Difference between revisions of "Installing ReactOS"

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{{Warning|Please bear in mind that ReactOS is still in alpha stage, meaning it is not feature-complete and is not recommended for everyday use.}}
+
{{Warning|Please bear in mind that ReactOS is still in '''alpha stage''', meaning it is not stable or feature-complete and is not recommended for everyday use. Operating system bugs can and do result in corrupted file systems, overwritten partitions, and more. Do not install ReactOS on any computer containing important data without '''using a virtual machine''' or '''making full backups first'''.}}
  
== System requirements ==
+
= Before installing =
The minimum requirements to install ReactOS are:
+
There are several things to be made aware of before installing ReactOS, or even obtaining the installation media. These include how ReactOS will be installed, limitations of the installation, and backing up existing data.
  
* 32 MB of RAM (Debug builds may require 48MB of RAM)
+
== Limitations ==
* IDE hard disk drive
+
ReactOS is '''[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_release_life_cycle#Alpha alpha]''' level (or alpha phase) software. It is not yet [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feature_complete feature complete]. <br>
* FAT16/FAT32 primary boot partition
+
Some major bugs remain to be corrected.  For the details see [[Known Issues]].
* VGA compatible video card (VESA BIOS version 2.0 or later)
+
Bear in mind that this is not a complete list of known issues. See also [[Missing ReactOS Functionality]].<br>
* PS/2 keyboard
 
* PS/2 compatible mouse or Microsoft Mouse compatible serial mouse
 
  
=== Hardware support ===
 
ReactOS has limited hardware support. Lists of hardware that have been tested can be found at the following:
 
  
* [[Supported_Hardware/IO|I/O controllers]]
+
The ReactOS itself, setup utility, and [[FreeLoader|boot loader]] have a number of limitations. The most prominent are:
* [[Supported_Hardware/Video_cards|Video cards]]
 
* [[Supported_Hardware/Sound_cards|Audio cards]]
 
* [[Supported_Hardware/Network_cards|Network cards]]
 
  
Note that booting from CD-ROM is supported only for running the setup program unless using the LiveCD option, which is exclusively meant to be booted from the CD-ROM. Although it is generally possible, the default configuration will prevent ReactOS from creating a swap file when booted from a CD-ROM. If no swap file is available, ReactOS will stop as soon as it runs out of RAM. In practice, this prevents the use of any non-trivial program.
+
* ReactOS is '''not''' able to boot from '''USB''' devices yet. Except [[#USB-RAM boot|RAM Boot]] method.
 +
* the setup utility does not prevent users from performing dangerous and potentially destructive operations.
 +
* UEFI system firmware is not supported by ReactOS yet, you have to use legacy BIOS mode.
 +
* some SATA controllers may not work with ReactOS.
 +
* the boot partition is highly recommended to be the first partition on the first (or even better - single) disk in the system.
 +
* the setup utility can check the integrity of ONLY FAT16 and FAT32 file systems.
 +
* HD Audio or use of multiple audio cards at the same time are not yet supported. ReactOS versions and builds prior to 0.4.12 will not boot after setup.
  
== Before installing ==
+
= System requirements =
There are several things to be made aware of before installing ReactOS, or even obtaining the installation media. These include how ReactOS will be installed, limitations of the installation, and backing up existing data.
 
  
=== Installation strategy ===
+
== Hardware support ==
The first consideration to make is whether to install ReactOS on a dedicated testing machine or in a contained environment, such as running on an emulator without direct disk access. The use of an emulator is preferable if the machine on which you will run ReactOS is your primary computer or if you have important data on the computer which you cannot afford to lose.
+
ReactOS has '''limited''' hardware support. Lists of particular hardware that have been tested can be found on the page '''[[Supported Hardware]]'''.
  
