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Audio in Windows 98SE on Parallels 12

Tue, Aug 30, 2016

— An updated post for for Parallels 13 can be found here. —

When I was in middle school there were four games that consumed the vast majority of my time: Simcity 2000, The Sims, Sim Theme Park, and Spiderman Cartoon Maker. I loved these games and would play them with my brothers nearly every day.

Adulthood means limited free time and, in my experience, a desire to in some way escape back to childhood via nostalgia. For me this manifest in my upkeep of old computers and software so I can play the games of childhood. Beyond that, I want to play the games of my childhood on hardware that I could hardly conceive of playing on back then. We’re talking maximum settings all around.

For SimCity 2000 and The Sims this is easily achievable with my iMac G4 running MacOS 9.2. Spiderman Cartoon Maker and Sim Theme Park have long been my outliers. The first because I couldn’t find the installation disc in my parent’s house and the second because I just couldn’t get it to run.

Here’s the problem. Sim Theme Park doesn’t officially support Windows past 98. Windows 95 & 98 aren’t available — for various reasons — on MSDN and I don’t have a disc lying around. There’s a community patch for Windows 2000 and XP, but I’ve never gotten it to successfully work. I’ve tried it on XP Media Center Edition on a circa 2005 Dell tower, in multiple versions of Parallels and VMWare Fusion, and even on Linux under Wine. In each scenario I get some version of fail. Either graphics are so slow as to be unusable, sound doesn’t work, the app crashes after the launch screen, etc., etc., etc.

Last Summer I finally bit the bullet and shrug purchased a copy of Windows 98SE. Following some really great — though outdated — tutorials online and after much Googling I was able to get Windows 98SE installed in Parallels. Well, nearly. Sound wasn’t working.

It seems Parallels stopped officially supporting Windows 98 after version 3.0. They no longer ship Parallels Tools for the OS and don’t provide an audio driver.

Today, however, I have solved the problem. Between the Parallels 12 update and some internet searching I have finally successfully installed audio drivers for Windows 98SE!

Installing Audio Drivers for Windows 98SE in Parallels 12

NB: Only for Windows 98SE, Not Windows 98 or 95

Unfortunately, after all this work Sim Theme Park will still not load. The game starts to launch and then nothing happens. I believe either 3D graphics are not supported correctly for Windows 98 in Parallels or I have some more video driver work to do. More is certainly to follow!