VIRTUAL PC 2004 FAQ!
by metzomagic


Boomers, hi,

For the record, and thanks to the help of fellow Boomers who kindly donated their time and expertise, we now have the following games that are either impossible or very difficult to get working in XP running perfectly in a Windows 98 virtual machine:

Arthur's Knights: Secret Of Merlin
AMBER: Journeys Beyond
Dark Side of the Moon (with visible dialogue trees)
The Feeble Files
Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh
Noir: A Shadowy Thriller
9: The Last Resort

Furthermore, I have replaced this original topic with a reproduction of the current Virtual PC 2004 FAQ as it exists on Quandary.

Note: if you can get a game running in XP using the usual techniques, namely: DOSBox, VDMSound, ScummVM, or Compatibility Mode, then Virtual PC 2004 is a bit of overkill. For DOS games especially, it leaves you with config.sys and autoexec.bat to grapple with, just like in the old days. So don't go all 'flahoolick' with it 

And without further ado, the FAQ:

Q. What is Virtual PC 2004?
A. Virtual PC 2004 is a product originally developed by Connectix, which Microsoft purchased. Until recently, you had to pay upwards of $250 to obtain Virtual PC (we'll leave off the '2004' from now on to save the ol' Carpal tunnel). But now Microsoft have released it as freeware :-)

Virtual PC allows you to create virtual machines that will run inside of Windows XP. You can install any older Microsoft operating system in a virtual machine. For instance: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, etc.

Q. What's the advantage of using Virtual PC instead of setting up your machine to 'dual boot'?
A. Dual boot means that you have your PC set up so that it can start in more than one operating system. However, this is usually not an easy undertaking. Most PCs nowadays come factory installed with a single NTFS (New Technology File System) partition on your hard drive. Older Microsoft operating systems like Windows 95 OSR2 and Windows 98 used FAT32 (File Allocation Table), and cannot use NTFS. So setting up a PC to dual boot Windows 98 and Windows XP means reformatting the hard drive, setting up a FAT32 partition for Windows 98, and an NTFS partition for Windows XP. I can assure you that this procedure is not recommended for the faint of heart!

On the other hand, using Virtual PC couldn't be simpler. It emulates FAT32 on NTFS, meaning that you don't have to so much as touch your existing Windows XP installation.

Q. What do I need in order to use Virtual PC?
A. While Microsoft may be giving away Virtual PC, they're not so keen on giving away their old operating systems, no matter how obsolete. So in order to install an operating system on a virtual machine you have created, you will need the original CD along with its product key. If you're a pack rat like me, this should be no problem.

Officially, you need Windows XP Professional with SP2 to use Virtual PC... but that's only 'officially', as in 'supported'. I can testify that it works just fine on XP Home, even with SP1 :-)

Q. Where can I download Virtual PC?
A. Download and install via:

1. Direct link to archived version of Virtual PC 2004 (Note: if you instead get the latest, which is Virtual PC 2007 at the time of writing, then you won't be able to follow the instructions below exactly)
2. Download (Virtual PC 2004 SP1.zip)
3. Save to C:\
4. Use Win Zip, et. al. Extract to right here (C:\). This will create folder: C:\Virtual PC 2004 SP1
5. Double-click on C:\Virtual PC 2004 SP1\setup.exe to install (ignore any messages about not having a supported operating system. XP Home, even SP1, will do fine :-)
6. Install to default folder: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Virtual PC

Q. How do I create a virtual machine?
A. Using Windows 98 as an example:

1. Launch the Virtual PC Console via: Start -> All Programs -> Microsoft Virtual PC
2. Virtual PC Console comes up, along with New Virtual Machine Wizard: Create a virtual machine (note: as when installing, ignore any messages about not having a supported operating system)
3. Virtual Machine Name and Location: Windows98VirtualMachine
(This will create: My Documents\My Virtual Machines\Windows98VirtualMachine\ Windows98VirtualMachine.vmc
4. Operating system: Windows 98
5. Memory: Using the recommended RAM (64MB)
6. Virtual Hard Disk Options: A new virtual hard disk
7. Name and location (take default):
\Windows98VirtualMachine\Windows98VirtualMachine Hard Disk.vhd
8.Finish

Q. How do I switch between a virtual machine and Windows XP?
A. Once you have a virtual machine running and it has captured your cursor, you will need to know the following in order to switch back to XP to use the virtual machine menu. This information is helpful even when you are installing an operating system:

1. To switch from the virtual machine to XP: hold down Right-Alt (Alt Gr) and move your cursor to somewhere on the XP screen, then left-click
2. To set the virtual machine to full screen: Action -> Full Screen Mode
3. To go from full screen virtual machine back to minimized virtual machine: Right-Alt (Alt Gr) + Enter
4. VERY IMPORTANT: if you have auto run disabled in XP, as I do, every time you put a new CD into the drive you have to Release (via the CD menu) the physical drive and then Use it again in order for it to recognize any of the files on that CD. Repeat after me: if you have auto run disabled...