If you decide to install ReactOS on a disk drive that contains an existing operating system (such as Microsoft Windows XP), you should ensure that the drive is formatted with a file system ReactOS can access and write to and that there is sufficient free space on the drive such that ReactOS can be installed, which can be somewhere around 250 MB. Furthermore, the current hardware limitations to which ReactOS is constrained must be identified and compared to the target computer system (e.g., the limitation that only several SATA disk drives may be accessed, and that ReactOS has ''extremely'' limited [[USB_Stack|USB]] support as of the 0.3.10 release).
+
== Minimum hardware requirements ==
 
+
The minimum requirements to install ReactOS are:
Once the available hardware and software situation is determined the installation media can be selected. For example, if your computer includes an ATA CD-ROM and an IDE hard disk that does not contain irreplaceable data, a good installation option may be to write an ISO image of the ReactOS installation media to a CD-RW and proceed to install ReactOS on the IDE hard disk via the CD-ROM.
 
  
=== Limitations ===
+
* '''RAM:''' at least 64&nbsp;MB, recommended 256&nbsp;MB, and even 2048&nbsp;MB if you want to test  large software suites or bundles.
The ReactOS setup utility and [[FreeLoader|boot loader]] have a number of limitations. The most prominent are:
+
* '''Processor:''' x86 or x64 architecture, Pentium or later and compatibles; for more information see [[ReactOS ports]].
 +
* '''HDD:''' IDE/SATA with minimum 450&nbsp;MB of free space on the primary partition (please note that some SATA controllers may not work with ReactOS):
 +
** FAT16/FAT32 primary boot partition.
 +
* '''Video:''' VGA compatible video card (VESA BIOS version 2.0 or later).
  
* ReactOS can only be booted from IDE CD-ROMs and hard disks.
+
= Getting ReactOS =
* The boot partition must be the first FAT16 or FAT32 partition on the disk.
 
* The setup utility cannot check the integrity of file systems.
 
* The setup utility does not prevent users from performing dangerous and potentially destructive operations.
 
 
 
== Getting ReactOS ==
 
 
Due to the current state of the project, the ReactOS Foundation does not offer official installation media for distribution. Installation CD-ROMs must be created by the user by writing an available image file to a CD-ROM.
 
Due to the current state of the project, the ReactOS Foundation does not offer official installation media for distribution. Installation CD-ROMs must be created by the user by writing an available image file to a CD-ROM.
  
=== Downloading the image file ===
+
== Downloading the image file ==
 
Official ISO image files can be downloaded at one of the following locations:
 
Official ISO image files can be downloaded at one of the following locations:
 +
* The official [https://reactos.org/download Download] page.
 +
* ReactOS [https://reactos.org/getbuilds daily builds]
 +
* ReactOS at [https://sourceforge.net/projects/reactos/files/ReactOS SourceForge] (ReactOS-{{ReactOS-Curr-Version}}-REL-iso.zip)
  
* The official [http://www.reactos.org/en/download.html Download] page. (Installation CD)
+
WARNING: Some anti-malware programs will detect false positives in ReactOS files.
* ReactOS at [http://sourceforge.net/projects/reactos/files/ SourceForge] (ReactOS-{{ReactOS-Curr-Version}}-REL-iso.zip)
 
  
=== Creating the Installation CD ===
+
== Creating the Installation CD ==
 
The downloaded file is a compressed archive in ZIP format, containing a single file named "ReactOS.iso". The ISO image contains everything needed to create the CD.
 
The downloaded file is a compressed archive in ZIP format, containing a single file named "ReactOS.iso". The ISO image contains everything needed to create the CD.
 
 
* Extract the image file from the archive into a temporary directory.
 
* Extract the image file from the archive into a temporary directory.
 
* Burn the ISO image to a CD-R or CD-RW using any software of your choice.
 
* Burn the ISO image to a CD-R or CD-RW using any software of your choice.
Line 56: Line 52:
 
When burning the ISO to disc, be sure it is written as an image file. Writing to the disc as another type of data will not work and render the Installation CD unbootable. Look for an option similar to "Burn from ISO" or "Write disk image".
 
When burning the ISO to disc, be sure it is written as an image file. Writing to the disc as another type of data will not work and render the Installation CD unbootable. Look for an option similar to "Burn from ISO" or "Write disk image".
  
