ArcaOS install on VirtualBox

My first job out of college was with IBM as a contractor, working in the IBM Software Center, Basingstoke, providing technical support for OS/2 and Communications Manager/2. I ran OS/2 on my own PC at home for a few years after this, before moving to Windows 95.

In the past few years I’ve installed various versions of OS/2 in virtual machines for nostalgic reasons. I’ve also kept an eye on Arca Noae’s ArcaOS as a current day commercial offering of OS/2 complete with updated drivers and hardware support for current day hardware. For a personal install though I’ve been reluctant to pay the $120 for a personal license, but recently decided to bite the bullet and buy a copy.

I like collecting screenshots of OSes during the install process, and this post is one of those 🙂

After the typical ‘white square’ top right and ‘OS/2’ text, we get to the first installer screen:

After accepting the license agreements, the next page is interesting, it prompts you to select a ‘personality’, a pre-configured set of features depending on how you intend to use this installation. I’ll select the default/first option for now. I don’t remember seeing options like this during a typical OS/2 install, maybe Warp 4 provided options like this (I’ll go check later):

I have a blank 2GB virtual disk on VirtualBox for this install, so I’ll select the option to format it. Later when I do a bare metal install I’ll be doing the same on a blank partition on a new SATA SSD:

Prompted to reboot:

The familiar shutdown compete dialog!

After rebooting, you’re back at the first page of the install again. Stepping through the same options we’re now prompted to select the install volume:

There’s no volumes in the dropdown yet, so press the Manage Volumes button:

I clicked on the Volume menu option, then ‘Create new’, then the ‘Standard/bootable’ option:

I kept the default C and named the volume:

I’m using all the free space on this volume, so kept the defaults:

Volume manager now looks like this:

Closing this dialog I’m prompted to save and now the volume is selected:

Next up, location settings. Huh, remember code pages? I set my timezone, DST, and internet time sync:

This next one is interesting and allows you to configure your hardware options. This is obviously where ArcaOS shines in it’s ability to support hardware of the time as well as updated support for current hardware:

Also interesting that support for VirtualBox is selected by default as the installer recognizes we’re installing on VirtualBox:

I kept all options as default for now. When I do a bare metal install next I’ll check out what the Display options are.

Network driver install next and prompted for machine name, workgroup, and username:

Ready to install – let’s go!

Off we go. Noticeably absent and the messages telling you about the various features that you get during a Warp install:

Time to reboot:

During the install there’s a couple reboots we are automatic if you leave the checkbox selected.

Done! Up and runnning!

Installing Windows 98 on Virtualbox on MacOS

My attempt to install Windows 95 on Virtualbox on my Mac Pro didn’t turn out too well as by the time the installation completed it refused to boot with the error:

"While initializing device IOS. Windows Protection Error"

What on earth Windows 98 was doing back then initializing iOS devices is interesting, but beside the point 🙂 This error is described in this KB article but I’m not sure updating the BIOS in my Quantum hard disk is really applicable in this case. More likely the issue is related to VT-x virtualization  (I can’t find the option to turn off VT-x support on my VirtualBox install), or other posts suggest this is most likely to do with host CPUs faster than 2.1GHz, and my Mac Pro has dual 2.8 Xeons.

Moving on then, next up, installing Windows 98. There’s a great post here that describes VM specific settings compatible for installing 98 – I went with 1GB RAM and a virtual 10GB disk and followed the other suggested settings.

I booted the VM from a floppy disk image (the same I downloaded for my 95 installation attempt, from here), partitioned and formatted the virtual disk, and then ran ‘setup’ from the CD:

Welcome to Windows 98 Setup: “the software that makes your computer more powerful, reliable, manageable, and entertaining”.

I’m glad 98 made my computer “more entertaining”.


“Sit back and relax” …





“Windows 98 supports new, cutting edge technologies” …





I remember using this ‘active desktop’ feature in 98, where you could have web content pinned to your desktop. An interesting IE feature that was discontinued from Vista onwards.





























It’s alive! Welcome to Windows 98. Given that VirtualBox does not have any supported/provided Guest Additions for WIndows 98 (or 95 for that matter), running under VirtualBox is incredibly slow and sluggish. However for nostalgia’s sake, if there’s something you want to play around with to re-live just how awesome Windows 98 was (?), then it’s definitely doable in VirtualBox, but not a great experience.

Installing Windows 95 on VirtualBox on MacOS

Looking through a stack of CDs and DVDs on the shelf on my desk, amongst many other things I still have install CDs for Windows 95 and Windows 98. I wondered (as you do, well, maybe not everyone does) what it would be like to install 95 again from scratch so created a new VM in VirtualBox and off I went. If you’ve come across any of my posts before you might remember I’ve installed all sorts of OSes under VirtualBox before, because, well why not? OS/2 and AROS probably the most interesting.

The steps in this blog are very useful for a guide. Windows 95 install CDs were apparently not bootable, and I don’t remember having boot floppies. If I did I probably don’t have them anymore. I download a Windows 95 boot disk floppy .img from here, and attached it to the floppy drive in the VirtualBox config for this machine.

After booting to an a: prompt, attempted ‘format c:’ but got a ‘invalid drive specification’ error. Seems I needed to partition my blank attached virtual disk first, so from the a: prompt, ran fdisk:

entered ‘y’ for large disk support, and then selected option 1 for ‘Create a DOS partition’ and then ‘Create Primary DOS partition’. Next, formated it:

format c:

then change to R: (the attached CD Drive)

and then


Next, Windows 95 setup was telling me that my newly created and formatted disk was reporting an incorrect size, so started a Scandisk:

After this completed it still gave the same error, so I skipped this step:

Unfortunately at this point the install fails, and says the issue must be fixed before it will continue.

Possibly my 20GB attached virtual disk is not supported (too large), so reading around, it looks like a 2GB install disk is a supported size, so I was about to delete the 20GB disk and started again, but quitting the Scandisk before it completes with an error puts you back in the installer, and off it goes:

Some of the info screens during the install are rather interesting, promoting Window 95’s ‘high performance’:

“High-quality multimedia performance will dazzle you” – who wrote this stuff?

Who remembers dial-up MSN?

And then it fails ‘insufficient memory’ when booting up which is odd because I set the VM up with 1GB:

From post here and others, this seems this might be to do with having too much RAM configured for the VM, and in particular 1GB or more.

I decreased it to 512MB, then got:

This error on booting Windows 95 under VirtualBox seems related to VT-x virtualization. I can’t find the option to turn off VT-x support on my VirtualBox install, and other posts seem like this is to do with host CPUs faster than 2.1GHz, and my Mac Pro has dual 2.8 Xeons. Maybe this is as far as I’m going to get with 95. Next up, trying 98 :-0