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 PostPost subject: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:06 pm 
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My turn: Installing Windows XP on a 486 system.

Other people tried installing the RTM release of Windows XP on true 486 system, only to be greeted with an error message during Setup, and only one person actually got past this, only he used a Pentium OverDrive processor instead of an actual 486 chip.

However, my approach is different: I'm installing the pre-release builds first, just to see which build was the first to stop installing on a 486 system with an actual 486 processor installed in it, before going on any further to make changes to the Setup routine (and possibly to Windows itself if what someone else on some forum said is true) to accomodate for an actual 486 processor.

My first try was with Build 2202, from early February 2000, of which the status as an actual Whistler (Windows XP codename during development) build is of questionable legitimacy. But still, it was what Windows XP was originally based on, so it still counts nonetheless.

I decided that I would do most of this not from an actual physical system, but from within a QEMU Manager virtual machine. The reason for this is that QEMU Manager provides all of the benefits of a real system in these situations, yet also saves the amount of space, time, and effort required to devoting oneself to a real system. Also, it's easily configurable to my own liking. I'll probably install it on a real system eventually, but for now, I'll stay with this great piece of software, since at this point, I'm mainly just focusing on getting the whole idea to work.

So, I set up a virtual machine with a 486 processor, 64 MB of RAM, a 1.5 GB hard drive, an ISA bus, and whatnot.

I had trouble installing Build 2202, so then, I decided to try Build 2211, a confirmed true Whistler build, although still very early nonetheless.

Here it is, Whistler Setup, on my emulated Pentium II setup in Bochs, ready to reformat the hard drive and once again try to install Whistler! What I'm doing here is to get past the problems starting the text mode portion of Whistler Setup from within QEMU Manager itself, by first running Setup within Bochs, and then continuing Setup from QEMU Manager, using the same hard disk image.
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Yes, of course, I'm deleting the partition, so as to make room for the new Whistler installation.
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Here I am, creating a new partition. Just look at how small the disk is by XP standards!
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Setup reformatting my hard disk (chose FAT in this case, just to avoid any nasty surprises during Setup):
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Now we finally see Whistler Setup copying files. Let's hope it works!
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And again, INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE (received the same error message while trying to install Build 2202). Only this time, I actually had the good sense to turn off ACPI support completely in QEMU Manager after much chaos, and after rebooting the system, had finally managed to boot into Whistler for the first time on a 486 (or so I thought, anyway)!

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As you can see here, though, the system is having a bit of trouble detecting the CD-ROM drive (although "a bit" is 'a bit' of an understatement, by far...). All I would need, really, is probably to set up another disk image (one with the CD-ROM Setup files), either that, or to just copy the files to the one hard disk image (if they were not already copied beforehand during the first stage of Setup), and/or just record the location of the Setup files themselves and simply point Setup to them manually upon booting back into Whistler Setup.

But anyway, sleep for me now...

Here I am again, the next morning, after having FINALLY converted the entire .ISO image to a hard disk image, just so that the system will recognize it. Here is Whistler Setup again, but this time, with an error message.

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Yes, exactly that. Turns out that this build is timebombed, and that I somehow forgot to set the date back.

I then set the options in QEMU Manager 7.0 for March 1st, 2000 (more or less around the same time that this build was compiled). Then, I started it again, and continued pointing the paths to even more files (since Whistler Setup apparently doesn't read paths by simple path name but by device name).

And here it is, finally!
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So far, so good...
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Here we are now, at the final stages of Setup (FINALLY)!
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Installing networking components...
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Finally (although I did have to once again point to the proper locations when prompted)!
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Setup is finishing up...
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Finally! Setup is finished!
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A few last minute things before Windows logs on for the first time...
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Finally, Windows XP running on a 486! At first, I had discovered that QEMU Manager 7.0 was trying to change the CPU type to "qemu32", resulting in the wrong processor being used, but then I found a way to load the virtual machine directly, with the CPU type set as 486!

Meaning, that I have finally installed Windows XP on a 486!
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It's rather slow, but very much usable, even in VGA mode. You could almost use Windows XP like this! Help and Support also took a bit to load, but also worked, as you can see here:
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As you can imagine, with this early build, I had to launch the bug reporting page first, and then click the Index link to get access to the rest of Help and Support.
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Here is MSINFO32 running on this system, proving once again that it is indeed a 486! It was rather slow trying to load the system information itself, but it worked.
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Here are several bundled programs running in this setup: WordPad, Media Player, Sound Recorder, and Pinball. Of all these programs, Pinball not only took the longest to load, but for a few seconds you could even see the screen being repainted as the window itself was moved from one place to the next.
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A few minutes later, and the MSN website STILL has not finished loading...
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Google looks a bit weird with just an ISA VGA adaptor...
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Sherwood Schwartz would not like to see this...
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Yeah I know, "Installing components"...
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Wow, look at how ugly Adobe's page looks in only VGA mode, 640x480 screen resolution, and 16 colors!
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The actual "Downloads" page for Adobe Flash Player doesn't even want to load at all...
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Here is Winhistory's page about their own attempts at running Windows XP on systems below the official Microsoft system requirements. Just loading this page alone took a minute or so!
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That picture of their own 486 system (with the Pentium OverDrive processor) was among the only things that actually looked half decent in VGA mode.
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Here's another one...
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Once it's loaded up, Pinball is still quite playable.
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And finally, shutting down. This setup is so primitive that it doesn't even shut down automatically!
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Conclusion:
Whistler, later Windows XP, was still in a very early stage with Build 2211, yet the truth remains the same that it is indeed the same operating system. Windows XP in this setup is actually quite usable for basic tasks such as word processing and simple games, yet the Internet connectivity is absolutely horrendous.

