VirtualBox - ICH9

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Chapter 1: Prepare a virtual machine for FreeDOS in VirtualBox

Chapter 2: Special settings for FreeDOS

Chapter 3: Connect the FreeDOS install CD

Chapter 4: Install FreeDOS

Chapter 5: Install the network

Chapter 6: Mount the FreeDOS image to transfer files

Chapter 7: FTP between host and guest

Bugs: High CPU usage of FreeDOS machine

Bugs: FreeDOS crashes at boot

Bugs: ICH9 chipset breaks networking

Bugs: Old bugs

Bugs: ICH9 chipset breaks networking


If you change the virtual chipset in your guest properties from the default "PIIX3" to "ICH9" networking won't work any more.

Change chipset in VirtualBox

To use another chipset in VirtualBox, choose the FreeDOS virtual machine and choose "System" in the configuration panel.


There you are able to choose the "ICH9" virtual chipset instead of PIIX3.


VirtualBox recommends to check the box "Enable IO APIC". Checking or unchecking doesn't have an effect on the network bug.


Error message of virtual ethernet controller

With the VirtualBox ICH9 chipset enabled the packet driver will not load and give out a warning: "PCNTPK-DOS-015:Device not found."


This means that the driver cannot find an Ethernet controller.

In newer versions of VirtualBox (5.0.24) the packet driver loads, but still can't be used by network software.


The virtual ICH9 chipset of VirtualBox breaks networking with various VirtualBox guests. FreeDOS is one of them. This is a known bug of VirtualBox.

At the moment ICH9 is under a lot of development. Because of that, it's use isn't recommended by Oracle. They write:

"Note that the ICH9 support is experimental and not recommended
for guest operating systems which do not require it." 

The bug can not be fixed by FreeDOS developers and there is no known workaround for FreeDOS users. So at the moment, we simply hope that this bug in VirtualBox will eventually be fixed by VirtualBox developers.

Until then, it is recommended to stay with the default PIIX3 virtual chipset if you need a network.