Pandora’s Box on Linux

Jarret B

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May 22, 2017
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For those of you who may remember the puzzle game by Microsoft, as shown in Figure 1, you may be thinking “No way!”. The game will work in a round about way along with other classics from the time. The problem with Pandora’s Box is that Microsoft wrote the game specifically for the Pentium processor. Because of the specific code most people cannot play it anymore since Pentium systems are so obsolete. In this article you can run Pandora’s Box once again on nearly any newer system with Linux.

Figure 01.jpg


The only requirement for the system on which you want to install Pandora’s Box is that it must support virtualization.

Testing for Virtualization

Virtualization is the ability of a processor to manage the running of multiple Operating Systems (OS) on the one system. Of course it is best if the system has at least a dual-core processor and preferably a minimum of 4 GB of RAM. You will also need about 5 GB of drive space, a little more if you plan to install other programs.

To test your Linux system for virtualization open a Terminal and type the following command:

cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep flags

What you need to see is the item ‘vmx’ or ‘svm’. An Intel processor which supports virtualization will have ‘vmx’ and an AMD processor will have ‘svm’. If you see either of these in the list then you should be good to continue and you will need the required software.

NOTE: Make sure that Virtualization is enabled in the BIOS. The setting can be anywhere, even under the Security tab.


Since Pandora’s Box is a Windows game we will, of course, need Windows. I would definitely suggest Windows 98 although Windows 95 and NT 4.0 Workstation should work. Windows 98 has the necessary video drivers you will need as well as the Windows 98 CD being bootable.

NOTE: Use the Windows 98 First Edition not the Second Edition. The files can be found from the links below or you can use a search engine to find your own. Do not forget the serial number for Windows 98.

Download the following files if you do not have a copy already (preferably a CD):
Once the files have been downloaded then you need to extract the compressed files to remove the ISO files. Place the ISO files in an easy location to remember.

NOTE: Do not place an apostrophe (‘) in any file name or folder name. The qemu-launcher creates a command-line executable statement which includes apostrophes (‘) and any extra ones will cause an error in the command.

These files are what you need after Linux is ready to perform the install. To get Linux ready you need to perform the following command in a Terminal:

sudo apt-get install qemu qemu-launcher qemuctl -y

To start, let’s get ‘qemu’ set up and ready to go. Start the program ‘qemu-launcher’. There should be a shortcut in your menu or you can start it from a Terminal.

You should see a window similar to Figure 2.

Figure 02.jpg


Under ‘Configuration Name’ enter a name for the ‘virtual system’ we will create. ‘Pandoras Box’ works well. For ‘Configuration Notes’ you can put something simple like ‘Pandoras Box on Win98’. Whatever you place in the two boxes will be fine as long as you remember the name and what it is for when you use the qemu-launcher.

NOTE: The ‘Configuration Name’ cannot include the apostrophe (‘).

You will want to check the box next to ‘Use CD-ROM’. For now, let’s set up ‘Hard Drive 0’. To the right of the line for ‘Hard Drive 0’ click on the ‘New’ button. You should then see a window like Figure 3.

Figure 03.jpg


Set the image name and location to your preference. The Image Size should be set to a minimum of 5000 for 5 GB. Select ‘OK’ when you have made your choices.

Back at the ‘qemu-launcher’ you need to set the RAM size. A good starting point is 256.

Next click on the Hardware tab as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 04.jpg


The ‘System Type’ should be set to ‘PC, 32-bit (x86)’. Enable the check box for ‘Enable audio’. Make sure the ‘Video card’ is set to ‘Cirrus Logic GD 5446 PCI VGA video card’. The ‘Sound card’ should be set for ‘Creative Sound Blaster 16 sound card’.

Next, click on the ‘Emulator’ tab as shown in Figure 5. On the line for ‘Additional arguments’ add ‘-cpu pentium -vga cirrus’ to the empty line.

Figure 05.jpg


Click on the ’Launcher settings’ tab at the top of the ‘qemu-launcher’ window as shown in Figure 6. The top line will point to your Home folder for your current user. On the line ‘Path to qemuctl’ browse to the location ‘/usr/bin/qemuctl’. The second line ‘’Path to qemu’ and change is to ‘/usr/bin/qemu-system-i386’ and then click ‘Apply’ at the bottom of the window.

Figure 06.jpg


Click on ‘Configurations’ and then the ‘Disks and memory’ tab. Change the ‘Boot disk’ to ‘CD-ROM’. Now we need to set up the CD-ROM with the Windows 98 ISO file downloaded previously. The Pandora’s Box image is actually a BIN/CUE file. These can be converted to an ISO with a program like AcetoneISO.

Once these files are ready then the ‘CD-ROM’ location can be set to the mounted ISO for Windows 98. Once you have completed these settings click on ‘Save’ and then click ‘Launch’.

