Throwback Thursday – Install OS/2 Warp in Virtualbox

OS/2 is a GUI based operating system. Originally developed by both IBM and Microsoft from 1987 until 1992. When the relationship split, Microsoft left to concentrate on windows. This left IBM to continue development until it was retired in 2006. The once closely developed relationship turned into a competition, with both companies trying to push their respective OS. Microsoft won the battle due to the policy of bundling copies of windows with new systems and more driver support. IBM’s although technically superior and partially compatible with Microsoft products thanks¬†to the shared lineage. Couldn’t compete as IBM targeted the operating system towards the hardware it manufactured. OS/2 especially the warp 4 release bundled innovative new features such as java and speech recognition software. IBM’s purchase of the Lotus SmartSuite office bundle and compatibility with windows through virtual dos and windows modes kept it competitive in the corporate environment up to the release of Windows 95.

OS/2 is still being developed for modern PC’s by Arca Noae, who have rebranded it as ArcaOS, it is, however, proprietary software and only available through purchasing a licence.

Want to give it a try lets install it Virtualbox – Why you may ask? because we can.

So first let’s download a pre-installed VirtualBox hard disk from the Internet Archive

Extract the archive for use later.

Install Virtualbox or run from your applications menu and create a new machine. Using the settings detailed in the screenshots below, setting your Hard disk to the file we downloaded.


Now select the machine and startup, after a short while you are greeted with OS/2 Desktop.


Searching the Internet for OS/2 Software brings up plenty of software to add to your OS2/Warp VM. Setting up shared folders with the host can be done to transfer files to the OS.

Confession Time

I did originally write a guide to installing OS2 from install images, although the system installed fine, installing the VirtualBox guest additions turned out to be stubborn and the operating system was frustrating to use without them.

Do/did you use OS/2 what were your favourite features, apps or memories? Let us know in the comments.



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