Q. How do I install Windows 98 on a virtual machine?
A. The moment you have been waiting for:

1. Insert the Windows 98 CD in your CD/DVD drive
2. On the Virtual PC console, select the virtual machine you have created for Windows 98 and hit the Start button
3. The first time you bring up the new virtual machine with the Windows 98 CD inserted, you get the following error message:

Reboot and Select proper Boot device or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device

4. From the virtual machine menu, select: CD -> Use Physical Drive D: (or whatever the letter is of your CD-ROM drive)
5. From the virtual machine menu, select: Action -> Ctrl+Alt+Del (to reboot)
6. Then choose: 2. Boot from CD-ROM
Note: I was lucky, but I've subsequently discovered that not all Windows 98 CDs are bootable. If you get stuck in a loop here trying to boot off the CD, then skip to the section below entitled: If you can't boot Windows 98 from CD, otherwise, continue here at Step 7.
7. Then choose: 1. Start Windows 98 Setup from CD-ROM
8. When prompted, press Enter to start the installation process
9. Choose: Configure unallocated disk space (recommended).
10. Choose: Yes, enable large disk support
11. Setup restarts your virtual machine
12. When it comes back up, choose: 2. Boot from CD-ROM
13. Then choose: 1. Start Windows 98 Setup from CD-ROM
14. Setup formats your virtual C: drive. Don't worry that you only allocated and formatted a 16MB primary DOS partition. The virtual machine hard disk you created is *expandable*, and will take anything you can subsequently throw at it :-)
15. The process then picks up at ScanDisk. You can either wait for ScanDisk to complete, or hit the 'x' key to exit. Then follow the rest of the on-screen instructions to install Windows 98 to your virtual machine.

If you can't boot Windows 98 from CD
If your Windows 98 CD isn't bootable, then we're going to have to boot from a (virtual!) floppy, much like the process we use to install Windows 95. Just save this win98se.img file to your XP hard drive. Then follow the steps below to install Windows 98 to your virtual machine.

1. Insert the Windows 98 CD in your CD/DVD drive
2. On the Virtual PC console, select the virtual machine you have created for Windows 98 and hit the Start button
3. The first time you bring up this new virtual machine, you get the following error message:

Reboot and Select proper Boot device or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device

4. Not so fast. First, while we're here, we capture the CD for subsequent reboots. On the virtual machine menu: CD -> Use Physical Drive D: (or whatever the letter is of your CD-ROM drive)
5. Then, we capture the win98se.img file from where ever you saved it to on your XP hard drive via: Floppy -> Capture Floppy Disk Image...
6. Now reboot the virtual machine via: Action -> Ctrl+Alt+Del
7. Your virtual machine should boot off the floppy image, and you eventually wind up at the A:\> prompt :-) For future reference, note which drive letter the CD-ROM has been mapped to. Mine was D: (you see something like: Drive D: = Driver MSCD001 unit 0)

Next, we create a primary DOS partition:

8. At the A:\> prompt, enter: fdisk
9. Do you wish to enable large disk support (Y/N)..............? [Y]
Choose: 1. Create DOS partition or Logical DOS Drive
10. Choose: 1. Create Primary DOS partition
11. Do you wish to use the maximum available size for a Primary DOS Partition
and make the partition active (Y/N).....................? [Y]

12. You get a message that: You MUST restart your system for your changes to take effect.
13. So... Press Esc to exit FDISK, then from the virtual machine Action menu, select: Ctrl+Alt+Del (you boot again from the floppy image)
14. When your virtual machine boots this time, choose: 1. Start computer with CD-ROM support.
(again, note which letter your CD-ROM drive has been mapped to. Mine changed from D to E here)

Now we format the DOS partition:

15. Now comes the really fun part, and your trust factor has to be high for this :-)
At the A:\> prompt, enter: format c:
(the virtual 16MB primary DOS partition you just created will be formatted in FAT32 format)
16. After that, just hit Enter to accept a blank volume label. Now we're ready to install Windows 98 to the virtual machine you have created. Don't worry that you only allocated and formatted a 16MB primary DOS partition. The virtual machine hard disk you created is *expandable*, and will take anything you can subsequently throw at it :-)

