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January 25, 2011

Installing Windows 98 on Windows 7 Virtual Machine

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by Brian Turner

Am now running Windows 98 on a Virtual Machine in Windows 7.

Main reason was to run some legacy software, so I could start updating some files from Win 98 versions to XP versions I can use again.

Process was pretty simple, if intimating looking.

Upgrade Windows 7

First point: you can only use Virtual Machines on Windows 7 if running Professional or Ultimate - it’s not available on lower versions of Windows 7.

If you therefore need to upgrade, better to check out Amazon or similar third party resellers for a better deal than Microsoft offers directly. :)

Once your upgrade key arrives, go to Start > Search > Windows Anytime Upgrade.

Then select the key option and enter it.

The upgrade process can take a few minutes even on a powerful machine, and once done will need to reboot to complete the install.

Installing Virtual Machines

Once done, you then need to download the Virtual Machines software from here:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/

There are three parts, which includes XP install by default.

Download each, then run them individually.

Again, will take a few minutes each to install.

After that, just go to your start menu, and Virtual Machines should now be in the program menu. :)

Installing Windows 98

I used a bootable CD of Windows 98 (Second Edition) disk I bought from Amazon - not expensive, and saves messing about with floppy disks for booting, which require extra scripts.

The process with a bootable CD is pretty simple.

Once you’ve clicked through to Virtual Machines in your program menu, you should have something that looks a lot like Windows Explorer - only it’s a little different.

Where it would normally offer file sorting options above menu files, you now have the option to “Create Virtual Machine”.

Click on that, and go through the set up process.

NOTE: For memory, it’s advised to allocate 64MB - reports suggest higher figures can cause issues.

You don’t need to select a drive letter for a partition either - Windows 7 will automatically create space on your main harddrive for the Virtual Machine Windows 98 files.

You should then get a small black start up screen, the sort you normally see immediately starting a PC. This is effectively your blank PC, ready for an operating system to be installed.

On large screen resolutions this can appear pretty small - looks like Windows 98 is configured for a 640 px screen width. Don’t worry about that.

In which case, click into the box, allow your mouse to be captured, and then insert your Windows 98 CD.

Whatever happens, don’t run it from Windows 7 - keep your mouse in the Windows 98 box to ensure your PC knows to install it into the Virtual PC.

Installation is then pretty simple and as you’d expect, and once completed, the Virtual Machine screen will “reboot” to your new install of Windows 98. :)

Further notes

- The mouse capture can be a bit annoying if you need to move back into Windows 7 without shutting down your Virtual Machine. A simple way to get around this is to just put in a CD into one of your disk drives. This will kick the PC back into Windows 7 mode to ask what you wish to do with it. You can now treat Windows 98 as just another window on your task bar. :)

- Hat tip to Ben Armstrong for providing the guide I originally worked through. :)

Story link: Installing Windows 98 on Windows 7 Virtual Machine


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