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 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 '''[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>
 +
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]].<br>
 +
 +
 +
The ReactOS itself, setup utility, and [[FreeLoader|boot loader]] have a number of limitations. The most prominent are:
 +
 +
* 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 with this configuration.
  
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= System requirements =
  
zuiuu
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== Hardware support ==
 +
ReactOS has '''limited''' hardware support. Lists of particular hardware that have been tested can be found on the page '''[[Supported Hardware]]'''.
  
== Creating the ReactOS Setup CD-ROM ==
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== Minimum hardware requirements ==
 +
The minimum requirements to install ReactOS are:
  
* The file you downloaded is a compressed archive in ZIP format, containing a single file named "reactos.iso". This file is the image file of the ReactOS setup CD-ROM in ISO format
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* '''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.
* Extract the image file from the archive into a temporary directory
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* '''Processor:''' x86 or x64 architecture, Pentium or later and compatibles; for more information see [[ReactOS ports]].
* Write the image file onto CD-R or CD-RW media
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* '''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).
  
== Installing ReactOS on a real machine==
+
= 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.
  
=== From a Setup CD-ROM ===
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== Downloading the image file ==
 +
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)
  
 +
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&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 [[0.4.13]] 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 [[Virtualization software]] for well-known configurations for popular VM software.
 +
 +
== Hardware ==
 +
 +
Generally speaking, PCs from Windows 2000-XP era should work with ReactOS, the details depend on your particular hardware configuration. Check our [[Supported_Hardware|supported hardware]] and [[PC ROS Rigs|notebook models]] pages for more info.
 +
 +
{{Warning|ReactOS does not support UEFI booting yet, you need to enable legacy BIOS mode on UEFI systems}}
 +
 +
== Install from a CD-ROM ==
 +
 +
* Make sure your BIOS is configured to boot from the CD-ROM first.
 
* 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 "Return" to reboot your computer. Now, you can start ReactOS by selecting it from the boot menu.
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* 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.
  
=== Technical Notes ===
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== Install from a USB media ==
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Since version '''0.4.15''' there are two options for booting from a USB media. Try another one if the first doesn't work
  
Modifications performed to the Hard Disk to boot ReactOS
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'''Note:''' due to instabilities in the USB stack, it makes sense to try the boot a couple of times (2-3) before moving to a next method
  
==== [[FreeLoader]] ====
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=== Bootable USB from an iso ===
FreeLoader, the ReactOS boot loader, is composed by two files: an executable (FREELDR.SYS) and a configuration file in Windows INI format (FREELDR.INI). The two files are copied to the root directory of the active partition
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This is an ordinary way to prepare USB, feel free to take any manual made for Windows.
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* On Windows [https://rufus.ie/ Rufus] tool can be used for that
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* On Linux [https://unetbootin.github.io/ UNetBootin] can be used
 +
* '''ReactOS feature:''' the iso will work even if written in a raw <code>dd</code> mode
  
The FreeLoader boot code, that is the small program that loads FREELDR.SYS, can be installed in many ways, depending on the pre-existing operating system. The setup logic tries the following steps in order:
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=== Ramdisk (aka USB-RAM) boot ===
 +
The basic idea of this method is to dump the whole unchanged iso file into memory first (make a ramdisk) and then boot from it without touching the original media.
  
* If the Windows NT/2000/XP boot manager is found on the active partition, the existing boot manager is configured to boot ReactOS. The FreeLoader boot code is written to a file named BOOTSECT.ROS in the root of the active partition, and an entry named "ReactOS" is added to BOOT.INI pointing to BOOTSECT.ROS.
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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.
** The Windows NT/2000/XP boot manager is detected by the presence of the files NTLDR and BOOT.INI in the root directory of the active partition
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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):
** To uninstall FreeLoader, delete the file BOOTSECT.ROS and remove the "ReactOS" entry from the hidden BOOT.INI file.
 
* If MS-DOS or Windows 95/98/ME is found on the active partition, the original boot sector is saved to a file named BOOTSECT.DOS in the root directory of the active partition. The FreeLoader boot code is then written to the boot sector of the active partition. FreeLoader thus becomes your primary boot manager, and from its boot menu you will be able to boot both ReactOS and your pre-existing operating system
 
** MS-DOS and Windows 95/98/ME are detected by the presence of the files MSDOS.SYS and IO.SYS in the root directory of the active partition
 
** To uninstall FreeLoader, boot from a MS-DOS or Windows Restore floppy disk, and run the command "SYS C:". After this, the BOOTSECT.DOS file can be safely deleted 
 
* If none of the known operating systems is found on the active partition, the original boot sector is saved to the file BOOTSECT.OLD in the root directory of the active partition. The FreeLoader boot code is then written to the boot sector of the active partition. FreeLoader thus becomes the primary boot manager. Note that you will have to edit the FREELDR.INI configuration file by yourself to boot the pre-existing operating system, because FreeLoader has no knowledge of how to do it.
 
