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Virtual PC 2007 is a handy tool for running multiple operating systems. However, it’s not without its limitations when running an older OS like Windows 3.1. Here’s what it takes to get everything working.
This screen shows a basic Windows 3.11 installation under Virtual PC. The emulated hardware under VPC isn’t supported by Windows 3.x and you have to hunt around to get all of the drivers and stuff that you need.
The Classics Rock blog on TechRepublic lists the file locations. You’ll need.
Begin by putting together a CD-ROM with the files you needs. VPC under DOS can’t access the host machine’s hard drive, so this is the only way you can load the drivers you need.
PKUnzip is always a handy utility to have in DOS. Extract the files to your C:\DOS directory.
You’ll need the S3 Trio64 drivers for Windows 3.1 to get better than basic VGA resolution and colors out of VPC.
You get to this screen from the Windows Setup icon in the Main Group.
Select Other from the Display drop down box, and Windows 3.x prompts you for the location of your drivers.
Select the screen size and color depth you want. Unlike Windows 9x and better, you can’t change this resolution on the fly and always have to go through Setup.
Click OK after you make your selection.
Setup installs the fonts and video drivers after you click OK.
You must then restart Windows to make the new video driver take effect.
When Windows comes up, you should notice a color and resolution change.
The emulated sound card for VPC is a SoundBlaster 16. The following screens show the installation program for the card.
After the DOS installation program finishes, the SoundBlasters Windows Setup program runs. It installs the Windows programs and configures the Windows drivers.
Restart Windows again!
You can now begin configuring the Network Settings. In Windows For Workgroups 3.11, this screen is found by clicking Network Setup in the Network Group.
VPC emulates the Intel 21140 network card. Windows doesn’t include a driver for this card, so you must download it. Select Unlisted to find it.
Give the location of the drivers
You only have one card to choose from.
Windows For Workgroups installs NetBEUI and IPX as the default protocols. TCP/IP is *not* a choice.
I’ve removed IPX for now because you must have at least one protocol installed and I haven’t installed TCP/IP yet.
Restart Windows yet again.
When the computer restarts, you can see the drivers for the card load.
When Windows starts this time, you’ll see a login screen. The default password is blank.
When you enter a password, it’s added to Windows’ password list.
Now you must download and extract the TCP/IP files for Windows 3.1.
Go back into Network Setup when Windows starts back up. This time click Add Protocol. Click Unlisted to load your TCP/IP drivers.
After giving the location of the drivers, you only have one choice.
NetBEUI and TCP/IP are both listed now. Remove NetBEUI.
TCP/IP is all by itself. Now you must configure it.
You can statically assign IP Addresses by filling out the information on this screen. You can also use DHCP by clicking Enable Automatic DHCP Configuration.
I’ve chosen DHCP.
Unlike later versions of Windows, DHCP in Windows 3.x only sets the IP address and NetMask of the workstation. You must statically enter the address for the Default Gateway, WINS, and DNS servers.
This defeats a lot of the purpose of DHCP unfortunately.
Click the DNS button to get here. Here you enter DNS information.
TCP/IP is configured and ready to go.
Setup modifies necessary system files and tells you about it.
Basic Windows versions of some TCP/IP utilities appear.
Again you must restart Windows.
You should check the Network Settings for Virtual PC to make sure that the proper network card is enabled and chosen for your session. In machines with multiple network cards, the default session may not choose the proper card. Select it from the drop down box.
Networking in the Windows 3.x session may not work if you don’t check this.
There’s DOS based PING utility you can use to check connectivity when Windows restarts.
TCP/IP is working and we’re connected to the Internet!
Now it’s time to get a Web browser. The newest browser supported by Windows 3.1 is Internet Explorer 5.01.
Start the Setup program from the Run dialog box.
IE 5.01’s setup program is similar to the old one for IE 6.0.
Even though you have a networked TCP/IP stack installed, IE 5.01’s Setup program tries to configure a modem. Cancel out of it.
After the install completes, you must restart yet again.
When Windows restarts, IE 5.01 finishes its configuration.
You must choose a timezone.
With modern versions of IE, you may be tempted to use the Internet Connection Wizard to setup networked surfing.
D’oh! IE *still* wants to only use a modem.
Start IE 5.01 to fix the problem directly.
Select Tools | Internet Options. When you click the Connection tab, IE will complain about the connection settings.
Select Your Local Area Network. Now you don’t have to worry about the modem.
The default homepage is a Lycos page that doesn’t exist anymore.
Pick a new home page.
Google finally loads. Search results will not launch however. AltaVista is a better search engine with IE 5.01.
You can load 32bit support for Windows 3.1 by installing Win32s. This will run some, but a vast minority, of 32bit Windows programs.
Freecell is one of the few 32bit programs that work with Windows 3.x.
Like IE 5.01, Netscape won’t load modern Websites like TechRepublic. At least Netscape will give errors rather than locking your machine when it hits a site it can’t load.