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I tried to install Windows 95 on a Windows Virtual PC virtual machine, but when I am trying to run it post installation, I got an error during boot:

When initializing device IOS:
Windows protection error. You need to restart your computer.

When I was installing Windows 95, during the hardware check, I got an error message about a stack overflow error. I then tried again using Safe Recovery to skip past the errant hardware. I tried using the guide found here (http://helpdesk.princeton.edu/kb/display.plx?ID=4736) to fix the problem, but I was unable to boot into Safe Mode. It is also worth mentioning that my copy of Windows is Windows 95 C (OSR 2.5) and I also managed to install Windows 98 on Windows Virtual PC without any problems.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You've probably allocated hardware that's beyond what Windows 95 knows what to do with.

  • Try lowering the allotted RAM to <256MB.
  • Try shrinking the VHD to less than 1GB in size.

Also, Windows 95 has problems with processors faster than 2.1GHz: Windows protection error in NDIS with a CPU that is faster than 2.1 GHz.

Check out this msfn.org forum post for more info and possibly helpful patches: Windows 95 2.1GHz CPU Limit BROKEN!

Windows 95 has two specific errors when dealing with processors with speeds higher than 350 MHz. With a little patience however, both of these errors are fixable.

The real answer is, VPC isn't really compatible with Windows 95, because Windows 95 is too old for the virtual hardware in the VM. :)

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You're right; I do have a 2.8GHz processor, but I've only allocated 32MB RAM and 2GB HDD space. The support article you linked applies to both Windows 95 and Windows 98 Standard Edition, but my Windows 98 virtual machine is Windows 98 Second Edition. But the error that is specified there is different from my error. –  deleteme Dec 18 '13 at 19:44
    
@techie007 - You should clarify that Windows 95 is to old with todays VPC software. The reason of course is simple, the software being written today is attempting to allow full virtualization of your hardware, which means it knows the true frequency of your CPU. I am sure in 20 years there will be a question that exists trying to get Windows 7 to work within a VPC. Sort of like the fact there are meaningless memory limits on the desktop versions x64 Windows installations. The limits make sense, they limits are barely possible today with today's hardware, in 20 years not so much. –  Ramhound Dec 18 '13 at 19:44
    
@gparyani - Try underclocking your CPU, I bet it will work, only way to be really sure if thats the problem. –  Ramhound Dec 18 '13 at 19:45

You should use VMware Player for Windows 95, as it has officially support for that. Here's an alternative way to install it:


What you need:

  • DOS on a floppy or on an image (.flp, .img)
  • Windows 95 CD
  • VMware player (it's free) or VirtualPC (I recommend VMware)
  • MagicIso (the free trial version will do)
  • a copy of MSCDEX.EXE and oakcdrom.sys (both can be found online)

Procedure:

  1. Create a new virtual machine (make sure to add a floppy image drive if you are using VMware)
  2. Put your DOS floppy/image in or mount it and install DOS
  3. Download and install the free version of MagicIso. Run it and go to new -> floppy -> 1.44

    1. Find a copy of mscdex.exe and oakcdrom.sys (generic CD-Rom driver that works with DOS. (might have to try another if it doesn't work)
    2. Rename the oakcdrom.sys to cdrom.sys
    3. Drag both these files into MagicIso on the floppy disk we just created
    4. Save the file
    5. Close MagicIso
    6. Find the file we just saved in Explorer and change the extension from .ima to .flp (if you are using VMware) or .img (if you are using VirtualPC). (if you can't see the extensions you're going to need to change your folder options to show extensions)
  4. Go back to your virtual machine and mount the floppy image we just created. run the following commands:

    a:\
    copy mscdex.exe c:\
    copy cdrom.sys c:\
    
  5. Find config.sys in your C drive. type:

    edit config.sys
    

    Add a line that says this:

    device=c:\cdrom.sys /d:mscd001
    

    Exit and save

  6. Find autoexec.bat in your C drive. Type:

    edit autoexec.bat
    

    Now add a line that says this

    c:\mscdex.exe /d:mscd001
    

    Exit and save

  7. Restart the computer or virtual machine

  8. Now move to your C drive and type:

    mscdex.exe: /d:mscd001 /M:5 /V /L:d /S /K
    

    (this part /M:x refers to the amount of buffers your drive has.. it's either 4 or 5. usually 5)

  9. Create a blank floppy image either in VMware or MagicIso, then mount that new one. Put your Windows 95 CD in the CD drive and type:

    d:\
    setup.exe
    
  10. It should be booting Windows 95 now

You might run into troubles when it tries to install the other drivers as it might ask you for Windows floppies even if you're using the CD version. You can find all of these drivers on the windows 95b CD if you have it, as they are all in .cab files (you would need to extract them 1 by 1 and put them on floppy images to use them).

I actually just got it to load the drivers off the Windows 95 CD by just trying it over and over again until it worked. It might have been because I either did or didn't restart after putting in the Windows 95 CD.

Make sure you check to make sure Windows 95 is seeing your CD drive. If not, go to the Add New Hardware Wizard in the Control Panel and see if that detects it.

(Note: I initially tried doing it without installing DOS using fdisk and format and manually adding the autoexec.bat and config.sys files but I was running into similar issues until I installed DOS first)

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In the future, try to present your answers in a more formatted and clear way. I believe this was downvoted because you pasted what was a very big wall of text. At any rate, welcome to Super User. If you are interested, check the tour page for a peek on how this site works. –  Doktoro Reichard May 16 at 0:22
    
Yeah, I thought your post was spam because of the link at the bottom. –  deleteme May 16 at 0:53

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