The other reason why I love Virtual PC

Would have to be because I love nothing more than to just tinker with old and esoteric operating systems – and find out what makes them tick.  On the virtual machine team I am known as the person who is most likely to know why obscure operating system XYZ has some oddity in it.

Needless to say I am addicted to Jonathan Maltz’s page on ‘What works on Virtual PC 2004’ (Update 8/5/2011: Unfortunately this site is no longer functional) and am constantly checking his RSS feed to see what the latest submission is.

So from time to time I will post some shots of old / odd operating systems I have setup in VM’s along with a commentary of what it took to get them up and running / any odd facts I know about them.

For my first installment – I shall give you:


CPM/86 v1.0 – the father of DOS. The only trick to getting this guy running under Virtual PC is finding a bootable copy still in existence 🙂



Windows 1.01 – few people know that Windows 1.0 was actually never released.  Windows 1.0 was the version of Windows that was demonstrated at the ’83 Comdex.  It would be 14 months until Microsoft eventually released Windows 1.01 – which included some minor bug fixes – to the general public.  Tips for running Windows 1.01 under Virtual PC 2004 include:

  • Windows 1.01 only supported the proprietary ‘Microsoft Bus Mouse’ – which funnily enough – we do not emulate.  So there is no mouse support under Windows 1.01 in Virtual PC.
  • Windows 1.01 only knew about 84 key keyboards.  So you can’t use the d-pad arrow keys or the enter on the number pad for navigation.  This makes Windows 1.01 impossible to use on a modern laptop when combined with the mouse issue.
  • There is actually a long standing bug against Windows 1.01 under Virtual PC.  Namely that Windows 1.01 crashes when you try to exit it.  Unsurprisingly I have yet to be able to get anyone to take this bug seriously – but a couple of people have suggested that now that I am at Microsoft – I should send Bill an email and see if he has any ideas about what is happening 🙂