== Installing ReactOS ==
+
= Installing ReactOS =
 +
Please consider '''making full backups''' of any sensitive data before you start any experiments with ReactOS in the production environment!
 +
 
 +
== Installation strategy ==
 +
The first consideration to make is whether to install ReactOS on a dedicated testing machine or in a contained environment, such as running on an emulator without direct disk access. The use of an emulator is preferable if the machine on which you will run ReactOS is your primary computer or if you have important data on the computer which you cannot afford to lose.
 +
 
 +
If you decide to install ReactOS on a disk drive that contains an existing operating system (such as Microsoft Windows XP), you should ensure that the drive is formatted with a file system ReactOS can access and write to (now, primary FAT32/FAT16 partition) and that there is sufficient free space on the drive such that ReactOS can be installed (now, >=450&nbsp;MB).
 +
Furthermore, the current hardware limitations to which ReactOS is constrained must be identified and compared to the target computer system (e.g. that ReactOS has only basic audio support as of [[0.4.12]] release).
 +
 
 +
Once the available hardware and software situation is determined the installation media can be selected. In most cases, USB-RAM boot should be enough (or CD-ROM boot for virtual machines). But sometimes it may either not work or be not available for the particular system. Then you can use other available options as well.
 +
 
 
ReactOS goes through three stages during setup. The first two stages deal with the installation of the system, while the third stage is the first usable boot by the user.
 
ReactOS goes through three stages during setup. The first two stages deal with the installation of the system, while the third stage is the first usable boot by the user.
 +
* First stage – Text mode setup, started when booting from a ReactOS CD-ROM.
 +
* Second stage – Booting to GUI installer. The input of user information and registering of files.
 +
* Third stage – Booting to desktop, user configurations.
  
* First stage - Text mode setup, started when booting from a ReactOS CD-ROM.
+
If you '''encounter problems''', it is recommended to disable all secondary or unnecessary devices, especially '''USB'''-cameras and '''sound cards''' of any type.
* Second stage - Booting to GUI installer. Input of user information and registering of files.
+
 
* Third stage - Booting to desktop, user configurations.
+
== Virtual Machines ==
 +
A Virtual Machine is a software program that provides a virtual hardware platform. Software instructions that would be run on hardware are now interpreted by the emulator software. This allows you to "run" a different kind of computer hardware and its software in a window on your computer.
 +
 
 +
See article [[Virtualization software]] for the details.
 +
 
 +
== Real hardware ==
 +
 
 +
'''Note''' For the real hardware experiments, we recommend you to use our "official" [https://amzn.to/2okGUuH Dell Latitude D531] laptop or similar [[PC ROS Rigs| notebook models]] in order to achieve the best possible experience.
 +
 
 +
=== Ordinary CD-ROM method ===
  
=== Real hardware ===
 
 
* Make sure your BIOS is configured to boot from the CD-ROM first.
 
* Make sure your BIOS is configured to boot from the CD-ROM first.
 +
* If your PC has UEFI system firmware, then you have to enable legacy BIOS mode.
 
* Insert the ReactOS setup CD-ROM into a CD-ROM drive and reboot your computer. On the next boot, the ReactOS setup utility will start.
 
* Insert the ReactOS setup CD-ROM into a CD-ROM drive and reboot your computer. On the next boot, the ReactOS setup utility will start.
 
* Follow the instructions on the screen to install ReactOS on your computer.
 
* Follow the instructions on the screen to install ReactOS on your computer.
 
* After the installation has finished, remove the setup CD-ROM from the CD-ROM drive and press ''Enter'' to reboot your computer. You can now start ReactOS by selecting it from the boot menu.
 
* After the installation has finished, remove the setup CD-ROM from the CD-ROM drive and press ''Enter'' to reboot your computer. You can now start ReactOS by selecting it from the boot menu.
  
=== Emulation software ===
+
=== USB Installation ===
An emulator is a software program that provides a virtual hardware platform. Software instructions that would be run on hardware are now interpreted by the emulator software. This allows you to "run" a different kind of computer hardware and its software in a window on your computer.
+
 
 +
Due to problems with the PnP manager, it is '''NOT''' currently possible to boot or install ReactOS from a '''USB''' stick made directly from *.iso file. You will get BSOD with <code>0x0000007B</code> code. This worked previously but was broken several years ago by a rewrite of the USB code and major changes in the kernel. For USB boot you have to use [[#USB-RAM boot|RAM Boot]] method instead.
 +
 
 +
You can try applying a patch from [https://github.com/reactos/reactos/pull/1569 PR #1569] and building from source, or try these unofficial experimental builds '''http://vgal.ru.com/reactos-0-4-10-new-usb/''' (not recommended, they are very outdated).
 +
 
