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Special Report
Lismore Blue Label PowerEmulator


Updated November 18, 2003

Have you seen PowerEmulator or talked to Lismore? Talk to us.

Lismore back up with new web site; free demo of v1.8; OS X version on the way. October 27, 2003 -- After abruptly being shut down by their ISP, Lismore Systems is back on the web at a new URL. The company makes the Blue Label PowerEmulator for Mac OS 9 and earlier. There are two new email adresses for sales and support: sales@lismoresystems.com and support@lismoresystems.com.

Blue Label PowerEmulator 1.8 ( US $35) is now available in a free demo version.

Dave Heap has tried Blue Label PowerEmulator 1.8 and reports this about it:

I have downloaded and tried 1.8. It seems functional and offers better third party multi-button mouse support than 1.7. It now works fine with a Macally USB mouse, which didn't work under 1.7. If you have more than one mouse installed on your system, it seems to pick the first multi-button mouse it finds, and totally ignores all other mice. (It also now works with Macally ADB mouse.)

Lismore's Alexander Grechishkin told MacWindows that it is working on a Mac OS X emulator. He said "It is not going to be just a Blue Label for Mac OS X, but a new product with unique features." Lismore also said that it will consider purchases of Blue Label PowerEmulator 1.8 as "a preorder for a PC emulator for Mac OS X we are working on."

Lismore website is disappears. October 15, 2003 -- Apparently, Lismore and its ISP are not on good terms. Several readers noted that the Lismore web site has vanished. A few days, users were getting redirected to Netmart.com, and ISP. Now they are getting redirected to porn site. Lismore Software was maker of Blue Label PowerEmulator, a PC emulator for Macs.

The Blue Label PowerEmulator from Lismore Software Systems, Ltd., is a PC emulator for Macintosh that shipped in mid March 2002. (We posted a preview of the emulator with screen shots earlier.) It started at $19.95, without operating system.

Update History

Lismore Software Systems posts the most current version on its Blue Label PowerEmulator Update page. You can get older updates here. Here were some of the updates (most recent first):

-- Verision 1.7, released April 25, 2002 -- Runs on Mac OS 8.x and 9.x, and still not a Mac OS X application. New features include:

-- Version 1.6 was released in 2001

-- Blue Label PowerEmulator 1.5 Components Update 1, was released November 1999. Fixes bugs occurring in Mac OS 9 and on the newest Macintosh models. The problems fixed include:

-- Version 1.5, released in August 1999, included all of the updates and a FreeDOS disk image.

-- Update 4 was posted in June. Along with bug fixes, the new update allows you to use floppy disk images and to install operating systems from non-bootable CD-ROMs.

-- In April, Lismore posted Update 3, which which the company says fixes 9 bugs, including these:

-- In March, Lismore Systems, posted Update 1. The update fixed:


Reader Reviews

NOTE: Older reports are first, concerning older versions. Newer reports are towards the bottom.

Since it has shipped, readers have sent in there reviews of the product. There is a variety of positive and negative experiences. Some of these follow:

March 15, 1999
Blue Label on an iMac
From a reader who wishes to have his name withheld:

Dear all,

Blue Label (BL 1.0) is (really quite) a complete PC emulator for Macintosh released on 03/12/99 at http://www.lismoresoft.com/ for about $20. I am quite impressed with all the features it promises. Does it really work? The answer is YES.

The problem I ran into was I could not create any hard disk images at all. So I try reboot with all extension off (to see if the problems was from extension conflict or not), This time I can create the images!

Now I'm about to install DOS (on an iMac). Well, I don't think BL 1.0 support my USB LS120 drive yet. So I switch to my Powermac 6100 (running MacOS 8.1) to just create a hard drive image and install DOS 6.22. Everything was smooth on the 6100. I don't even have to reboot to turn extension off to create a 10 MB hard disk image. I inserted DOS install disk 1 and got my DOS 6.22 boot drive ready (I'll use it as the C: drive on Device 0 on Primary controller).

Let's get back to the iMac. I transfer the 10 MB DOS 6.22 drive image to the iMac via Ethernet. I modify config.sys and autoexec.bat to load the CDROM driver (so I can install Win95 from the CD which was not bootable. If it was bootable, BL 1.0 can simply boot from it and the need to create DOS boot drive is eliminated. The details is in the doc.).

