Windows 98 Gaming on Virtual PC VM

I was reading July 2012 issue of Maximum PC and they had some articles on free VM software and some interesting projects with VM software. One of the projects was Windows 98 gaming on a VM created in Virtual PC 2007 SP1. I have tried gaming on VMware Fusion / Workstation Windows 98 VMs with horrible results because the default graphics emulation is not good enough for gaming. Vmware did add the ability to play games on XP VMs and I have had great success with this. However, I was intrigued by another shot at Win98 gaming in a VM even if it was on Virtual PC, which I never thought was that good for VM software.The difference with Windows 98 on Virtual PC is that you can install VM Additions, which improves graphics and mouse performance.

First download Virtual PC 2007 SP1 from Microsoft’s web site.  It’s a little over 30 MB in size. I downloaded the 32-bit version and ran the installer. Then you need to install Windows 98. This may be the toughest part of this process because it requires a floppy to boot from before you can install from a Windows 98 CD (yes we are old school here for sure). First create the VM and virtual hard disk in Virtual PC. Then start the VM and install Windows. I tried using a Windows 98 boot disk image I have used before with VMware products, but Virtual PC didn’t like it. So I had to break out the USB floppy drive and an actual floppy boot disk. After partitioning and formatting the virtual disk, I installed Windows 98. Then I ran the VM Additions which mounts an ISO CD image and runs a quick install. After you should see VM Additions in Add / Remove Programs in Control Panel.

For a game I tried installing and playing Dark Reign, an old Windows 98 RTS. It installed fine, but the mouse never quite worked right. When I tried to click a button in the menu bar, the mouse pointer jumped to the right side of the screen. Dark Reign works fine in XP so I didn’t pursue it in the VM. I haven’t tried any other games yet so I can’t say for sure this is a good solution, although Maximum PC said they ran a couple of games successfully. I may revisit this in the future with some other games and see what happens. But since the software is free, if you have a copy of Windows 98 laying around and an old game to play, this may be worth the effort.

Leave a Reply