 +
=== USB-RAM boot ===
 +
For this method, you should prepare a flash drive first. It should have a FAT32 filesystem and the [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiboot_specification Multiboot specification]-capable bootloader should be installed on it.
 +
For example, you can use [https://wiki.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php?title=Install syslinux]. Here is how to install it (for syslinux version 6.x):
 +
 
 +
==== On Linux ====
 +
 
 +
Plug in the flash drive and leave it unmounted.
 +
Then run these commands:
 +
<pre>
 +
sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdb1
 +
sudo syslinux --install /dev/sdb1
 +
</pre>
 +
Note: here, <code>/dev/sdb1</code> is a partition on a flash drive
 +
 
 +
==== On Windows ====
 +
 
 +
Use [https://rufus.ie/ Rufus] tool:
 +
 
 +
* Select your flash drive
 +
* Click "Show advanced drive properties"
 +
* Boot selection: <code>Syslinux 6.x</code>
 +
* Partition scheme: <code>MBR</code>, File system: <code>FAT32</code>
 +
* Format the drive using selected options above
 +
 
 +
==== Next common steps for both platforms ====
 +
 
 +
At this point, you should have a bootloader installed onto the drive. '''Now it's time to copy some files onto it'''.
 +
 
 +
([https://svn.reactos.org/packages/usbramboot.zip Download] all the required files, except iso images, in a zip-archive. It uses freeldr.sys from the [https://git.reactos.org/?p=reactos.git;a=commit;h=fb4591c48c568d138d9d7aeaa90db4bd5885c6aa fb4591c] commit)
 +
 
 +
* Now you need to copy <code>mboot.c32</code> and <code>libcom32.c32</code> syslinux libraries to the root
 +
* Then copy a freeldr.sys bootloader from ReactOS [[0.4.13]] or higher
 +
* Now you need to write some configuration files. First, <code>syslinux.cfg</code>:
 +
 
 +
<pre>
 +
DEFAULT ReactOS
 +
LABEL ReactOS
 +
  KERNEL mboot.c32
 +
  APPEND /freeldr.sys
 +
</pre>
 +
* Then <code>freeldr.ini</code>:
 +
<pre>
 +
[FREELOADER]
 +
DefaultOS=BootCD_Debug
 +
TimeOut=5
 +
 
 +
[Display]
 +
TitleText=ReactOS LiveUSB
 +
StatusBarColor=Cyan
 +
StatusBarTextColor=Black
 +
BackdropTextColor=White
 +
BackdropColor=Blue
 +
BackdropFillStyle=Medium
 +
TitleBoxTextColor=White
 +
TitleBoxColor=Red
 +
MessageBoxTextColor=White
 +
MessageBoxColor=Blue
 +
MenuTextColor=Gray
 +
MenuColor=Black
 +
TextColor=Gray
 +
SelectedTextColor=Black
 +
SelectedColor=Gray
 +
ShowTime=No
 +
MenuBox=No
 +
CenterMenu=No
 +
MinimalUI=Yes
 +
TimeText=Seconds until highlighted choice will be started automatically:
 +
 
 +
[Operating Systems]
 +
LiveCD="LiveCD"
 +
LiveCD_Debug="LiveCD (Debug)"
 +
LiveCD_Screen="LiveCD (Screen)"
 +
BootCD="BootCD"
 +
BootCD_Debug="BootCD (Debug)"
 +
BootCD_Screen="BootCD (Screen)"
 +
 
 +
[LiveCD]
 +
BootType=Windows2003
 +
SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\reactos
 +
Options=/MININT /RDPATH=livecd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD
 +
 
 +
[LiveCD_Debug]
 +
BootType=Windows2003
 +
SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\reactos
 +
Options=/DEBUG /DEBUGPORT=COM1 /BAUDRATE=115200 /SOS /MININT /RDPATH=livecd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD
 +
 
 +
[LiveCD_Screen]
 +
BootType=Windows2003
 +
SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\reactos
 +
Options=/DEBUG /DEBUGPORT=SCREEN /SOS /MININT /RDPATH=livecd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD
 +
 
