Windows on old computer not working.

Garmin Nuvi 205w portable gps
April 2, 2017 at 12:34:05
Specs: DR-DOS 7.01, Mitsubishi 80286/640K + 512K Extended
Hello, I have a really old computer from 1986 that I'm trying to get Windows on. I have a single 3.5 in. floppy drive hooked up to it and no hard drive. Both MS-DOS and PC-DOS hang at the Starting... screen while DR-DOS boots up just fine. I tried putting Windows 1.01, 2.03, and 3.0 on there. In standard mode on 3.0, it says that there's not enough RAM and that it needs to be started in real mode. In real mode, all three versions freeze at the boot screen. Could somebody help me get Windows on this computer?

Pictures of a computer that looks just like it that I found online:

P.S.: My graphics are Hercules Monochrome and I have a serial mouse, if that helps at all.

message edited by Joey2

See More: Windows on old computer not working.

April 2, 2017 at 23:18:19
All those versions require 2 floppy drives or a single floppy and a hard drive. Version 3 must have a hard drive. Real mode or enhanced mode (I think they're the same) require at least a 386 cpu. Version 3 also needs more ram than you have.

Here's some info on hardware requirements for those versions:

There was an undocumented switch for the SETUP command that told it to ignore the hardware requirements. The command was setup/nm. That worked with windows 3.1 but I don't know if it worked with the older ones you're trying.

That's not a system you'd use to run windows on. You need to find something not quite as old.

Report •

April 3, 2017 at 19:39:52
It's true that you would need a hard drive for virtually any version of Windows to run. You also don't mention how much memory is in the machine. The system requirements for Windows 3.0 are here:

Being that you state the machine is from 1986, it's likely it has an 8088 or 80286 CPU in it, meaning Windows 3.0 (if you have 384K of memory) would be the best you could hope for. (The 80386 was introduced in 1985, but was almost exclusively used in the Compaq Deskpro 386 in 1986). You'd need a compatible HDD for the machine (likely MFM or RLL) to install Windows, and either of those would also need a controller card (which you may or may not have in the machine). A working kard disk of that age will be nearly impossible to find plus finding one that will be supported by such an old system may be even more difficult. You'd also need a complete installation of DOS (which would also require a hard-drive) before you could completely install Windows (though there was some half-hearted successes at getting a minimal amount of the GUI on a single floppy).

And, FWIW, Real or Standard (protected) modes do not require a 386---only 386 Enhanced mode does:

And the Hercules graphics wouldn't be a limitation either:

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

message edited by T-R-A

Report •

April 4, 2017 at 18:44:45
Now that I know there is little to no hope of getting Windows on there, I wonder why MS-DOS doesn't work.

Report •

Related Solutions

April 4, 2017 at 19:54:43
I'd first suspect the boot disks are bad while the dr dos disks are OK.

Try them on another computer if possible or find/download/create new disks. What dos versions are you trying to use?

Report •

April 4, 2017 at 20:22:40
To make using that computer somewhat worthwhile you need to get a hard drive in it. I used to come across Sperrys at auction back then. As I recall they were proprietary and probably had on-board drive connections. Do you know what type of drive it takes--MFM/RLL or maybe even an early IDE?

Report •

April 4, 2017 at 23:39:58
For internal connections, I only see a floppy controller and some ISA ports. I think I will have to get an ISA hard drive controller. Do you know which type I should use?

Report •

April 4, 2017 at 23:42:59
My budget right now is only about $100, but I think I can save up if (and probably will, with my luck) it costs more.

Report •

April 5, 2017 at 02:28:26
"I think I will have to get an ISA hard drive controller. Do you know which type I should use?"

If (as DAVEINCAPS says) the hard drive is proprietary, then it's quite possible the controller is as well. That would make finding a hard drive/controller card nearly impossible. It may be that you could use an IDE adapter, but you'd also need to know what size drives the BIOS supports (likely under 250MB for such an old machine). If the machine is truly IBM compatible (hardware wise), then you could possibly also use something like an XT-IDE or XT-CF adapter:

There's also this:

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

message edited by T-R-A

Report •

April 6, 2017 at 08:11:11
Hi joey,

I think ms-dos 3.n will work with either 1 or 2 floppy disks.

The first Amstrad pc's were ofered in these configurations to lower the price and take in the gullible.

Not mentioned above are 'Hardcards' which had an inbuilt controller and used an expansion slot. Often owners of the above mentioned Amstrads used to upgrade their pc's..

Would think spending any money on this pc, might be wasteful, as hdd's and their controllers are the sort of items one keeps 'just in case' from scrappers. Maybe someone local has some in a box.

PC's from that era were not forward compatible, and thus any Windows version may need greater resources than the pc can provide.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

message edited by Mike Newcomb

Report •

April 7, 2017 at 19:03:56
Assuming it is a 286 it will have some 16-bit slots (the longer ones). Your best bet would a Promise 16-bit IDE card--if you can find one. I think those will work with a 286 OK but check specs of the card first. Those cards have their own bios so aren't limited to the drive types the motherboard bios allows.

Report •

April 8, 2017 at 00:22:57
It's within my price range, but I can tell you with certainty that my system does not have Plug and Play. Will it still work? Also, should I try one of my 720 KB diskettes? 1.44 MB diskettes didn't come out until a year after the computer was released.

Report •

April 8, 2017 at 00:58:25
Plug and play isn't an issue with old hardware.. PnP just means that when it's installed, windows will recognize it and install the drivers, if it has them.

A 286 is capable of handling a 1.44 drive. Are you sure the one you have is a 720? If you don't know you can usually just google the drive model number. Another way is to look inside the drive from the front where you insert the disk. A 720 K drive will have a little vertical sensor pin on the far left just inside the opening. That's to determine if the disk is write-enabled. A 1.44 will have that sensor too but will also have another on the far right just inside the opening. That's to determine if the disk is 720 or 1.44. So if your drive has both then it's a 1.44.

Look on ebay for the hard drive card. They might want a lot for one though.

Report •

Ask Question