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Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox

 
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Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/22/2016 11:54:01 AM   
Riitaoja2


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Reason to use VirtualBox: Some new computers especially the ones with Intel i7 multicore processors are having issues running SPWAW. Specifically the artillery screeen is unresponsive. The normal method of starting the game with the affinity fix does not work for all. However by running the game through a "virtual machine" program like VirtualBox the game can be made to run properly.

Reguirements: A redundant/spare copy of Windows 98SE, Windows Millenium Edition or Windows 2000 is recomended.
In the example I am using Windows XP which works fine but it might not be the best choice to use since it reguires an internet activation and otherwise works only for 30 days. Windows 2000 might be the best choice.

=>For tutorial on installing VirtualBox with Windows Millenium Edtion scroll down to post #15



Please note that using Windows XP on a Virtual Machine uses an activation key the same way as installing on a real computer would. This is why Windows 2000 might be better to use for a Virtual Machine since it does not have the internet activation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Product_Activation

Steps:

1. Download the Oracle VirtualBox software and install it:
https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads
Choose the link for:
VirtualBox 5.0.14 for Windows hosts x86/amd64
(notice that the version number shown might be newer after the time of writing this)

Default install options should be fine.


< Message edited by Riitaoja2 -- 3/20/2016 5:05:07 PM >
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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/22/2016 11:59:08 AM   
Riitaoja2


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EDIT: The tutorial talks about Windows XP, but for Windows 2000 the procedure should be nearly identical. Just type in Windows 2000 in the Name field instead."


2. When you have started VirtualBox click on the "New" button and type in the information as shown in the screenshot. Then click on "Create".

On the second screen it asks you about the size and other options of your virtual hard disk. This is the size available for your virtual WindowsXP machine. I leaved these to the default values but you can increase or decrease the size if you want. Again click on "Create".





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< Message edited by Riitaoja2 -- 2/23/2016 4:53:27 AM >

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/22/2016 12:02:40 PM   
Riitaoja2


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3. You should now have VirtualBox set up for installing and running Windows XP. Now click on "Start" and the Virtual Machine should start.

On the Select start-up disk promt choose your CD rom drive letter and insert your Windows XP installation CD and click Start.

After this part it is a normal procedure of installing Windows XP. Note that this may take up to an hour to finish.





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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/22/2016 12:06:08 PM   
Riitaoja2


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4. After Windows XP has been installed you can go about using it just like a regular computer except it runs through an virtual machine emulation with the VirtualBox software.

Some security tips:
- I suggest that you do not use your Virtual Windows XP machine for internet browsing at all since it is an old operating system and Microsoft no longer gives it security updates. You can even disable the Network Adapter from VirtualBox settings. You won't need an internet connection to play SPWAW anyway.

The first thing you should do is to install the VirtualBox "Guest Additions" for your Windows XP installation. This is done by inserting a CD image from the the "Devices" menu. (See screenshot)

Now when the Quest Additions CD image has been inserted the installer should start automaticaly. If not you may need to navigate to the CD drive from Sart -> My Computer. Install the quest additions and reboot your virtual machine.

The Virtual Machine additions is needed for "drag and drop" support with your host machine. So you can drag a copy of Steel Panthers World at war into your Virtaul Machine that is running Windows XP. Edit: Also on Windows 2000 you need to install the VM addtions to get full 32bit colors working.




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< Message edited by Riitaoja2 -- 2/23/2016 4:52:12 AM >

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/22/2016 12:09:46 PM   
Riitaoja2


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5. I recommend the following settins for VirtualBox when using it for playing SPWAW:

- Set the Virtual Machines desktop resolution to 800x600.
- Disable Mouse Integration so that the mouse pointer stays inside the window. (Use Right Ctrl key to toggle the mouse pointer operation)
Note: To permanently disable mouse integration you can change the VirtualBox setting "System"->"Motherboard"->"Pointing Device"->"USB Tablet" to "PS/2 Mouse".

