Win31 runs on FreeDOS!

This news came in just before Christmas, 2001:

Aitor writes:


It still needs some things to be worked out, configuration to be studied, and after some calm, I'd love to write (for the first time!) a NewsItems into the FreeDOS NEWS!!!!

Ok, now the brief details:

Ripcord B7H1 + kernel 2025c16 + FreeCOM 083beta32

HIMEM.SYS, Windows3.1 Spanish version (no Windows 3.11)

PC is 286 (with some problems at drive C:)

Booting from a disk, as the HD still contains Beta5 or Beta6...

And now how it went:

- first it asked me to introduce some ATM*.DRV that I didn't include at C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM (minor issue, let's see if I can get rid of AdobeTypeManager at all!)

- second, it asked me to include HIMEM.SYS at CONFIG.SYS

then.... I run it, the blue square with the logo... then it went, I held my breath, and..... UF! it took some time to load the Program Manager... the desktop background, some system icons (ATM,...), and...

Well, in the end the program manager didn't run because it appeared a Windows Box saying in Spanish (Error reading drive C:), but I assume that the AARD was bypassed!!!!


- I didn't use EMS or FDXMS: Martin (developer of FDXMS) asked me to test FDXMS on this machine: I haven't done it yet, but I will do. Unfortunately, if I understood correctly, FDXMS is not to run over a 286, and Windows seems to require HIMEM.SYS (HMA or XMS? don't know). Anyway, this shouldn't be a problem, if you have Windows, you should have HIMEM.SYS.

- I can't tell you if it failed due to the HD (which has errors), due to the "installation" of Windows that I did, or due to FreeDOS. As Windows INSTALL didn't work under FreeDOS Beta5 or Beta6, then I copied the files "handy", making a choice of the files neccessary to run. I may be wrong about this.

- I will do more testings in other old PCs that I have (386 and 486). However, I have Win3.11 there, I suppose this is harder to be made work... This also reminds me that I have to do some testings with the new EMM386.EXE

- As we have redirector, AARD seems to involve NLS information. I wish that future developments on NLS won't trash this! [:)]

- I will try and clear entirely the HD of this PC, using the newest FORMAT and FDISK, install the updated Ripcord, and then try to install windows as it is appropiate. If it refuses, then I will try to do it file by file, as it is now. And then, let's see if I get the same error.

If this is the case, and it's due to some problem with FreeDOS, is there anything that I can do to help kernel developers (Bart, Tom, whoever?) to help to discover where is the trouble? (looks like it can't be something too profound!).

And if in the end I get this working, not only will I post a news on the FreeDOS site, but I will also install Calmira on top of Windows, and do some Screenshots for the site!!! (hopefully with Banners saying 'FreeDOS is great!' or the like!!!)

Many thanks to everybody, I think that having Microsoft Windows 3.1 running on top of FreeDOS is a good milestone for the whole project!!!

Later, Aitor adds:

Some more news:

On the 286, Windows3.1 runs, but after loading PROGMAN.EXE (the Program Manager), it causes a general protection fault in module KRNL286.EXE and locs the PC... (it says: PROGMAN.EXE has caused a general protection fault in KRNL286.EXE at ...:...).

Well, so Windows3.1 RUNS, but it is unusable, due to the fact that I get this GPF within the shell, the Program Manager.

Why the error changes? Well, the 'error reading drive C:' appeared in earlier tests, then I removed some files and the error disappeared... (I think it's all caused by the problems in the HD of that 286). In both cases the mouse pointer moves, but buttons are not clickable. The errors appear in plain boxes, not real Win3.1 windows.

Second testing, was under a 386 and Windows3.11 (for Workgroups): it refuses to run, as it says incorrect DOS version.... if everything is about being a 386 or being 3.11, I can't tell you this yet...

Third testing, I have replaced PROGMAN.EXE by WINFILE.EXE (the File Manager of Windows 3.1) in SYSTEM.INI/SHELL=. And then I get the same System Error. Can't read drive C:

Fourth testing, I have replaced PROGMAN.EXE by NOTEPAD.EXE (yes, a dummy shell...), and it seems to lock, perhaps because Windows expects something from its shell (?).

And fifth and last, I have replaced PROGMAN.EXE by WINVER.EXE, and I get the same GPF as with PROGMAN.

Discarding the problems with my HD, I would say that the main obstacle would be this GPF on KRNL286.EXE. But even though, perhaps it can't run under a 386 yet (at least my testings with Win3.11 seemed to trigger the AARD...).

Perhaps someone can bring some light to this.

Well, news weren't as good as one could expect. Win3.1 runs (uselessly) on an old 286....

As can be expected, this news generated a lot of feedback (some positive, some negative).

Aitor responds:

>Windows 3.1 on a 286? Seems impossible...

It IS possible. The previous owners had Win3.1 running, in Standard Mode. WIN/3 is NOT accepted, though.

> Also, KRNL286.EXE isn't included in Windows 3.0 or 3.1... Only on Windows 2.0 and 2.1/286 :p

I can promise to you that I haven't copied, renamed or compiled any file called KRNL286.EXE, and that I found it with the Win3.1 files... :-))))

>not sure, 3.1 supported both protected mode and 386 mode (can't remember then name) and I think one of them used

386 enhanced mode or whatever... ("Modo extendido del 386" in Spanish)

>Erm maybe someone should try another shell, such as calmira?
>It's much nicer than Program Manager anyway! [:)]
>Probably needs a 386 tho! [:)]

IF the program manager had worked for me, then I WOULD HAVE installed Calmira, and taken some nice screenshoots for everybody, but as I had those GPFs...

Note that under MS-DOS there are not such GPFs in the same PC, so there's a problem out there, but I don't know where...

Ralf Quint also adds:

>Windows 3.1 on a 286? Seems impossible...

Dead wrong, see;EN-GB;q32905 and;EN-GB;q126746 with the official specs for Windows 1.0 to 3.11.

Windows 3.0 was even still running on a 808x PC (in "Standard" mode!), Windows 3.1x required at least a 80286 and for Windows f.WG 3.11 a 386SX or better was required....

Along the same lines as running Win31 under FreeDOS, Bart Oldeman writes this bit, which is simply amazing:

Bart writes:

Hi, booting kernel 2026 test with version=7.10 in config.sys:
 FreeCom version 0.83 Beta 32 [Jan 17 2002]

And starting Microsoft Windows'

 Microsoft(R) Windows 98
    (C)Copyright Microsoft Corp 1981-1998.
 Windows 98 [Version 4.10.1998]

Huh? Send a bug report to Microsoft [;-)]