VirtualPC

Virtual PC for OS/2 Version 5.1

    Virtual PC is a must have. If you haven't purchased the OS/2 version, its too late. Microsoft has gotten its hands on it and discontinued the OS2 Version. Whats more, Microsoft released their version as a free upgrade, which really is not free because you must upgrade to XP Professional since they disabled it to work on XP Home. You can only run OS2 as a guest in order to migrate to Windows XP as well as stop any potential threat from a Linux Version (if one were being planned). It only took a few months to snuff this out.
    For best results, get no less than 512MB of ram.

    Virtual PC for OS/2 Documentation

    Guest Operating System Performance and notes

    See my Article on how I use Virtual PC as posted in OS2eZine.com.  Note that performance is better if you have a host machine that has more than one CPU.

Operating System

Results

    Linux Mandrake 9
    Reasonable. Samba Connection to ECS Host.

    Linux Mandrake 7.1

    Reasonable.
    Linux Mandrake 6.0
    Usable - Maybe 133 Mhz Speed. Haven't tried Samba Client.
    Windows for Workgroups 3.11
    Reasonable, but network is slow
    Windows 95

    Reasonable, good networking.
    Windows 98
    Reasonable but Win98 needs more RAM. Able to use Printers and File Shares on ECS Host using network printer.
    Windows NT 4

    Works Great. Able to connect to ECS Host Printers and File Shares seemlessly, even network printers.
    Windows XP
    Works Great. Able to share files and printers with networking, scan eCS machine with antivirus.
    Windows Vista

    Not Supported.  There are new BIOS requirements so it doesn't work.  Only works on MS Virtual PC 2007 which only works on Windows.
    OS/2 2.1
    Works, but networkling is slow.
    OS/2 3.0
    Works, able to share files and printers with networking, but networking is slow.
    OS/2 4.0
    Works, able to share files and printers with networking.
    OS/2 4.5
    Works, able to share files and printers with networking.
    eComStation 1.0
    Great.
    eComStation 1.1
    Great.
    eComstation 1.2
    Great.
    eComstation 2.0

Great.  Very useful to test and plan an upgrade for 2.0


    Downloads


Here are some of the different hardware devices emulated and how they worked:

Features

Results

    Hard Disk
    Currently supports connecting only to a hard disk image file. You cannot connect to a hard disk and share it between a host and guest. You can use networking to get files between guest to host.
    CD Rom
    Supports Booting and connecting to CD Rom Drive and a CD Rom Image file. It only supports 1 CD Rom Drive.  Does support Data DVD disks but not Movie DVDs.
    Floppy Drive
    Supports Booting and connecting to Floppy Drive and a Floppy Drive Image file. It only supports 1 Floppy Drive. 
    Shared Folders
    This may work for you but you should back up your hard disk image before you install. It could be that this is only supported by Windows 95 (by default) and I think there are now additions (what they call plug-in's). I tried this on NT 4.0 and could no longer use it - had to re-install NT 4 on the session.
    Mouse
    Works
    COM Ports
    Work for COM1 and COM2. When Guest has a port, Host cannot use it. Recommend using shared networking and connect to internet from Host.
    LPT1
    Works, but its better to share your printer over your Virtual LAN so all sessions can use the printer. If you have a printer that has no OS/2 driver, you'll want to have that session grab the port directly but you won't be able to use your Guest Printer from your OS/2 Host.
    Networking
    Seemless networking with Windows Guests. Linux via Samba works in Read Mode. FTP works for all Guests with an FTP server on ECS Host.

    You may have to fiddle with the DHCP or Static IP settings to get things working.

    Emulates DEC 2104x/2114x 10/100 mbps Ethernet Controller found at the Hobbes Archive.
    Sound
    Works fine on all Windows Guests, and on some Linux guests. I have Sound Blaster LIVE!, other devices may not work as well.
    Sound driver for Sound Blaster Live that ships with eComStation 1.2 did not work on my machine. Here is a prior version that did work, I just copied on top of the drivers that shipped.


    Video


To enable sound in VPC/2 guests:

Open regedit2.exe
Add the following new key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\VPCWIN\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CustomBuild
Under this key add a DWORD entry named "DisableAudio" and set the value to "0"
You may also create a Program Object that runs CMD.EXE and for a parameter paste
"/c start /f /c /min /pgm I:\VirtualPC\VPCSETUP.EXE /tweakvpc" which will allow you to turn the sound on through a configuration screen.


How to fix VPC from an exception error

    There is a bug in the OS/2 Version of Virtual PC that causes an exception error if the name of the virtual machine is too long.  If you name or rename a virtual machine longer than about 24 characters, you may find that you get an exception error and VPC will terminate.  Nothing seems to fix the problem.  There is one thing that will fix the problem without rebooting or reinstalling Virtual PC.

    The properties of each virtual machine, including the name are stored in the registry.  You can find the offending entry in regedit2 and delete it.  Here are the steps:

    Open regedit2.exe
    Look for the following new key:
    Navigate to:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\VPCWIN\REGROOT_HKEY_CurrentUser\Software\Connectix\Virtual PC\4.0\Configuration\<name of Virtual Machine>

    HKEY_USERS\.default\SOFTWARE\VPCWIN\REGROOT_HKEY_CurrentUser\Software\Connectix\Virtual PC\4.0\Configuration\
    <name of Virtual Machine>
    You will see the name of the virtual machine which has the new name and the old name and maybe an incomplete set of parameters.  You should delete the offending entries in both places.  The virtual hard disk will still be there, but you will need to recreate the entries which will add all the parameters correctly back in.  A rename wont work because there will be missing parameters from when VPC crashed.
    After you delete both entries, Virtual PC should start up and all your other virtual machines will still be there.


What if VPC Hangs when I start it?

Sometimes VPC hangs when started.  There are a couple of things that can be done to solve this problem:

  • Run chkdsk on all your disks.
  • Have a copy of the VPC EXE and DLL files handy so you can copy/replace any file that may be corrupt.
  • Run Checkini (see Hobbes Archive for WPTOOLS).




Updated February 9, 2011

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