Install Windows 98:

17. Now remember which drive letter your CD-ROM is mapped to, and switch to there via entering something like: e:
18. Begin installing Windows 98 by entering: setup
(allow ScanDisk to run, then the Windows 98 install 'splash' screen comes up)
19. When prompted, DON'T create a startup disk
20. The very first time you're asked to restart the computer, go to the virtual machine menu (remember, hold down Right+Alt and then move your cursor). Choose: Floppy -> Release "win98se.img". This way, when the virtual machine reboots, it will now boot off the hard drive rather than the floppy image!
21. Windows 98 should now boot from the virtual machine hard drive. Each time you're susequently asked to restart the machine during the installation process, choose option 1 to boot from the hard drive (instead of the CD).
22. Bear with it for a few more restarts, and finally you should have Windows 98 up and running :-)

Q. How do I install Windows 95 on a virtual machine?
A. Installing Windows 95 in a virtual machine is a slightly more involved process than installing Windows 98, in that Windows 95 will not boot from the CD. You must have a bootable Windows 95 floppy. But not to fear. Even if you don't have a floppy drive in your PC, like in the case of a laptop, we can get you through this. As a matter of fact (AAMOF) we're going to make this the same experience, floppy or not. Just save this win95b.img file to your XP hard drive. Then we are almost ready to 'boot' and install Windows 95 in a virtual machine. You will need to create a new virtual machine first, if you haven't already done so. See Q. How do I create a virtual machine?, substituting in '95' for '98'. To install Windows 95 in this virtual machine:

1. Insert the Windows 95 CD in your CD/DVD drive
2. On the Virtual PC console, select the virtual machine you have created for Windows 95 and hit the Start button
3. The first time you bring up this new virtual machine, you get the following error message:

Reboot and Select proper Boot device or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device

4. Not so fast. First, while we're here, we capture the CD for subsequent reboots. On the virtual machine menu: CD -> Use Physical Drive D: (or whatever the letter is of your CD-ROM drive)
5. Then, we capture the win95b.img file from where ever you saved it to on your XP hard drive via: Floppy -> Capture Floppy Disk Image...
6. Now reboot the virtual machine via: Action -> Ctrl+Alt+Del
Your virtual machine should boot off the floppy image, and you eventually wind up at the A:\> prompt :-) For future reference, note which drive letter the CD-ROM has been mapped to. Mine was R: (you see something like: Drive R: = Driver BANANA unit 0)

Next, we create a primary DOS partition:

7. At the A:\> prompt, enter: fdisk
8. Do you wish to enable large disk support (Y/N)..............? [Y]
Choose: 1. Create DOS partition or Logical DOS Drive
9. Choose: 1. Create Primary DOS partition
10. Do you wish to use the maximum available size for a Primary DOS Partition
and make the partition active (Y/N).....................? [Y]

11. You get a message that: You MUST restart your system for your changes to take effect.
12. So... Press Esc to exit FDISK, then from the virtual machine Action menu, select: Ctrl+Alt+Del (you boot again from the floppy image)

Now we format the DOS partition:

13. Now comes the really fun part, and your trust factor has to be high for this :-)
At the A:\> prompt, enter: format c:
(the virtual 16MB primary DOS partition you just created will be formatted in FAT32 format)
14. After that, just hit Enter to accept a blank volume label. Now we're ready to install Windows 95 to the virtual machine you have created. Don't worry that you only allocated and formatted a 16MB primary DOS partition. The virtual machine hard disk you created is *expandable*, and will take anything you can subsequently throw at it :-)

Install Windows 95:

15. Now remember which drive letter your CD-ROM is mapped to, and switch to there via entering something like: r:
16. Begin installing Windows 95 by entering: setup
(allow ScanDisk to run, then the Windows 95 install 'splash' screen comes up)
17. Hit the Continue button to install Windows 95. Take all the defaults.
18. When the Analyzing Your Computer screen comes up, tick the Sound, MIDI, or Video Capture Card box, but DO NOT tick the Network Adapter box. An unnecessary complication. Your virtual machine emulates a SoundBlaster 16, so it should be able to detect that and install drivers.
19. When prompted, DON'T create a startup disk
20. When you get to the Finishing Setup screen, go to the virtual machine menu (remember, hold down Right+Alt and then move your cursor). Choose: Floppy -> Release "win95b.img". This way, when the virtual machine reboots, it will now boot off the hard drive rather than the floppy image!
21. Windows 95 should now boot from the virtual machine hard drive. It's going to go looking for a bunch of files that it can't find on the CD. Just hit Skip File for all of them. Note: this may be happening to me because I have auto-run turned off in XP.
22. Now the setup process boots your virtual machine for a final time. At the DOS prompt, again it may complain about all the files it can't find. Just keep hitting Enter. 23. Windows 95 should now start up, and you get that wonderful 'Microsoft sound'! From now on when it goes looking for .dll or .drv files (like when you try to change the display setttings to 16-bit color), it should be able to find them on the CD. Just point it at, for instance, D:\WIN95
24. If you keep getting bothered about missing files at startup, this is how you can fix that: Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Network, and Remove everything but your network adapter. Then after the reboot, go back into the Control Panel -> Network and: Add... -> Client -> Add... -> Microsoft -> Client for Microsoft Networks -> OK. Fixed :-)

