Documentation, Games, Gaming, Retro

Windows 98SE on VirtualBox (with video and audio drivers)

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 1.00.52 AM

Why do this?

If you feel nostalgic for a bit of Windows 9x action, or you just want to play some old games that are between DOS and Windows XP, you can either build a retro PC gaming rig, or you can test the water with VirtualBox.

Once it’s all done, you too can see how pointless it all is. 🙂

What you will need:

  • Windows 98SE ISO (unfortunately, I can’t help you here)
  • SCITech Display Doctor (this will be the video driver) – https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BycgkMZbeQOzWXE5NUhnWGRycVE/edit?pli=1
  • VirtualBox (https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads)
  • Optional downloads are available and listed in each section below.

Create the VM and Install Windows 98 SE

  1. Create new VM on Virtualbox Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 10.50.03 PM
    • Type: Microsoft Windows
    • Version: Windows 98
    • RAM: 64MB
    • Create new fixed size HDD – 2GB (VDI is fine)
  2. Install Windows 98SE
    1. Boot with your 98SE ISO mounted (you’ll have to find this yourself)
    2. Boot with option 2 – Start computer with CD-ROM support Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 10.53.04 PM
    3. Run fdisk and accept all the defaults to create a 2GB partition on your virtual drive.
    4. Restart the virtual machine
    5. Boot with option 2 – Start computer with CD-ROM support
    6. Format the virtual drive using format on the Windows CD
      • D:\win98\format c:
    7. Run: D:\setup.exe /ie /im /is /nr
      • /ie Disables create a boot disk (causes crashing on VBox and 98SE installer)
      • /im Disables checking conventional RAM
      • /is Disables scandisk
      • /iv Don’t disable billboards
      • /nr Disable registry check
    8. Run through the Windows installer with all the defaults Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 11.01.46 PM
    9. After reboot – Boot from Hard Disk
    10. Enter your name and the CD key for Win98SE (98 key works too btw); install will continue.
    11. If everything went well, you should see Windows 98 desktop and hear some tragic music. 🙂

Install Video Driver

  1. Shutdown Windows (and the VM)
  2. Edit Settings of the VM -> Storage -> Add another device to the IDE controller (click the CD with the green plus) and mount the scitech-display-doctor-7.iso file you downloaded earlier. Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 11.13.20 PM
  3. You should see a CD drive with Sdd7 – double click that then run the scitech-display-doctor-win-7.0 installer – Express installation is fine. Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 11.14.52 PM
    • You will eventually need to register the software. Unfortunately, it’s not sold anymore, but it is trivial to find a serial number for this via your favorite search engine.
  4. OS will restart, when it returns, SciTech Display Doctor will load. Either register it or start the 21 day trial.
  5. On the HOME page, underneath Current Configuration, there is a section called Active Features. Click ‘Disabled’ next to SciTech Display Driver then select SciTech Nucleus Driver and apply. Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 11.19.00 PM
  6. OS will reboot again (remember how annoying this used to be?)
  7. SciTech reloads and you’ll see that VESA VBE 2.0 Oracle VM VirtualBox VBE Adapter is now selected. Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 11.25.29 PM
  8. Minimize the window, right click Desktop then Properties then Settings
    • Here you should see Default Monitor on SciTech Display Doctor 7.0
  9. Change Colors to 16bit, apply, it’ll reboot again!
    • I’ve had issues trying to change resolution at the same time.
    • I’ve also had issues when the restart didn’t work – if so, restart the VM yourself – no need to go into safe mode, it should boot the second time OK.
  10. Right click Desktop -> Properties -> Settings; now you can select 1024×768 no problem.
  11. Hello accelerated Windows desktop!

Configure for (broken and basic) Internet access (NAT)

This will allow you to access the Internet, albeit in a basic and broken way.

  1. Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Internet Options -> Connections -> Setup
    1. I want to set up my Internet connection manually … or local area network (LAN).
    2. I connect through a local area network (LAN).
    3. Accept everything except for setting up a mail account.
    4. Internet Explorer 5 will load. I recommend that you download Opera 9.64 (Opera 10 and above doesn’t support Windows 9x) – http://www.oldversion.com/windows/opera-9-64
    5. Firefox 2 also works, but I found it was about as useful as IE5.
    6. Windows Update is long dead.

Install DirectX8.1b (optional step)

  1. If you installed Opera 9.6 earlier, this is compatible enough to grab the file directly from the web via http://www.falconfly.de/directx.htm
  2. You will also need WinZip – grab this from http://www.bestweb.net/assistance/win95/winzip/
  3. Extract and install (via dxsetup.exe) the DirectX8.1b redistributable.
  4. Windows will reboot and you will now have DirectX 8.1 installed – you can verify this by running C:\windows\system\dxdiag.exeScreen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.19.34 AM

Install AC97 soundcard (optional step)

The default VM setting is SoundBlaster 16 compatible. You can use the Windows Midi Synth, but I’ve seen some issues with games. In turn, we can use 9x drivers for AC97.

  1. If you installed opera 9.6, head over to http://www.realtek.com.tw -> Downloads -> AC’97 Audio Codecs (Software) -> Windows 95 for Driver only.
  2. Install file then instead of rebooting Windows, choose reboot later then shut down the VM.
  3. Head into Virtualbox VM settings -> Audiot and change the Audio Controller from Soundblaster 16 to ICH AC97
  4. Boot the VM up, it’ll detect the AC’97 audio – install the driver then reboot againScreen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.28.45 AM
  5. Should have audio and wavetable MIDI when it returns.
  6. You can test this by running C:\windows\system\dxdiag.exe again.

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 12.45.49 AM

Testing a Game

C&C Gold 95 doesn’t seem to work – will investigate further without dx8.1 since it comes with dx3.

 

Civilization 2 Ultimate Collection – works perfect (dx5 game)