I'm currently resurrecting an ancient Amstrad 5086, containing an 8MHz Intel 8086 cpu, the classic 640kB of ram, Windows 3.0 and EGA graphics. Unfortunately, I only seem to be able to run Windows with the CGA-Monochrome driver, as far as I can find out the colour drivers need at least a 286. I hope I'm wrong, and someone can help me get it working in colour!

  • What is the make and model of the video adapter? – Bobson Mar 11 '12 at 19:48

The Windows 3.0 EGA and VGA drivers use 80186 opcodes, so won't work on an 8086 PC. The only way to use Microsoft's drivers is to replace the 8086 processor with a V30, which supports the opcodes used by the driver. This isn't a simple operation, since you've got to desolder the 8086 without damaging the motherboard.

As of February 2013, a version of the VGA driver has been created which uses only 8086 opcodes and so will work on an unmodified Amstrad 2086 / 3086 / 5086. See http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?35593-Windows-3-0-VGA-color-driver-for-8088-XT

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  • Wow, I'll have to try that! – Thief Feb 27 '14 at 17:34
  • You know what, it actually works. – Thief Mar 6 '14 at 13:00

Wow, glutton for punishment eh? :)

Are you sure there is an EGA or better video card in there? CGA isn't "monochrome", it's 4-colour.

There was never a 286 requirement for EGA that I'm aware of (it's been a while though :) ). You just need to ensure the right driver is installed and that you have configured Windows to use EGA.

Here's a page that has some active Win3X EGA driver links.

Here's a how-to page with the basics of enabling VGA in Windows 3.1 -- Maybe it will be of help getting your EGA running as well.

Hope that helps...

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  • Just checked the bios, and it apparently support VGA. The bios provides a choice between monitor types, with the last being EGA/VGA. My source for the information is the fact that it is actually running in monochrome (though apparently using the VGA-Monochrome driver), and this: seasip.info/AmstradXT/v30cpu.html (the 2086 is a sister model to the 5086, both have an 8086 cpu, 640kB of ram and VGA). Windows doesn't specify a 286 requirement next to the VGA driver, but I need to get the floppy drive working again before I can try it it seems. The EGA ones did say (286 only). – Thief Feb 24 '11 at 8:48
  • Oh, and CGA did provide a monochrome (technically 2-colour paletted) mode. – Thief Feb 24 '11 at 9:14
  • CGA didn't provide monochrome, it provided a 2-colour "B&W" mode. Monochrome (ala Hercules) is/was multiple shades of one color. Trust me, I had CGA for waaay too long back then. ;) – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Feb 25 '11 at 19:06

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