BeOS v5 under Virtual PC 2004

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When I first started working at Connectix, one of my favorite past times was to tease the CTO, Eric Traut, about the fact that BeOS did not work under Virtual PC.  Eric is a bit of a perfectionist, and liked BeOS, so it bothered him that it did not work.  From time to time he would take a shot at trying to get BeOS to work - and fail.  Eventually Eric declared that 'BeOS would never run stably under Virtual PC' because of assumptions that it made about the underlying hardware.

The problem was that BeOS would install okay but programs would randomly (and frequently) crash.

During the late development cycle of Microsoft Virtual PC 2004, I decided it was time to fire up my collection of 'odd' operating systems and confirm that we had not broken any of them.  Much to my surprise BeOS ran perfectly - no crashes, perfectly stable.  The weird thing is that no one is entirely sure why this is - we just know that it is the result of one of the core changes we made during the Microsoft security review of the product.

So here you are:

BeOS under Virtual PC   BeOS under Virtual PC   BeOS under Virtual PC

In order to install BeOS all you really need to know is to use the VESA driver instead of the S3 video driver - as the S3 driver is quite problematic (details on how to enable the VESA driver can be found here:

You can download the personal edition of BeOS v5 from here: but as noted on that webpage BeOS can't run on Athlon processors - and this holds true for inside of Virtual PC too.


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  • Great find. I've wanted to try BeOS for a while. Did you get BeOS Personal for Windows and install it on top of an existing Windows installation or is there a bootable self-contained package that I missed?
  • I have installed this on top of Windows - and by using BeOS Max - which provides a bootable CD to install off of.

  • There is a beta-BeOS clone called "zeta", developed in Germany which is heavily promoted through local German home shopping television to people who generally have problems even to find to on/off-switch of their PC.

    They call it "The alternative to Windows".

    Bad luck that our company is called "zeta software" and since these TV shows went on air, about half a year ago, we get calls and e-mail from frustated "users" complaining about "that zeta" thing. No one understands that we have nothing in common with this BeOS clone.

    Really really annoying. The most crazy thing happened that 2 guys ordered or CMS "zeta producer" from our only shop and complained one week later that this was "no OS". WTF...
  • I have successfully run BeOS Max on an Opteron in Virtual Server 2005, so I don't see why it wouldn’t run on an Athlon. Isn't an Opteron really just a 64bit Athlon? Admittedly I don't have an Athlon to try it on...
  • Hi Patrick,

    BeOS Max will run on Athlon processors - BeOS v5 will not. I would have provided a link to BeOS Max as well - however they seem to be remodelling their site.

  • What about the original BeOS Ben? Seems nobody is capable running it on VPC? I tried several times but it just did not work.
  • What do you mean by 'the original BeOS'?

  • You should be able to make it run under an Athlon with this:
  • I tried this on a ME VM, it won't boot on my ADM Athlon II but DOES boot on my Inteal Core i3, strang but true.

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BeOS v5 under Virtual PC 2004