Well, on my iMac I now have the 10 MB DOS 6.22 boot drive on Device 0 and CD-ROM on device 1 (both on primary controller). The 150-MB newly created drive image is on device 0 on the 2nd controller. NOTE! DUE TO EXTENSON CONFLICT, I HAVE TO REBOOT WITH ALL EXTENSIONS OFF BEFORE I COULD CREATE THE 150 MB HARD DISK IMAGE ON MY IMAC. OR IT WON'T LET ME CREATE ONE.

That's it. It works. I found that booting into BL 1.0 directly (bypassing the finder and you can select this at start-up similar to BootX) at start-up will let the emulator run much faster.

I'll install Netware 4.x/5.0, Solaris 7, Linux, NT 4/5, Win98 and I'll report what happen. I think this is the best emulator I have ever seen on any platform! I always want to do some cool stuffs with emulator. This is the one!

 

March 15, 1999
Good so far, with one conflict
David Zinkin

I've been using the Blue Label PowerEmulator for several hours now...and with one exception, so far, so good. It has no problems running Windows 98 or Windows for Workgroups 3.11 (with MS-DOS 6.22) on my system -- a Power Mac G3/266 desktop with 128MB RAM and MacOS 8.5.1 -- and performance seems to be decent.

The exception is a conflict between Blue Label and MouseWorks (5.20b1 as of this writing), which I use to activate the extra buttons on my Kensington Thinking Mouse. If MouseWorks is running, Blue Label reports a non-fatal error on COM1 (which it uses for an emulated serial mouse) and the mouse refuses to work in the emulation. Deactivating MouseWorks allows the mouse to function, but since I planned to use one of the extra buttons within Windows and DOS, this doesn't appear to be a reasonable solution. BTW, this happens with MouseWorks 5.04 (the last release version), 5.05b1 and current beta 5.20b1, which I just downloaded this evening. (VersionTracker reports it as 5.2b3, but the installer and the components are labeled 5.20b1.)

March 15, 1999
Warning: Couldn't get emulator to run
From a reader who wishes to have his name withheld:

The mysterious PC emulator, Blue Label, was released yesterday at the stunning price point of $19.95! This price point is made possible through online purchasing--you type in your credit card, then download the software--and the fact that Blue Label comes with no OS at all; the user is required to download an operating system on their own, or install one from a CD-ROM.

Unfortunately, at this time, I cannot recommend Blue Label under any circumstances, at any price. I have personally tested Blue Label on three machines--an iMac, a G3/400 Blue & White, and a Power Macintosh G3/266. I could not get Blue Label to load at all on any of the test systems. In fact, I have only heard from one person who was able to get the program to start at all. To make matters worse, technical support has yet to respond to my e-mails, and the technical support phone number appears to be an overseas call! Suffice it to say, I feel cheated. Until the bugs are fixed, save your twenty dollars, or invest that money into RealPC or Virtual PC with DOS.

March 16, 1999
Another non-starter
Randy Carter

I have been watching the Blue label site for over a year ever since I read about the emulator on MacInTouch. When it became available, I downloaded it immediately. As of this date (March 15th), I have yet to get it to work on a 6100, 1400 and PowerBase 240. Emails to the support address have gone unanswered. From the responses I have read it would appear this product does work...so I will continue to work with mine. Lismore needs to get more information out to its' customers or discontinue distribution until this product is more stable.

March 16, 1999
Emulator okay, but no ports
Neal Tobochnik)

I was able to install the emulator with little trouble. I have not been able to get the serial-parallel ports to work. Anyone have any ideas?

March 17, 1999
Chris Carlton

I'm a technology consultant and an MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer) and utilize emulation and "alternate environments" on my G3 Powerbook to the extreme. Currently I have a multitude of environments on my Powerbook: VPC 2.1.2 with NT Server 4.0 SP3 configured as a Primary Domain Controller with IIS4, Proxy 2.0, Exchange 5.5, etc. as well as VPC 2.1.2 Win 95, Linux PPC, (of course OS 8.5.1) etc.

