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A Complete Guide to Install Windows 95 on DOSBox

Looking at how OS had marvelled over these three decades starting from the 90s somehow makes me reminiscent the good old days of Win 3.1, Win95 and Win98. I certainly missed playing my first ever computer games such as Prince of Persia, Mario, and Doom.

And so embark my journey to relive those memories again in the modern machine. To do that, I selected DosBox, which is an emulator that fully emulates those legacy machines. Like many others, I started off to search for related tutorials and what-not on Google, only to found that most of them are either too fragmented or requires me to piece up the tidbits.

To save time, I had decided to write up this tutorial just so you wouldn't had the same experience that I did.


So, you will need:

  • DosBox
  • MS-DOS Boot Disc
  • Windows 95 Installation Disc
  • Hard disk image that host your Win95 partition

1. Preparing the Files

This is what the fresh installation of DOSBox would contains.



Download a copy of DOS boot disk - 622C.IMG from http://www.rloe.com/randytheracer/622c.zip. For unknown reason I could't boot when using the DOS 6.22 boot disk from http://www.allbootdisks.com/download/iso.html.

Just like any VM, I know that I will need hard disk image to host the Windows 95 OS. Many tutorials covers the steps to build your own hard disk image, requiring somewhat technical understanding. To avoid these complications, I simply choose a blank pre-formatted FAT16 .img from https://sites.google.com/site/dotalshoff/games/dosbox.

Don't be surprise with the capacity as the file is compressed and barely reaches 200 KB even for 1GB. This is because they are empty disk image. For me personally, 1GB is more than enough. DosBox requires the hard disk image to be flatten out in size instead of dynamically growing like many VM implementations nowadays. Upon extraction you will get the full blown size of the selected disk size.

Lastly, I then downloaded Win95 Installation Disc (win95_en.iso) from http://www.downloadfreeos.blogspot.tw/2013/06/windows-95.html. The version I chose was  Windows 95 (4.00.950).

Having downloaded all of them, I then moved them to DosBox folder.


2. Copy Windows95 Installation Files to the Blank Hard Disk Image


Launch DosBox



Since the blank image I downloaded is already formatted as FAT16, I don't have to format it again. The following just to verify that.

Mount the empty hard disk image (hdd-1gb.img) by typing

imgmount 2 hdd-1gb.img -size 512,63,64,520 -fs none


Note that I did not specify the drive name such as c or d since there I assume there is still no file system (FAT16, FAT32, NTFS) on it. Instead, I use 2 which will mount it on native system hda. (0-1 will mount to fda and fdb (floppy disk a, b) and 2-3 will mount to hda and hdb).

In addition, it is also necessary to specify the exact disk geometry (i.e. sectors, cylinders) to let the file system utility that we'll use next (fdisk) know where the disk ends. If you grab the pre-formatted hard disk image from https://sites.google.com/site/dotalshoff/games/dosbox, simply replace the value matching the ones you downloaded. For instance, I will enter 512,63,64,520 since I'm downloading the 1GB image.

256MB image:    512,63,16,520
512MB image:    512,63,32,520
520MB image:    512,63,16,1023
1GB image:        512,63,64,520
2GB image:        512,63,64,1023


After mounting the disk I then boot into MS-DOS 6.22 by typing

boot 622c.img




Verify that the disk is already formatted using fdisk.





Restart DosBox and mount the image as drive c by typing:

imgmount c hdd-1gb.img


Extract the contents of the Windows 95 installation disc (win95_en.iso) using WinRAR.



After that mount it as drive d by typing:

mount d .\win95_en

. implies current directory of DOSBox.



Make a new directory called WIN95 in C:/ which is your empty hard disk image. We will later copy the entire content of folder WIN95 from Windows 95 installation disk here.

c:
mkdir WIN95
copy D:\WIN95\*.*


3. Installing Windows 95

After that, start the installation by:
c:
cd WIN95
setup /is
(* /is flag prevent ScanDisk from running)

Follow the wizard and it will ask for a CD-Key at some point. I use the following:

12095-OEM-0004226-12233 

* More CD-Key can be found here.

After finishing the installation the system will restart, i.e. DOSBox will quit. You'll have to relaunch it again.

To boot from the hard disk image, simply type the following:

imgmount 2 hdd-1gb.img -size 512,63,64,520 -fs none
boot -l c

Note: Some tutorials make some mistake in this step by typing the following:

imgmount c hdd-1gb.img
boot hdd-1gb.img

This will result in Invalid System Disk.



... and voila! The nostalgic boot screen of Windows 95! 





Post Setup

Instead of typing these every time you launch DosBox, you may add them in the [AutoExec] section in DosBox configuration file. You can edit it by:





To prevent graphical glitch, lower the CPU speed in the configuration file:



FAQ

Q: I cannot enter backspace \ . It is mapped to right bracket ].
A: Start DOSBox with the switch -startmapper. (Reference: http://www.dosbox.com/wiki/Keymapper). To do so, right click at the DOSBox shortcut found on your Desktop and add the switch in the Shortcut Tab.


The next time you start you will see the Keymapper. Click on the \ and the 'Add' button, then press your Backspace key. Delete the binding for [ and ] to avoid conflict.


Resource Links

DOSBox Hard Disk Image (preformatted as FAT16 and available in 256M, 512M, 1G and 2G image)
Windows 95 Installation Disk / Setup Files
Windows OS Product Codes and CD Keys

References

63 comments

Great guide, thanks a lot you helped me out even if i had some trouble too. I suggest to specify the fdisk part where you must type "format c:"; you also should add "boot 622c.img" again before step 3 (installing windows)

Reply