A Complete Guide to Install Windows 95 on DOSBox

Looking at how OS had marvelled over these three decades starting from the 90s somehow makes me reminiscent the good old days of Win 3.1, Win95 and Win98. I certainly missed playing my first ever computer games such as Prince of Persia, Mario, and Doom.

And so embark my journey to relive those memories again in the modern machine. To do that, I selected DosBox, which is an emulator that fully emulates those legacy machines. Like many others, I started off to search for related tutorials and what-not on Google, only to found that most of them are either too fragmented or requires me to piece up the tidbits.

To save time, I had decided to write up this tutorial just so you wouldn't had the same experience that I did.


So, you will need:

  • DosBox
  • MS-DOS Boot Disc
  • Windows 95 Installation Disc
  • Hard disk image that host your Win95 partition

1. Preparing the Files

This is what the fresh installation of DOSBox would contains.



Download a copy of DOS boot disk - 622C.IMG from http://www.rloe.com/randytheracer/622c.zip. For unknown reason I could't boot when using the DOS 6.22 boot disk from http://www.allbootdisks.com/download/iso.html.

Just like any VM, I know that I will need hard disk image to host the Windows 95 OS. Many tutorials covers the steps to build your own hard disk image, requiring somewhat technical understanding. To avoid these complications, I simply choose a blank pre-formatted FAT16 .img from https://sites.google.com/site/dotalshoff/games/dosbox.

Don't be surprise with the capacity as the file is compressed and barely reaches 200 KB even for 1GB. This is because they are empty disk image. For me personally, 1GB is more than enough. DosBox requires the hard disk image to be flatten out in size instead of dynamically growing like many VM implementations nowadays. Upon extraction you will get the full blown size of the selected disk size.

Lastly, I then downloaded Win95 Installation Disc (win95_en.iso) from http://www.downloadfreeos.blogspot.tw/2013/06/windows-95.html. The version I chose was  Windows 95 (4.00.950).

Having downloaded all of them, I then moved them to DosBox folder.


2. Copy Windows95 Installation Files to the Blank Hard Disk Image


Launch DosBox



Since the blank image I downloaded is already formatted as FAT16, I don't have to format it again. The following just to verify that.

Mount the empty hard disk image (hdd-1gb.img) by typing

imgmount 2 hdd-1gb.img -size 512,63,64,520 -fs none


Note that I did not specify the drive name such as c or d since there I assume there is still no file system (FAT16, FAT32, NTFS) on it. Instead, I use 2 which will mount it on native system hda. (0-1 will mount to fda and fdb (floppy disk a, b) and 2-3 will mount to hda and hdb).

In addition, it is also necessary to specify the exact disk geometry (i.e. sectors, cylinders) to let the file system utility that we'll use next (fdisk) know where the disk ends. If you grab the pre-formatted hard disk image from https://sites.google.com/site/dotalshoff/games/dosbox, simply replace the value matching the ones you downloaded. For instance, I will enter 512,63,64,520 since I'm downloading the 1GB image.

256MB image:    512,63,16,520
512MB image:    512,63,32,520
520MB image:    512,63,16,1023
1GB image:        512,63,64,520
2GB image:        512,63,64,1023


After mounting the disk I then boot into MS-DOS 6.22 by typing

boot 622c.img




Verify that the disk is already formatted using fdisk.





Restart DosBox and mount the image as drive c by typing:

imgmount c hdd-1gb.img


Extract the contents of the Windows 95 installation disc (win95_en.iso) using WinRAR.



After that mount it as drive d by typing:

mount d .\win95_en

. implies current directory of DOSBox.



Make a new directory called WIN95 in C:/ which is your empty hard disk image. We will later copy the entire content of folder WIN95 from Windows 95 installation disk here.

c:
mkdir WIN95
copy D:\WIN95\*.*


3. Installing Windows 95

After that, start the installation by:
c:
cd WIN95
setup /is
(* /is flag prevent ScanDisk from running)

Follow the wizard and it will ask for a CD-Key at some point. I use the following:

12095-OEM-0004226-12233 

* More CD-Key can be found here.