Windows 98 should now boot to a menu as shown in Figure 7. Arrow down and select ‘2. Boot from CD-ROM’ and press ENTER.

Figure 07.jpg


The next window, Figure 8, lets you select how to start Windows 98. Select the first menu item and press ENTER. Once you are in the QEMU window and you wish to use the mouse and keyboard outside the window press ‘left CTRL+ALT’ to get out of the window.

Figure 08.jpg


The next screen allows you to continue the setup or drop out of the setup as shown in Figure 9. Follow the instructions on the screen to continue.

Figure 09.jpg


The next screen lets you configure the unallocated space to use for the installation. Next, you can specify to use ‘Large Disk Support’. It may be best to answer ‘Yes’. After this the system will need to be restarted. Allow the virtual system to restart and the setup to continue. When the system restarts, a menu will appear to select whether to boot from the hard drive or the CD-ROM. Choose the CD-ROM. Choose option number one on the next boot menu which appears. Next, the system will format the virtual drive. After the hard drive is formatted the system will want to perform a check on the system.

After the check is performed the Graphical User Interface (GUI) will appear as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10.jpg


Select ‘Continue’ to proceed with the installation. The next screen lets you set the Windows installation location which defaults to ‘c:\windows’. The next screen allows for you to choose the installation type. The ‘Typical’ setting will work fine. Next, choose to install the most common components. The following screen will let you set the computer name, workgroup and computer description. Set these as you need or let the defaults remain. The next window will let you set the region you are in for the local regional settings. The next window will let you start the copying of the files to the hard drive. The copy process may take a while. If the virtual system locks up you will need to close the QEMU window and relaunch it from the Launcher. If you have to restart the setup then you may have to do restart it.

Once the installation has completed successfully the system will restart and you will need to specify at the Boot Menu to boot from the Hard Drive.

After restarting you will need to enter the serial number. Use the number you found which goes with your installation media you downloaded.

Make the necessary settings and Windows will need to reboot again. When the system restarts you will be prompted to enter a password. Enter your desired password and then the system will ask you to re-enter it again. Once you do the system will build a driver database and complete the final configuration settings for Windows. Windows 98 will need to restart again and when it resumes you will be prompted to log in. Log in and you should hear music to show that the audio is working for the installation. Close any windows you do not want opened. The first thing you need to do is set the video drivers appropriately.

Right-click on the desktop and select ‘Properties’. Select the ‘Settings’ tab to see the current settings. If the Display type is ‘Standard Display Adapter (VGA)’ then things need to be changed.

Click on the button ‘Advanced’. Click on the ‘Adapter’ tab and select ‘Change’. When the Wizard starts press ‘Next’. Select the second option to display a list of drivers then press ‘Next’. Click on ‘Show all Hardware’ and in the ‘Manufacturers’ select ‘Cirrus Logic’. Under ‘Models’ select ‘Cirrus Logic 5446 PCI’ and click ‘Next’. Click on ‘Yes’ to verify that you want to use the driver. Make sure the Windows 98 image is still mounted as the CD-ROM. When the installation is completed press ‘Apply’. On the ‘Settings’ tab change the ‘Colors’ to ‘High Color (16 bit)’. Set the ‘Screen Resolution’ to at least ‘800x600’. Click ‘Apply’ and you will need to restart Windows for the changes to take effect.

NOTE: If errors occur then it is possible that the Windows 98 image you have is corrupted. Download another image and try again.

Once Windows restarts right-click on the Windows 98 Desktop and select ‘Properties’. Go back to the ‘Settings’ tab and verify that the settings have remained in effect. If the settings have changed you should be able to change them back. Once you click ‘Apply’ the settings should immediately change and not require a reboot.

Shutdown Windows 98 and at the QEMU Launcher change the CD-ROM image to point to the Pandora’s Box CD or image and ‘Launch’ the Virtual Client.

Log into Windows and open ‘My Computer’. You should see Drive D has the Pandora’s Box icon if the ISO was chosen correctly. Double-click on Drive E and the Pandora’s Box Setup Wizard should start. Perform the installation and choose all of the settings you prefer. I would suggest to perform a ‘Full Install’ when asked. During the installation of DirectX 7.0 you need to move the mouse a bit because the system may seem like it has locked up, but it should be fine.

If Pandora’s Box gives an error then you may need to burn Pandora’s Box to a CD. You may also have a real copy lying around which will work perfectly. There is a ‘No CD’ crack which is included in the above listed Pandora’s Box download. After installation make sure you run the file ‘Pandora10a.exe’ so the original disk is not needed every time you play it.

Once the installation is done you can start up Pandora’s Box and enjoy the puzzles.

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