I immediately bought Blue Label as I've been anticipating for it for over a year. After about 8 total hours of trial and error, I conclude it is not ready for prime time, and I can NOT recommend it to most anyone who expects Virtual PC quality emulation from the product, here in a nutshell is what I've found:

1) First and most important to me is that Lismore is categorically Unresponsive, several e-mails before and after BL shipped and gone unanswered.

2) A few Blue Label features look promising, so here are the positives:

a) Multitude of configuration options
b) FAST multimedia response (graphics and sound emulation,

Connectix could probably learn something here)

c) It does run certain things that the other emulators don't do well (some games).

3) It has poor execution in most every other way:

a) is quick at the beginning and slows way down in a short manner around 30MHz estimation instead of about 85 MHz with VPC on a PB G3/292

b) Frustratingly incompatible with a variety of things on the PB:

i) Floppy needs to be in the right (cd-rom) bay in order to boot
ii) win 95 cds don't boot
iii) Win NT 4 will NOT install even in non SP form (neither will NT 5 b2)
iv) Supposedly compatible with Adaptec SCSI, but their DOS drivers won't recognize the emulated card

8 hours was enough with this "Public Beta Release that you have to pay for" that is worthy of our friends in Redmond.

March 19, 1999
Problems with Update 1
Detlef Beyer

Detlef Beyer had problems with PowerEmulator, even with Update 1 installed:

If I only had read the user comments on your site before I purchased a copy of the Blue Label PowerEmulator. I installed the software on my G3/233 PowerBook - which worked fine basically. Whenever I run the emulator and quit the software to return to the MacOS - the PowerBook will give me an error 10 with the next action I perform in the Finder. I tried to install from a Win95 CD - but the CD did not boot. To use the floppy - the floppy has to be in the right slot to be recognized by the emulator. I managed to boot from a floppy finally - and tried to install Win3.1 from a set of disks. I run the setup.exe from disk1, but when the installer asked me to insert Disk2 - I found no way to make the emulator recognize the second disk. The predefined key to eject the floppy does not work - and no new key is accepted in the setup dialog. I ejected the disk manually and inserted Disk 2 - no effect - the emulator refuses to accept this disk.

March 22, 1999
Tips for getting BLPE to run
Steve Lepper

I have installed and tested Blue Power emulator on the following systems: Powerbook 3400, 32Mb Ram - original Blue Power Rev. B iMac with 92Mb Ram - both original and updated versions. PB 3400 required help from a friendly techie as the Win 95 CD is not bootable (quite a limitation for the set up described!). He managed to use a floppy to boot, get the boot system copied to the newly created C drive and then get Blue Power to boot from this. Some other edits through DOS and we were able to install Win 95 successfully. This will now boot and run, provided I have chosen Blue Power at start up.

Our Rev B iMac froze both from the first downloaded version and from the second, supposedly updated version. I separately applied the update and this seemed to work, using a copy of the virtual hard disc created on the PB 3400. Unfortunately the keyboard (standard iMac keyboard) was not picked up. Restarted several times and on only a couple of occasions was the keyboard recognised. In the process of making some changes to see if I could affect this, WIn 95 became very confused and started to behave as if first installed - asking for serial numbers etc. Unable to comply as the keyboard wasn't responding. Left with the impression that the interface with USB devices was not as it should be - or that the emulator exaggerated the intermittent iMac keyboard problem.

March 22, 1999
It works on a 6115
Steve Ashton

I loaded Windows 95 on my Performa 6115CD and it works Great! Now I am working on putting Windows on my iMac.

March 22, 1999
IRQ, DMA settings help
Bill Goose

This MacPConline forum may help. We found that incorrectly set hardware settings (like IRQ, DMA, I/O conflict which normally crashes PC as well) seems to cause error type 10.

Reset the hardware settings (or Command-D) solved this error for us easily. This happened to us when we enable hardware component that is not available (for example, when we enabled NE2000 compatible card using Open Transport Ethernet , we got error type. We reset it, the error disappear. Finally, we switch to the other slot, this time we did not have error type 10).

August 9, 1999
Al Moore

I have not connected Lismore either by phone or e-mail, but I have downloaded BLPE 1.5 through Club Mac's software download site. The cost was $29.95 and what a bargain. Since, I have less than a year on a Mac... I had copies of Win 3.11, 95 and DOS which to load. Configuring was straight forward and I had no problems loading OS images. As with Windows, interrupts, DMA's for the sound and CD-ROM needed adjusting. And, that's all. The on-line documentation was helpful with very detailed instructions.