Although this is only an emulated setup, it is still nonetheless the latest version of Windows confirmed to have successfully run on a 486!

I'm going to try the later builds later today to see if they also work in this setup. I'm basically doing this not only to get past the CPUID problems, but also to trace the said problems to the first build to exhibit this behavior. But still, contrary to popular belief, the truth is that there is no inherent reason why Windows XP cannot run on a 486, after all, we just saw a good example of that here.

Stay tuned for more updates!


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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:26 pm 
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An emulated 486 is by no means equivalent to a real 486...

The former will still be much better.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:34 pm 
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Well, at the conclusion of this project, I'm already planning on installing it on a real system anyway, and yes, I'm well aware that an emulated 486 could be significantly faster than an actual physical one, but really, I'm focusing much more on theoretical possibility and actual functionality than mere speed.

As for the emulated configuration, there are absolutely no post-486 features as far as I know (meaning no ACPI support, nothing other than an ISA bus, no Bluetooth, etc...). This is as "bare bones" as I was willing to go.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:55 pm 
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Not only is an emulated 486 equivalent to a real one, the topic title is blatantly untrue as you installed an early, early build of Windows "Whistler" - not Windows XP.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:39 am 
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No offence, but "Whistler" is Windows XP, so yes, it still counts. And if you would read my post, you would see that the reason why I'm doing it this way is to track down the first build available here that fails to install on a 486 system.

Anyway, with that out of the way, well, I finally got Build 2223 to work in the same setup! I did experience the same issue earlier (although I just edited the .BAT file required to load the virtual machine directly to state the date as April 12th, 2000), and I did experience a blue screen at one point during the file copy process, but that could easily be fixed by disabling the CD-ROM and redirecting Setup itself to the copy of the I386 directory on the second hard disk image.

Other than that, installation was mostly the same. By this time around, though, I finally got it so that the virtual machine was stable enough to allow for installation throughout the entire Setup process.

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Here are some more screenshots, proving once again that Windows XP can run on a 486 in this setup (and yes, since "Whistler" is the codename for Windows XP, and since Windows XP is based directly off of the Windows 2000 codebase, I consider these builds to still count as Windows XP):
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This is the last of the exceptionally early builds. I'm going to see if any later builds can be installed and used on a 486. I am not sure that they can be installed on a 486, since the later builds had a great deal of the old Windows 2000 branding and references removed, but even if not, I could still most likely just run the first portion of Setup from Bochs and then continue from there on the emulated 486 setup.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:26 am 
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I disagree. Windows Whistler is not Windows XP. Windows Whistler became Windows XP, but it is not Windows XP. Especially this that's so close to Windows 2000, it really isn't worth calling this XP.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:49 am 
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A emulated 486 may count as a testing system before you go to a real system, but this operating system doesn't count. Using an early alpha which is so close to 2000 is not XP. The guys from winhistory used only rtms.... No betas. So you should use RTMs too, or atleast a late beta build, which will be also cheating but atleast close to the original.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:43 am 
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It's an interesting project, but I have to agree. That Whistler build is more Windows 2000 than anything that XP became in the end, so calling it XP would be like calling the early Longhorn builds as "Vista", even with significant changes to the code base that were added later on what would become Vista. Also, you should rather run this on a real 486 due to various bugs in the emulator code etc. So technically you didn't install it on a 486 either, just an emulated environment that simulated a system similiar to the hardware of a 486.

But keep up the work, it would be interesting to see how far you can get on a 486 (even with obvious performance issues). But you shouldn't call it XP or a 486 unless you use a RTM product and real hardware :). My suggestion (at this point):

"Installed early Whistler on a 486 (QEMU).

or something. Then it's more to the truth and reflects the environment of your project. But keep up the good work! :).

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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:57 am 
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I don't know how a real Windows XP will running on a real 486 processor. I remember, a few years ago I have a 486 PC with just 16MB of RAM and a 230MB hard drive. It has have a motherboard problem, I found a perfect motherboard and when I turned on the PC I saw a Windows 3.11 FWG installation /the PC was a gift from a friend/. The Windows doesn't received the new motherboard well, so I have to re-install. I have installed Windows 95 OSR2. Every time when I start the pc. it's took a minute or two to load, again a minute or two to access my computer.... I remember my attempts to install some software - tragedy. I don't know where is the problem for me, but if this problem appears to someone else, I can't imagine a true XP running on this! It will be double-tragedy!