After finishing the installation the system will restart, i.e. DOSBox will quit. You'll have to relaunch it again.

To boot from the hard disk image, simply type the following:

imgmount 2 hdd-1gb.img -size 512,63,64,520 -fs none
boot -l c

Note: Some tutorials make some mistake in this step by typing the following:

imgmount c hdd-1gb.img
boot hdd-1gb.img

This will result in Invalid System Disk.



... and voila! The nostalgic boot screen of Windows 95! 





Post Setup

Instead of typing these every time you launch DosBox, you may add them in the [AutoExec] section in DosBox configuration file. You can edit it by:





To prevent graphical glitch, lower the CPU speed in the configuration file:



FAQ

Q: I cannot enter backspace \ . It is mapped to right bracket ].
A: Start DOSBox with the switch -startmapper. (Reference: http://www.dosbox.com/wiki/Keymapper). To do so, right click at the DOSBox shortcut found on your Desktop and add the switch in the Shortcut Tab.


The next time you start you will see the Keymapper. Click on the \ and the 'Add' button, then press your Backspace key. Delete the binding for [ and ] to avoid conflict.


Resource Links

DOSBox Hard Disk Image (preformatted as FAT16 and available in 256M, 512M, 1G and 2G image)
Windows 95 Installation Disk / Setup Files
Windows OS Product Codes and CD Keys

References

59 comments

Great guide, thanks a lot you helped me out even if i had some trouble too. I suggest to specify the fdisk part where you must type "format c:"; you also should add "boot 622c.img" again before step 3 (installing windows)

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The hark disk image he provided is already formatted. also, he forgot to put down "cd WIN95" before putting down "copy D:/WIN95/*.*

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help! i followed everything correctly, and its giving me an error at the setup! please respond.

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If you would share the error that you encountered I might be able to help :)

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I followed everything right and used the same files as this guide but I get an error when trying to install windows:
"SU-0013
-------
To set up Windows 95, your startup drive must be an MS-DOS boot partition.
If your startup drive is an HPFS or Windows NT file system, you must create
an MS-DOS boot partition before running Setup. For more information, on
creating an MS-DOS boot partition, see the documentation that came with
your computer."

And in SETUP.txt it says: "If you have LANtastic networking or SuperStor compression, see those
sections earlier in this document for more information."

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Do you think it would be possible to update from windows 95 to 98 and xp. I am pretty sure there are update programs from windows 98 to xp but I don't know if it could load in dosbox or not.

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You cant run xp in dosbox because it does notrun on top of dos.

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Yeah, I've been having the same problem at setup as you! Honestly, I was thinking that even though the blank disks he gave us are pre-formatted, we still need to do a format C: plus a quick FDISK checkup to match it to Windows 95 standards. I still don't know why the mod didn't put a solution on the page. Are there any solutions (besides mine)? I don't know! -Christopher (BTW, I had to rewrite this 3 times because stupid Google doesn't have a failsafe and when I try to write this comment, then I have to sign in, verify, fail (and block myself out), try again, type in my phone number, sign in (successfully), take care of sign in issues, try again, change my password, change it and automatically sign in, sign into my mail, go into my browser, rewrite this comment (which it doesn't save), have to sign in (with the new password), then rewrite this comment a 3rd time. All that work for a single reply? Nope. Not buying it, Google!)

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EDIT: Longest purposeful (as in being long isn't the main goal) comment ever (at least on this site)!

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Ran into the same problem initially ... you have to load MS Dos before all of that so Windows 95 can install off of it. (boot 622c.img). After DOS is loaded, don't do the whole fdisk thing - simply continue to mount d as .\win95_en and c as hdd-1gb.img. Also, note that the copy function is copying INTO a directory, so you don't just "copy d:\WIN95." Instead, from C:\ type CD WIN95, then from C:\WIN95\, type COPY D:\WIN95\*.* That should solve most issues. The problem I have at this point is graphics and cursors within 95 :/

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Has anyone had issues with graphics in WIN95? My cursor is a black box and everything is skewed. Control Panel wasn't very helpful, either.

