an alternate EASY way to run XCOM Apoc on WinXP SP2


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#1 mackal

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 02:51 PM

I am just writing for posterity of a new way I found to run XCOM Apocalypse, which seems terribly easy and is the most robust solution I have found to date.  On my new box (E6600 dual-core 2.4GHz machine) I could not get any of the other ways to work reliably.  DosBox 7.0 worked most of the time, but significant sound stuttering, and hangs whenever a dialog box popped up (e.g., when you click on your base in the CityScape screen, which then shows a dialog box of the agents within the building).  I could not get VDMSound approach to work on this machine, despite this being my preferred way to get XCOM Apoc to run on the previous machine.  Just setting compatibility settings in WinXP didn't do much, always resulted in a black screen of nothingness.  With Virtual PC 2007 the whole process was absolutely painless, Apoc runs beautifully, zero sound stuttering.

INGREDIENTS:

* (free!) MS Virtual PC 2007; you can download this for free from Microsoft websites:
   http://www.microsoft...pc/default.mspx
* Windows 95/98 install media (I used Win98 SE)
* XCOM Apoc (I used originals initially, but I ripped the CD with Alcohol 120% and the ISO works equally well!)


STEPS:

These are fairly obvious:
* start install of MS Virtual PC 2007
* create a new virtual PC instance (IMPORTANT: select a Win98 virtual machine!!!)
* during the install/first run of it create a new virtual hard drive
* plop Win 95/98 CD into drive
* from virt PC menu tell it to use your real/physical CD drive as the CD drive for the virt PC
* reboot virt PC
* start a Win98 install now; have the installation format that virtual HD you created, and then install the system to it
* follow the usual Windows95/98 install procedure
* once that is done, plop your XCOM CD into CD bay, run install as usual, etc.
* possibly run the setup for XCOM to setup the sound
* then just run the game
* you can rip the XCOM CD to an ISO (I used Alcohol 120%) and have virt PC use the ISO directly; this avoids delays in reading the CD, saves your drive, and in my case no CD spin up noise/vibrations...


COSTS:

* HDD: very little; although the virtual HD by default can expand to 16 Gigs (this is settable during virt HD creation), it takes little space at the moment, just the space for Win98 + XCOM APOC; virt PC itself seemed pretty tiny
* time: 1 hour or so, the bulk of course taken by the OS install process, which runs basically at realtime, at least on my machine

NOTES:

* IMPORTANT: check the following page for 3 pointers to prevent problems with running XCOM Apoc:
  http://blogs.msdn.co.../15/257408.aspx
  This was the site that actually clued me in onto the MS Virt PC approach...

Good luck!

#2 Pete

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 03:21 PM

Sounds great, I'll be giving this a whirl shortly!
May your terror missions always be infested with Chrysalids.

#3 chocolatemouse

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 04:08 PM

It sound great  but for a  technological dinosaurian as me it sound scary, i am afraid  to make explode my pc, i will wait to see reports  about thoses who tried. There is long time that i dream to test apoc but even with dos box  result was for me too messy.
Thanks nose kisss

#4 mackal

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 04:25 PM

View Postchocolatemouse, on 14th May 2007, 12:08pm, said:

It sound great  but for a  technological dinosaurian as me it sound scary, i am afraid  to make explode my pc, i will wait to see reports  about thoses who tried. There is long time that i dream to test apoc but even with dos box  result was for me too messy.
Thanks nose kisss

Makes total sense if you feel less than comfortable mucking about with your PC more than you need to.  I will just add, as an additional incentive for you, should you ever decide to try out this approach, that the MS Virtual PC 2007 interface is surprisingly simple, especially for a virtual machine app.  It is a Microsoft product, after all (well, an MS bought-out-then-repackaged product).  Installing Windows 98 (on the virtual HDD, which is just a single, simple file on your real hard-disk) is by far the most "technologically sophisticated" part of the whole process.  Since the whole virtual PC runs in a window by default, and writes only to a handful of files (one representing the virtual PC, one representing the virtual HD, and possible one or two others) there is really little room that I can see for any devastating consequences (aside from bug in MS Virtual PC itself)... it really feels and acts as if you were simply running your favourite spreadsheet or word processing program.

In any case, I don't have much time (I fired off the post for posterity, in case in the future I have to install XCOM on another machine and forget all the details), but if others find this works well for them, perhaps someone could throw together a more exact step-by-step walkthrough of the procedure, to help the more technologically-hesitant in the audience... (:

#5 Slaughter

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 05:53 PM

Excellent! I didn't even know MS had a free VM. You're sticky (:


#6 Pete

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 06:49 PM

The linked article has been around since 2004 - I can't believe none of us found it sooner! :o
May your terror missions always be infested with Chrysalids.