- Enable "Drag and Drop" and set it to Host To Guest or Bidirectional mode to drag files from the host machine to your Virtual Windows XP machine and back. This way you can easily copy your SPWAW game files into the virtual machine.
- Unfortuanately I could not get VirtualBox to run in fullscreen mode properly on my Windows 7 host machine. This may ofcourse differ with other host Windows versions. However I found that it is possible to adjust the "Scale Factor" from the "View" menu to make the VirtualBox Window bigger. I used a setting of 150%.





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< Message edited by Riitaoja2 -- 3/8/2016 5:43:14 PM >

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/22/2016 12:12:05 PM   
Riitaoja2


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If all goes well you should end up with a fully working SPWAW game running on a Virtual machine.


If you still get the artillery screen lag/unresponsiveness bug. Make sure the virtual machines settings have Processor count set to 1 like shown here. I believe that by default VirtualBox will set up for a single core computer but just in case it doesn't it can be set up manualy afterwards.


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< Message edited by Riitaoja2 -- 2/22/2016 7:30:13 PM >

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/22/2016 1:19:49 PM   
Riitaoja2


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"Drag and Drop" tip for VirtualBox:

When I used the drag and drop feature to place SPWAW in the Virtual Machine I first compressed the whole Steel Panthers World at war -folder to a .zip file on my host machine. Then I dragged this zip file into the Virtual Machine window and unzipped it.

When I first tried to drag and drop the folder without first packing it into a zip file I had problems. The folder would copy to the virtual machine but all the files were missing. So it seems there are some bugs in the drag and drop feature or then it is just some issue that just affects my computer.

In any case at least for me zipping up the files / folders I want to drag and drop works fine.





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< Message edited by Riitaoja2 -- 2/22/2016 2:31:13 PM >

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/22/2016 10:55:25 PM   
Riitaoja2


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The problem with Windows 95, 98 and Millenium Edition when run on VirtualBox is that the colors are limited to just 16 colors (not the same as 16bit) and that is not enough for SPWAW to run (needs 256 colors at minimum).

This is because VirtualBox does not come with a display driver for win9x versions and instead the fail safe default VGA driver is used.

However from some searching it appears that there are third party display drivers available that can be used to get 256 or more colors on Win9x running on VirtualBox:
https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?t=9918

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/22/2016 11:58:51 PM   
Major_Mess


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Great work R2, now we need to find an intrepid soul that has a install disc for XP annnnnnnd one of those i7 processors.
I'll put out the word.

R2, I dunno if you'll want to spend much time on the link provided. In their first paragraph they tell us
quote:

Windows 9x is not officially supported by VirtualBox team, which means, that it lacks Guest VM Additions, and it runs slowly, because VirtualBox is not optimized to run Win 9x.



Just a thought.


Again R2, this is great.
One for SCIENCE!!!!

I'll see if I can get a guinea pig.


cheers


MM

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/23/2016 12:11:24 AM   
Major_Mess


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Hey R2

I got kinda curious to see what the price would be for a XP install disc in the year 2016. I figured it could only be a couple of $$ on EBay or something. It looks like everyone and his dog are giving away XP for free.
MajorGeeks even have links, I thought they were a pretty straight outfit.

Take a look at this ........... except the second part, ha ha, that part you would do the exact opposite.
I don't know if this is shady or not



cheers

Major Mess

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/23/2016 12:44:13 AM   
Riitaoja2


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Yeah the problem with Windows XP is that it is the first Windows version that authenticates itself through the internet.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Product_Activation
So once you install Windows XP on a real computer or a virtual machine that key is used and you then can not install it again on a new computer. So if someone is selling a used copy of Windows XP and you buy it and try to activate it the key has most likely already been used and you are screwed.

Windows 2000 was the last Windows version that did not need the online validation. And to my understanding it does not suffer from the same problems as Win95 and 98 do on VirtualBox.

I may be able to try Windows Millenium Edition and see if I can get it to work.

As for anyone offering Windows for free it is definitely not legal. There is no such thing as a free Windows.

The only exception is that Windows 7 Professional comes with a "free" Windows XP Pro licence built-in. This means one can install the Windows Virtual PC and run it in Windows XP Mode. The so called free Windows XP might be the CD image available from Microsoft for installing WinXP on a Windows 7 computer for use with Virtual PC's XP mode. You still need to have Windows 7 Professional for it to activate and work for more than the 30 days trial.

See:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Virtual_PC#Windows_XP_Mode


< Message edited by Riitaoja2 -- 2/23/2016 4:31:10 AM >

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/23/2016 4:45:47 AM   
Riitaoja2


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Major Mess

Great work R2, now we need to find an intrepid soul that has a install disc for XP annnnnnnd one of those i7 processors.
I'll put out the word.

R2, I dunno if you'll want to spend much time on the link provided. In their first paragraph they tell us
quote:

Windows 9x is not officially supported by VirtualBox team, which means, that it lacks Guest VM Additions, and it runs slowly, because VirtualBox is not optimized to run Win 9x.



Just a thought.


Again R2, this is great.
One for SCIENCE!!!!

I'll see if I can get a guinea pig.


cheers


MM


I'd say best would be using Windows 2000 or Windows Millenium Edition. I kinda regret about posting the tutorial for Windows XP since it is probably not an option for most users.

In any case this won't be a new universal fix for everyone. For that we would need an old Windows version to be made freeware. Which probably will never happen...

And I actualy just tried WindowsME on the VirtualBox and got it working fine. No slowdowns or graphical issues. I will post more info later.


< Message edited by Riitaoja2 -- 3/20/2016 3:32:19 PM >

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/23/2016 11:52:04 AM   
sami heimola

 

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R2, how this Virtualbox-trick will affect to that artillery bug? Any faster than in Win7 & 10? Or not at all? And is it worth of trying as I have Intel i5 processor?

< Message edited by sami heimola -- 2/23/2016 1:15:10 PM >

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/23/2016 3:28:08 PM   
Riitaoja2


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quote:

ORIGINAL: sami heimola

R2, how this Virtualbox-trick will affect to that artillery bug? Any faster than in Win7 & 10? Or not at all? And is it worth of trying as I have Intel i5 processor?


When the game is run through a virtual machine it should solve the artillery bug and any other issues you might be having with the real hardware. It is basicaly an emulated PC.

Sertainly worth trying if you have an old Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 98SE or Windows ME dics lying around!

I will post the tutorial on how to install Win98SE/WinME on VirtualBox soon.

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/23/2016 5:33:52 PM   
Riitaoja2


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Installing Windows Millenium Edition on VirtualBox:
Windows 98SE installation should be fairly similar.

For Windows 95 and Windows 98 (non SE versions) the installation process is slightly more complex in that you also need a separate boot image for booting into dos. Also note that Windows 95/98 do not come with inbuilt USB support and will most likely reguire the USB drivers to be downloaded and installed separately.


Create a new virtual machine and name it Windows ME (or Win98SE depending on what you are installing). The default options should be fine so clik Create. Next is the virtual hard disk options that you can edit or just accept the defaults and click Create.

Before starting the virtual machine go to it's Settings and edit the following options:
-System -> Acceleration -> uncheck the option "Enable Nested Paging" (this prevents crash of the installer)
-Audio - Audio Controller ->Change this to SoundBlaster 16.
EDIT: It looks like "ICH AC97" Audio Controller works with Win9x in VirtualBox-5.0.22 so there may be no need to change to SoundBlaster 16 anymore. I found that the SoundBlaster 16 emulation was not perfect and caused some weird sound looping errors.

-Also remember to Disable the Network adapter from the Settings menu! You do not wan't your ancient Win9x version to have access to the internet.







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< Message edited by Riitaoja2 -- 6/26/2016 12:04:28 AM >

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/23/2016 5:34:15 PM   
Riitaoja2


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When you start the virtual machine choose the drive letter where you have Windows Millenium Edition CD.

Now comes the new stuff (or old). In the "Micorosoft Windows Millenium Edition Startup Menu" use the arrow keys to highlight the second option "start computer with CD-ROM support" and hit ENTER.

When the virtual machine has finished booting into DOS type in the command "fdisk" and press ENTER. Continue hitting ENTER accepting the default values until you hit the last screen. Now hit the Esc key.

Then initiate a system boot from the Input menu as shown in the screenshot.




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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/23/2016 5:34:41 PM   
Riitaoja2


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When the system boots select the second option "start computer with CD-ROM support" again.
This time in the DOS command line type in the command "format c:" and follow the options as shown in the screenshot.
For the name of the volume label you can just hit ENTER for no name.

