Friday, May 1, 2009

Installing Windows 95 on a VMware Virtual Machine

I'm sure you're asking yourself, why would anyone want to run Windows 95 these days? Well, if you're like a coworker of mine it's because you have an old game that you want to play. Or perhaps you're a bit nostalgic and like having things around that remind you of 1995-96. Anyway here is how I installed Windows 95 Second Edition on a VMware virtual machine:

Materials I used:

  1. VMware Workstation 6.05
  2. An "original" Windows 95SE disc
    1. I converted this to an ISO image before I began
  3. Windows 95 Boot Disk image (from http://www.allbootdisks.com/download/95.html)
  4. VMware support reference page: http://www.vmware.com/support/reference/common/guest_win95.html
    1. If you're like me and didn't keep the sticker from your original Gateway 2000!

I started by creating a new virtual machine in VMware Workstation (my version is 6.05), choosing Windows 95 as the operating system. Edit the virtual machines settings. You can keep the settings for Ram and Hard Drive, 64MB and an 8GB respectively. Change the CD ROM drive to reference the ISO image (or choose your drive letter if you didn't convert to an ISO) and for the Floppy drive give the path to the boot disk image. Your Windows 95 CD or image won't boot without the boot disk "in" the floppy drive.

Now start your newly created virtual machine. You should see the machine checking your CD drive, loading drivers (be careful to note if any new drive letters are assigned, my CD changed to R from D) and then you should be given the prompt of your boot device A. Using your Windows Boot Disk run the FDISK command. Follow the on screen instructions to create and partition a primary drive/disk.

Once FDISK is complete restart your virtual machine. When you get back to the boot disk prompt run the command: FORMAT C:

This will format your drive and allow you to assign a name to the drive (name is optional). Remember Windows 95 won't run if you don't format the drive after partitioning. After the formatting is complete you are now ready to run the Windows 95 setup program. You can either run the command directly from your boot device: A:> R:\Win95\Setup or you can switch to the CD Drive and run it there. If you get an error that says something to the effect there is no drive found, check to make sure your virtual machine didn't assign a new drive letter to the CD drive and/or image. I assigned the drive to an image so it gave me a random drive letter "R:" and I found this by watching the boot information.

Before setup starts Scandisk will run and check your disk for potential problems. Then the "original" Windows 95 setup screen will appear and you can proceed with your regular Windows installation process. You will most likely be prompted for a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) and a serial number. You can use the link above to grab an old serial code if, like me, you don't have your original system documentation lying around. Answer the questions as you are prompted. During the installation process I had a few issues with files not being found on the disc, I tried changing the drive letters on my CD Drive but nothing I did seemed to solve the problems. In the end it didn't seem to matter.

With Windows 95SE running, I installed the VMware Tools, then sound drivers, network drivers and display drivers. There you have it – Windows 95 on a VMware Virtual Machine!

22 comments:

Someone said...

If you wouldn't mind, where exactly did you get the sound drivers? I've been searching for weeks to no avail.
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

This worked for me with Ubuntu as host and Win95 as guest: Update your vmx file to contain these sound settings:

# Sound settings
sound.present = "TRUE"
sound.virtualdev = "sb16"
sound.filename = "-1"
sound.autodetect = "TRUE"
sound.startConnected = "TRUE"
sound.deviceNr = "-1"
sound.device = "/dev/dsp"

and within Win95 use this sound driver:

Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 or AWE-32.

Chris Kenst said...

I don't know that I ever got the sound drivers to work; I wasn't really concerned with that at the time.

I should try to update my vmx file with those changes to see if it works.

Someone recommended that I try to install a version of Windows with Media Center on a VMware virtual machine. Any suggestions?

Ken said...

Your article helped a lot, I was finally able to get Win 95 up and running. However, attempting to install WMWare Tools fails, and I have been unable to get the screen size enough to be usable.

I am running a Vista host and VMWare 6.5

From Ken

Mark said...

i have followed all your instructions up until the install part where i must type "D:\Win95\SETUP /IS" without the quotes. and my issue is that the drive is not found.. i have also tried to run this with the C, E, and F drives and none seem to be the correct drive. any ideas?

Chris Kenst said...

@Mark

Make sure your virtual machine is set to use the host machines CD / DVD drive. You can do that by clicking the small CD Drive icon in the lower right hand corner of the window.

Mark said...

hmm, everything seems to be connected :/ when you say, "I assigned the drive to an image so it gave me a random drive letter "R:" and I found this by watching the boot information", what exactly do you mean by boot information?

Chris Kenst said...

@Mark,

I mean the BIOS information that shows up briefly when you start the virtual machine.

