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I am trying to install Windows 98 in a virtual box image. I have built it with a 512 Mb virtual hard drive, 32 Mb RAM, and 16 Mb video RAM. First, it is declared as a DOS virtual machine. FreeDOs installs well. I used this tuto.

I have burned an ISO of my Windows 98 install CD because I don't manage to connect my CD device to the virtual box. I boot on FreeDOS, switch to D:, and run "install /p j" or "install". The windows 98 install screen is displayed, and an error appear telling: windows 98 requires a computer with at least 16 Mb of memory.

As I gave it 32Mb, it should be happy. Any idea please ?

  • Try Increase the video memory to 32MB. I followed the linked tutorial and I didn't have a problem. – Ramhound Jan 14 '14 at 12:36
  • The tutorial link is for FreeDOS which installs right. The problem occurs when I run the installer of Windows 98. Nevertheless, I have tried your suggestion but it changes nothing. – lalebarde Jan 14 '14 at 14:11
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Booting from the Windows 98 install CD works, both when FreeDOS is first installed and when it is not, surprisingly. My Windows 98 install CD is a basic one, not the 98 SE one.

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I boot on FreeDOS, switch to D:, and run "install /p j" or "install". The windows 98 install screen is displayed, and an error appear telling: windows 98 requires a computer with at least 16 Mb of memory. … Booting from the Windows 98 install CD works, both when FreeDOS is first installed and when it is not, surprisingly.

If it works from the CD but not from the install files, then the problem is because the CD is loading some kind of driver on boot (probably XMS via config.sys) whereas your default boot is not. You should be able to fix it by copying the contents of config.sys and autoexec.bat to your FreeDos boot-up environment. You should also check to see that FreeDos is not loading extraneous stuff.

I have burned an ISO of my Windows 98 install CD because I don't manage to connect my CD device to the virtual box.

The CD image you created was probably not a valid CD image or was not bootable. Try ImgBurn, VFD, BCD, or CDIMAGE. Just make sure to select the bootable option when creating the image.

My Windows 98 install CD is a basic one, not the 98 SE one.

I'm not familiar with all of the intricacise of Microsoft licensing, but I believe you should be able to download and use a 98SE image if you have a legitimate 98 key. If you have a copy of XP, you can download SP3 without having to buy a new copy; you should also be able to download an ISO of XP with SP3 pre-installed without it being considered piracy. The SE release of 98 was effectively just a service-pack for 98.

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Probably because the Windows 98 included MS-DOS autoload extended memory support thanks to HIMEM.SYS, so it can detect correctly the amount of usable memory. FreeDOS may enable only the 1st MB of RAM. The equivalent of HIMEM.SYS from MS-DOS is HIMEM.EXE, which should be loaded if you add it in CONFIG.SYS. However, Windows 98 installer should load another driver called XMSMMGR.EXE if no other driver are loaded, but I'm not sure about that.

Still, you should not use FreeDOS to insall Windows 98 which owns already a bootable MS-DOS.

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  • Probably because the Windows 98 included MS-DOS autoload extended memory support… That’s what I said. – Synetech Mar 11 '14 at 5:15
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I ran into the same problem and discovered that passing /IT (ignore TSRs) to setup resolved the issue.

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    What setup? You meant install? – marsh-wiggle Dec 28 '14 at 15:02
  • Welcome to SuperUser. Your answer needs clarification. Please edit it to help other understand how to implement your solution to the OP's question. – I say Reinstate Monica Dec 28 '14 at 15:20

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