Win95 in virtualbox

Hi all, need some input from those more knowledgeable than me on this problem.

On my OpenSuse 11.3 (kernel laptop, I’ve been wanting to play a game that ONLY runs on Windows 95. I’ve got VirtualBox 3.2.6-1.4 installed and it works great with DOS and WinXP. But when I try to run Win95 and then my game, I have several issues:

The color mode of this Win95 seems to be 16-color only. I’ve tried different generic video drivers but none give me any more options.

And Win95 is EXTREMELY prone to crashing the virtual box. Just tinkering around in the o/s and doing things such as copying files from a CD will crash it after about 5 minutes. From initial observations, it looks like Win95 just doesn’t play well with virtual box.

Has anyone had success with virtualbox and Win95? Are their better options for me? I looked at both VM and XEN but both require messing with new kernels so I’ve stayed away from them.

thanks for any input.

I gave up trying to use Win95 on VirtualBox many releases ago. The Win9x support there was never developed further, so all the old issues remain and will continue to do so.

A better, but not so intuitive solution is QEMU. It performs better for Win9x than VirtualBox does. The package in openSUSE distribution repo is qemu, and you can read the qemu manual here. From there you can reach the rest of the website.

What about running your game in Wine?


I haven’t tried that yet. I’ve successfully run windows apps in wine but these have always been apps designed for XP or higher. Since this game specifically requires Win95, I didn’t think it would work but I’ll give it a shot.


I installed qemu and you’re right – it’s not intuitive. At first glance, it appears I have to create a win95 image and load it as an iso. But that begs the question of once I"ve got the image created, how can I add applications??? I’ll keep playing with it.

I did it a long time ago, and with earlier Qemu releases - less function. Is that to overcome the problem that original Win95 CD isn’t bootable? IIRC, I installed DOS (probably FreeDOS or such like) in the VM, partitioned the virtual disk (C & D), copied the Win95 directory containing all the installation files to D: and ran the install/setup executable from there. However your “win95 image/iso load” may be the newer way to do it. I remember reading some tricks in the Qemu forum.

Once Win95 is installed and running in the VM, you install Win95 optional programs same as you would on a real system, and the same goes for installing applications from a CD or downloaded .exe files. You need to read the manual link I posted, to pick up the appropriate options for starting and configuring the VM to support the installed Win95 system. It looks complex, due to the large number of options, but you will probably only need a small subset and most of those are given as examples. I did that using the commandline in a terminal window. However there are now several GUI frontends you can try.

At the moment, I’m on the wrong system for my qemu stuff. However you can post back with any issues and I will try to help from the right system. :slight_smile:

One of the few things that I had a chance to test Wine with was the old game Myth II. When I bought it almost a decade ago, I bought it for MacOS 8.x. Strange as it seems however, on the CD it says that it contains the versions of the game for MacOS and Win95. (I know that there were alse Win98 versions.) Long story short, that Win95 version ran perfect for the whole 15 minutes I played with it. So maybe there is hope, for a simpler solution for you.

I also found older win95 stuff works on wine, but some apps with versions purchased around 2002/3 supporting Win9x through XP had newer installers (+ protection) that defeated Wine (yes, I did the database research then). That’s why I tried VirtualBox for those, but finally succeeded with Qemu. I agree Wine is the simplest when it works.

VMWare player also support win95 (and ME, 98, 3.1 and MSDOS). It’s not open but it’s free and without limitations. I’ve not tried the last couple versions of VBox, last time I tried my feeling was that VMPlayer had better performance. Of course, YMMV.