#7 mackal

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 07:41 PM

View PostPete, on 14th May 2007, 2:49pm, said:

The linked article has been around since 2004 - I can't believe none of us found it sooner! :o
Yes, I was quite shocked I've never heard or seen anything about this before either.  Mind you, it is quite possible that way back then MS Virtual PC was not free, hence few would even bother trying it out.  Also, it's possible XCOM Apoc under MS Virtual PC did not run smoothly on typical hardware/CPUs available in 2004 (the blogger might have had one powerful rig... he did/does work for Microsoft after all)...

BTW, another cool thing with a VM approach like this: when you're done playing for the day, you can just "save state" (File > Close > Save state) of the virtual machine; next time you fire up the VM, it will come up exactly as you left it (i.e., Windows 98 fully up, and XCOM Apoc already running).  Very handy!

#8 Pete

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 08:56 PM

Sounds good. Now all I have to do is dig out my old Win98 CD (:
May your terror missions always be infested with Chrysalids.

#9 UfoMan

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 12:45 AM

Cool.

It looks like my post actually inspired somebody else to post another solution.

http://www.strategyc...?showtopic=6357

--

It has always bugged me that there was never an X3 solution that actually worked, when it came time to run X-Com Apoc on XP SP2 or Windows XP in general.

Hints, but never any written solution.  Now, two in the same day.

--

I haven't tried this Virtual Machine solution, as I finally got a DoSBox 0.70 solution that worked for me and that I can live with, as I have all of my other purchased DOS games running under DoSBox 0.70 and can live with it.

--

But, this Virtual Solution looks like a better solution if you can actually run some of these things without all the stutter or annoying sound glitches.

--

I just never thought that Microsoft would ever put out their own 'DosBox' for XP, as they seemed pretty much determined to kill DOS and Win95 as quickly as they could kill them.

--

Yes, you need to be running DOS or Win 95 or Win 98 in order for the original X-Com Apoc CD to recognize the operating system and not die or quit to desktop.  The original CD won't recognize XP at all.  Iirc, you could also get WinME to recognize the XCom Apocalypse CD, but WinME was never any good.  It was Win98SE that was the jewel.  Dual booting into Win98SE worked in the past for me, to run X-Com Apocalypse, but you always had the thing running too fast and the music was always off.

And, I no longer have Win98SE on any of my dual booting machines any more.  XP install or converting to NTFS killed them.

Anyway, it's just nice to be able to actually run X-Com Apocalypse on XP.  That's where I need it to be running nowadays.

--

Unlike a lot of other people, if you remember me, you know that I actually liked X-Com Apocalypse a lot.  It was probably my most favorite of the bunch.  Apoc had like 7 different levels, flying armor, teleporters, and poppers.  I and my friend put in a big plug for teleporters long ago.

I still have that free rubber Popper toy on my shelf here right now looking at it.  Microprose sent that Popper toy out to all of us who pre-orded X-Com Apocalypse if I remember correctly.  Anyway, I'm one of those who has the collector's rubber Popper toy.  I just always liked X3 Apoc, and I have wanted for years to be able to run the game on XP.

Now it looks like we finally can!

--

Hopefully, these recent posts will inspire other solutions as well.

Downloading Virtual PC 2007 now.

#10 UfoMan

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 12:56 AM

After reading the fine print, there's no indication that Windows Virtual PC 2007 actually supports Windows XP Home 32-bit, which is what all of my XP machines here and at the office currently are.

So, if Virtual PC 2007 won't work with Windows XP Home 32-bit, then this solution won't work for me or my clients or my friends or my family.

I'll have to stick with the other solution that I found.

--

At least it allows me to download Virtual PC 2007, but I don't know if it will allow me to run it.

--

Hopefully, Mackal, Pete, and the others who try this method will report back if any of them get Virtual PC 2007 running on Windows Home Edition.

Microsoft made special effort to eliminate Windows Home Edition from their list of compatible OS's, when listing the compatabile OS's for Virtual PC 2007.

--

It is clear Windows XP Home is the OS that Microsoft intends to kill off next.

Microsoft announced that they intend to stop selling Windows XP a year from now.  You won't even be able to buy XP a year from now.  They are going to try to force us all over to Vista.  So, I have been upgrading everyone's machine to Windows XP Home recently, to get it in before it is too late.

At least this Virtual PC 2007 lists Vista as one of the OS that will support it, so you should be able to run Virtual PC 2007 on Vista.

Has anyone gotten X-Com Apocalypse running on Vista yet, using Virtual PC 2007?

