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Using a VM to provice legacy Netware 4 client support on WIN8

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Hi, everyone,

Here's a biggie for you. :-)

One of my clients is still fully dependent on legacy software that was custom made for them in 1993. (Don't ask. Please. Don't ask.) On the server side this means Novell Netware 4 and Btrieve, on the client side we're looking at either DOS and the Novell ODI stack (network interface driver, IPX protocol and Netware client requester) or Windows XP, the Netware client for XP and a DOSbox.

Yes, I know. Ugh. But it's a long story and the reality is I have to suck it up and deal with it. They're at a point where this dinosaur simply cannot be upgraded, and scrapping it in favour of something belonging in this century requires either budget they don't have, or restructuring their workflow which they don't want. Their entire corporate culture has essentially calcified around this piece of crockery for the past 20 years and they want it that way.

However. With XP being seriously end-of-life and Windows-8 being standard on all new PCs, I somehow do need to bend over backwards and make this work on W8 one way or another. Which is where virtualization comes in.

I understand that Client Hyper-V does not support DOS natively. On Linux I used Oracle VirtualBox, but I have read mixed reports about using that on W8 (it seems to seriously clash with W8's own virtualization to the point where installing VB might break W8 and necessitates a system restore).

I have little experience with W8 and none with Client Hyper-V. I realize it was not made to support the abomination above. But somehow I need to let a DOS app run on W8 and let it talk Btrieve to a Netware 4 server using the IPX protocol. In 2014.

What are my options? Any suggestion would be a godsend.

Thank you!

// FvW

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I've read your description a couple of times, but I cannot quite understand how that system is running now. On Windows XP?

If so, can't you run it in Windows XP mode on Windows 7?

Thanks for responding!

On some machines it's running in a DOSbox on Windows XP using the Netware client for Windows XP. On other machines it's running on DOS 6.22 using the Netware ODI stack. (I kid you not.)

Using WIndows 7 is a problem, since new machines (esp. laptops) shipped with Windows 7 are no longer available. We're looking at Windows 8 as our only option for new machines.

Hence my question. :-)

// FvW

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Windows 8, like Vista, is not an OS that enterprises will embrace or use. Hence all major hardware manufacturers will still deliver Windows 7 systems.

I am unable to help you with Windows 8, as I have no intention of ever going to deal with that. The Windows XP systems that will need replacement over the next few months will be replaced by Windows 7 machines.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

... On Linux I used Oracle VirtualBox, but I have read mixed reports about using that on W8....

VirtualBox works great on Win 8 & 8.1. If one has not tried the program on these OSs, I would suggest setting up a test machine and configuring the software environment. One may find that this is the easy way out....

Hope this is useful.


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