 +
[BootCD]
 +
BootType=ReactOSSetup
 +
SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\
 +
Options=/MININT /RDPATH=bootcd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD
  
For information on installing ReactOS on emulation software, see [http://www.reactos.org?page=newbies_install here].
+
[BootCD_Debug]
*NOTE If you are running VirtualBox, and the keyboard is not functioning properly (random capitalization or simply not working), turn off USB support for the VB. (This means USB keyboards might not work at all.)
+
BootType=ReactOSSetup
 +
SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\
 +
Options=/DEBUG /DEBUGPORT=COM1 /BAUDRATE=115200 /SOS /MININT /RDPATH=bootcd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD
  
== Boot options ==
+
[BootCD_Screen]
=== Kernel command line ===
+
BootType=ReactOSSetup
The [[kernel]] command line is a text string that is passed to ReactOS by the boot loader (usually [[FreeLoader]]). It consists of several switches, each of which has a special meaning to ReactOS. A switch is a forward slash (<code>/</code>) followed by a text string (the name of the switch), and optionally an equal sign (<code>=</code>) and a text string (the value). If the equal sign is present, then at least one value is required to follow.
+
SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\
 +
Options=/DEBUG /DEBUGPORT=SCREEN /SOS /MININT /RDPATH=bootcd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD
 +
</pre>
 +
'''Note:''' for detailed explanation, see [[Boot options]]
 +
* Now place <code>bootcd.iso</code> and/or <code>livecd.iso</code> in the root of the disk (or whatever path configured in <code>freeldr.ini</code>)
 +
* Ready to boot
  
The syntax, variables, and device strings used by FreeLoader conform to the [[Wikipedia:Advanced_RISC_Computing|ARC]] firmware and boot specification, similarly to the boot system used in all Windows NT implementations (such as the Windows NT boot loader on the x86 architecture, or the ARC console used to boot Windows NT 4.0 on the [[Wikipedia:Jazz_(computer)|MIPS]], Alpha AXP, and PowerPC architectures). Because of this, boot disks and other firmware- or BIOS-accessible devices are specified by each of the bus, disk, slice, and partition values associated with the device.
+
=== Using virtual machine ===
 +
* Create a virtual machine but without the hard disk
 +
* Create a virtual hard disk for VirtualBox which points to the real one
 +
** on Linux: <code>VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename "~/VirtualBox VMs/reactos/disk.vmdk" -rawdisk PathToHarddisk</code>
 +
** important: <code>PathToHarddisk</code> must be the whole disk, not a partition: /dev/sdb
 +
* Add <code>disk.vmdk</code> to virtual machine via Storage => Add Harddisk
 +
* Install ReactOS as usual
  
In FreeLoader the kernel command line is specified in an <code>Options</code> setting in <tt>freeldr.ini</tt>. The following text is an example of the contents of <tt>freeldr.ini</tt>, which boots ReactOS from the first partition of the first IDE drive of the computer system:
+
=== Network boot or installation via PXE ===
<code>
 
[ReactOS]
 
BootType=ReactOS
 
SystemPath=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\reactos
 
Options=/DEBUGPORT=SCREEN
 
</code>
 
As used in the above sample file, <code>DEBUGPORT</code> is a boot option. By adding the boot option <code>/DEBUGREPORT=SCREEN</code>, ReactOS will print debugging information to the screen.
 
  
=== Options ===
+
See article [[Building PXE-ready ReactOS]].
The following boot options may be used:
 
  
; <code>DEBUGPORT</code> : Specifying <code>DEBUGPORT</code> as a boot option will enable certain debugging features.
+
===Installing from internal drive===
* Format: <code>DEBUGPORT=[SCREEN|BOCHS|GDB|PICE|COM1|COM2|COM3|COM4|FILE|MDA]</code><br>Any one of the following values may set:
+
See article [[User:Minecraftchest1/installing/installing-from-harddrive]]
** <code>SCREEN</code>: Send debug output to the screen.
 