I personally don't want to have anything to do with Vista until Vista Service Pack I has been released a year or two from now.  I'm staying away from Vista, and telling my clients and family and friends to stay away from it too, until Service Pack I for Vista comes out.  Hopefully, SP1 for Vista will be out before Microsoft stops making and selling Windows XP, a year from now.

--

I don't have time to try Virtual PC 2007 today.  I have wife hovering and people wanting attention right now and got to go eat.

But, this has all been pretty cool the past couple of days -- getting Apoc onto XP!

I never thought that I would ever be back here on these Strategy Core forums either, certainly not with X-Com Apocalypse as my focus.

Good stuff all around, though.

See ya!

#11 mackal

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 04:40 AM

View PostUfoMan, on 14th May 2007, 8:45pm, said:

But, this Virtual Solution looks like a better solution if you can actually run some of these things without all the stutter or annoying sound glitches.

That seems to be the effect for me, but others will have to check whether this still holds on other machines and other OSes (say, Win95, rather than the Win98SE I'm using...).

Quote

I just never thought that Microsoft would ever put out their own 'DosBox' for XP, as they seemed pretty much determined to kill DOS and Win95 as quickly as they could kill them.

Well, technically this is not quite a DosBox equivalent... the MS product is a generic VM, capable of running any guest operating system, whereas DosBox (i.e., dosbox.sf.net) is a DOS-specific VM-like on-the-fly interpreter... I am actually surprised that the generic MS VM is doing better than DosBox... but I guess that has to do with MS having greater access to the murky little secrets and undocumented issues of their OSes...

Quote

Hopefully, these recent posts will inspire other solutions as well.

Downloading Virtual PC 2007 now.

Definitely the more solutions out there, the more likely one is to get XCOM running on even newer systems.

Good luck if you try the Virtual PC route, although at this point I would not bother and just enjoy the heck out of the game since you got it up and running... (:

#12 mackal

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 04:56 AM

View PostUfoMan, on 14th May 2007, 8:56pm, said:

After reading the fine print, there's no indication that Windows Virtual PC 2007 actually supports Windows XP Home 32-bit, which is what all of my XP machines here and at the office currently are.

So, if Virtual PC 2007 won't work with Windows XP Home 32-bit, then this solution won't work for me or my clients or my friends or my family.

Hopefully, Mackal, Pete, and the others who try this method will report back if any of them get Virtual PC 2007 running on Windows Home Edition.
Hmm... I don't have access to Home Edition... is it really hobbled that much, compared to the other versions?  This VM stuff is technically fairly simply thing, I don't think it really uses any frills of the more feature-packed versions of the OS...

Quote

At least this Virtual PC 2007 lists Vista as one of the OS that will support it, so you should be able to run Virtual PC 2007 on Vista.
Yes, that's a huge plus... I was afraid XCOM APOC's days were numbered when I noticed that development on VDMSound has stopped, but with this, APOC should be playable for many years yet.

Quote

I personally don't want to have anything to do with Vista until Vista Service Pack I has been released a year or two from now.  I'm staying away from Vista, and telling my clients and family and friends to stay away from it too, until Service Pack I for Vista comes out.  Hopefully, SP1 for Vista will be out before Microsoft stops making and selling Windows XP, a year from now.
I hear ya.  The golden rule for me is:
  "If it ain't broken, don't fix it."

I'll be upgrading to Vista when MS forces me to, at gunpoint.  Well, maybe not gunpoint... more likely I'll succumb to it once some must-play game is released which ONLY runs under Vista, for no particular reason (other than blackmail)  (:

#13 UfoMan

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 05:54 AM

Quote

Good luck if you try the Virtual PC route, although at this point I would not bother and just enjoy the heck out of the game since you got it up and running...

--

Yes, I hear ya too.

I spent days trying to get DOSBox 0.70 to run X-Com Apocalypse after getting DoSBox to easily run the other DOS games that I had purchased 15 or 20 years ago.

I'm just more eager to go in and play it now and re-experience it again.

But, there are clients I have who are still using some of the old DOS and NETWARE software that I wrote 15 years ago, and that Virtual PC 2007 might be handy for them to run some of those old programs and do so cheaply -- if it will actually run on Windows XP Home Edition.  Up to now, they have been dual booting or triple booting into Win98SE or DOS on their XP machines using System Commander.  But, System Commander is expensive, and hasn't always been perfectly reliable either.  In fact, Windows XP is extremely predatory and often seems to reach right through the System Commander barriers and hidden files and picks off your other operating systems that are out there.  So, if using System Commander, it's best to install DOS first in the first 512 MB of hard drive as that's the only place DOS will run, and then XP, and then the other operating systems.  I had XP reach out and wipe out all of my Win98 partitions and claim it as its own, yet it left the DOS, while under System Commander.  I don't know if any of that is interesting to anybody or not.  But, I do know that Microsoft designed XP to actually be predatory and kill some of its older OS's whenever XP gets the chance to do so, so it's kind of amazing that they are finally making and releasing a free Virtual PC program.

