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Home > ReactOS Installation Guide

Quick start

If you want a quick test-drive of the ReactOS system, then do the following:

  1. Download the latest Preloaded with QEMU package.
  2. Extract the downloaded archive with your favorite unpacker.
  3. Look for the file named Boot.bat and run it.
  4. The ReactOS system will now start.

Please keep in mind that this method uses emulation. You might notice lower system performance and might not be able to do permanent changes. However emulation guarantees you safety if ReactOS becomes unstable.

Installing on virtual machine

Virtual machine (or VM in short), is an environment you can create on your own PC in which programs run completely isolated. This environment behaves exactly like a normal computer. Currently, installation of ReactOS in such isolation is the recommended method, due to occasional instability and preliminary hardware support. To perform the installation, you will need a VM software. Currently, there are three very good VMs to choose from: VMware, VirtualBox and Qemu. Vbox and Qemu can be downloaded completely free of charge. If this is your first experience with virtualization, choose VirtualBox, as it's the most popular free VM today, and it's very easy to use. More experienced users may want to try Qemu instead, which is much faster, but requires knowledge about console and parameters. After you made the choice, download the latest ReactOS Installation CD and follow the appropriate procedure below.

VirtualBox

  1. If you don't have VirtualBox, then go to virtualbox.org, download VirtualBox for Windows hosts and install it.
  2. Run the VirtualBox and create a new virtual machine. Below are the recommended (mostly default) settings you should use:
    • Select Other/Unknown as the type of operating system.
    • Give VM 128 MB of memory.
    • Create a new hard disk image. Select dynamically expanding image type and set the disk size to 2 GB.
    • Make sure the created hard disk image is selected as the primary drive.
  3. Go into the VM settings, enable the CD-ROM drive and select your ReactOS Installation CD (ReactOS.iso) as the CD-ROM ISO image.
  4. Select the General options, click Advanced tab, and specify the following Boot Order:
    • CD-ROM
    • Hard disk
    • (others disabled)
  5. Run the virtual machine (notice that VM captures the mouse, to unlock it use Ctrl key).
  6. ReactOS Setup will start. Follow it's instructions.
  7. When asked about boot loader, select Install bootloader on the harddisk (MBR).
  8. When the installation finishes, you will be told to remove floppy and CD from their drives. Just press Enter to restart the VM.
  9. ReactOS will boot and ask in which mode to run. Choose the default one.

Qemu

(To proceed you should have a basic understanding of Windows console. Otherwise you should try the guide for VirtualBox)

  1. If you don't have Qemu, then download QEMU on Windows from qemu.org
  2. Extract the downloaded archive
  3. Since we won't cover scripting here, for the ease of use move your ReactOS Installation CD (ReactOS.iso) to the Qemu directory
  4. Run the console (cmd) and switch to Qemu directory (cd)
  5. Create a new disk image using the qemu-img utility:
  6. qemu-img create -f vmdk reactos.vmdk 1GB
  7. Run Qemu with attached disk and loaded ISO:
  8. qemu -L . -m 128 -hda reactos.vmdk -cdrom ReactOS.iso -boot d
  9. ReactOS Setup program will start. Follow it's instructions.
    • Make sure you choose Install bootloader on the harddisk (MBR)
  10. When setup program prompts for ENTER to reboot, exit Qemu
  11. Now since ReactOS is installed, from now on you can run it using:
  12. qemu -L . -m 128 -hda reactos.vmdk
  13. Run ReactOS in default mode (ReactOS) unless you need to debug

VMware

  1. Run VMware Workstation and create a new Virtual Machine. Below are the recommended settings you should use:
    • Select Custom VM configuration
    • Set hardware compatibility to the highest version (eg. Workstation6 for VMware 6)
    • Select Other guest operating system and Other version.
    • Give VM name ReactOS
    • Select one processor
    • Give VM at least 128MB of memory. Notice the Maximum recommended memory value.
    • Select Use network address translation (NAT) as the network connection
    • Choose BusLogic as SCSI adapter
    • Select Create a new virtual disk
    • Set it's type to IDE and give it at least 1GB size
    • Give the new disk file name ReactOS.vmdk
  2. Now select your VM and Edit virtual machine settings
    • Remove the Sound Adapter (it's currently unsupported)
    • Remove the Floppy drive (it's currently unsupported)
    • Select the CD-ROM drive, click Use ISO image and browse for your ReactOS Installation CD (ReactOS.iso file)
  3. Run your virtual machine. ReactOS Setup program will start. Follow it's instructions.
    • Make sure you select Install bootloader on the harddisk
  4. After the installation press ENTER to restart your VM. ReactOS will boot.
    • When asked which operating system to run, choose ReactOS

ReactOS is a registered trademark or a trademark of ReactOS Foundation in the United States and other countries.