Compared to the other choices especially at this price point, I am happy that a can run my business software again on one platform. Saving a lot of room in my small back office. Too bad the company has vaporized. I will enjoy their effort until.....

Windows NT and startup disks.

August 11, 1999 -- Steve Mansfield reports that running Windows NT on Lismore's Blue Label PowerEmulator, the NT disk image needs to be on the Mac's startup disk. When the NT disk image is on any other volume, NT yields a blue screen crash:

I went for the $20 download and found that as long as you didn't expect too much it was OK. It blue screened NT if the disk image was on a volume other than the startup volume (Mac that is), but I suppose that for $20 you can't complain. I've not tried version 1.5 as the startup disk limitation has prevented me.

Win NT on BLPE 1.5 vs. Virtual PC

[Note: We have been able to run Win NT on Virtual PC. -- Editor]

August 12, 1999 -- Tom Zimmer sent us his comments about runnng Windows NT on Lismore's Blue Label PowerEmulator 1.5 and on Virtual PC on an iMac. He had these conclusions:

Zimmer's report:

I have been using BLPE since 1.4.

I recently upgraded to a 333 iMac, and upgraded BLPE to 1.5 for free from the web site. I decided that now that I have a fast Mac, I would try to install Windows NT 4.0 on BLPE, to see how it compares to Virtual PC.

I had previously installed Windows NT on Virtual PC, but it would run very slowly, since there were no special drivers for NT. I installed Windows NT on BLPE, both from the FreeDOS image that was included with 1.5, and directly from the CD-ROM, by booting from it. They both worked well, and the performance of BLPE is very acceptable, even though there are not special drivers for Windows NT. The documentation was very complete, I was even able to find notes on how to create DiskCopy images and then mount different images while running BLPE, using special key combinations.

Overall, I am very pleased with the product, and even at $29.95, I think it is very competitive with Virtual PC, or RealPC.

December 20, 1999 --
Mike Douglass

I've been running BLPE for some time, though I haven't had much work to do on it.

I bought it after spending some months trying to get Virtual PC to work with NT (Service pack 3). NT or Virtual PC would crash while creating hundreds of files (unzipping or building modula-3 for NT) My Mac is a B&W G3 350 MHz 128 MB.

I managed to boot up the NT install disk and installed NT as simply as on a real PC. There were a couple of bugs in the pre 1.5 BLPE version which have been fixed now. I unzipped my files without any problems and built the modula-3 system. It behaves almost exactly like my m/c at work, just slower. Neither NT nor the emulator have crashed. Lismore have responded quickly to any email I've sent.

I also installed slackware Linux and configured the X system on that. No problems.

It's very impressive and seems more like a real PC emulator than other products which I guess sacrifice generality for integration, that is things like the VPC drag and drop of files.

BLPE and Windows NT

January 3, 2000
Peter Truskier

I've been using VPC 3.0 with NT Server 4.0 SP5 for a while on a G3 PowerBook. While pretty happy with it, I decided to try Blue Label, which I purchased and installed along with NT Server 4.0 SP1. It worked reasonably well, though I had terrible network performance as compared with VPC 3.

I then loaded the recently released SP6a. Installation went smoothly. After restarting, I attempted to log on, and could not, eventually getting a timeout with a message that the netlogon service was not running. (Interestingly, this is exactly the problem that VPC 2 had after upgrading from SP3 to SP4...)

Truskier and another reader, Dan O'Sullivan, both report that detailed questions sent to Lismore Systems' tech support e-mail address were replied to with a one-line response.

O'Sullivan uses BLPE to run the AvantGo service that connects his Palm pilot to the Mapquest and Chicago Tribune web sites. His problem is that he can't get networking running. He says it recognizes his network card, he doesn't get a response in the network browser.

Problems with 1.0 fixed with upgrades

September 17, 2000
Jonathan Hartland

I have a Performa 6200 (75 MHz PPC603e) and bought v1.0 of BLPE as soon as I saw it. I have used PCs before and have an old 386 which I used as a software donor before dismantling it. After installing BLPE I had problems with Windows 3.1 freezing on startup, no CD recognition through Windows (when I got it running) or DOS and no mouse recognition through DOS. The DOS mouse and CD drivers caused horrendous crashes. I e-mailed Lismore and received an IMMEDIATE reply telling me how to download updates from their website. Everything I usually need to use a PC for now works fine, albeit slowly as I need to use virtual memory to get BLPE to run!