** <code>BOCHS</code>: Send debug output to bochs.
 
** <code>GDB</code>: Enable the GNU debugger (GDB) stub so remote debugging using GDB is possible.
 
** <code>PICE</code>: Enable the Private ICE driver so debugging using Private ICE is possible.
 
** <code>COM1</code>: Send debug output to COM1.
 
** <code>COM2</code>: Send debug output to COM2.
 
** <code>COM3</code>: Send debug output to COM3.
 
** <code>COM4</code>: Send debug output to COM4.
 
** <code>FILE</code>: Send debug output to a file %systemroot%/reactos/debug.log
 
** <code>MDA</code>: Send debug output to MDA ''(The old text graphic card from IBM)''.
 
  
; <code>BAUDRATE</code> : Specifies baudrate of the serial port to be <code>[baudrate]</code> bps. Used in conjunction with <code>COM1-4</code> or <code>GDB</code>.
+
= Installing drivers =
* Format: <code>BAUDRATE=[baudrate]</code>
+
You may be also interested to know how to install a driver for a device in ReactOS. If so, see [[Install a driver]] article.
  
; <code>IRQ</code> : Specifies the IRQ number of the serial port to be <code>[irq-number]</code>. Used in conjunction with <code>COM1-4</code> or <code>GDB</code>.
+
= Unattended Installation =
* Format: <code>IRQ=[irq-number]</code>
+
You may be also interested to know how to install ReactOS in the automatic (non-interactive) mode. If so, see [[Create an unattended Installation CD]] article.
  
; <code>PROFILE</code> : Enables profiling. Profiling information will be written in <code>%windir%\profiler.log</code>. This will slow down the system quite a bit.
+
= See also =
* Format: <code>PROFILE</code>
+
* [https://www.virtualbox.org/ VirtualBox] – a free virtualization software for Windows, Linux and Mac ([[VirtualBox|HOWTO]])
 +
* [https://wiki.qemu.org/Main_Page QEMU] – an open source machine emulator
  
; <code>MAXMEM</code> : Will restrict ReactOS to use only the first <code>[maxmem]</code> MB of physical memory.
+
* [[Boot options]] for FreeLoader
* Format: <code>MAXMEM=[maxmem]</code>
+
* [[Boot FreeLoader from GRUB]] – How to boot ReactOS from GRUB
 +
* [[Install a driver]] in ReactOS
  
 
[[Category:Tutorial]]
 
[[Category:Tutorial]]

Latest revision as of 23:28, 26 August 2020

Icon speedy deletion.png Warning: Please bear in mind that ReactOS is still in alpha stage, meaning it is not stable or feature-complete and is not recommended for everyday use. Operating system bugs can and do result in corrupted file systems, overwritten partitions, and more. Do not install ReactOS on any computer containing important data without using a virtual machine or making full backups first.


Before installing

There are several things to be made aware of before installing ReactOS, or even obtaining the installation media. These include how ReactOS will be installed, limitations of the installation, and backing up existing data.

Limitations

ReactOS is alpha level (or alpha phase) software. It is not yet feature complete.
Some major bugs remain to be corrected. For the details see Known Issues. Bear in mind that this is not a complete list of known issues. See also Missing ReactOS Functionality.


The ReactOS itself, setup utility, and boot loader have a number of limitations. The most prominent are:

  • ReactOS is not able to boot from USB devices yet. Except RAM Boot method.
  • the setup utility does not prevent users from performing dangerous and potentially destructive operations.
  • UEFI system firmware is not supported by ReactOS yet, you have to use legacy BIOS mode.
  • some SATA controllers may not work with ReactOS.
  • the boot partition is highly recommended to be the first partition on the first (or even better - single) disk in the system.
  • the setup utility can check the integrity of ONLY FAT16 and FAT32 file systems.
  • HD Audio or use of multiple audio cards at the same time are not yet supported. ReactOS versions and builds prior to 0.4.12 will not boot after setup.

System requirements

Hardware support

ReactOS has limited hardware support. Lists of particular hardware that have been tested can be found on the page Supported Hardware.

Minimum hardware requirements

The minimum requirements to install ReactOS are:

  • RAM: at least 64 MB, recommended 256 MB, and even 2048 MB if you want to test large software suites or bundles.
  • Processor: x86 or x64 architecture, Pentium or later and compatibles; for more information see ReactOS ports.
  • HDD: IDE/SATA with minimum 450 MB of free space on the primary partition (please note that some SATA controllers may not work with ReactOS):
    • FAT16/FAT32 primary boot partition.
  • Video: VGA compatible video card (VESA BIOS version 2.0 or later).

