Networking with Windows NT 3.1 under emulation


Windows NT 3.1 does NOT support the PCI bus, making most emulation difficult to impossible.

However some vendors wrote their own PCI routines allowing their PCI devices to work under Windows NT 3.1!

And as luck would have it, the two that I found should work for both VMWare & Virtual PC users!

First the Virtual PC users, you’ll want this file GF10011.EXE , and just extract it, and put it on a floppy.  x64 users will either need to do this under dosbox / MS-DOS in a VM… Also another note about Virtual PC & NT 3.1 is that it has massive pauses, to where it seems to be unusable.  I’ve found that altering the Virtual PC process, and binding it to only a single CPU, and boosting it’s priority helps a great deal, although it’s nothing compared to the speed of Qemu…

VMWare users can download an AMD Pcnet driver here that will happily bind on PCI.  Once you install the driver, you can have it scan the appropriate busses and it should pull up and work.

Another fun thing I found for Virtual PC users, is that the HP Pavilion 5000 desktop shipped ready for Windows NT 3.1, and it was equiped with a S3 video card! And it’s video driver will work with Virtual PC! You can download it from HP’s site here.

This brings Windows NT 3.1 into a far more usable state. Another fun thing I found is that Netscape 2 & 3 for Windows 3.1 WILL RUN! One of these days I’ll have to sort out the exchange client situation…

And if anyone wants to see it in action, be sure to check out Apache running on Windows NT 3.1!

Or you can hit it directly:

20 thoughts on “Networking with Windows NT 3.1 under emulation

  1. Great pose – fun to get networking going under VirtualPC. I tried the display driver, but it seems to screw up my mouse – I tried a couple different resolutions and a couple of different mouse settings – what resolution / bit depth are you using, and is it making your mouse crazy?

  2. I just found out the hard way that if your depth is more then 256 colors the mouse freaks out… I was going to try some old games….

    Oh well… 256 is still better then 16!!

    Right now I have it running 1280x1024x256 "default" resolution and it's great.

  3. Question, how do I get a higher resolution (800×600) using the video drivers you provided after installing NT 3.1 in virtual pc 2007? I have networking working and was able to log on to to my BackOffice 4.5 Domain and access network shares. Just would like a higher resolution and I'm set.


  4. The problem I've had with greater then 800×600 resolution is that the mouse tracking doesn't work right…. I suppose different video drivers could yield better results…

    Or just install NT 3.5…

  5. I got it to work without altering anything. Just open Program Manager > Windows NT Setup, Options > Change System Settings. Click in the Display list box and choose 800 x 600 VESA 16 colors and that's it. My next challenge now is to get my CD-ROM drive to show up in Virtual PC. I can still work around this problem of sharing files and installing apps by simply logging on to my NT BackOffice Domain and install the apps from there. Memory usage seems to be a problem, also with Windows 3.1, when I run either one, my PC slows down really bad.

  6. I found what claims to be an IDE CD-ROM driver for NT 3.1 but I haven't gotten it to mount any CD's so it's kind of pointless….

    Now as to the sudden slowdowns, on multiprocessor systems, Virtual PC will do this from time to time with older OS's. The 'easy' way to fix this is to close virtual pc, then re-open it. BEFORE you launch any OS's, bring up task manager, and change the affinity of VirtualPC to a SINGLE cpu.

    It'll be significantly more responsive now. Also if you need more then 64mb of ram, don't forget you can take the ntldr & from NT 3.51 and use those to get 3GB of ram.

  7. for sound just load the soundblaster driver….

    0x220 irq 5, dma channel 1….

    the adlib part may or not load, but you can live without it…
    I've found a driver claiming to support IDE CD's but it doesn't work on my real machine, nor vpc.

  8. Thanks for the quick reply! Would you like to provide a step-to-step guide to install the sound driver? And the download link for the soundblaster and IDE CD driver as well? Thanks a lot! I know my request is nonsense, since I'm a newbie to NT 3.x.

  9. open up control panel, then look for drivers, then add sound blaster 1.x

    Set the IO for 220, and the interrupt for 5.

    the CD driver doesn't work so it'd be pointless, but with networking you can just map drives.

  10. Thanks a lot. The audio and video drivers work now! BTW, how to config the TCP/IP, it has no DHCP and I don't know what to do. And I can't get any IE version works on it, every time it said "Call to Undedined Dynalink". Do you know any IE can work on NT 3.1?

  11. well you'll have to know your LAN to setup TCP/IP.

    the NAT option for Virtual PC is all the same…. But you won't be able to get files easily on & off your machine… If you have a wired Ethernet it's best to use that.

    NT 3.5 is light years beyond 3.1. 3.1 was pushed out the door, as the win32 api isn't finished, there is some issues with it's inability to use MSVCRT dll's and of course the TCP/IP stack being that horrible outsourced spider one.

    has info on VPC's NAT.

  12. Yes, I can get onto the internet, I use a wired lan access from my host pc, so it's simply a matter of assigning an ip address from my lan.

    I suppose if you install a "MS loopback" adapter on your pc, then bind VPC to that, then enable the Windows internet connection sharing you could bring NT 3.1 onto the internet that way, but it's a little involved for the average user….

    I do have a Windows NT 3.1 VM on the internet right here:

    Although thats on Qemu running on a Sony Playstation 3.

  13. I've updated the links so they download from me now… It was a pain as it seems the VMWare driver disappeared.

    Luckily I saved it.

    Anyways all should be well now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.