable in VMWare Player.  Works great.

Unless applications are very old 16 bit DOS applications they will work upto XP level anyway in many cases, "DOS" wasn't seperate in Windows 95 anyway, though it was more DOS + Windows than the Windows NT stream which turned into 2000, XP, 7 etc.

There are also other apps like "DOSBox" which run actual DOS applications easily.

I'd say give him a Windows 7 64 bit machine install "Windows XP Mode" - free download from Microsoft and it will give you an XP machine.  In there frankly you can run a whole load of DOS and other older apps.

WIndows 7 as you know isn't a massive amount different for a user still having a Start button / menu of sorts, perhaps bit of a jump to Windows 8 at the moment?

If all he does want is Windows 9x then you can soon find a computer being thrown out from a Corporate for nothing or a few quid at local computer shop, anything upto about P4 should be fine with Windows 98SE.

Windows XP Mode --> http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows7/products/features/windows-xp-mode
DOS Box --> http://www.dosbox.com/

Steve
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Author Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39238983
Thank you guys,
I will experiment with your suggestions on my computer before i start goofing with his computer.

I'll let you know how it goes.
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Author Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39239523
Ok so I have VMware player. How do Install DOS?
I got an ISO for Win95, how do I install that too? Do I really need a floppy drive?
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LVL 43

Expert Comment

by:Steve Knight
ID: 39239565
You need the physical floppies for DOS or an image of them, or a CD or the image of the CD for Windows 9x most easily, then just boot off that device in the new VM you create.  I imagine they are posted somewhere available but are copyrighted licensed software and all that...

http://www.freedos.org/ is another alternative

You don't need DOS to be able to use Windows 95, it is self contained with it's own "DOS" version underneath.  Windows 3.x before that DID go on to of DOS.

If you are going for Windows 95 go for Windows 98SE instead, it is the last (decent, then we got Windows ME) version of that stream of Windows and should run anything DOS/Windows related.

Steve
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Author Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39239623
Ok, I dont know if I should start a new thread for this but once I get to step 7, i have problems. (I am using VMware player right now)

I have have the win95 iso mounted on drive e:
I also burned the win95 iso to cd and it is in the physical drive d:

When I try to complete step 7 i get the error "invalid drive specification"
I have also tried drives E though I

What do you think?
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LVL 118
ID: 39239634
Missing CDROM driver in the OS?
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Author Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39239667
How do i check that?
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LVL 118
ID: 39239736
is a driver for the cdrom, in the config.sys file?
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Author Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39242056
I ended up using virtual box instead of vmware. Worked much better, and the user interface was much easier to use.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39242087
Thanks for your time guys. The DOS problem solves itself since you can reboot a Win95 machine into DOS mode.
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LVL 43

Expert Comment

by:Steve Knight
ID: 39242215
Glad you got there.  No need to boot into DOS with Windows 95 for most things, just start a COMMAND.COM DOS prompt within '95.

Steve
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Author Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39242225
Great!
Thanks Steve!
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