Install & Configure MS-DOS 6.22 & Windows 3.1 using Oracle VirtualBox

Installing DOS and Windows 3.x is relatively straightforward, though configuring both to perform the best they can can be a little more crafty. For this lead I ’ meter using Oracle VirtualBox 5.1.4 ( the latest at the prison term ) on a Windows 10 machine. VirtualBox international relations and security network ’ thyroxine my first preference for emulation, however it ’ second free to obtain .
Windows 3.1 wasn ’ metric ton technically an operating system in itself, though common sensing is that it was. Unlike newer versions, Windows up to version 3.x would typically sit on top of some variation of DOS such as MS-DOS or PC-DOS which was the operate system .
For this guide you ’ ll indigence to have :

  • Oracle VirtualBox installed
  • Disk images of MS-DOS 6.22
  • Disk images of Windows 3.1
  • ET4000 SVGA video driver Download
  • SoundBlaster 16 sound driver Download
  • CD-ROM driver
  • Microsoft Network Client 3.0 for MS-DOS Download
  • AMD PCNET network driver Download

Setting Up the Virtual Machine

Open up VirtualBox and choice New. A Create Virtual Machine dialogue box will appear allowing you to select which operating system it will be using for this virtual machine ( VM ). You may either select the Windows adaptation as shown below, or type Windows 3.1 and the drop-down excerpt will mechanically change. After this, choice Next .
Win31OracleVM-1 The following option now is to choose the amount of RAM. By default as Windows 3.1 had been selected, the commend memory size is 32 MB. DOS and Windows 3.1 will happily run on the lowest choice of 4 MB, though anything above 32 MB is considered overkill. For this, we will leave it as is. choice Next .
now the option is regarding a hard magnetic disk for the VM. As we don ’ t have one yet, we will select the Create a virtual hard phonograph record now option and choose Create. Again as we ’ ve chosen Windows 3.1, VirtualBox has suggested the recommend size of the hard disk to be 1 GB. This is enough. alternatively you may select Do not add a virtual hard disk and create a arduous disk to the desired size after the VM had been created. Later in the sorcerer there ’ south besides opportunity to change the size anyhow .
When creating a fresh hard magnetic disk VirtualBox provides three choices on the file type that is to be used for storing the datum within. For this we will fair leave it on the nonpayment option which is VDI ( VirtualBox Disk Image ). Nevertheless there ’ s no amiss option here and largely depends on whether it will be always used with a different copycat. Select Next .
Continuing with the hard disk VirtualBox allows you to select either a dynamically allocated or fixed size hard harrow charge. Again there ’ s no actual faulty option here, they both have their pros and cons. For the purposes of this VM, choosing Dynamically allocated will be sufficient. Select Next .
last the last option is to choose where the hard disk file is to be saved, and the size of it. For a combination of DOS and Windows 3.1, the size can be vitamin a low as 40 MB however there won ’ metric ton be anything actually left for virtual memory and install applications. Anything above 2 GB and DOS won ’ metric ton want to know about it as it ’ s a limitation of the original FAT file system. For a few apps and games a 550 MB disk size is comfortable but that ’ s up to you. Select Create. The sorcerer completes and you ’ ll see Windows 3.1 as an option that is presently ‘ powered off ’ .
Win31OracleVM-2 The VM has immediately been created. Hitting Settings allows greater control of the ‘ hardware ’ shape of the VM. Under Settings, I made the following adjustments :

  • System > Acceleration tab > Deactivate the VT-x/AMD-V and Nested Paging
  • Display > Scale Factor > Default is 100%, useful for enlarging low resolution output on our modern resolution displays if desired
  • Audio > Audio Controller > Use SoundBlaster 16
  • Network > Adapter 1 > Use Bridged Adapter and ensure it’s a PCNET-Fast III
  • USB > Deactivate the USB controller (shown below)

Win31OracleVM-3 once settings have been looked at, click the Start button on VirtualBox ’ s toolbar. A windowpane pops up attempting to boot the VM. obviously it doesn ’ metric ton get far as we haven ’ thymine installed any software so far. Down the bottom right corner is a row of icons that represent the components of the VM and whether it ’ s active or not. Right-click on the picture that represents the diskette disk and choice Choose disk image. Find the image file of the first DOS install phonograph record and choice Open. The diskette phonograph record picture now appears in discolor .

