Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95C inability to boot

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Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95C inability to boot

Postby GregW67 » 29. Jul 2021, 11:26

Sorry for a second post after only just having joined, but I feel that these two questions could be relevant to others here.

I am running Virtualbox 6.1.24 on Windows 10 Pro 64-bit and am unable to get Windows NT 3.51 and 95C to boot. Windows NT 4.0 and 98 (not SE) boot fine on the same setup.

Windows NT 3.51 fails at boot with a blue screen stating a STOP error and also saying INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE. Numerous memory addresses are listed along with the processes Fastfat.sys (1 entry), ntoskrnl.exe (29 entries), and hal.dll (1 entry). At the bottom it says "Restart and set the recovery options in the system control panel". Virtualbox settings are default and it is set for Windows NT 3.x. I have tried 64 and 128 MB of RAM.

Windows 95C fails at boot with a black screen stating "While initializing device IOS: Windows protection error. You need to restart your computer." Again Virtualbox settings are default and it is set for Windows 95. I have tried numerous RAM settings between 64 and 512 MB including 128 MB.

My installation of Virtualbox is able to run Windows 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, 3.11, 98, ME, XP Pro, and Vista Ultimate 64-bit without incident.

Any help is much appreciated.
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Re: Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95C inability to boot

Postby mpack » 29. Jul 2021, 12:18

A common mistake is to choose disk and memory sizes which would have been a ridiculous fantasy back when those OS were current.

The Win95 protection error is dealt with in the HOWTO.
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Re: Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95C inability to boot

Postby GregW67 » 31. Jul 2021, 08:30

Thanks for the tip, I will look into it.
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Re: Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95C inability to boot

Postby birdie » 31. Jul 2021, 15:58

Also Windows 95/98/Me OSes are not compatible with hardware virtualization on certain modern CPUs not limited to AMD Zen 2/3.

See this topic for more details: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=96644

And this comment https://www.virtualbox.org/ticket/19275#comment:8
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Re: Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95C inability to boot

Postby mpack » 31. Jul 2021, 18:17

birdie wrote:Also Windows 95/98/Me OSes are not compatible with hardware virtualization on certain modern CPUs not limited to AMD Zen 2/3.

This is wrong, and I'm pretty sure this has been pointed out to you before.

Neither of the (self referential) links you provide support your case.
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Re: Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95C inability to boot

Postby birdie » 1. Aug 2021, 17:51

mpack wrote:
birdie wrote:Also Windows 95/98/Me OSes are not compatible with hardware virtualization on certain modern CPUs not limited to AMD Zen 2/3.

This is wrong, and I'm pretty sure this has been pointed out to you before.

Neither of the (self referential) links you provide support your case.


If what VirtualBox developers say in the bug report about this very issue doesn't support "my case" I don't know what does. Maybe I just can't read or don't understand English. That's quite possible. Still the bug report is closed as WONTFIX - maybe I misunderstood that as well.
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Re: Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95C inability to boot

Postby fth0 » 2. Aug 2021, 00:12

Let me give you my own summary of the information presented by michaln in 19275#comment:8:

The linked blog post Windows 9x TLB Invalidation Bug explains why Windows 9x (Windows 95 to Windows ME) exhibits random crashes when being executed on AMD CPUs. Note that it does not talk about virtual machines, this already happens on physical PCs.

VirtualBox does not support the Windows 9x family as guest OS (although selectable in the VM configuration), and Oracle does not intend to change anything in VirtualBox to circumvent this type of Windows 9x bugs, even if they could, and that's why the ticket was closed.



birdie wrote:Also Windows 95/98/Me OSes are not compatible with hardware virtualization on certain modern CPUs not limited to AMD Zen 2/3.

You can argue differently about this statement IMHO: On one hand, Windows 9x is not compatible without hardware virtualization, and therefore it's also not compatible with it. On the other hand, the hardware virtualization is not at fault here, so it doesn't sound right.
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Re: Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95C inability to boot

Postby birdie » 2. Aug 2021, 03:42

fth0 wrote:Let me give you my own summary of the information presented by michaln in 19275#comment:8:

The linked blog post Windows 9x TLB Invalidation Bug explains why Windows 9x (Windows 95 to Windows ME) exhibits random crashes when being executed on AMD CPUs. Note that it does not talk about virtual machines, this already happens on physical PCs.

VirtualBox does not support the Windows 9x family as guest OS (although selectable in the VM configuration), and Oracle does not intend to change anything in VirtualBox to circumvent this type of Windows 9x bugs, even if they could, and that's why the ticket was closed.



birdie wrote:Also Windows 95/98/Me OSes are not compatible with hardware virtualization on certain modern CPUs not limited to AMD Zen 2/3.