Good luck,
MetzO'Magic
 


Notes:
Compiled by Inferno - Credits below


1. A boot disk may not be required: (InlandAZ)
- The Windows installation CD took care of the disc prep - FDISK, Format and SYS C: - were all taken care of under the covers, just prior to the installation. So, you may still be able to install the OS. However... follow the instructions provided just in case your CD behaves differently. Also, you'll need the OEM install (not the upgrade). If you attempt to install the upgrade you will be prompted to show proof of a prior (acceptable)OS...

One could always create a bootable CD (w/Nero or another package of your choice) and copy the DOS content to it... Just don't forget to remember to "add" CD-ROM support to the CD. If you put your Win98 CD in your drive the virtual software can capture this drive. Since Win98 is made to be bootable your all set.

2. Jerky Mouse Movements (Mordack + InlandAZ)

The most common problem is "jerky mouse movements". One possible workaround for this would be to Uninstall the VMAdditions (assuming they're installed). DOS games seem to lag a bit when they're loaded.

3. Floppy Disc Image - (CCBomber)

Since many newer machines may not have the benefit of a floppy disk built into their tower, you would have to create an "image" of a floppy boot disc if you wish to have Windows 95, as this OS will not boot off the CD. Here is a free program FloppyImage152 that will extract an image from a floppy that you can capture with VPC. But don't forget to check "Create compatible IMG files" in settings.

4. Error Messages - Missing Files

cannot find any of the following:

vnetsupp.vxd
vnetbios.vxd
vredir.vxd
dfs.vxd


Solution
1. Those missing DLLs are network related, and you don't need them. If you want to get rid of those warnings, then you can do the same as for Win 95 (this is an excerpt from that part of the FAQ on Steve's XP Games Corner):

If you keep getting bothered about missing files at startup, this is how you can fix that: Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Network, and Remove everything but your network adapter. Then after the reboot, go back into the Control Panel -> Network and: Add... -> Client -> Add... -> Microsoft -> Client for Microsoft Networks -> OK. Fixed :-)

Error Message - "Unable to load dynamic link library msnp.dll" and then msnp32.dll'

Petert questions: "I managed to get the VirtualPC W98 screen up, and tried loading the infamous Timeline program. It seemed to install OK, but keeps asking for DirectX 7.1 (which is on the disk) so I click 'Yes' and it seems to load it,but when I try to play the game it asks for it again.

Even when I bypass all of this, the game tells me I need to have 256 colors, and when I look at the properties, I only have 16 colors available - the drop-down menu does not have any other options.

Metz O'Magic's answer:

No worries, you're actually doing fine:

2. I'm a bit sketchy about installing a version of DirectX in a virtual machine, because I never had to do it before. I'm assuming you rebooted the virtual machine after installing DirectX 7?

3. About the 256 colours... and this may be related to the problem whereby the game doesn't recognise that DirectX 7 has been installed... I think you may be misreading '16-bit color' (actually 65536 colours!) as 16 colors. If you do select 16-bit color, then you should get the option to install the S3 VGA drivers from the Win 98 disc, which should fix both your colour and DirectX problems (note: to find these files, point the installation at D:\WIN98).

If all you see is 16 colors, you don't have the drivers for your video card installed. See if you can get Win 98 to detect them on the Win 98 CD.

I had a similar situation when installing Win 95 on an old computer with an S3 card. Windows 95 couldn't read the drivers on the CD while it was installing and I ended up with ugly 16 colors after the install. But for some reason Windows was able to detect the drivers on the same CD after the install was completed.

5.Specs for what Virtual PC is emulating
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=833144

S3 Trio 32/64 PCI Super VGA (SVGA) card with 8 MB of emulated video random access memory (VRAM)

You can check to see if that's what Device Manager is seeing in your VirtualPC.

credits: Steve Metzler (AKA MetzO'Magic) InlandAZ CCbomber Petert


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