Installing MS-DOS

The VM however won ’ t do anything, so choice Machine and then Reset. alternatively pressing the right Ctrl identify with R will do the lapp thing. VirtualBox may ask you if you are sure you want to reset the VM as you may lose anything not saved. choose Reset. The VM will restart in the like manner as hitting the reset release on your computer. As the floppy magnetic disk visualize has been loaded, it will successfully boot up and automatically start the MS-DOS 6.22 Setup program. Once Setup has loaded, weight-lift Enter .
As the hard disk file we created earlier hasn ’ metric ton been formatted, Setup detects the drive and notes this needs to be done. Choose the Configure unallocated phonograph record space ( recommended ) option and press Enter. Setup will wish to restart the VM indeed weight-lift Enter again leaving the floppy magnetic disk double as is. The VM will restart, Setup comes up again and a quick hard phonograph record format will be performed. On forcible hardware this was much slower, however this should be done quite quickly. once done, Setup will ask about basic regional settings to be used. As I ’ m not american or live in the USA, I choose the International English choice as my country. One you ’ ve reviewed, compress Enter with The settings are decline as the foreground option .
Setup will then ask you where you wish DOS to be installed. The default is C : \DOS. Press Enter. It now begins to copy files to the hard phonograph record. Normally Setup would take respective minutes to complete with a real floppy drive, however as it ’ south accessing these from magnetic disk images it should copy files about instantaneously. once Setup asks for the remaining diskette disks choose the disk persona file the same room as the first magnetic disk ahead. When all the files have been copies, the downstairs should appear .
Right-click on the floppy phonograph record picture and choose Remove disk from virtual drive. then bid Enter for Setup once done. Setup will inform you that DOS has been installed. Press Enter and the VM will now restart. The heavily disk file is now bootable and you ’ ll reach the DOS motivate awaiting far commands .

Installing Windows 3.1

At this point, the VM could become just a ms-dos 6.22 VM for habit, however we ’ ll now continue by installing Windows 3.1 .
first insert the first gear magnetic disk image for Windows 3.1. At the C : \ > prompt, character a:\setup and bid Enter. guarantee you don ’ t type apparatus at the C : \ > prompt as it will attempt to run DOS Setup rather. The Windows 3.1 Setup program should appear. Press Enter to continue .
The following screen will ask if you wish to complete an express or Custom facility. The Express facility requires less campaign and will install Windows using default options. Custom installation allows a fine academic degree of command. Below are snippets from Setup itself outlining specifically the differences. We ’ ll use the Express option .
By the time the second floppy disk is used, the GUI dowry of Setup appears and you can now begin to use the sneak. It begins by asking for your name. Once you select Continue Setup will re-confirm what you ’ ve entered is correct. After ratification you ’ ll be asked for Disk 3 .
When Setup reaches and completes copying files from Disk 6, you are given the option to install a printer. Leave the default option No Printer Attached selected and choose Install. Again as it ’ second being installed on a VM it won ’ thymine be shown for long, but Windows ’ Program Manager will promptly appear with all the application icons being generated. Setup will ask if you wish to setup icons for largely DOS applications for facilitate of access within Program Manager. As only DOS was installed previously, alone a small number would be created such as for MS-DOS Editor. once using Windows, the applications added here will come up under the Applications program group .
The concluding phase before Windows Setup is accomplished is to offer a tutorial on both using the mouse and the basics with Windows 3.1. The tutorials can be skipped, though feel loose to check them out. At the time of release, a fairly part of computers didn ’ thyroxine necessarily have a shiner and using one wasn ’ thyroxine entirely second nature. Thanks to Windows 3.1, I ’ molarity certain sales of mouse would have increased significantly and by the time Windows 95 was released the mouse tutorial was dropped .
Win31OracleVM-14 After the tutorials were done or skipped over, you ’ ll be ask to restart your computer or retort to the DOS prompt. Remove the floppy disk image loaded, and choose Reboot so that the changes made by Windows Setup to the configuration files such as with AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS can take affect. After the VM has restarted, type win at the C : \ > prompt as mentioned at the end of Windows Setup to start Windows 3.1 for the first time .
Win31OracleVM-15 Windows 3.1 will load in adjacent to no prison term and you ’ ll be greeted with Program Manager on a dull grey setting. As we chose the Express installation, Windows Setup loads up the default VGA television driver. due to this, the resolution is limited to 640 x 480 pixels utilising entirely 16 colours. Windows won ’ triiodothyronine besides by default detect your phone, CD/DVD drive, or network batting order either and therefore these motivation to be configured manually with the relevant software drivers. But hey, you can hush play a round of solitaire !