** To uninstall FreeLoader, restore the boot sector of the active partition from the BOOTSECT.OLD file. The details on how to do so are dependent on the operating system you are running
 
  
Note: If the active partition uses a FAT32 filesystem, the boot code does not fit into a single sector. Microsoft uses sectors number 0 and 12, while FreeLoader uses sectors number 0 and 14, so there should not be any conflicts with existing boot loaders.
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==== On Linux ====
  
Note: The support for other operating systems will be improved in the future
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Plug in the flash drive and leave it unmounted.
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Then run these commands:
 +
<pre>
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sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdb1
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sudo syslinux --install /dev/sdb1
 +
</pre>
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Note: here, <code>/dev/sdb1</code> is a partition on a flash drive
  
 +
==== On Windows ====
  
== Installing ReactOS on the [[Bochs]] emulator ==
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Use [https://rufus.ie/ Rufus] tool:
  
=== Emulators ===
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* Select your flash drive
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. Although the performance of the software run on a virtual computer will be much slower than on real hardware, it provides several advantages:
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* Click "Show advanced drive properties"
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* Boot selection: <code>Syslinux 6.x</code>
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* Partition scheme: <code>MBR</code>, File system: <code>FAT32</code>
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* Format the drive using selected options above
  
You can try out a completely different operating system without tinkering with your real system.
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==== Next common steps for both platforms ====
You can run potentially unstable software without the fear of damaging your real system.
 
For operating system developers, it provides a way to debug the system without constant reboots.
 
  
=== [[Bochs]] ===
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At this point, you should have a bootloader installed onto the drive. Now it's time to copy some files onto it.
  
Bochs (pronounced "box") is an emulator written for the PC. It can run on both DOS/Windows and Linux operating systems. It emulates an x86 hardware system and has emulation for the 386, 486 and Pentium CPUs. It also provides IO port and BIOS emulation. Bochs can run Linux, DOS, Windows 95, Windows NT 4, ReactOS and many other operating systems. The software was initially written by Kevin Lawton and is now maintained by the Bochs SourceForge project. Although this project provides the latest Bochs binaries, we recommend that you test ReactOS with the Bochs binaries provided by our reactos.com download page.
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'''Notice''': you may [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.
  
=== Downloading and Using Bochs with ReactOS ===
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* Now you need to copy <code>mboot.c32</code> and <code>libcom32.c32</code> syslinux libraries to the root
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* Then copy a freeldr.sys bootloader from ReactOS [[0.4.13]] or higher
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* Now you need to write some configuration files. First, <code>syslinux.cfg</code>:
  
==== Downloading Bochs ====
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<pre>
 +
DEFAULT ReactOS
 +
LABEL ReactOS
 +
  KERNEL mboot.c32
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  APPEND /freeldr.sys
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</pre>
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* Then <code>freeldr.ini</code>:
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<pre>
 +
[FREELOADER]
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DefaultOS=BootCD_Debug
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TimeOut=5
  
The reactos.com site provides several Bochs distributions:
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[Display]
ReactOS disk images only.
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TitleText=ReactOS LiveUSB
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StatusBarColor=Cyan
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StatusBarTextColor=Black
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BackdropTextColor=White
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BackdropColor=Blue
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BackdropFillStyle=Medium
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TitleBoxTextColor=White
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TitleBoxColor=Red
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MessageBoxTextColor=White
 +
MessageBoxColor=Blue
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MenuTextColor=Gray
 +
MenuColor=Black
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TextColor=Gray
 +
SelectedTextColor=Black
 +
SelectedColor=Gray
 +
ShowTime=No
 +
MenuBox=No
 +
CenterMenu=No
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MinimalUI=Yes
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TimeText=Seconds until highlighted choice will be started automatically:
  
These downloads are available from the same page as the ReactOS binaries on reactos.com (under Software, ReactOS).
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[Operating Systems]
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LiveCD="LiveCD"
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LiveCD_Debug="LiveCD (Debug)"
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LiveCD_Screen="LiveCD (Screen)"
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BootCD="BootCD"
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BootCD_Debug="BootCD (Debug)"
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BootCD_Screen="BootCD (Screen)"
  
If you want to use an emulator other than Bochs, then the disk images only download would be more useful. Disk images only are also useful if you want to try out a newer version of ReactOS and already have Bochs. The Bochs only download is useful for when an updated version of the Bochs emulator is available on the reactos.com site.
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[LiveCD]
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BootType=Windows2003
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SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\reactos
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Options=/MININT /RDPATH=livecd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD
  
===== Using MTools =====
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[LiveCD_Debug]
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BootType=Windows2003
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SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\reactos
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Options=/DEBUG /DEBUGPORT=COM1 /BAUDRATE=115200 /SOS /MININT /RDPATH=livecd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD
  
MTools are used to copy files to and from the disk images. Run mtinst.bat to have MTools configure properly. This batch file copies the mtools.exe file to the various MTools commands (eg. mcopy, mmd). These files are used by binst.bat (used to update the ReactOS files on the virtual disk).
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[LiveCD_Screen]
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BootType=Windows2003
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SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\reactos
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Options=/DEBUG /DEBUGPORT=SCREEN /SOS /MININT /RDPATH=livecd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD
  