Getting ReactOS

Due to the current state of the project, the ReactOS Foundation does not offer official installation media for distribution. Installation CD-ROMs must be created by the user by writing an available image file to a CD-ROM.

Downloading the image file

Official ISO image files can be downloaded at one of the following locations:

WARNING: Some anti-malware programs will detect false positives in ReactOS files.

Creating the Installation CD

The downloaded file is a compressed archive in ZIP format, containing a single file named "ReactOS.iso". The ISO image contains everything needed to create the CD.

  • Extract the image file from the archive into a temporary directory.
  • Burn the ISO image to a CD-R or CD-RW using any software of your choice.

When burning the ISO to disc, be sure it is written as an image file. Writing to the disc as another type of data will not work and render the Installation CD unbootable. Look for an option similar to "Burn from ISO" or "Write disk image".

Installing ReactOS

Please consider making full backups of any sensitive data before you start any experiments with ReactOS in the production environment!

Installation strategy

The first consideration to make is whether to install ReactOS on a dedicated testing machine or in a contained environment, such as running on an emulator without direct disk access. The use of an emulator is preferable if the machine on which you will run ReactOS is your primary computer or if you have important data on the computer which you cannot afford to lose.

If you decide to install ReactOS on a disk drive that contains an existing operating system (such as Microsoft Windows XP), you should ensure that the drive is formatted with a file system ReactOS can access and write to (now, primary FAT32/FAT16 partition) and that there is sufficient free space on the drive such that ReactOS can be installed (now, >=450 MB). Furthermore, the current hardware limitations to which ReactOS is constrained must be identified and compared to the target computer system (e.g. that ReactOS has only basic audio support as of 0.4.12 release).

Once the available hardware and software situation is determined the installation media can be selected. In most cases, USB-RAM boot should be enough (or CD-ROM boot for virtual machines). But sometimes it may either not work or be not available for the particular system. Then you can use other available options as well.

ReactOS goes through three stages during setup. The first two stages deal with the installation of the system, while the third stage is the first usable boot by the user.

  • First stage – Text mode setup, started when booting from a ReactOS CD-ROM.
  • Second stage – Booting to GUI installer. The input of user information and registering of files.
  • Third stage – Booting to desktop, user configurations.

If you encounter problems, it is recommended to disable all secondary or unnecessary devices, especially USB-cameras and sound cards of any type.

Virtual Machines

A Virtual Machine is a software program that provides a virtual hardware platform. Software instructions that would be run on hardware are now interpreted by the emulator software. This allows you to "run" a different kind of computer hardware and its software in a window on your computer.

See article Virtualization software for the details.

Real hardware

Note For the real hardware experiments, we recommend you to use our "official" Dell Latitude D531 laptop or similar notebook models in order to achieve the best possible experience.

Ordinary CD-ROM method

  • Make sure your BIOS is configured to boot from the CD-ROM first.
  • If your PC has UEFI system firmware, then you have to enable legacy BIOS mode.
  • Insert the ReactOS setup CD-ROM into a CD-ROM drive and reboot your computer. On the next boot, the ReactOS setup utility will start.
  • Follow the instructions on the screen to install ReactOS on your computer.
  • After the installation has finished, remove the setup CD-ROM from the CD-ROM drive and press Enter to reboot your computer. You can now start ReactOS by selecting it from the boot menu.

USB Installation

Due to problems with the PnP manager, it is NOT currently possible to boot or install ReactOS from a USB stick made directly from *.iso file. You will get BSOD with 0x0000007B code. This worked previously but was broken several years ago by a rewrite of the USB code and major changes in the kernel. For USB boot you have to use RAM Boot method instead.

You can try applying a patch from PR #1569 and building from source, or try these unofficial experimental builds http://vgal.ru.com/reactos-0-4-10-new-usb/ (not recommended, they are very outdated).