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When I don't run it in MS DOS, then I get the SU-0013 error, but when I do, I get as far as cd WIN95, then when it comes to C:\WIN95>SETUP /IS it just says 'bad command or file name'. Any solutions?

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Anonymous, once you are in DOS and in the C:\WIN95 directory, type "dir" and press enter. It will show you the contents of the folder. If the setup.exe file is not in there, that is why DOS doesn't recognize the command and maybe the files didn't copy to C:\WIN95 correctly. However it sounds like they should've copied correctly since you are able to run it in DOSBox...strange.

Another way to check is to use a program like 7-Zip or PowerISO, then you can look at the contents of the img file in windows explorer format.

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I'm having the exact same problems.

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if you followed the steps exactly then you need to run the 'setup /is' from the C drive (since you never changed directory into the WIN95 before the copy you copied the files to the C drive not the Win95 folder.

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I was having the same issue until I set the 'cputype=pentium_slow' instead of 'cputype=auto'. That change seems to have fixed the issue completely.

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That worked, and it installed, but then I can't reboot it as it says it can't boot image -1 as it doesn't exist

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it is a L not a 1

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Nice, that does work perfectly.

To anyone who's wondering exactly what to do, open the configuration file for DOSBox from either DOSBox Options in the start menu or the DOSBox Options .bat file in the main DOSBox folder. There is a line in that file called "cputype=auto" which you will need to change as described above.

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Hi guys, thanks for following this post. Just a heads-up, there is actually a very easy to setup Front-End for DosBox called D-Fend Reloaded which basically allows you to easily create different profiles such as CPU, Sound, Graphics, Key mappings for the DOS Games.

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Can I have a windows 95 installation files on a hard disk file? Its cause I can't download power iso this is my brothers computer!

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Hello! I tried to install Windows 95 using my own setup, and it installed properly, but now when I try to boot from it, it gets as far as the startup screen before throwing up an error about extended memory then quitting. Help?

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Only if it was helpful? I've tried every which way to install Windows 95 on DOSBox using this description and it simply does not work at all. There are some obvious errors others have mentioned here, but other errors are not corrected and I keep getting the same SU-0013 error messages. I know Windows 95 can be run in DOSBox, but I suspect that either the people who successfully do it have access to "secret, inside" info on exactly how to install it, or there is a required version of DOSBox that I simply am not aware of or isn't available any longer. Is this so?

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I need help ASAP! I can't wait all week!

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NVM! I finally found the problem (via Google + Microsoft website) (the problem has to do with too much memory in the ramdisk), and I can finally fix it! Windows 95, here we go! :D

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Yeah, I went over to windows95.darktraveler.com and he says you change the graphics to "16 color" and then retsart within DOSBox (the upper left-hand corner of the "black box" acts the same as a regular arrow, or you can use the "tab" "alt" keys instead, if you ever lost control of your keyboard and know how to do that). That worked for me, but he isn't clear on how to install drivers with what he calls the "xcopy" method.

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dosbox95.darktraveler.com ... sorry

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!! For anyone who is stuck on the tutorial !!

There is an error present in the tutorial! The last action in step two:
c:
mkdir WIN95
copy D:\WIN95\*.*
Forget the statement cd WIN95 in between mkdir and copy! Not following this step will result in an error during windows 95 setup because the files will be copied to the C drive root instead of win95 folder! After you completed this step, make sure you execute step 3 inside DOS! So close everything, reboot dosbox, mount c and d first, then boot into dos, then perform step 3! This way worked for me.

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This worked for me, Thanks! i noticed it is better to set the dosbox cpu configuration in the tutorial before rebooting win95 after the setup. This will prevent any incoming errors.

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I think it should be noted about graphics settings for those using Windows XP as the host machine ...
When reconfiguring the dosbox.conf file do not use any of the opengl settings. Instead, set the configuration as follows ...
fullresolution=original
output=direct3d
aspect=true

If you do this, you will get a full screen using the host machine's monitor without the sacrifice of the guest machine's resolution, whatever it is you want it to be (after installing your s3 graphics, of course).

