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Doesn't exist any more? Fake it!

You've read everything so far. You've found a 5.25" drive and transferred the program to your hard drive. You've tried all the tricks I've mentioned. And it still doesn't work, dammit! What kind of a worthless Guide is this, anyway?

Calm down, pal! Keep your shirt on. When you can't access the original hardware, fake it! There are emulators and quasi-emulators that can help with the tinker-challenged. If you can't get a reasonable slowdown going, or you don't have access to a 5.25" drive, this section is for you.

Floppy Drive Emulation

Flopper is a program that emulates a bootable 5.25" drive. To be specific, Flopper will take a 360K disk image sitting on your hard drive and boot it as if it were a 5.25" disk sitting in your A: drive. The obvious advantage is that you don't need to keep a 5.25" drive lying around to play old bootable 5.25" games once you've made your disk image, but there are more subtle advantages as well; for example, Flopper has a screen-capture utility that can let you make screenshots of bootable games that was previously impossible.

For more information, go to the Flopper's official home page. Flopper is an official project of The Oldskool PC.

Tandy 1000/PCjr Emulation

Tand-Em is a Tandy 1000/PCjr emulator. The PCjr (and the Tandy 1000 series, which was a clone of the PCjr) offered enhanced graphics, music and sound capabilities to software that utilized it. The Sierra adventure games (King's Quest, Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, etc.) are the most widely-recognized and popular old softare titles to take advantage of the enhanced graphics and sound, although many other companies did the same.

For more information, go to the Tand-Em's official home page. Tand-Em is an official project of The Oldskool PC and Vincent Joquin.

General-Purpose Emulation

If you can't successfully slow down your machine, you can fudge a slower machine by running an x86 emulator. Running a real x86 emulator (Linux's DOSEMU is not a real x86 emulator, it's just a window into a V8086) emulates an entire 80x86 machine in software, which is at least 10 to 20 times slower than the real thing. Bochs, an x86 emulator currently in development, serves this purpose nicely. Bochs can also let you do some fairly interesting and silly things: You can run Bochs under Unix to emulate an 80386 so sufficiently that you can install and run Windows 95 under it. Windows 95 in Unix! And, if you want to get even sillier, Bochs runs in Windows 95, so you could run an entire session of Windows 95 while already in Windows 95. But that would just be too silly.

Now this is a complete bubblegum and shoestring fix, I agree. But hey, it works. It's better than nothing, right?

  1. Introduction
  2. Cripple Your PC
  3. Tweaking
  4. Floppy Drive Problems
  5. Sound
  6. Video
  7. Emulation
  8. Oldskool-Friendly Boxes
  9. Conclusion
  10. Resources
  11. Appendix A: Windows 9x Options

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This page's content was last modified on Dec 21, 2015 4:31 pm.
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