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Linux, Unix, and *nix like Operating Systems Forum

Running Win98 from Inside Linux
Is it hard to do?

 7:29 am on Dec 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi all,

For my xmas project I'll be wiping my entire system and re-installing.

At present I have RH8 and Win98 residing on seperate partitions but, I'm fed up having to reboot to check sites in IE

So, just how tough is it to run Win from inside Linux and can it be done without any special software?

Many thanks...




 9:04 am on Dec 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think you only have a couple of choices here, VMware, and Win4Lin. I don't believe WINE works with MSIE.


 9:31 am on Dec 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have heard many good things about vmware which should let you run just about anything. It is a complete hardware emulator. You do need a powerful computer with gobs of ram.

Never used it, though. You have to pay :(



 9:36 am on Dec 20, 2002 (gmt 0)


I have been using win4lin for the last 6 months.

Its easy-ish to install and runs almost everything you throw at it.

Mostly I use it for Dreeamweaver, Photoimpact 7 (never got on with Gimp) and the odd MS Office job that OpenOffice can't do.

Downside: it is slower than native Win 98 - not a major issue for me, but you wouldn't want to play and modern games with it

Upside: When windows crashes it can be restarted in 8 seconds.

You do need a licensed copy of Windows 98 during the install process.


 5:03 pm on Dec 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have been using Vmware for a year now. It is easy to install and there is lots of documentation. the current Redhat kernel is not supported and a patch is needed to get it to run. The price tag is three times that of Win4lin and based on the reviews I have read unless you need to have multiple versions of windows installed win4lin is the way to go.

With vmware you need to have samba or nfs running to share files with their virtual disks. I don't know how win4lin handles file sharing.

>> I'm fed up having to reboot to check sites in IE <<

It is very nice to be able to have IE open and test as you develop.

With win4lin is the file sharing done the same way you do with wine by just accesing a fake c_drive or do you need samba?

When you upgrade the kernel do you have to reconfigure win4lin?


 5:17 pm on Dec 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

I had all sorts of trouble with VMWare. It helps to have someone familiar with how the software works to accomplish what you want to do. Especially if you want to do something slightly out of the ordinary - like access a Win formatted HD.

I set my installation up this way - figured if VMWare bombed, I could always boot up the Win drive under the Windows OS. In theory it's realatively easy but in practice it's also easy to set it up wrong - which is what I did. I couldn't access the drive when I tried to boot it up alone. VMWare made some changes to the MBR which made it impossible to boot without VMWare.

Suffice it to say I was nonplussed and stopped using thier product a year ago.

I know other folks that have had good luck with their product but do yourself a favor and get someone familiar with the setup to help you if you go this route.


 5:38 pm on Dec 20, 2002 (gmt 0)


Yep I did the same thing when I first installed :) You have to be careful which partitions you give vmware write access to.

If you use the virtual disks it is very clean and easy. I use a 2 gig virtual disk for the OS and installed programs and then set up a user on linux with a samba share for printing and all the data files. You could set samba up to share your home directory but I felt more secure keeping my home seperate.


 9:59 pm on Dec 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

Bochs is also a decent choice, as long as you are willing to deal with it being slow. Bochs on my Athlon750 runs Windows slower than I remember it running on my old p166 - but it's been almost six years since I wiped all remnants of Windows from that machine. Advantage over other emulators: it's free. Some day, I hope Plex86 will be a good choice, but it's still new and kinda flaky.

According to [appdp.winehq.org ] IE6 works under Wine if you also have Windows installed on your machine and the DLL load order set to "native, builtin". The comments are all several months old, so there's a decent chance that it will work. I may have to go home and fiddle with that myself. I have no desire to use IE, but testing my sites in it is an unfortunate necessity.


 1:32 am on Dec 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Update: IE 5.5 deffinitely works under Wine with Win95 installed. Getting it installed was a serious pain in the ass, since I'm not running a dual-boot system. I'm not sure where the problem is, but as I have it configured right now, any download in Bochs dies after ~500kb, so I couldn't do the install in Bochs. Even with win95 installed, Wine can't handle the installer from start to finish, but it can do the big download. Life is further complicated by the fact that it's not a good plan to mount the bochs disk image while bochs is using it. The upshot of all this is that you have to start the install under bochs, switch to Wine when Bochs fails, and then switch back to Bochs when Wine fails. It will take many hours. If you happen to forget to unmount the bochs disk image before starting Bochs the second time, you can re-install Windows and start from square one :(

That said, I'm posting this from IE 5.5 under Wine. Excuse me while I go burn this disk image to CD before I screw it up.



 1:53 am on Dec 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

>> You have to be careful which partitions you give vmware write access to.

Which was my downfall for sure! It felt sort of like the old low level format command for MFM drives. There weren't a lot of opportunities to get it right and you'd better know how many heads/sectors you needed or you were screwed. :)


 5:59 am on Dec 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks for all the testing and informing about bochs Dingman, it sure sounds like there is now easy free road as of yet.

Then again, bochs 2.0 was just released, it will be interesting to see how much things have improved.


 6:26 am on Dec 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Then again, bochs 2.0 was just released, it will be interesting to see how much things have improved.

Umm... I was using bochs 2.0pre3, and wine 20021125. The Windows 95 disk is an old OEM disk from 1997, version 4.00.950. That probably means that Bochs 2.0 won't be a huge improvement over my experience. On the other hand, if they fixed the network problem, or that was a stupid mistake I made, it might work to set everything up in Bochs and then run from Wine for everyday use. (Who wants to test their pages in IE when it's running dog-slow 16 colors in a 640x480 window?)

If Wine gets some of their cabextract functions implemented, one might be able to do the whole install from wine. That would make me happier, I think.

Some day when I'm feeling adventurous I might try upgrading to win98 and ie6, but that's not right now.



 12:15 pm on Dec 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Win4Lin can be easily set up to read your linux files as it inhabits the same partition.

The config program allows you to easily set a Linux directory to read as if it was a windows disk.

Win4Lin is not without its problems, though - it is quite a bit slower than native but this is made up for by the ability to reboot after a crash in less than 10 seconds:)


 2:09 am on Dec 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Further update: I now have IE6 running in more or less the same configuration as I had ie 5.5 a few days ago. It went suprisingly smoothly, and access to a "real" windows machine for a few minutes makes a huge difference - pretty much cut out all the hassles I had with the process the first time around.

Win98 installation in Bochs was slow, but relatively painless as long as you have something else to do while it's going on. Pop the CD in and go, basically. I still have the problem with Bochs networking not being reliable enough to do the download and the IE installer not working in Wine. However, there's a quick and easy way around this that I remembered from my days doing tech support at a law office.

1) go to a real machine with Windows and network access.
2) run the IE installer
3) choose a custom install
3) click on the "advanced"
4) check the "Download only" option.
5) choose a folder to put it in
6) copy that folder someplace you can get it from Linux, then from Linux copy it into the Bochs hard drive image. (mcopy works well for this)
7) Fire up Bochs and run the installer from the new folder you just coppied in.

The install will again be slow but relatively painless, and when it's over you can shut down Bochs, mount the bochs hard drive image, and use IE from Wine - at perfectly normal speeds.

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