Thursday, June 4, 2009

OS/2 Warp 4 with VMware Player

Hi, this is something I'm excited about for now, I used to have OS/2 Warp a long time ago, I loved it, I thought it was way superior to the DOS 6.22 with Windows 3.1 I also had at the time, and I was mad as all heck that IBM gave up on the OS market and let Microsoft take the whole PC pie. ARRGH! But, now I get to have some fun with OS/2 Warp without making any changes to the PC that is now running windows XP. Sure, it's not relevant today, it's apps just can't do what people need to do these days, but it's nostalgia, can you really blame me?

Anyway, here is how I got OS/2 Warp 4 installed into a virtual machine using VMware Player.

I first downloaded VMware Player, then I downloaded OS/2 Warp 4, because my OS/2 Warp copy is damaged and no longer works for some reason, and I gave up on it long ago. This is the configuration file needed to get it working. I also need a .vmdk virtual disk image file, so I downloaded a package of pre-created blanks of varying sizes, picked the 2gig one, copied it to the folder I want to run OS/2 in, renamed it os2.vmdk and copied the .iso cd image file and tried to boot up. That's when I remembered that OS/2 was created before bootable CD technology was available, nothing, not even Macintosh computers knew how to boot from a CD at the time. So, I had to grab a DOS 6.22 disk image, which I extracted using winrar because I have no diskette drive and I need to load the disk image into a virtual drive. So, I went and got Virtual Floppy Disk, and loaded up the image as A: drive. Of course, since VMware Player already thinks there is a diskette drive, thanks to the configuration file above, it was easy to load up A: drive and boot DOS in the virtual machine. DOS found the CD and gave it a letter, R: for some reason, and I just had to go there and run cdinst.bat.

This program on the OS/2 CD creates installation diskettes necessary to boot OS/2 and install it. Well, the next thing to do is tell VMware Player to disconnect A: drive, then go to the VFD control panel and unload the current diskette image, and tell it to open a new RAM diskette, which allows me to put whatever I want into the virtual disk, and save it to an image file later. Then I told VMware Player to connect to A: again and told the installer batch to create the first diskette. When it was done I disconnected the A: drive again and told VFD to save the RAM disk as an image, calling it "os2 disk 1.ima". I repeated for each of the diskettes, then followed the instructions to have the "OS/2 Installation" diskette loaded and reboot. That loaded up and told me to put in disk 1, I disconnected A: and told VFD to load the disk 1 image, etc. etc. You can do all of that work, or, since I already did the work, you can just use the image files I created, yay, shortcut!

Once all of that swapping around of image files and loading is done, you have a working OS/2 Warp 4 installation in a virtual machine. Weee! :) You may need to be patient, at least on my computer it seems to take forever to get from disk to disk in the installation process, just sit and wait.

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