Improving Windows Visually

Using Windows with only 16 colours international relations and security network ’ metric ton much fun, so we ’ ll go through the steps to improve that. VirtualBox uses VESA based video recording and can be finical with video recording drivers for older engage systems. I ’ ll be using Super VGA ( SVGA ) drivers I obtained somewhere on the internet to improve the video recording end product to 1024 x 768 resolving power at 256 colours .
While 256 colours may not sound like much, for most Windows 3.x era applications this was wholly acceptable. a lot software had VGA as the minimum necessity, and multimedia software such as Microsoft Encarta only expected 256 colours. Using Adobe Photoshop however is where the higher color palettes would be most beneficial .
We ’ ll begin by opening Windows Setup via the Main program group. A humble window comes up showing the current shape for video recording, keyboard, mouse, and network hardware. Select Options followed by Change System Settings in the drop-down menu .
A dialogue box alike to the original window immediately appears with drop-down menus for each of the hardware components. The Display drop-down will presently show VGA. A farseeing number of video drivers that come standard with Windows will appear, however are not compatible with VirtualBox. Scroll your way down until the option early display ( Requires disk from OEM ) is chosen. Windows Setup will now request for the floppy harrow containing the video circuit board drivers. Load up the magnetic disk double with those drivers .
A list of drivers should appear to be chosen. multiple entries for the same driver can be listed though the resolution, color, and text size can be unlike. Unlike later versions of Windows it wasn ’ triiodothyronine a straightforward to just change the resolution whenever desired, unless your video recording poster driver came with its own specialize application such as what came with Matrox video cards. I chose the ET4000 1024 x 768 256 Small driver which merely means it ’ sulfur to run at 1024 x 768 pixel resolution with 256 colours using little sized text. The ET4000 was an actual video recording card from the early 1990s manufactured by Tseng Labs .
once installed, Windows will request to restart itself for the new video recording driver to take affect. If all goes smoothly, Program Manager should reappear slightly more broad and the VirtualBox window adjusted due to the increased size .

Let’s Get Tada to Play

Windows is looking dear, but there ’ mho nothing to hear. Let ’ s get the sound working .
Installing drivers with Windows 3.x was never consistent, the video and network cards via Windows Setup, the sound batting order via the Control Panel or in DOS itself. For VirtualBox double check that the sound settings for the VM itself are set to SoundBlaster 16 as this is the heavy calling card to be emulated. Grab a transcript of the SoundBlaster 16 drivers for DOS, and wholly exit out of Windows. Insert the sound driver disk visualize and type at the C : \ > motivate a:\install and press Enter to load the facility plan .
Win31OracleVM-20 It will go through a series of steps such as where to install the drivers and shape settings which can all be left with the nonpayment options. As Windows is installed, the program will recognise this and ask whether a config file is to be backed up before being replaced. Choose Backup.

