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Operating system nostalgia – MS-DOS in VMware

Quick update – if you remember, I had problems getting Windows 3.11 for Workgroups running on top of FreeDOS in VMware (wow, long sentence).

Well, a kind friend donated me an ancient copy of MS-DOS 6.22 (on four floppy disks, may I add) which has helped me actually get WfW running inside a VM (thanks James).

It involved a bit of hacking, but now I have WfW running inside VMware.

Basically, the MS-DOS install goes fine, but on rebooting I found that it wouldn’t boot – the PC speaker started making a horrible noise and garbage was printed to the screen. If you press F8 inside the VM while booting, you get the option to control what happens at boot up. Answer no to all the questions, and you will boot into a DOS environment (albeit limited to 640 KB RAM).

Then insert the WfW disk, and run:

> A:
> setup

Then run through WfW setup as normal. Now when you restart, you need to press F8 again while booting MS-DOS and answer the questions as follows:

DOS=HIGH [Y,N]? Y
DEVICE=C:\\DOS\\SETVER.EXE [Y,N]? N
DEVICE=C:\\WINDOWS\\HIMEM.SYS [Y,N]? Y
COUNTRY=044,,C:\\DOS\\COUNTRY.SYS [Y,N]? Y
DEVICE=C:\\DOS\\DISPLAY.SYS CON=(EGA,,1) [Y,N] Y
FILES=30 [Y,N]? Y
LASTDRIVE=Z [Y,N]? Y
DEVICE=C:\\WINDOWS\\SMARTDRV.EXE /DOUBLE_BUFFER [Y,N]? Y
DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\\IFSHLP.SYS [Y,N]? Y
STACKS=9,256 [Y,N]? Y
Process AUTOEXEC.BAT [Y,N]? Y

After this point, answer yes to the rest of the questions (your country line may differ slightly or be absent completely depending on which country you chose during MS-DOS setup). Now you can run win from the command line to boot into Windows.

Now you can open Notepad (in the Accessories group) and edit C:\CONFIG.SYS. Remove the offending line
DEVICE=C:\DOS\SETVER.EXE. (In fact you could do this using MS-DOS’s edit, but this is presuming you want to install Windows anyway).
Now MS-DOS boots perfectly and I can be nostalgic with Windows 3.11! Remember, if you add the line win to the end of file C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT, Windows will start on boot.

WfW screenshots? Oh go on then, they’ll be here soon. UPDATE: See the whole set.

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