To upgrade the ReactOS files on the virtual disk, copy the ReactOS binary distribution directory (named reactos) into the directory where Bochs is installed. Then run binst.bat to copy the new files into the virtual disk (be sure to have run mtinst.bat at some time in the past before doing this).
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[BootCD]
 +
BootType=ReactOSSetup
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SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\
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Options=/MININT /RDPATH=bootcd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD
  
===== Running ReactOS under Bochs =====
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[BootCD_Debug]
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BootType=ReactOSSetup
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SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\
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Options=/DEBUG /DEBUGPORT=COM1 /BAUDRATE=115200 /SOS /MININT /RDPATH=bootcd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD
  
Run the freeldr.bat file in the Bochs directory. To switch to booting with FreeDOS, run the freedos.bat file.
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[BootCD_Screen]
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BootType=ReactOSSetup
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SystemPath=ramdisk(0)\
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Options=/DEBUG /DEBUGPORT=SCREEN /SOS /MININT /RDPATH=bootcd.iso /RDEXPORTASCD
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</pre>
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'''Note:''' for detailed explanation, see [[Boot options]]
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* 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>)
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* Ready to boot
  
== Installing ReactOS on the VMware emulator ==
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== Using virtual machine ==
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* Create a virtual machine but without the hard disk
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* Create a virtual hard disk for VirtualBox which points to the real one
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** on Linux: <code>VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename "~/VirtualBox VMs/reactos/disk.vmdk" -rawdisk PathToHarddisk</code>
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** important: <code>PathToHarddisk</code> must be the whole disk, not a partition: /dev/sdb
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* Add <code>disk.vmdk</code> to virtual machine via Storage => Add Harddisk
 +
* Install ReactOS as usual
  
=== [[VMware]] ===
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== Network boot or installation via PXE ==
  
==== Virtual Computing ====
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See article [[Building PXE-ready ReactOS]].
  
A Virtual Machine is a software program much like an emulator that provides a virtual hardware platform. Software instructions that would be run on hardware are caught buy the virtual environment and depending on the instruction are either run on the native CPU or emulated in software. Virtual Computing allows for much fast operation then standard emulation as a result of the ability to run the majority of the instructions on the Native CPU. This process allows you to run a virtual computer in software on your computer. The performance of the software on a virtual computer will be only slightly slower than on real hardware. Overhead can still be a problem for disk IO and CPU instructions that must be emulated but in general it is much faster then a total emulation system.
+
== Installing from internal drive ==
 +
See article [[User:Minecraftchest1/installing/installing-from-harddrive]]
  
Advantages:
+
= 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.
  
* You can try out a completely different operating system without tinkering with your real system.
+
= Unattended Installation =
* You can run potentially unstable software without the fear of damaging your real system.
+
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.
* For operating systems developers, it provides a way to debug the system without constant reboots.
 
* The performace is much faster then a true emulator such as bochs.
 
  
==== VMware itself ====
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= See also =
 +
* [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
  
VMware is a popular commercial virtual machine for the x86 CPU family. It can run on Windows NT, 2K, XP and Linux/FreeBSD. It also provides IO port, BIOS emulation, networking and sound support. VMware can run a number of different "guest" operating systems including *DOS, Windows 9x/NT/2K/XP, ReactOS, Free Unices (*BSD, Linux) as well as many others. VMware is free for 30 days, after that you must purchase a license from their website.
+
* [[Boot options]] for FreeLoader
 +
* [[Boot FreeLoader from GRUB]] – How to boot ReactOS from GRUB
 +
* [[Install a driver]] in ReactOS
  
[http://www.vmware.com/ VMware company site]
+
[[Category:Tutorial]]
 
 
== Limitations ==
 
uizuizuiz
 

Latest revision as of 23:06, 14 February 2021

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:

  • 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 with this configuration.

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 0.4.13 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 Virtualization software for well-known configurations for popular VM software.

Hardware

Generally speaking, PCs from Windows 2000-XP era should work with ReactOS, the details depend on your particular hardware configuration. Check our supported hardware and notebook models pages for more info.

Icon speedy deletion.png Warning: ReactOS does not support UEFI booting yet, you need to enable legacy BIOS mode on UEFI systems


Install from a CD-ROM

  • Make sure your BIOS is configured to boot from the CD-ROM first.
  • 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.

Install from a USB media

Since version 0.4.15 there are two options for booting from a USB media. Try another one if the first doesn't work

Note: due to instabilities in the USB stack, it makes sense to try the boot a couple of times (2-3) before moving to a next method

Bootable USB from an iso

This is an ordinary way to prepare USB, feel free to take any manual made for Windows.

  • On Windows Rufus tool can be used for that
  • On Linux UNetBootin can be used
  • ReactOS feature: the iso will work even if written in a raw dd mode

Ramdisk (aka USB-RAM) boot

The basic idea of this method is to dump the whole unchanged iso file into memory first (make a ramdisk) and then boot from it without touching the original media.

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.

Notice: you may 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