Loading DOS Sound Card drivers under Virtual PC

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Every now and then someone will contact me asking how they can get the Sound Blaster drivers loaded under Virtual PC.  The first thing that I point out is that you probably do not need to have the drivers installed anyway.  DOS did not really have a strong 'driver' model as such - and most DOS programs just talk directly to the sound card.

In fact - all you usually need is to have the following line in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file:

SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 P330 T6

If you do actually need to have the sound blaster drivers loaded - there are two things that you need to know:

1) 'DIAGNOSE' fails to work on Virtual PC's emulated sound blaster.  This is because this program attempts to use undocumented calls on the sound blaster card that we have not implemented in our emulation.  Having said this - 'DIAGNOSE' is not actually a necessary driver - but is just used to detect and create the SET BLASTER line mentioned above.

2) In order to get CTSB16.SYS to load you will need to use the following line in your CONFIG.SYS file:


For some reason it will not load if the '/WIN95' is not present.

Apart from this - everything should just work.


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  • Ben,
    I am running Virtual PC on a Dell Inspiron (Wide Screen) but the max resolution I get is 1600x1200. Is it possible to get the max resolution 1920x1200 under Virtual PC?
  • Ben,

    Thanks for the SB16 info!

    Could you post your full CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files? I want to see how you are optimizing all of the DOS drivers, especially for Windows For Workgroups 3.11.
  • Can anyone tell me of any games that actually require this driver? I got it to work fine, but it takes a lot of memory. I'll REM it out for now, but I'm curious if it is indeed needed for any specific games.

  • I'm going to try and see if loading the sound driver will get Ultima VII to play because as soon as the Guardian goes to speak in the intro it dies.
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Loading DOS Sound Card drivers under Virtual PC