You can argue differently about this statement IMHO: On one hand, Windows 9x is not compatible without hardware virtualization, and therefore it's also not compatible with it. On the other hand, the hardware virtualization is not at fault here, so it doesn't sound right.


I intended to say that Windows 95/98/Me OSes are incompatible with modern CPUs with or without HW virtualization. It was never my intent to claim that VBox's HW virtualization is at fault. Also, I said earlier that these OSes work just fine in software virtualization mode.

I'm sorry if I caused any confusion.
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Re: Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95C inability to boot

Postby GregW67 » 2. Aug 2021, 04:25

I have now been able to get Windows 95 to work properly in Virtualbox.

For others having the 95 black screen saying "While initializing device IOS : Windows protection error", I refer you to the following discussion and solution:

https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?t=82787

Apparently Windows 95 does not normally support Intel CPUs faster than 2.1 GHz or AMD CPUs above 350 MHz and its network driver NDIS crashes during boot, causing the error message. Very fortunately a patch has been released by a dedicated enthusiast and this is outlined in the discussion. The patch is packaged as an ISO which has to be attached to the virtual machine's CD drive; upon boot the VM starts up on the ISO and this patches 95.

For those saying 95/98/ME aren't supported by Virtualbox, I have read this myself, but I have personally managed to get all three operating systems to work on the latest version of VB (6.1.24) running on Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.

Now - to try and find out why NT 3.51 is crashing. If I find out I will post back here.
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Re: Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95C inability to boot

Postby fth0 » 2. Aug 2021, 09:50

GregW67 wrote:For those saying 95/98/ME aren't supported by Virtualbox, I have read this myself, but I have personally managed to get all three operating systems to work on the latest version of VB (6.1.24) running on Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.

Thanks for sharing this information. AFAIK, mpack also has several Windows 9x OSs running in VirtualBox VMs, and posted this several times in the past.

Note that there is no contradiction here. "Not being supported" only means that Oracle does not intend to analyze or fix any potential problems. That also holds true for a lot of host and guest OSs that work without problems.
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Re: Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95C inability to boot

Postby mpack » 2. Aug 2021, 11:29

GregW67 wrote:For others having the 95 black screen saying "While initializing device IOS : Windows protection error", I refer you to the following discussion and solution:

That discussion seems to be a secondary offshoot. IMO readers would be better advised to visit the HOWTO post I mentioned earlier: Re: Tutorial: Windows 95/98 guest OSes.

fth0 wrote:AFAIK, mpack also has several Windows 9x OSs running in VirtualBox VMs, and posted this several times in the past.

Yes, I have Win3.1, Win95 and Win98SE. Plus several flavors of DOS and FreeDOS. Occasional temporary bugs aside, all of these OS have been tested and worked on every single VirtualBox release since 2.x, with and without hardware virtualization, through all of the PCs and host OS's that I've owned in that time since 2008. There have been occasional fleeting bugs that stopped one of these from working until the next test build, but there has never been a version of VirtualBox which purposely failed on any of these.

Obviously, if the ancient OS in question has a problem with modern processors (or network cards or anything else) then that is hardly the fault of VirtualBox. And in any case that scenario seems to be rare, and usually has workarounds if it's a "nostalgia" OS.
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Re: Windows NT 3.51 and Windows 95C inability to boot

Postby GregW67 » 3. Aug 2021, 04:34

mpack wrote:Yes, I have Win3.1, Win95 and Win98SE. Plus several flavors of DOS and FreeDOS. Occasional temporary bugs aside, all of these OS have been tested and worked on every single VirtualBox release since 2.x, with and without hardware virtualization, through all of the PCs and host OS's that I've owned in that time since 2008. There have been occasional fleeting bugs that stopped one of these from working until the next test build, but there has never been a version of VirtualBox which purposely failed on any of these.

Obviously, if the ancient OS in question has a problem with modern processors (or network cards or anything else) then that is hardly the fault of VirtualBox. And in any case that scenario seems to be rare, and usually has workarounds if it's a "nostalgia" OS.


I have to say that I am utterly amazed at what a great job VirtualBox does in allowing old OS's to run near-flawlessly. We are using hardware that was unheard of at the time those old systems were released, yet it is possible to not just run legacy OS's but to do so without going through the prolonged and exacting driver installation steps that were required. This lack of driver installation is what amazes me most of all actually. I can remember what it was like to set up Windows 95 on a computer, you had to know all the steps and get them right, and then hope to avoid errors, without having any access to Google, forums, or much else online. I am interested in old versions of Windows precisely because they offer a trip back in time, but if I had to do this by setting them back up on old physical computers, I doubt I would have the patience or knowledge required. Thank you VirtualBox!
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