USB-RAM boot

For this method, you should prepare a flash drive first. It should have a FAT32 filesystem and the Multiboot specification-capable bootloader should be installed on it. For example, you can use syslinux. Here is how to install it (for syslinux version 6.x):

On Linux

Plug in the flash drive and leave it unmounted. Then run these commands:

sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdb1
sudo syslinux --install /dev/sdb1

Note: here, /dev/sdb1 is a partition on a flash drive

On Windows

Use Rufus tool:

  • Select your flash drive
  • Click "Show advanced drive properties"
  • Boot selection: Syslinux 6.x
  • Partition scheme: MBR, File system: FAT32
  • Format the drive using selected options above

Next common steps for both platforms

At this point, you should have a bootloader installed onto the drive. Now it's time to copy some files onto it.

(Download all the required files, except iso images, in a zip-archive. It uses freeldr.sys from the fb4591c commit)

  • Now you need to copy mboot.c32 and libcom32.c32 syslinux libraries to the root
  • Then copy a freeldr.sys bootloader from ReactOS 0.4.13 or higher
  • Now you need to write some configuration files. First, syslinux.cfg:
DEFAULT ReactOS
LABEL ReactOS
  KERNEL mboot.c32
  APPEND /freeldr.sys
  • Then freeldr.ini:
[FREELOADER]
DefaultOS=BootCD_Debug
TimeOut=5

[Display]
TitleText=ReactOS LiveUSB
StatusBarColor=Cyan
StatusBarTextColor=Black
BackdropTextColor=White
BackdropColor=Blue
BackdropFillStyle=Medium
TitleBoxTextColor=White
TitleBoxColor=Red
MessageBoxTextColor=White
MessageBoxColor=Blue
MenuTextColor=Gray
MenuColor=Black
TextColor=Gray
SelectedTextColor=Black
SelectedColor=Gray
ShowTime=No
MenuBox=No
CenterMenu=No
MinimalUI=Yes
TimeText=Seconds until highlighted choice will be started automatically:

[Operating Systems]
LiveCD="LiveCD"
LiveCD_Debug="LiveCD (Debug)"
LiveCD_Screen="LiveCD (Screen)"
BootCD="BootCD"
BootCD_Debug="BootCD (Debug)"
BootCD_Screen="BootCD (Screen)"

[LiveCD]
BootType=Windows2003
SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\reactos
Options=/MININT /RDPATH=livecd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD

[LiveCD_Debug]
BootType=Windows2003
SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\reactos
Options=/DEBUG /DEBUGPORT=COM1 /BAUDRATE=115200 /SOS /MININT /RDPATH=livecd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD

[LiveCD_Screen]
BootType=Windows2003
SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\reactos
Options=/DEBUG /DEBUGPORT=SCREEN /SOS /MININT /RDPATH=livecd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD

[BootCD]
BootType=ReactOSSetup
SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\
Options=/MININT /RDPATH=bootcd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD

[BootCD_Debug]
BootType=ReactOSSetup
SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\
Options=/DEBUG /DEBUGPORT=COM1 /BAUDRATE=115200 /SOS /MININT /RDPATH=bootcd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD

[BootCD_Screen]
BootType=ReactOSSetup
SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\
Options=/DEBUG /DEBUGPORT=SCREEN /SOS /MININT /RDPATH=bootcd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD

Note: for detailed explanation, see Boot options

  • Now place bootcd.iso and/or livecd.iso in the root of the disk (or whatever path configured in freeldr.ini)
  • Ready to boot

Using virtual machine

  • Create a virtual machine but without the hard disk
  • Create a virtual hard disk for VirtualBox which points to the real one
    • on Linux: VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename "~/VirtualBox VMs/reactos/disk.vmdk" -rawdisk PathToHarddisk
    • important: PathToHarddisk must be the whole disk, not a partition: /dev/sdb
  • Add disk.vmdk to virtual machine via Storage => Add Harddisk
  • Install ReactOS as usual

Network boot or installation via PXE

See article Building PXE-ready ReactOS.

Installing from internal drive

See article User:Minecraftchest1/installing/installing-from-harddrive

Installing drivers

You may be also interested to know how to install a driver for a device in ReactOS. If so, see Install a driver article.

Unattended Installation

You may be also interested to know how to install ReactOS in the automatic (non-interactive) mode. If so, see Create an unattended Installation CD article.

See also

  • VirtualBox – a free virtualization software for Windows, Linux and Mac (HOWTO)
  • QEMU – an open source machine emulator