If I can get some of the legacy DOS stuff running in Virtual PC 2007 on my client's XP machines, then that would answer a need and save some money in the long run, instead of dual booting.  So, this Virtual PC program is welcome news, not just for the X-Com Apocalypse, but for other things as well!

Anyway, it's definitely something that I must look into, now that I know that it exists.  I do remember hearing about the Virtual PC long ago, but they were charging for it if memory serves, and it was more expensive than System Commander, and not as polished or refined, so we went with the System Commander at the time, and did the dual boot thing.

But, if this Virtual PC 2007 runs on Vista, and if I and others can get it to run on XP Home Edition, then it is definitely the find of the year, that's for sure!

If any of you get Virtual PC 2007 running under Windows XP Home Edition, be sure to report back here and let us know.  And, I'll try to remember to do the same, although it might be awhile before I get to it, as I find myself rather far behind in my work recently, for some reason or another.  (:

#14 Pete

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 06:35 AM

Virtual Machine does work on XP home. Can't remember whether there was a 32-biyt and 64-bit download, or just one that works on both.

What I found amusing was that it told me that it couldn't run on my PC when I installed Virtual Machine, and then when I got it installed it actually ran fine.

Still hunting for my Win98 CD (:
May your terror missions always be infested with Chrysalids.

#15 Aralez

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 01:38 PM

That's interesting news, after installing SP2 for XP i never was able to run CHAOS GATE which is a Win95 game, hopefully this works now. Gonna install VM and will test it! Many thanks for posting this, mackal!  (:

#16 mackal

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 01:50 PM

View PostPete, on 15th May 2007, 2:35am, said:

What I found amusing was that it told me that it couldn't run on my PC when I installed Virtual Machine, and then when I got it installed it actually ran fine.
I bet that just means it's "not supported"... which often translates to "it works in most cases, but you are on your own regardless".

Quote

Still hunting for my Win98 CD (:
Heh heh, didn't think it was going to be useful again?  I had to dig too a bit.  Luckily I have a few machines which are too old and underpowered to run anything else, so the CD wasn't very deeply hidden...  If this VM runs many other older games this well too, and more gamers find out about it, I forsee MS starting to sell Win98 again... (:

#17 mackal

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 01:56 PM

View PostAralez, on 15th May 2007, 9:38am, said:

That's interesting news, after installing SP2 for XP i never was able to run CHAOS GATE which is a Win95 game, hopefully this works now. Gonna install VM and will test it! Many thanks for posting this, mackal!  (:
Yeah, can't wait to try out some other old games on this VM.  Mind you, one possible downside of the VM, with respect to DosBox, is that I don't think you can set the rate of emulation in the VM.  So all those older games which assumed you had a machine which had a CPU clockspeed of exactly x MHz will run too fast.  I guess it's time to load up MoSlo and the other slow-down tools, but I found they never worked as well as setting the emulation cycles in DosBox...  Ah well, I guess I'll simply use DosBox for those games...  Can't wait to try XCOM 1 on it...

Hey, CHAOS GATE looks pretty nice!  I've never heard of the game but just looked at some screens.  Very nice!  What's it play like?  It looks XCOM-ish...

#18 Aralez

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 02:12 PM

Yep, Think Xcom in the Warhammer 40000 universe and you know what you are missing  (: It ran in XP with SP1, but once i installed SP2 it ceased to work. Which was terrible as i still have a savegame to finish! I already had finished ~60% of the campaign (which is very hard), luckily i made a backup!!!

I will try Win 95in VM first, though, Apocalypse ran (back then) very good in it and Chaos Gate was develoed for it, too (iirc)

*off to test*

thanks again!

#19 Knan

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 09:49 PM

Connectix Virtual PC cost quite a bit of money until july 2006. It's been around since 1997 on the Mac, 2001 for Windows, and Microsoft bought it in 2003 when VMWare started gathering steam.

The Mac version was mysteriously discontinued after Microsoft bought the product. Just a coincidence, I'm sure...

#20 Aralez

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 11:26 PM

Sadly it didn't work for me, i do have XP Home and my CD/DVD drive wasn't recognized  (:
Well, gonna try the DosBox tutorial UfoMan posted.  (:




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