So I picked up this old 386 multitasker on amazon called.. VM/386. I remember seeing ads on how awesome it was back in the day.

VM/386 diskettes

VM/386 diskettes


VM/386 1.2 splash screen

VM/386 1.2 splash screen

So much to my luck, I not only got 1.2 but 1.22! Even luckier all the disks read! However what ever magic they employed doesn’t work under any emulation … 😐

Sure it’ll load up, and let you do some options.. But this is all I get.

VM/386 in action

VM/386 in action

I’ve tried it on various Qemu levels, I’ve even used a real cirrus logic video ROM (from an ISA board, I’ll have to find a PCI cirrus logic ROM…) VMware, Virtual PC, and Virtual BOX.

Has anyone ever used this thing? I was under the impression it was multiuser as well as multitasking but it seems from what little I’ve been able to use that it’s only multi tasking…

Oh well I guess another sem-interesting update in MS-DOS multi-taskers.

— edit

And… I just got word of a copy of 2.0 and it’s being shipped.. 5 user version too!

10 thoughts on “VM/386

  1. I think that this can get working with Bochs…

    I made some fixes to get real BIOS and VGABIOS images working with Bochs, and them work seamlessy with the new 2.4.5 release, with all options working correctly… i think that VM/386 can work with this emulation enviroment, despite those incomplete VMWare and QEMU CPU and BIOS32 virtualizations.

  2. Very cool…

    I've been playing with some old AMI bios & cirrus logic bios on Qemu 0.9.0 (mostly because it's ISA emulation isn't broken)…

    So far nothing. 😐

  3. I remember this from back in the day as well! I also seem to remember that PC/MOS was the superior product (and was used to build some database-driven systems that were still in use into the 2000's.

    VM/386 1.22 is available from some of the standard abandonware sites I see. I might give it a shot on real hardware.

    BTW – I've been a fan of your blog for a long time but haven't ever let you know. Keep it up.

  4. I'm glad you like the blog, trnsz! I've been out of town on vacation, I'm hoping my 2.0 arrived…

    These kinds of multi user/MS-DOS clones seem kind of interesting to me, as they fill what I could have seen as a very profitable and viable industry for Microsoft, but for some reason they never did chase…. For instance with Windows/386 how hard would it have been to use the same infrastructure but make it multi user?

    I guess it was simply the weird stage between Xenix and NT… I know there was some MS-DOS emulation product for Xenix on the 386, although the cost would be massively prohibitive.

    Much like QNX with it's DOS-emulator, RUNDOS that we ran in Ontario… Someone is selling rundos for over $600 USD so yeah, it's insane.

  5. Hello. What a blast from the past. I am extremely familiar with IGC VM/386. In fact I know the creator of the product who was living close to me here in the Chicago-land area. This was originally AIS International back in the mid 80's! This was a great product and it led me to create my 2 companies Vizioncore and now Liquidware Labs. Very interesting to see someone talking about this technology which was way ahead of it's time. Actually, you might want to look up MTerm (was a replacement for VM/386) or MultiNode (a windows version kind of like Virtual Computer). The IGC technology was sold to a French company I believe. Good luck on whatever you're trying to do… and for current technology look at VMware View and Citrix XenDesktop (these technologies CAN be excellent if you design them properly or else it's a waste today and you may be better off with 'Windows Terminal Services') or contact David Bieneman @ Liquidware Labs and I'd be happy to point you in a direction that may help you. Designed properly, VDI is excellent and can be less costly and perform better than most people realize! Best, David Bieneman

  6. VM/386 was created in the late 1980’s by Intelligent Graphics Corp (IGC), based in California. The original VM/386 had very advanced technology for it’s day, but that worked against it in the DOS multitasker market. It had too much overhead compared to other products that didn’t create truly independent virtual machines (e.g. Desqview). Later versions of VM/386 added multi-user support, using traditional serial terminals and/or special video hardware (multiple VGA chips on one ISA/PCI board, with the OS enabling the right chip as it switched tasks). VM/386 multi-user saw some success in niche markets, such as point of sale systems, but the company wasn’t doing well. AIS International bought IGC in the early 1990’s. Product development continued for several more years with a new team (none of the original IGC developers wanted to relocate to Chicago). The last version (5 point something) was released in 2000.

  7. Yes – yes that sounds even more correct. And after some time the product was able to multiuser Win NT 3.51 and then TSE 4 (terminal server 4). Then when Metaframe came out the company sold off to a French firm (if I remember that part correctly). Still was really neat stuff for me. David

    • One day I hope to score a copy of Citrix multiuser OS/2 … Although I suspect at this day & age it would be easier to hack up something myself to give me that multiuser MS-DOS feel

  8. You looking for Citrix Multiuser, the CLI-only? Or Citrix WinView, which did OS/2, DOS, and Windows (Win-OS/2)? Pretty sure I have WinView, but my Citrix MultiUser is still shrink-wrapped, so I’m not opening that! I also have one of the last versions of PC-MOS/386 as well

  9. I know it’s been two years, but… OldTimer, do you have a copy of WinView? If so, can I contact you with regards to it?

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