QEMU Sound Blaster in Windows 3.1x


I had feedback from a reader of my QEMU Ad Lib MIDI in Windows 3.1x post asking how I got Sound Blaster working in it. I give people what they want! ^_^

Execution Summary

Creative and Sound Blaster are from Singapore, I’ve been to their offices! I always liked their 1990s-tech logo :). But I digress.

QEMU has Sound Blaster support in its default configuration, and Windows 3.1 has drivers that can be used by default, which makes our lives much easier.

You can download drivers from the Sound Blaster support website which will give you a mixer, but I’m a fan of minimalism and I didn’t notice any real performance or quality benefit from doing so. If you elect to use these drivers instead, remember the installer needs to be run from DOS BEFORE you launch Windows.

As a caveat, as I mentioned in my Ad Lib post, I’ve yet to find a way to allow both emulated sound cards to coexist in Windows 3.1. When Sound Blaster drivers are installed before or after Ad Lib, Sound Blaster assumes the roll of MIDI, which isn’t supported in QEMU (hence the use of Ad Lib in the first place). As soon as I know a solution to this, I’ll post about it.

Windows 3.1

1. Fire up your QEMU DOS VM and start Windows 3.1. Launch Control Panel and choose Drivers. Have a sudden urge to play Wii golf. No wait, it would have to be Microsoft Golf 2.0 MME ;). Why do I bother blogging about anything else other than retro stuff? I missed my calling.

2. Click Add…, choose Creative Labs Sound Blaster 1.5, and hit OK. You’ll be prompted for your Windows 3.1 setup files.

3. In the Sound Blaster Setup window, choose Port 220 and Interrupt 5.

4. Windows will tell you the driver is installed, however we should "contact Creative Labs for a driver specific to your card". Just hit OK. How did people live without the WWW?! I suppose one could have got drivers from a BBS, right?

Now you can go into Sound in Control Panel or launch Sound Recorder and play all the chiming chord dings that you want! :)

Author bio and support


Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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