This is important for games such as MYST that require a 640x480 screen with 256 colors and WON'T work without it being set that way.

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Only problem I'm having now is: is there any way to get the floppy and/or cdrom drive to work after we do this installation, or is that jsut a wash (would like to install an old version of Microsoft Office Professional from the floppies they gave me).

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Also, the Disk Explorer link (essential for Windows XP if the above method doesn't work) is located at I use the Version 1.69E (the 2010 version)on a SP3.

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Sorry, located at ... http://hp.vector.co.jp/authors/VA013937/editdisk/index_e.html

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Yes; all you need to do is use Disk Explorer, or similar transfer method to the image, of each individual floppy disk unzipped into separate folders. I find that it is essential that each folder be appropriately named such as: "DISK1, DISK2," etc. or Windows 95 will reject the install. If you do it properly, Windows 95 will "see" each folder as a separate floppy drive and install it "as if" they actually were; but you MUST remember to extract each floppy completely into a separate folder.

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I keep getting directory Win95_2 (the name of the iso) doesn't exist

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I ENTERED SETUP AND IT SAYS ERROR SU-0013

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4ELJBhBv4M this works

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When i type in setup /is , it says illegal command: setup. PLS HELP

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Dosbox says this when i mount the hdd image:
The image must be on a host or local drive.
Send help my adress is:
123HELP St.

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i type setup /is and it initialises and then says cannot open source file C:\WIN95\winsetup.bin
then says can't put files in temp directory HELP

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Hello!, can anyone help me?
I'm getting an error during 'fdisk'.
After this stage:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8WhFjhEFJ44/UzbS7Rodd8I/AAAAAAAACZ4/1lovdsYlnuM/s1600/Screen+Shot+2014-03-29+at+10.04.04+PM.png

I'm getting this error:
http://i.imgur.com/RXg7GpV.jpg

Thanks.

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Hello!, can anyone help me?
I'm getting an error during 'fdisk'.
After this stage:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8WhFjhEFJ44/UzbS7Rodd8I/AAAAAAAACZ4/1lovdsYlnuM/s1600/Screen+Shot+2014-03-29+at+10.04.04+PM.png

I'm getting this error:
http://i.imgur.com/RXg7GpV.jpg

Thanks.

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After setup /is get "Setup has been interrupted, cancel or cannot continue". Please help.Thank you

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Curtis Allison mod

Help! When I do CD win95 and then copy d: \win95\ But then it says 0 files copied!

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I'm getting the same error. :(

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Figured it out. Follow the instructions again, and once you get into c:\win95\ THEN type "copy D:\WIN95\*.*" (without the quotations) again. It had copied it to your mounted c drive, rather than c:\win95, and so it wasn't finding the setup file. You can know what file is in each directory by typing "dir" (without the quotations).

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I'm getting that as well. Is there are fix yet?

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Great post.I'm glad to see people are still interested of Article.Thank you for an interesting read

www.hp.com/123

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even after getting windows 95 to install fully i cant seem to boot into it. it just hangs at booting from drive a:

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first off thi is missing a command

c:
mkdir WIN95
this one >>>> cd win95
copy D:\WIN95\*.*


also you need to boot into 622c.img and then run

c:
cd WIN95
setup /is

Reply

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Thank you for sharing this a complete guide on how to install windows 95. It is a very useful information for me. Since im not aware of it you gave very informative guide.

123.hp.com/setup

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After finishing the installation, how can I transfer files from my computer to windows 95 in dosbox? I need to transfer files from my games in order to install them but I don't konw how

Thank you in advanced :D

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When I do setup /is in WIN95 on the C drive, it does the following:

Please wait while Setup initializes.

Copying files needed for Windows Setup

I assume that the text there is normal. But after about 15 seconds of seeing this, DOSBox freezes. I am not sure if it is actually frozen or if it is actually doing something. Can someone tell me if this is normal?

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How do you mount the unit within the DOS shell ?
I am on A: but can't switch to the C: drive nor I can get back to the Z unit ?

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