Windows NT 4.0 sound in VirtualBox


Screenshotshowing Winamp on Windows NT 4.0

So you want to get sound working in your Windows NT 4.0 VirtualBox virtual machine to relieve the glory days of your electronic youth, or some other reason you're too embarrased to discuss? Don't we all.

Caveats, mmm, must be Russian for bug larvae

Before we go any further, two quick points.

Unlike newer operating systems, Windows NT 4.0 is accorded VirtualBox additions that don't bother to set up the sound system. How dreadfully inconsiderate. Fortunately, after you've installed Service Pack 6 and the VirtualBox additions (in that order), it only takes a few minor adjustments to get sound.

The other point is, these instructions work and are current as of VirtualBox 3.2.10, build r66523. That's very close to a satanic number, just saying. I've been using NT 4 in VirtualBox for many years and the software has a habit of requiring different sound settings and drivers with subsequent releases.

The procedure

  1. Click your Windows NT 4.0 VM and hit Settings. Under the Audio tab, change the Audio Controller to SoundBlaster 16.

  2. Start the VM (always helps). Navigate to StartSettingsControl Panel and choose Multimedia. Under the Devices tab, click Add….

  3. Choose Create Labs Sound Blaster 1.X, Pro, 16 and hit OK. You’ll need to specify the location of your Windows NT 4 installation files. I installed mine from CD, so I mounted the installation CD at this point, then hit OK

  4. Leave the I/O Address at "220" and click Continue, then under MPU401 I/O Address, change the value from "330" to "Disable" and hit OK.

  5. If you’ve mounted the installation CD, unmount it now otherwise when you restart it’ll boot into that instead of your VM!

  6. Hit Restart Now. Surprisingly for a Redmond product, this is an example of a voluntary restart.

Now go grab yourself a 2.x series version of Winamp from and relive the old days!

Screenshot showing Windows NT 4.0's sound settings.

Link arms, don’t make them

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and IaaS engineer in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Wait, not BIOS… my brain should be EFI by now.

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