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Thread: Windows 2.x hangs on splash screen

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Bristol, UK


    Thanks for all the advice guys but for whatever reason I can't get this to work on an 8088/8086 class machine. Exactly the same files and exactly the same operating system work fine on a newer machine. I did wonder if it was a problem with INTERLNK since I do have the client in config.sys on all of my DOS machines, but ruled that out too - in fact I ran it over an INTERLNK connection from my 486 which directly accessed the copy installed on the Amstrad's hard disk (which won't run directly from the Amstrad).

    As far as I was always aware my copy of Windows 2 was just a generic copy as there was no OEM-specific hardware listed in it and it had a full standard set of drivers, but the only conclusion I can draw is that it must be some odd OEM version which uses 286 instructions.

    Ironically back in the day when I ran Windows 2 on an 8088 it was Windows/286 I was using, which ran fine on less than a 286.

    Quote Originally Posted by SomeGuy
    Perhaps tell us a little more about the configuration of the 5150?
    5150 has 256KB RAM on board with Microforce multifunction card fitted to increase to 512KB. Standard IBM CGA card. Has a single standard Tandon 360KB 5.25" floppy drive fitted and no hard disk ('shares' the hard disk with the Amstrad PC1512HD20 over a parallel cable and INTERLNK/INTERSVR to run programs requiring more space). Usually uses MS-DOS 3.2 (but during this test has also used 6.22).

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Marietta, GA


    No, normal Windows 2.03 is pure 8088/8086. (There was a Windows 2.03/386, but if that is what you had then you would know).

    I suspect on the 5150 Interlnk is probably tripping it up as it tries to grab the LPT resource. Technically Windows 2 can run from floppy, but I think that requires two floppy drives.

    Not sure about the Amstrad though. In that case I'd try the Amstrad OEM Windows 2.03. Of course, you could give Windows 2.11/286 a shot. Despite the name it is just 8088/8086 Windows bundled with HIMEM.SYS and a trick that can use 286 HMA (useless on DOS 5/6).

    After thinking about it, I think I had a similar problem trying to run Windows 2.x on my Kaypro 2000. Windows 2 would freeze up, but 3.0 would work fine. (all stuffed on a single 720k disk). I don't recall if I ever got to the bottom of that.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Silicon Forest, Oregon, USA


    Not sure about Windows 2. I recall that Windows 3.0 VGA driver uses some 80186+ instructions, making it freeze on 8088/8086, while to works fine on NEC V20. Could be the same issue here?

    P.S. It looks that you have CGA, so probably this is not relevant...

  4. #14


    From what I remember, Windows 2.x came in three flavors..

    Windows 2.x (base version, 8088+)
    Windows/286 (added support for HMA, 8088+)
    Windows/386 (got a 386 DOS-VM, 8088+)

    It is interesting to note that Windows /386 (2.0x) was released first (as an OEM release),
    but normal Windows 2.03 was the first shelf release.

    All ordinary retail versions will run on a normal PC/XT.
    Even the Windows/386 release, if launched by the win86 executable.

    In order to get Windows 2.03 to run on modern DOSes,
    the version reported has to be in the 2.1x to 3.x range.

    From a personal experience, version 3.30 worked fine most of the time.
    On DOS 6.x, I'm using a little utility for this (dosver).

    dosver /v:3.30
    lh win
    dosver /v:6.20

    I suspect this version check was required
    by Windows to handle the internal data structures of DOS correctly.

    That beeing said, I'm just an user, no developer
    and speaking under correction, so please feel free to correct me.
    Last edited by Jo22; April 10th, 2018 at 04:16 AM.
    "Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
    In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." -The Minstrel

  5. #15


    I am having the exact same problem with my PC1512 (upgraded to 640KB and NEC V30). I have tried both DOS 3.2 and 5.0 with SETVER. Windows 2.03 freezes on the splash screen.

    However, Windows 1.04 runs fine, even with the Amstrad mouse (got the driver from the Amstrad OEM 2.03 distribution 'MOUSE2.DRV').

    Question in case anyone can point me in the right direction: Is there any video driver out there for Windows 1.x that will allow the use of PC1512's special mode 640x200 with 16 colors?


  6. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    New Zealand
    Blog Entries


    Quote Originally Posted by cwathen View Post
    The 5150 will let you CTRL+ALT+DEL, the Amstrad machine completely locks up and needs to be hard powered down and up again (a process which always terrifies me as I like to park the heads on the ancient RLL hard drive in it before powering down and can't when this happens).
    You only need to park the heads when moving the machine, so that if it get gets dropped it will not damage your data area.
    Some people will do this on each power down as a good habit, but it's not compulsory.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Chicagoland, Illinois, USA
    Blog Entries


    Quote Originally Posted by cobalt2035 View Post
    Is there any video driver out there for Windows 1.x that will allow the use of PC1512's special mode 640x200 with 16 colors?
    Initial research suggests no:

    I also poked around Geoworks Ensemble and Geoworks Pro, and there are no Amstrad 640x200x16 drivers there either. However, if you'd like to stress the 640x200x16 mode, GEM is an alternative:
    Offering a bounty for:
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775 or Logabax 1600
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)

  8. #18


    How hard is it to write a graphics driver for Windows 1.x or 2.x?
    Is there any decent documentation around on how this would be done, or was that OEM-only?

    edit: Phrased in a different way... how hard is it to get Windows to run on a "DOS-compatible" (but not PC-compatible) machine? The machine I am thinking about is definitely one of the weirder ones.
    Last edited by Svenska; November 28th, 2019 at 12:30 PM.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Blog Entries


    What documentation there is for Windows 2.x device drivers is contained in the Binary Adaption Kit. It has sample code for CGA, EGA, and VGA drivers. The manuals are of limited value.

    Writing a driver is complex. Not only is there the complexity of the driver itself but dealing with DOS applications adds a whole extra level of complications. Fortunately, I think you won't need to have Win386 drivers which is a good thing since MS kept the 386 portion for special requests only.

    If the video card is well documented and similar to a standard card, it should be possible to get a working driver in a reasonable amount of time. Otherwise, well, I found writing real mode Windows drivers an exercise in frustration. You may have better luck.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Guildford, U.K.
    Blog Entries


    Not knowing the Amstrad, is the graphics chip a known one? Perhaps something like the UNIVBE VESA BIOS Extensions TSR would help with real mode windows?


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