Finaly to start the Windows Millenium Edition installation type in the command "e:\setup /p j"
This will start the ScanDisk program. When it finishes use the arrow keys to highlight <Exit> and hit ENTER.

Windows Millenium Edition installation should now start. When promted about startup disk just click on Cancel.
Follow the options as you would normally and eventualy the installation will finish.

Note: When the installer first asks for a restart remove the WindowsME cd from the cd drive. If you do not do this the CD will again boot to DOS instead of allowing the Windows installation to continue.

Note2: At the very end of the installation it crashed for me. I had to shutdown the virtual machine and start it up again. However the installation then completed successfuly.




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< Message edited by Riitaoja2 -- 2/23/2016 5:58:20 PM >

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/23/2016 5:35:05 PM   
Riitaoja2


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Now when Windows Millenium edition desktop comes up you will notice that it is locked in 16 color mode and a 640x480 resolution. To fix this we need to download a third pary display driver. It can be downloaded from here:
http://bearwindows.zcm.com.au/140214.zip

Since we can not use VM Guest Additions on WinME/98SE we need a different method than drag and drop to trasfer the files. USB support still works so we will use it.

Extract the driver files from 140214.zip to an USB stick on your host machine and then from the Devices menu choose USB and click on the USB Flash Disk (naming may differ depending on the brand of the USB stick). This will trigger a driver installation and you should be able to access the files on your Virtual Machine from the "My Computer" icon.

Note: Windows9x does not have built-in unzip capability so you may also wan't to install a third pary unzip program. I recommend 7zip since it is free and runs well on old computers. You will wan't the 32bit 9.20 version which is the last one to support Win9x:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/sevenzip/files/7-Zip/9.20/7z920.exe/download




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< Message edited by Riitaoja2 -- 2/27/2016 12:46:44 PM >

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/23/2016 5:37:00 PM   
Riitaoja2


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Now for the actual display driver installation:

1. Go to your Display Properties and click "Advanced..."
2. Go to the Adapter page and click "Change..."
3. From the Update Device Driver Wizard choose "Specify the location of the driver" and Click Next.
4. Select the checkbox "Specify a location" and click on "Browse".
5. If you get a "Disk is not formatted promt click NO.
6. Now navigate to the USB stick and choose the folder "032MB" and click "OK".
7. Now press Next to andvance the driver installation until it finishes.
8. The computer is then rebooted and you should have 256+ colors and a 800x600 resolution available.

To install SPWAW just copy it to an USB stick and like you did with the display drivers.





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< Message edited by Riitaoja2 -- 2/28/2016 1:45:02 PM >

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/24/2016 3:35:33 PM   
sami heimola

 

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R2, I made one test recently. Result was interesting imho. I launched SPWAW in Windows 98 mode (without any virtualbox) via compability menu. I chose 3 german 105 mmm batteries (after than I chose "attack" game against Russia 1941). I set 3 targets. I noticed that all flags I marked as targets, were marked "properly" under 30 seconds each! And leaving menu lasted only 20-30 seconds:). I was amazed how fast "action" went with only changing compability... Was it only good luck or not?

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/24/2016 4:09:46 PM   
Riitaoja2


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quote:

ORIGINAL: sami heimola

R2, I made one test recently. Result was interesting imho. I launched SPWAW in Windows 98 mode (without any virtualbox) via compability menu. I chose 3 german 105 mmm batteries (after than I chose "attack" game against Russia 1941). I set 3 targets. I noticed that all flags I marked as targets, were marked "properly" under 30 seconds each! And leaving menu lasted only 20-30 seconds:). I was amazed how fast "action" went with only changing compability... Was it only good luck or not?


I am a bit puzzled by the delay issue you are experiencing. Are you saying that when you click on something there is a delay before anything happens? Because the usual problem people are having is that the click does not register at all and they have to click several times but there is no actual delay when it does register the mouse click.

I wonder if you have some other issue with your computer that causes the delay. It could be a bad video/audio driver or maybe some installed software that is conflicting with the game. For example many third party video and music playback programs install bad codecs that can mess up the game.