Running Linux on Blue Label PowerEmulator 1.6

September 28, 2000
Sergio Zordanis

I've downloaded the Blue Label PowerEmulator after reading on the LismoreSoft website that the emulation can run various flavors of Linux and the FreeBSD too...

After the installation (a breeze) on my iBook, I was amazed for the great number of options related to the hardware configuration, and for the "boot from CD" option missing in the Connectix Virtual PC 3. So I tried to install everything I see near me:

1. FreeBSD 3.4 - installation OK, the system halts on boot... no way to make it work (I've done different kind of installation from the minimal to the complete, but nothing to do)

2. Linux (RedHat, Mandrake, SuSE 6.2/6.3) - installation hangs the iBook after the initial boot sequence (the only thing I can do is to turn the power off...), usually - but not always - near the "checking fpu" boot message.

3. Windows 98 SE - the system hangs on the first reboot... same as above... iBook is dead, power off and on again. Following step by step the LismoreSoft website Windows 98 installation instructions (disabling the CPU optimization) makes Windows reboot correctly (but you have to spend some hour waiting for the installation process to end). The emulation is really, REALLY slow, compared to Connectix Virtual PC, and the same is for the refresh of the screen. Don't forget that the emulated mouse is difficult to control.

So... the only OS that works great is the DOS clone that comes with BLPE!

Blue Label PowerEmulator runs Microware OS-9

January 9, 2001 -- Allen Huffman reports that BLPE can run Microware OS-9 real-time operating system (RTOS) for PCs, used for creating embedded applications and software for consumer devices.

In my search to find a Mac PC emulator that would boot OS-9/x86, I purchased Blue Label. It works! The low-level floppy booting hangs, but if I make a DOS boot floppy that then loads the OS-9 system files from DOS and reboots the system it will work. It also emulated graphics and networking under OS-9 just fine!

Virtual PC won't do this, and I don't think RealPC or SoftWindows will either.

Officially, Virtual PC supports on Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000 and Red Hat Linux. FWB's RealPC support only Windows 95 and 98.

Reader review of BLPE 1.6SE: problems with Internet Explorer 5, Win 98

July 31, 2001 -- A reader who wishes to be identified only as "T.R." sent us a review of the Lismore BlueLabel Power Emulator 1.6SE.

I purchased the BPLE 1.6SE in an effort to avoid the costs of VPC or Softwindows. I too have many copies of Winblows, and don't want to purchase another copy of Winblows and the cost for VPC minus an operating system isn't all that cheap. According to various sources, SoftWindows isn't worth my time. So I took a chance, at $20 bucks.

My review is mixed. Installing W95 is pretty good, if you follow the directions on the website. W98 crashed many times while trying to install it. I emailed the support for Lismore and they recommended installing W95 instead. My whole reason for installing the emulator is to run a couple of virtual trainers (certification stuff--Network +/ CCNA) which require IE5, MS Java Virtual Machine, Real Player8 and Shockmachine (talk about bloat-ware). Anyways, so far I have thrown mass amounts of memory at the emulator trying to get the applications to run faster (Powerbook G3 FW 400Mhz, 576Mb RAM, OS 9.1/X (Separate partitions) DVD player). The actual OS is not that bad at 64Mb (total 96Mb, shared with the Loader application. better at 128 or 256Mb if you can spare it.) However, trying to run IE or even Netscape 4.7 (REALLY slow) is pathetic and sounds come through either broken up, stuttered, or with a clicking sound. I am connected to a cable modem via an Airport Hub, so I know that my ISP connection is very fast. The network card emulated is an NE2000 compatible. You can adjust various things on the processor, but that doesn't seem to help my situation. I haven't given up.....yet, but I'm getting tired of trying to tweak it. 