Rifky said...

heyy i've been looking for this topic ..
can you tell me where to download vmware workstation 6.05, i've search google but only display vmware workstation v6.0 , is it the same??


now im using vmware 7, but didnt work. can you tell me any guideline, can win95 works on vmware 7?

thanks in advance

Rifky said...

to ken: im also running window vista..can you guide me please so i can run window95

Anonymous said...

I had a problem where the setup could not find certain files on the cd, I solved it by copying the entire contents of the windows cd to C:\ right after formating and then ran the setup from there

Anonymous said...

I love you!

Recently rediscovered my Win95 game collection and fancied playing them, but was banging my head against a brick wall trying to install the bloody thing. Your article helped immensely.

Chris Kenst said...

I'm glad this article helps.

Johnny said...

I can never, EVER get this to work! I'm using VMWare Player (it's the latest version) and an actual Windows 95 CD-ROM that I got for a dollar, and for some reason, it can't find any of the files, constantly tells me at start-up, and will NOT install SVGA or sound. Oh, and the host is Windows 7 x64.

Nut said...

I finally get it to work. Never, ever use the original Windows 95! It's a piece of crap! Use Windows 95 OSR2.x instead it's more stable!
Tip if you don't want to copy the files, just keep the boot disk in the drive, and when your VM reboots for the first time copy the autoexec.bat, config.sys, cd1.sys, cd2.sys, cd3.sys, cd4.sys and mscdex.exe files to the C drive. That way, Windows will see the CD ROM and won't pop stupid error messages.

Anonymous said...

what did you use to convert the floppy to an ISO image???

Johnny said...

You lie. "File not found", it says.

Dean Verleger said...

I'm also not sure about how to install using Windows 95 OSR2.x.


I've tried inserting the floppy boot disk and then running FDISK and Formatting the C: I then can change to the R: and run setup bringing up the options. I select 1 and it shows the product key. I press any key and it says "Bad Command or File Name"

ittiandro said...

I have a VMware 9 machine on which I want to install Win95. I do have image files of both the Installation Cd and the MS-DOS 6.22 floppy.   Before reading your post, I had been able to go go as far as FDISK and format C:, even though I didn't see the machine checking the CD drive, loading the drivers etc. 
I get stuck after formatting. When I reboot, I get a prompt to fill in the date and time and I get to C;\>________I am unable to go any further. I can't switch to a: or any other letter. It says " not ready to read drive a:. The BIOS is correctly set to boot from removable drives and the CD-Rom drive ( in order)
 Any help, please?

Thanks

Ittiandro

stateofpsychosis said...

installing windows 95 and CD driver manually without the floppy setup disk or any boot disk


what you need:
.DOS on a floppy or on an image (.flp .img)
.Windows 95 cd
.VMWARE player (it's free) or virtualpc (I recommend VMWARE)
.Magiciso (the free trial version will do)
.a copy of MSCDEX.EXE and oakcdrom.sys (both can be found online)


step 1


create a new virtual machine (make sure to add a floppy image drive if you are using vmware)




step 2


put your dos floppy/image in or mount it and install dos




step 3


download and install the free version of magiciso
open magic iso
go to new - floppy - 1.44


find a copy of mscdex.exe
find a copy of oakcdrom.sys (generic cd rom driver that works with dos.. might have to try another if it doesn't work)
RENAME the oakcdrom.sys to cdrom.sys


drag both these files into magic iso on the floppy disk we just created


save the file


close magic iso


find the file we just saved in your explorer


change the extension from .ima to .flp (if you are using vmware) or .img (if you are using virtualpc)


(if you can't see the extensions you're going to need to change your folder options to show extensions)
google it. it's easy to do






step 4


go back to your virtual machine
mount the floppy image we just created


a:\
copy mscdex.exe c:\
copy cdrom.sys c:\


(don't forget to rename oakcdrom.sys to cdrom.sys in step 3)




step 5


find config.sys in your c drive


type:


edit config.sys




now add a line that says this


device=c:\cdrom.sys /d:mscd001


exit and save




step 6


find autoexec.bat in your c drive


type:


edit autoexec.bat


now add a line that says this


c:\mscdex.exe /d:mscd001


exit and save




step 7


restart the computer or virtual machine




step 8


we're still not done yet


now move to your c drive and type


mscdex.exe: /d:mscd001 /M:5 /V /L:d /S /K


(this part /M:x refers to the amount of buffers your drive has.. it's either 4 or 5. usually 5)




step 9


create a blank floppy image either in vmware or magic iso then mount that new one


put your windows 95 cd in the cd drive


type:


d:\
setup.exe




step 10


it should be booting windows 95 now


now you might run into troubles when it tries to install the other drivers
it might ask you for windows floppies even if you're using the cd version
which I never understood




but anyways, you can find all of these drivers on the windows 95b cd if you have it
they're all in cab files


so you'd need to extract them 1 by 1 and put them on floppy images to use them.
(huge pain)


but I actually just got it to load the drivers off the win95 cd by just trying it over and over again until
it worked. it might have been because I either did or didn't restart after putting in the windows 95 cd
can't remember, but I'd try both if you're having trouble




all in all windows 95 is incredible wonky to install in a virtual machine. I highly recommend using VMWARE
and not virtual pc for this one.
If you didn't have a hard time installing this.. you got incredible lucky


make sure you check to make sure windows95 is seeing your cd drive
if not go to the add new hardware wizard in the control panel and see if that detects it


Michael MacDonald
State of Psychosis
www.stateofpsychosis.com
www.soundcloud.com/state-of-psychosis

stateofpsychosis said...

i already posted this about but this is the exact solution to your problem

installing windows 95 and CD driver manually without the floppy setup disk

what you need:

.DOS on a floppy or on an image (.flp .img)

.Windows 95 cd

.VMWARE player (it's free) or virtualpc (I recommend VMWARE)

.Magiciso (the free trial version will do)

.a copy of MSCDEX.EXE and oakcdrom.sys (both can be found online)

step 1

create a new virtual machine (make sure to add a floppy image drive if you are using vmware)

step 2

put your dos floppy/image in or mount it and install dos

step 3

download and install the free version of magiciso

open magic iso

go to new - floppy - 1.44

find a copy of mscdex.exe

find a copy of oakcdrom.sys (generic cd rom driver that works with dos.. might have to try another if it doesn't work)

RENAME the oakcdrom.sys to cdrom.sys

drag both these files into magic iso on the floppy disk we just created

save the file

close magic iso

find the file we just saved in your explorer

change the extension from .ima to .flp (if you are using vmware) or .img (if you are using virtualpc)

(if you can't see the extensions you're going to need to change your folder options to show extensions)

google it. it's easy to do

step 4

go back to your virtual machine

mount the floppy image we just created

a:\

copy mscdex.exe c:\

copy cdrom.sys c:\

(don't forget to rename oakcdrom.sys to cdrom.sys in step 3)

step 5

find config.sys in your c drive

type:

edit config.sys

now add a line that says this

device=c:\cdrom.sys /d:mscd001

exit and save

step 6

find autoexec.bat in your c drive

type:

edit autoexec.bat

now add a line that says this

c:\mscdex.exe /d:mscd001

exit and save

step 7

restart the computer or virtual machine

step 8

we're still not done yet

now move to your c drive and type

mscdex.exe: /d:mscd001 /M:5 /V /L:d /S /K

(this part /M:x refers to the amount of buffers your drive has.. it's either 4 or 5. usually 5)

step 9

create a blank floppy image either in vmware or magic iso then mount that new one

put your windows 95 cd in the cd drive

type:

d:\

setup.exe

step 10

it should be booting windows 95 now

now you might run into troubles when it tries to install the other drivers

it might ask you for windows floppies even if you're using the cd version

which I never understood

but anyways, you can find all of these drivers on the windows 95b cd if you have it

they're all in cab files

so you'd need to extract them 1 by 1 and put them on floppy images to use them.

(huge pain)

but I actually just got it to load the drivers off the win95 cd by just trying it over and over again until

it worked. it might have been because I either did or didn't restart after putting in the windows 95 cd

can't remember, but I'd try both if you're having trouble

all in all windows 95 is incredible wonky to install in a virtual machine. I highly recommend using VMWARE

and not virtual pc for this one.

If you didn't have a hard time installing this.. you got incredible lucky

make sure you check to make sure windows95 is seeing your cd drive

if not go to the add new hardware wizard in the control panel and see if that detects it

Michael MacDonald

State of Psychosis

www.stateofpsychosis.com

www.soundcloud.com/state-of-psychosis

stateofpsychosis said...

don't convert floppies to iso


you want to convert them with magiciso
but not to an iso


open the free program
go to new - floppy - 1.44


just copy the files from the original disk to the newly created image in the magic iso window (right side)


save


now go to the image in your browser and rename it to the format you need
for vmware player you want to use .flp and for virtualpc i'd use .img
the file magiciso creates in an .ima file which is pretty useless until you rename it


(you'll have to change your folder settings to not hide extensions which is easy to do.. just google how to do it for your version of windows)