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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:19 pm 
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Yeah Windows Whistler is extremely if not identical in near all aspects to Windows 2000.
It's kinda like the first leaked build of Windows 7 when it was in development, it looked and felt like Vista. But technically it wasn't vista, it's as if that 2000 <----Whistler---->XP, in my opinion, whistler is more of an adolesent version of 2000, (an OS going through an identity crisis). Like mrpijey said, you can't really call the early longhorn builds "vista", same with Whistler and XP.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:06 pm 
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Well, at the moment, I'm working on a patch (using files from Build 2223) to allow later Whistler/Windows XP builds to install and boot on a 486. Apparently, the Pentium-specific instructions are contained within several kernel files, and of course, the final product still shares the same codebase with the earliest Whistler builds.

Basically, I'm trying new files from Build 2250 over time (placing them in Build 2223's Setup), and will do the same the other way around, just to see which files need to be replaced, and which files can be kept.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:48 pm 
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frankly i really dont see why you guys are pouncing on him it looks like it is,a project to eat up some time however QEMU actually does emulate a 486 and i congragulate him for making this work also to stop the [censored] complaining just edit topic to say Whistler on 486 or something

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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:22 pm 
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I don't see anyone complaining, just people pointing out that the earlier builds are notably closer to Windows 2000 than the final version of Windows XP.

But as I said, I was starting with the earliest builds just to find out which is the first build to have the Pentium-specific instructions (which I now know is Build 2250), and am currently in the process of working on a patch (using files from Build 2223) to allow later builds to install and boot on a 486.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:13 pm 
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You could write a script that searches for pentium memnonics in asm dumps.

Cyrix made some partially Pentium compatible CPUs that fit on Socket 3 486 boards.
That core was developed into the Media GX and Geode.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:51 pm 
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Well, I'm talking strictly about running Windows XP on an actual 486 processor, and not just with a system that has a Socket 3 motherboard (this was already done at Winhistory, on a custom built system with an Intel Pentium OverDrive processor at 83 Mhz).

At the moment, I'm a bit further in my development of a patch that I'm working on, to allow Windows XP to install and boot on a 486, using replacement files from Build 2223 (just found out today that DRIVER.CAB had to be replaced; that's one example).


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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:54 am 
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WinPC wrote:
and of course, the final product still shares the same codebase with the earliest Whistler builds.

Just wondering how you can verify that. That's like saying build 6519 is closer to 7 than Vista. Things do change usually, even in the slightest. XP and 2000 are two totally different beasts in one sense. That's why there's a CPUID issue in XP and not one in 2000, the two kernels and hals are quite largely different i.e. one being far newer and containing more functions than the other.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:38 pm 
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Blackvista wrote:
I don't know how a real Windows XP will running on a real 486 processor. I remember, a few years ago I have a 486 PC with just 16MB of RAM and a 230MB hard drive. It has have a motherboard problem, I found a perfect motherboard and when I turned on the PC I saw a Windows 3.11 FWG installation /the PC was a gift from a friend/. The Windows doesn't received the new motherboard well, so I have to re-install. I have installed Windows 95 OSR2. !

"Just" 16MB of RAM, on a 486?! Heh. Back in 1994 4MB of RAM was standard and when Windows 95 came out there was quite a hullabaloo about the fact you needed 8MB of RAM to run it properly... below 6MB you'd get a different kernel installed, according to the magazines of the day. Even in early 1996 16MB of RAM was an expensive luxury - and that was well into the Pentium era.

FWIW, I've a couple of 486s kicking around and Windows 95 runs as well as it ever did on them. A 486 DX4/100 laptop with 8MB takes around 25 seconds from POST to being at the Windows desktop. An IBM 486SLC3-75 desktop PS/2 (really a souped-up 386SX, also with 8MB RAM) takes around 50 seconds to get to the Windows 95 desktop.

Both PCs open Explorer within a few seconds.

As for XP on a 486, even if it were possible with the RTM (and it's not, at least not without heavy modifications) it would be almost unusable due to lack of RAM. You'd need to find a PCI-based 486 motherboard with an Intel chipset as a minimum, as they supported 128MB - which is enough to get a decent XP experience.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:39 pm 
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Well, for this reason, I already set the QEMU 486 virtual machine to 64 MB of RAM, especially since Antz at Winhistory.de also started with the same amount of RAM (for running Windows XP on his 486 system, which had a Pentium OverDrive processor).


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 PostPost subject: Re: Installed Windows XP on a 486!        Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:48 pm 
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SpiralVortex wrote:
...You'd need to find a PCI-based 486 motherboard with an Intel chipset as a minimum, as they supported 128MB - which is enough to get a decent XP experience.


If you want most ram, look at some of those UMC chipset machines, my Shuttle HOT-433 supports 256 MB ram, which I'm sure would have been more than you could probably use with DOS or Windows 95 at the time of release.


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