So if you're trying to use a program that "needs" IE5, forget it. I don't know how any games run. Oh yea, you do need to make sure that no other Mac applications are running, or you can boot to the emulated OS when you power on your Mac. If they can get things tightened up, perhaps tweak the processor a little more, it might run really well. So if you just need an emulator to run a small game or an application that is not too demanding and can run it on W95, it'll probably do just fine for your needs (and we all know that IE demands everything.) I don't know if you have a rating system, but since so many places use a 5 place system with stars, thumbs up, or such, I would give it 3 stars with room for lots of improvement with W95, and 1 star with W98.

I tried to be honest and accurate about the product. I really do feel like it could work well, if they just got it tightened up a bit more. You are able to dictate several things like caches, booting, drives, etc. I hope they get it right eventually.

Ethernet, other problems

August 30, 2001
Christoph Gartmann

Just to let you know my experience since version 1.0 (up to v1.6): I cannot use it. First, I have a 7100 with a G3 upgrade card and a PCI Ethernet card (BNC). This Mac is not directly connected to an Apple keyboard but to a CPU-switcher. The following problems arose:

1.) One has to ensure that the system extension for the upgrade card is first, before BlueLabel.

2.) I cannot get the emulator to work via the CPU-switcher. BlueLabel complains because it cannot find a keyboard. The stupid program doesn't continue, it aborts. Only if I connect a real Apple keyboard I can get BlueLabel to work.

3.) I cannot get Ethernet to work. BlueLabel setup offers either Open Transport or "Ethernet at Slot 0". Both versions don't function.

My contact to Lismore was via e-mail. But I only got standard answers, not helpful at all. Virtual PC doesn't have any of the above problems.

CD-ROM problems

September 25, 2001 -- Jerry Martin can't get Lismore's BlueLabel Power Emulator to recognize his CD-ROM drive:

I've just bought a copy of BLPE from the online store - it's available online again - didn't realize that the site had been down!

Well I've been having some problems. I have a PowerBook G3 and a PowerBook 1400CS. (I also have SoftMac 2000 running on a Dell Pentium II, but that's doesn't really count! ;-)

My problem: on both machines I can't get the CD-ROM drive to work. Whenever I enable it on any of the devices in the standard-dual IDE controller, the emulator quits with an 'error type 3' when trying to load the controller. I can create disk images and use PTS-DOS but if I can't use the CD-ROM how am I supposed to install Windows! The only way I can get the emulator to even boot is to disable the CD-ROM drive... =(

Does anyone have any ideas as to what might be wrong. I am running MacOS 8.1 on both machines and have BLPE 1.6SE. I have read somewhere that there is a components update 2, but the 'updates page' makes reference only to the version I have BLPE1.6SE which supposedly only contains components update 1. Does anybody have these updates or where can I get them?

Maybe I'm doing something simple wrong. I've tried using 'default settings' [cmd][D] but that doesn't help either.

October 19, 2001 -- Jerry Martin found a solution to the problem:

A guy from the Mac newsgroups kindly forwarded me version 1.1 and 1.0 of the IDE controller (the current 'fixed' version is 1.1.5). I installed version 1.1 and all my CD-ROM problems went away.

I was using Mac OS 8.1 on a PowerBook G3 and PowerBook 1400cs. Using the current components versions causes CD-ROM recognition to fail and the emulator to halt before it even starts.

Reports on BLPE 1.7

May 2, 2002
Andrew Roazen

I bought 1.6 and am currently testing 1.7. The configuration I have is a 7500 with a MAXpowr G4 card from NewerTech, 240M memory, USB 1.0 card. The virtual setup is Win 95, 200M HD setup and 96M memory.

I discovered early on that the Wacom Graphire pad I have (USB) prevented BLPE from recognizing the ADB mouse and stayed this way until the pad was disconnected from the USB -- even though the drivers had been disabled the USB firmware still recognized there was a pointing device connected. From time to time the Setup application loses the settings that tell it where the A: and C: images are, something that didn't happen with 1.6.

Small utilities seem to work well, but I haven't tested it with too many hardcore apps. Freeware 3D editor Milkshape crashed. Because I haven't gotten the network card emulation to work yet, I can't evaluate its Internet connectivity.

In general it behaves like a slow Windows PC. I'm debating spending the $35 at Wal-Mart to purchase the Win 98 upgrade.

May 2, 2002
Matt Powers

I have had a hard time getting this puppy to work. I tried installing on iBook running OS 9.2.1. Devices don't seem to be recognized and at the end of installing windows 98 the CD with the install cabs disappears. Upon reboot, I get registry errors.

