Monday, June 23, 2008

Networking a Windows 98 virtual machine

Yes, sadly, I had to create a VirtualPC instance of Windows 98.

I'm getting into a project for an app that must support Windows 98, if you can believe that. Fortunately in this day and age I can run 98 through virtualization, and it runs very fast on the modern hardware.

I installed the OS without incident. However, TCP/IP networking just didn't seem to want to work. I didn't get any errors regarding hardware or drivers. The OS found a network adapter called "Intel 21140 based 10/100 mbps Ethernet Controller" that it liked and had a driver for. I had everything set properly to work on the network I am on. It just wouldn't acquire an address.

I googled a bit and found a forum post that wasn't terribly useful but led me to looking at the Virtual PC settings screen for the virtual machine. Under the "Networking" setting, you can choose the number of adapters and what each adapter is. It seems the default is "Nortel IPSECSHM Adapter" which Windows 98 doesn't seem to like much.

Another adapter choice was "Intel(R) PRO/1000 PL Network Connection" which is the same name of the adapter on the physical machine (or at least the name that shows in the Virtual PC host OS, Windows XP in my case). So I switched it to that and started the virtual machine. Presto Chango! It started right up and the network adapter got an IP address from the DHCP server.

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