Virtual PC and Command & Conquer

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From time to time someone will contact me and complain about the fact that Command & Conquer does not run under Virtual PC.  The reason for this is that Command & Conquer uses a CPU call that almost no one ever uses (There are only two other programs that I know of that hit this - Descent and Menuet) - and support for it has never been implemented in Virtual PC.  Running Command & Conquer under Virtual PC results in an 'Internal Virtual Machine Error (3)':

IVME(3) Under Virtual PC

This is of particular concern to me - as Command & Conquer rates fairly high in my list of 'all time favorite games' - up there with DOOM and Civilization.

Now - before you get to enraged at this obvious deficiency in Virtual PC - let me tell you that it is actually possible to run Command & Conquer under Virtual PC.  The trick is that you need to run it in a DOS session under Windows 95 / 98.  It turns out that Windows 95 / 98 does not directly execute the problematic CPU call inside of DOS sessions - so as you can see - Command & Conquer runs just fine:

Command & Conquer running under Virtual PC    Command & Conquer running under Virtual PC    Command & Conquer running under Virtual PC

An interesting point to note is that the version of EMM387.EXE that shipped with Caldera's DR Dos 7.0x also handles this CPU call for us - so an alternate solution is to run it under DR DOS (one of my favorite DOS's)

Well - that's my post for today - I hope you all appreciate it as it cost me at least 4 hours of playing Command & Conquer (there is nothing like the classics)


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  • And what would that instruction be? Why is it left unimplemented?
  • So will this fix be implemented in VPC SP2? I think this internal error raised for some good DOS games.. Dark Legions, Warcraft (not quite sure about the broken games since I have not used VPC 2004 for some time since it cannot run the games of my choice).
  • Ben, I'm wondering what kind of unsupported CPU call you are talking about. Do you mean CPU instruction or BIOS call? (I guess the latter) Can you tell what exactly it is or where one can read about that? It is nice to know about particular unsupported things in case one encounters some "strange" problems.
  • Which particular instruction would that be?
  • Hi All,

    The reason why I did not mention which CPU instruction it is - is because I can't remember it off the top of my head - and I am on the road this week - so I do not have access to the tools necessary to check it. I will check this out next week and post back here.

  • Hi William,

    I do not know when this will get fixed - however I do know that this is not the cause of the problem with Warcraft problem (Warcraft uses self modifying code which causes us problems).

  • Ben, I'm enjoying your blog and this is your best entry yet. It has also cost me several hours late into the evening. So you are not "suffering" alone ;-)
  • Hi All,

    Well - I am back home and I looked up the details on this bug. The problem is that this programs causes a page fault that has a task gate instead of an interrupt gate. This is allowed by the IA32 architecture, but we have never implemented it in VPC.


  • I have something fouded what everyone of your people can use ,,The C&c editor,, I don't realy no where i hadt it from but you have the search for a while for it it is a editor where you can change things about, Buildings units and infantry and more its a real good editor its a wish that searches everyone for the game
    i hope that i can find self the axactly files what i didt used it are good files what realy works ,,not fake files, Only the game wil get iritated if you played for a while without the changes from the editor remember if you don't want to use this following file it don't have to then.!

    What someones of you people seths is not signed by my computer i think you need the newer version about the C&c classic game newer versions do work better then the older ones
    because there is changed lot of things you don't have to start it with DOS anymore you click simple on the icon of the game on your desktop that,s al, and you can play game without no problems..

    About the IA32.?
    The IA32 is sort of a virus that you have to delete imidiatly if you are to late of you thinking that it will damage you game you have to instal the game up a new time sorry this is the only option to comeoff of the problem.!

    DOS games are not populair anymore in sometimes it wil apear in shops and up sites
    i think we can play the C&c classic game for a lot while

  • i tried playing it didnt work cam up with error it works on dos but in a small box and ideas? or how to make it bigger?

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Virtual PC and Command & Conquer