May 6, 2002
Kaari Koehn

I've got a beige G3/233 Mac running OS 8.1. I bought BLPE 1.6 and installed it, but for whatever reason, I couldn't get it working in two sessions so I set it aside, without bothering to ask for technical support.

When I heard about the new release, I downloaded the 1.7 update and this one ran. I had to go _back_ to the 1.6 setup utility to check on my virtual hard disk/IDE configuration, and teach myself a few facts of life about IDE CD drivers (MSCDEX.EXE), but I have a happy enough system with MS-DOS 5.0 installed. (First booted from the PTS-DOS A: image, then made C: bootable, then ran the MS-DOS 5 setup. Next day I straightened out the startup files and had the CD on D: drive.)

Haven't run much software yet, MechWarrior 1.0 ran quick (I guess it expected a '486) and my first program that required extended memory (X-Com game using DOS4GW) hung at the opening screen.

Mac setup has 96 MB RAM, ADB mouse only (no USB card), 4 GB disk. BLPE DOS setup has 64 MB RAM (should only need 8 for the games), MS-DOS 5.0, 300 MB disk.

Update: problem fixed

May 28, 2002
Kaari Koehn

Just wanted to note that it turned out to be a mouse driver problem, the XCOM game ran with full mouse and sound support once I used a boot disk with a later version of DOS. (Specifically DOS7 from dos.li5.org/w0rmdisk.htm, skipping the utilities and using no memory expander. The game uses DOS4GW, which needs about 530K of lower DOS memory to start, then finds expanded memory on its own. I haven't tried DOS 6.22 bootdisks.)

June 7, 2002
Dave Heap

I have a background of successful use of Virtual PC 3 in a previous job. However, needing something for occasional home use, (and not wanting to spend big dollars on Virtual PC) when BLPE 1.7 came out I decided to gamble my own money on giving it a try.

My home machine is a beige G3/266 Minitower, 6 GB Hard Drive, ZIP, 192 Mb RAM running OS 8.1. Unfortunately, whenever I attempt to open the 'Standard Dual IDE Controller' component in Blue Label Setup v1.7, it brings up the 'looking for devices...' message then disappears, leaving me back at the main Blue Label Setup window. So I am unable to allocate any disk images or CD-ROMs. I can allocate floppy disks or images with the 'Super Floppy Disk 1.44' component, although I am fairly sure it has exhibited disappearing behavior occasionally while selecting a floppy image. So I can boot PTS-DOS from a floppy, but that is about all.

I tried all the usual things such as booting with extensions off, but to no avail. I also installed a different temporary hard drive in the machine and put a clean install of OS 8.1 on it. Still the same problem. I then tried a clean install of OS 9.2.1 on the temporary hard drive and it did allow the 'Standard Dual IDE Controller' component to work. However, under 9.2.1 my monitor would lose sync when Blue Label loaded unless I set resolution back to 640 by 480 (this did not happen under OS 8.1). My monitor is an Apple StudioWorks 54M, which does seem to prefer some strange refresh rates. And since I don't own a copy of OS 9 for home, it's not an option at this stage.

I also tried installing on several work machines, a 233 MHz/64 Mb iMac and a Blue & White 450 MHz/256 Mb G3 Server, and was able to get Win 98 SE up and running, although the speed wasn't brilliant (slower than I remember Virtual PC to have been). The main problem I did have was with the keyboards (original small iMac style keyboards). The '|' & '\' key produced 'A' & 'a', while the '~' & '`' key produced nothing. You can't get far in Windows without a '\' key!

A Macally USB Optical Mouse on one machine was totally nonfunctional in Windows (movement or button clicks) unless I removed the Macally driver completely - losing access to its features for all other applications. A Microsoft USB Optical Mouse on the other machine functioned perfectly once I told the Microsoft driver to keep out of the way (disable features for Blue Label Loader).

So, was it worth the $AU65.22 I spent on it? Not at present, because I can't get it to work on the machine I bought it for. If I can get it working on my home machine, it will quite possibly do what I need it to do - run the occasional PC program for which there is no Mac equivalent. Looks like a product with potential, but too many holes at present.

If you've seen these problems, please let us know.


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