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Old 11-25-2013, 04:07 PM   #1
vladimir1986
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Can't find a good emulator for windows9x (to play games)


This is something which has been giving me a headache for a couple of months now: I like to play with classic games and because of nostalgic reasons, to thinker a lot with windows 9.x and 3.x. For the later I found a perfect solution: Install it inside dosbox. If I want to emulate windows xp, I can use my beloved qemu, but windows 9x.... it is a different story!


I am using a 32bit T2400 dual core I bought specifically for emulation (it has Vt-X, so I can use KVM) but:

KVM doesn't work with windows 9x guests: It just dumps some memory errors, if I don't use KVM the emulation is so slow that it will struggle for 5 mins just to play the starting sound (so qemu-kvm is discarded)

Virtualbox is no good: unable to fullscreen, bad performance and no drivers make it unusable too

Bochs: Can't fullscreen or output any sound (Yes, I compiled it with SDL and sb16, still nothing), so even if it gives the best performance... well, it doesn't help me much.

Lastly, out of desperation I tried VMware... As I said I have a 32 bit CPU, so it can't be even installed. Funny enough old versions which where compatible with 32 bits won't work either unless I seriously downgrade my kernel... so no luck.

What else may I use? I ran out of ideas, so somethin more veteran with emulation can recommend me where to lead now, I would be really happy!

Thanks in advance
 
Old 11-25-2013, 08:48 PM   #2
jefro
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Can they run in dosbox?

Doesn't the common VM's have guest additions? All should run in full screen by the properties of the vm.

Qemu should run in full screen with a crtl-alt-f key I think.
 
Old 11-25-2013, 09:11 PM   #3
rokytnji
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AntiX comes with dosbox installed. For me, Alt+Enter toggles between full screen and smaller screen in dosbox.



Example shot is dosbox running doom inside chromium browser on my netbook.

Not sure if this post is relevant to what you are looking to do though since
windows and qemu and vmware and emulators are all mentioned in one post.
 
Old 11-25-2013, 09:14 PM   #4
ReaperX7
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It could be your VM configurations:

Try to emulate the following if at all possible for an accurate Windows 9x machine. I think QEmu is the best for this as it has the most options:

1 CPU core (32-bit x86 - preferred Pentium II/K6 i586 processors)
256 MB RAM
30GB HDD Partition formatted to FAT32
Intel 440BX Chipset
Ensoniq AudioPCI
32-64MB VRAM Video with 2D and 3D support (possibly best to try and emulate an Nvidia Vanta, ATI Rage II, or S3 ViRGE if option exists)
 
Old 11-25-2013, 09:20 PM   #5
randdeveloper
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not linux but freeDOS

freeDOS is supposed to be binary compatible with MSDOS 5 so according to the website it's supposed to be able to support installation of Windows 95 or 98 into it; you might want to give that a try
http://www.freedos.org/
oracle also has a bare metal hypervisor that I haven't tried but you might have some luck with that
 
Old 11-27-2013, 02:57 PM   #6
vladimir1986
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Thank you very much for the answers!

Sadly I am a little bit on the same place: Sorry if I was unable to explain myself properly (English is not my first language)

VirtualBox has guest additions to provide video and various drivers, and I have it installed on a Windows XP box without any problems. Sadly, there is nothing like guest additions for windows 9x/3.x. furthermore, and because of the annoying way VirtualBox handles screen resolution, if I press ctrl+f to switch to fullscreen mode, the guest screen (let's say it is set a 640x480 while my host is 1024x768) will be represented by a tiny 640x480 box surrounded by black stripes. As I can't find any video drivers for the video cards VirtualBox emulates I am limited to 640x480 and 16 colours with no acceleration.

Qemu doesn't have that problem: I can use any resolution I want using all my glorious 4:3 screen and emulate any hardware device I want without any problem. sadly, if I want to enjoy hardware acceleration via KVM... well, it just doesn't work with DOS and its variants (Win98), it just freezes the VM, so I am forced to not use KVM, which makes the emulation so slow that it is unusable, even if I try to emulate a Pentium 1 or a 486 (From the moment I click a folder to the moment it opens, for example I might need to wait more than one minute, so you can imagine if I try to play any game, to say more, I can't appreciate any difference when I use the -cpu argument)

Dosbox works fine for Dos games, even for Windows 3.x games (Sim tower), and that covers most of my collection. Sadly I have a few games that are specific for Win9x. Also, this has been a bone I had stuck for a very long time! -I know that in theory you can install windows95 using dosbox as seen here http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=24936.

Sadly, it never worked, and even if it did, because of a bug you can't create disk images bigger than 400mb


I gave Freedos a try. It is very nice, and I made a VM with it (I may use it on a real old machine). I also tried to install windows 95 over it with KVM (I had problems with win3.11 and its 386 mode). I managed to complete the installation, but when I try to boot it, crashes.

I also got very close to a usable system with bochs after a lot of tinkering. Sadly I can't fullscreen it, and there is no way of having sound output. And yes, I recompiled it with the --enable sdl (supposedly allows fullscreen) and --with-sb16 (supposedly allows soundblaster 16 emulation using ALSA). For some reason it is the same as if I try to reason with a rock: Compiles fine, compiles those modules but they won't work.

Last edited by vladimir1986; 11-27-2013 at 03:04 PM.
 
Old 11-30-2013, 09:21 AM   #7
allend
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It has been a while, but I used to use Win98 in a VirtualBox VM.
The VirtualBox guest additions do not work for Win98.
For a video driver, I installed VBEMP9x in the Win98 install (google for vbemp9x.zip).
I used to install a sound driver, but I understand that the SB16 emulation now makes that redundant.
I also installed rain (google for rain20.zip). This implements a CPU HLT instruction in Win98 that stops your host CPU running at 100% usage.
Game performance will depend on the game. Some work OK. Others using DirectX will work, but are very slow.
 
Old 11-30-2013, 05:15 PM   #8
vladimir1986
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allend View Post
It has been a while, but I used to use Win98 in a VirtualBox VM.
The VirtualBox guest additions do not work for Win98.
For a video driver, I installed VBEMP9x in the Win98 install (google for vbemp9x.zip).
I used to install a sound driver, but I understand that the SB16 emulation now makes that redundant.
I also installed rain (google for rain20.zip). This implements a CPU HLT instruction in Win98 that stops your host CPU running at 100% usage.
Game performance will depend on the game. Some work OK. Others using DirectX will work, but are very slow.
That is exactly what I needed, thank you!

Now I have a "usable" windows 98/95 (constant BSOD achieved in one day included) the virtual Machines are still a bit slow (equivalent to using a P2), but that is more than enough.

I also found this tread where they explain how to execute windows 2000/xp programs under w98 (if for some reason you want to browse the web on that, it might be useful)

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!to...98/zaES-uj3zFA

To transfer files to the guest, as I am lazy and a bit ignorant on how to set proper networks between Linux and Windows I just use mkisofs to create virtual cd images which I mount on the guest, but I know you can set shared desktops via TCP/IP
 
Old 02-17-2014, 03:20 PM   #9
mostlyharmless
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I realize this is solved, however, another alternative, if you are running KVM, is to run Microsoft VirtualPC running Win 98 or 95 under Windows 7 or XP in KVM. OK, so it's kludgy, but it does work.
 
  


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