It could even be a power saving option. At least on laptop computers the power saving settings are a common cause for sluggish behaviour in games where it takes several second for the CPU to wake up and give full power. This can be tuned in the power saving settings so that the cpu always runs at 100% speed.


In this screenshot I would change the "Minimum processor state" to 100% instead of 80%. The example is of a laptop computer where one might still want to keep the percentages lower for battery power.

Also in the Windows power options there should be a check box for "High Performance" which should also set the CPU to run at 100%.

< Message edited by Riitaoja2 -- 2/24/2016 4:12:40 PM >

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/24/2016 7:10:55 PM   
sami heimola

 

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R2, I'm not sure what software in my PC could add that "delay" into SPWAW... As you said it could be some video/audio driver or VLC/dvd software-thing. But in the end of day, this art bug is quite "less" (in my point of view). I can deal with it until someone will find good solution for any kind of processors...

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/25/2016 8:20:43 PM   
sami heimola

 

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Btw, R2, as you seem to have lot of knowledge about game/computer-things, do you know any trick to get SPWAW working as "windowed" mode (like WinSPWW2/MBT)?

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/25/2016 9:47:04 PM   
Riitaoja2


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quote:

ORIGINAL: sami heimola

Btw, R2, as you seem to have lot of knowledge about game/computer-things, do you know any trick to get SPWAW working as "windowed" mode (like WinSPWW2/MBT)?


Yes I do and it is called DXWnd. I posted about it last year here:
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=3811621

Just leave the checkbox "Run in Window" checked.

< Message edited by Riitaoja2 -- 2/25/2016 9:49:32 PM >

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/26/2016 6:25:23 AM   
Major_Mess


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Sami, you're running an i5? right?

Try this with DXWnd.
Input Tab - check the "Slow down mouse polling" box
Compat Tab - check the "Set single core process affinity" box

these settings have worked on another i5.


HTH


MM

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/26/2016 9:56:52 AM   
sami heimola

 

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Thanks about link R2. Strange, I have seen it before (last year?) but I looked only art fix thing and passed DXWnd some reason... I will try this if I have time.

edit:Seems to work in my end. Btw, do I have to launch DXWnd every time as I want SPWAW as windowed mode? Do options stay in "memory" until I change them as full screen?

< Message edited by sami heimola -- 2/26/2016 10:15:24 AM >

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/27/2016 12:18:47 AM   
Riitaoja2


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quote:

ORIGINAL: sami heimola

Thanks about link R2. Strange, I have seen it before (last year?) but I looked only art fix thing and passed DXWnd some reason... I will try this if I have time.

edit:Seems to work in my end. Btw, do I have to launch DXWnd every time as I want SPWAW as windowed mode? Do options stay in "memory" until I change them as full screen?


Yes you have to launch the game from DXWnd every time. The settings should save so you do not need to manualy edit them every time. If they are not saving then you need to make sure that you start DXWnd with administrator rights and that DXWnd is not located in a Windows UAC managed forlder like \Program Files.

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 2/27/2016 6:39:48 PM   
Riitaoja2


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Small update:

My Windows ME virtual machine was freezing randomly. I fixed this by changing the Audio Controller to SoundBlaster 16 in the VirtualBox settings. Updated post #15.

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 3/1/2016 5:55:47 PM   
Riitaoja2


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I have also been looking into the Bochs emulator:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bochs
https://sourceforge.net/projects/bochs/?source=directory

This might be another option but it does reguire alot from the host machine. Basicaly my budget 2-core Pentium is just too slow to run WindowsME on Bochs. However the faster CPU's out there might be able to run it. Bochs is not very user friendly though compared to VirtualBox.

Here is a link with some basic info regarding the setup of Bosch for Win9x:
http://emaculation.com/doku.php/bochs


< Message edited by Riitaoja2 -- 3/1/2016 5:59:23 PM >

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RE: Tutorial for running SPWAW through VirtualBox - 3/20/2016 3:35:34 PM   
Riitaoja2


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One completely free option for those that do not have access to an old Windows version could be using Linux.

Basicaly one could install say Linux Ubuntu on VirtualBox and then run SPWAW with the Wine Software.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_%28operating_system%29
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine_%28software%29

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