Installing OS/2 4.52 (Warp 4) on VMware ESXI

Installers with floppy disk boot images require swapping the disk images which is tedious. Find ISO images with 1 boot CDROM ISO and 1 install CDROM ISO – this is a much easier approach for installing. The Boot ISO and English ISO from this collection on work well.

Create a VM with:

  • 1 vCPU
  • 32MB RAM
  • 500MB disk

In ESXi this looks like:

Attach the iso boot image and boot the VM:

Remove the boot ISO cdrom and switch to the English language cdrom the press Enter:

F5 to switch to Physical View:

Tab to the [free space] in the second section, press Enter for Options, and create new Primary partition:

Press F5 to change back to Logical View, press Enter for Options:

Haven’t created or selected a logical volume, this forces you back to the Logical Volume Manager:

Choose the physical partition we created:

Now this looks like:

Set the volume to be installable:

Switch the ISO image back to the boot ISO and restart the VM.

On restarting the VM, with ESXi for some reason it changes the boot order at this point to the HD first, CDROM image second, so you’ll get a blank black screen on startup.

Power off the VM.

Go into your VM options and check the option to force boot to BIOS on next start:

Power on again.

When the BIOS menu comes up, go to Boot and change the CDROM entry to it is first in the list with the + key, then Save and Exit:

When booted, swap CDROM ISO image to the second install ISO when prompted.

You’ll now see the Welcome install screen again. Enter through the next few screens until you get to the partition selection screen, Accept the partition we created earlier and do a ‘Quick format’ when prompted:

Select HPFS:

The install from the ISO image goes pretty quick, then you’ll see this screen:

Followed by a reboot. You’ll now see the first of the config option dialogs:

You can leave the graphics as default, or press the button and switch the the GRADD drivers (which from memory are the better drivers to use):

Next/Ok through the the next few screens, then you’ll get to the optional installs:

I left the selected options, press Next:

Complete the registration screen, and then you get more options, I unchecked File and Print Sharing, and left the other pre-selected options:

Press Next, if there’s anything that needs additional config it will be flagged here, otherwise press Install:

The install goes pretty quick from here and will reboot at least once:

“IBM Means 3 Things”:

After another reboot if you get a blank screen with network card info, press Enter to continue then you’ll get to your desktop with more options – I selected Java 1.3 to take a look, and the IBM Web Browser:

At this point the installer doesn’t see my CDROM image even though it’s attached, but pressing Exit take me to the desktop.

Welcome to OS/2 Warp 4:

The network adapter wasn’t configured with DHCP by default, so from the TCP/IP folder on the desktop, find TCP/IP Configuration (Local) and enable the first interface and DHCP:

You’ll be prompted to reboot again, but now you should have an IP, and if you open Netscape, you’ll be able to browse the web, although with some rendering issues for sites using features not supported in this older version of Netscape.


7 Replies to “Installing OS/2 4.52 (Warp 4) on VMware ESXI”

  1. Thanks very much for posting these instructions! They were just close enough to what I saw as I installed Warp 4.5.2 to give me the confidence to continue the process. Now to dig out my old OS/2 software !

  2. I have a problem,when the I’m get the blank internet info and 2x press countine,and i got this:

    A program in this session encourted a problem and cannot countine.And bottom error codes.
    How to fix it?

  3. Great tutorial! It matches my screens exactly…except at the end. I get the screen that says “IBM Mean Three Things” but after the reboot following it I receive errors that it can’t find both COM.SYS and VCOM.SYS both within C:\OS2\BOOT. The messages come from the .cfg file process.
    I’m running VMWare Workstation Player 15.5.6 build-16341506.
    You ran under ESXi. Should I have a problem?

  4. Nice guide but unfortunately I have the same segfault error as the people above when booting into the OS for the first time, missing SYS files. I’m using ibm_warpclient_cp2_v4_52_client.iso (526128KB) on VMWare Workstation 15.

  5. Thanks for the tutorial, but I also get the same error as Jim after the last reboot:

    “SYS1201: The device driver C:\OS2\BOOT\COM.SYS specified in the DEVICE
    on line 86 of the CONFIG.SYS file was not installed. Line 86
    is ignored.

    SYS1201: The device driver C:\OS2\MDOS\VCOM.SYS specified in the DEVICE
    on line 124 of the CONFIG.SYS file was not installed. Line 124
    is ignored.”

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