Win31OracleVM-21.png once you reach the end of the initiation process, restart the VM in order for the sound drivers to be loaded. When you return back to Windows, a raw program group will appear named Audio Software with the creative Mixer program available for function. creative Mixer works much the lapp as volume Control that became available with Windows 95 onwards .
Win31OracleVM-22 strait with VirtualBox however isn ’ metric ton perfect. You ’ ll find that playing WAV files will be approve, though MIDI playback is a no fit. Due to this, it ’ south trial and error if you decide to play some games. I installed DOOM as a screen and as expected the music wouldn ’ thymine play, though would hear the voice effects. The sound effects were glitchy – if I fired the pistol once, I ’ d hear the displace healthy effect an extra three times systematically .

Using your CDs

Installing Microsoft Office 4.x over a copulate of twelve diskette disks can get long-winded very promptly. With that in mind, it ’ second worthwhile adding support to access your ‘ cd-rom drive ’. Just like the floppy magnetic disk images used sooner, we can merely mount ISO images of CDs alternatively of using your CD/DVD drive with physical disk, although that is still an choice. For the purposes here I ’ ll refer to it as a cd-rom drive as that ’ s historically accurate for this operate system and you ’ re more probably these days to be using a Blu-ray drive or not have one at all .
only two files are required in rate to have your cd-rom drive accessible. One file is included with MS-DOS 6.x named MSCDEX.EXE that needs to be placed into your AUTOEXEC.BAT file to load as the calculator starts. The other is a SYS file to be loaded from CONFIG.SYS. This can be one of several SYS files ampere frequently CD-ROM manufacturers would provide their own. I tend to stick with the SYS file named OAKCDROM.SYS as it good works on everything I ’ ve used it on .
Either using the transcript dominate in DOS, or via File Manager in Windows copy OAKCDROM.SYS over to your hard disk from a diskette disk- either to C : \ or carbon : \DOS. I tend to place it inside DOS to keep it together with MSCDEX.EXE .
For the adjacent bit again you can either do this in DOS using MS-DOS Editor, or within Windows using the System Configuration Editor. It doesn ’ t matter which, it ’ second strictly on personal preference. To see and edit your AUTOEXEC.BAT charge from DOS, plainly type edit autoexec.bat at the C : \ > prompt. alternatively in Windows, go to Program Manager, blue-ribbon File, followed by Run. The Run dialogue box appears. Type sysedit and the System Configuration Editor appears with four files opened including AUTOEXEC.BAT .
The follow line is to be added to AUTOEXEC.BAT :


Win31OracleVM-23 following add the take after line to CONFIG.SYS :


Win31OracleVM-24 Win31OracleVM-25.png
once done, close out of the editor program and restart the VM. You may notice as the VM starts there ’ mho mention of the CD-ROM driver as it ’ randomness being loaded into memory. If you open up File Manager and see an extra drive available ( a D drive ) then that ’ s enough indication that you may start using CDs .

Networking from DOS

The concluding part to complete our Windows 3.1 VM is to arrange access to files across the network. normally in the past I would use Windows for Workgroups 3.11, as this was better equipped for network and generally easier to set up. Based on Windows 3.1, Microsoft released Windows for Workgroups to enhance network support as this was a crying omission compared to the likes of OS/2 and Apple ’ randomness System 7.x software at the time .
For this, grab a copy of Microsoft Network Client 3.0 for MS-DOS. in the first place these were distributed as two files to create floppy disk images, DSK3-1.EXE and DISK3-2.EXE. Both files will comfortably fit onto a unmarried floppy disk, and can be transferred to the VM using a harrow picture. As I ’ molarity using Windows 10 64-bit, I ’ m unable to merely execute these directly .
once the two files are on the VM ’ s intemperate disk, the easiest room to extract and transfer the files to a space diskette phonograph record trope is to use the follow command :

DSK3-1 /E A:

This will extract the files directly to your floppy drive. Likewise do the lapp with DISK3-2.EXE with another blank floppy disk double .
With the first floppy disk mounted, type a:\setup and press Enter. The apparatus program for the Microsoft Network Client should appear as below. Press Enter again to continue .
You ’ ll then be asked where to install, with C : \NET being the default. Press Enter .
Setup will request for you to choose the appropriate network driver to install. For VirtualBox we need to choose the choice Network adapter not shown on the tilt below and use the driver disk image that includes the Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD ) PCNET driver, which basically is a file named PCNTND.DOS .
Win31OracleVM-27Win31OracleVM-28 When attempting to install the AMD driver, it will ask as to whether you wish to set the network buffers for operation. I chose the C option to go without optimising as I ’ five hundred preferably have a much memory as possible to run DOS applications. Next will be to ask you for a username .
once at this screen below to confirm the shape, we will do some adjustments .
Highlight Change Setup Options and press Enter. By default option, the Full Redirector is set as the option allowing you to connect to network domains. The fall is that this causes an extra ear in memory usage and without optimising your AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files can lead to ‘ out of memory ’ type errors .
The Basic Redirector is all we need for a workgroup network setting most probable found at home. Use this option rather .
Win31OracleVM-31 back to the options menu, highlight Change Network Configuration and weigh Enter. The default option is to install the NWLink protocol which was Microsoft ’ s execution for Novell Netware park for the earned run average. There ’ randomness no rate in using this, so alternatively choose to install TCP/IP and remove NWLink. With those two changes done, you may highlight The listed options are correct and press Enter .
Setup completes and advises you that your AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files have been changed so that Microsoft Network Client is loaded upon system bootup. Press Enter to restart your VM .
once the VM restarts, you ’ ll notice that the network driver is loaded and will ask for your username and password. In this example, I ’ megabyte going to connect to a network contribution located on a Windows 2003 R2 Server VM I have running on my Windows Server 2012 home server. This VM had been configured to allow file entree from earlier Windows operating systems .
For the username and password, I use the same details as what I used to log into the VM for a general drug user account that has permissions to the network plowshare. On the inaugural time entering these details, a file will be created to store the password as USERNAME.PWL under C : \NET where USERNAME is the username you entered .
With the VM set up to use its network adapter as bridged, it should be able to mechanically receive an IP address if you have DHCP enabled on your net router. To check what the current IP address is type ipconfig c:\net and the VM ’ s IP savoir-faire will appear .
If you wish to change settings you can use MS-DOS Editor to view the follow files. This doesn ’ metric ton cover all the options but gives you an theme :
SYSTEM.INI – Allows you to change the calculator name, workgroup mention, file and print sharing on or off, and the network driver to use .
PROTOCOL.INI – Allows you to change settings relating to TCP/IP such as whether to disable DHCP and using a inactive IP address rather .
With communication going, we ’ ll search at mapping a drive letter to a network share. For this we use the net command. The net control comprises of respective commands that can be used in sexual intercourse to connectivity such as mapping a network drive, or logging off the network connection .
To see the tilt of commands available type net /? |more at the DOS command immediate .
For connecting to a network share, that will remain easily available for late habit type net use e: “\\computer\share” /persistent:yes and bid Enter replacing computer with the actual computer name and share to the network plowshare itself. This means that the network parcel will be available as Drive E and will be mechanically reconnected when typing the username and password at a belated stage .
once back in Windows and open up File Manager, you ’ ll notice an extra drive appearing the like as the hard disk as Drive E. You can immediately freely copy files over to your VM ’ s hard phonograph record or access installation files to install your games and applications.

Although not compulsory, I recommend installing the updates that became available for Windows 3.1 such as the File Manager update. The master File Manager had a hemipterous insect in not displaying post 2000 calendar years correctly .
I besides recommend creating a backup of your VM as it is now, so you won ’ t need to set up it if you happen to mess things up .
You ’ ve now got a functional Windows 3.1 virtual machine with VirtualBox !

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