Thank-you for downloading BeOS 5 Personal Edition, the "operating
system in a file" that's easy to install, easy to use, and that
brings the fun back to personal computers. Within minutes of
installing and launching BeOS 5 Personal Edition, you'll say
"I didn't know my computer could do that!".
But first, let us explain what BeOS 5 Personal Edition is and
how it works.
BeOS 5 is an operating system that's designed from the bottom up to
unleash the processing power of modern personal computers. To make
BeOS 5 available to as many people as possible, we've created this
Personal Edition version that fits inside a single compressed file
that can be downloaded to your Windows 95, 98, 2000, or Windows NT4
By following the instructions included in this document, you can
turn your downloaded file into a Windows application that boots and
runs BeOS 5*. You don't need any special hardware, you don't need
a separate partition for your BeOS files, and, best of all, it's
As you might expect, squeezing an entire operating system into
a single file imposes some limitations (as described in the next
section). Although BeOS 5 Personal Edition is by no means a
"crippled" version of BeOS, it isn't as robust or as flexible as
the "real" version, BeOS 5 Pro Edition. We hope that the Personal
Edition version will give you enough of a taste of BeOS 5 that
you'll want to purchase the Pro Edition. To purchase a copy of
BeOS 5 Pro Edition, go to...
For the latest Personal Edition news -- such as updates and
bug fixes -- check in at...
* In some cases, you may need to boot from a boot floppy rather
than simply launch an application; this will be described in
detail in the installation instructions.
Limitations of BeOS 5 Personal Edition
In the spirit of full disclosure, this section lists some of the
limitations of BeOS 5 Personal Edition. As noted in the
descriptions, some of these limitations are alleviated in
BeOS 5 Pro Edition.
- Disk Space (Part 1)
When it's uncompressed, BeOS 5 Personal Edition inflates to 512
megabytes, no more, no less. This means that you need to have
512 megabytes of disk space available before you start the
installation instructions (below). The BeOS 5 Pro Edition can
be installed in a partition as small as 256 megabytes or as large
as your largest hard drive.
- Restarting Windows after Running BeOS
As mentioned above, the BeOS 5 Personal Edition that you
downloaded turns itself into a Windows application when you
install the downloaded file. Unlike most Window applications,
however, BeOS 5 Personal Edition takes over your computer:
It shuts down Windows and launches BeOS 5. To get back to
Windows, you have to reboot your computer. Note that running
BeOS 5 Personal Edition will not harm your Windows operating
system -- it doesn't delete any data or alter the Windows
registry. When you reboot into Windows after running BeOS 5,
your computer will revert to its normal plodding existence.
- Disk Space (Part 2)
Once you've got BeOS 5 Personal Edition running you may wonder,
"Where did all my disk space go?"
Remember, Personal Edition "lives" inside a 512 megabyte file.
Some of the 512 megabytes is taken up by the operating system
itself, and some more is devoted to a variable-sized "swap file"
(or "virtual memory"). After all of that is accounted for,
you might not have a whole lot of room left for writing and saving
files. To get around this shortcoming, you can mount other
partitions. For example, you can mount your "normal" Windows
partition and read, play, and write files you have stored there
(of course, not all files will be recognized by BeOS).
But if after booting you find you don't have a lot of disk space
available, we recommend you purchase the BeOS 5 Pro Edition,
which isn't limited to 512 megabytes.
One of the most important breakthroughs in modern computer
hardware is the advent of multiple processor systems (i.e.
computers that have more than one CPU). However, most
operating systems have been slow to adapt to this new
world -- they simply don't know how to take full advantage of
multi-processor systems. But BeOS does: The ability to recognize
and really get the most out of multiple processors is one of the
features that makes BeOS stand apart from the other guys.
Unfortunately, BeOS 5 Personal Edition, because of technical
reasons, can only recognize one processor. If you have a
multi-processor system, we strongly encourage you to purchase the
BeOS 5 Pro Edition. We think you'll agree that it's worth it.
- Graphics Cards, Sound Cards, Network Cards, and Other Hardware
BeOS 5 doesn't support every piece of hardware in the world. We
try to cover most of the modern, mainstream (and some cutting
edge) hardware, but, to be honest, we don't come close to the
range and variety of cards and devices that are supported by
Windows. It's possible that your graphics card, sound card,
network card, or other hardware device won't work with BeOS 5,
whether you have the Personal Edition or the Pro Edition. For a
full list of compatible hardware, check the list at...
- RealPlayer and Others
All the royalty-laden software that's available in BeOS 5 Pro
Edition has been removed from the Personal Edition version.
Most notably, you won't be able to play streaming Real audio or
video, and you won't be able to write mp3 or indeo media data.
To install BeOS 5 Personal Edition you need:
- A Pentium-based computer with at least 32 megabytes of RAM (P90
or higher is recommended).
- At least 512 megabytes of free disk space on a non-compressed
FAT, FAT32, or NTFS drive.
- Windows 95/98, 2000, or NT4.
- A blank floppy.
Important: The last item is used to create a bootable floppy. If
you're running Windows 2000 or NT4 you must create and use the
boot floppy -- you won't be able to simply launch BeOS 5 from an
application file. For Windows 95/98 users, launching the
application file should work, but even so, you should create a boot
floppy just in case. If you find yourself having problems launching
or running BeOS 5 Personal Edition try launching using the boot
floppy instead of using the BeOS 5 Personal Edition icon on the
Boot into your Windows operating system, and then follow
1. Close all running applications.
2. Launch the ".EXE" file that you downloaded.
3. The BeOS 5 Installer starts and displays a Welcome... screen.
4. Read the License Agreement that appears and click Yes to proceed
or No to quit. If you quit, you'll return to Windows without
installing any BeOS files.
5. Read the BeOS Information screen; it tells you more about the
installation procedure. Click Next when you're ready to
6. Select the drive you want to install onto, or accept the default
7. Select the Program Folder that should be used to store the BeOS
icons, or accept the default.
8. A summary of the your settings is displayed. Accept them by
clicking Install, or click Back to change them.
9. If you're running Windows 200 or NT4, you'll be prompted to
insert the blank boot floppy. If you're running Windows 95/98,
you'll have to create the boot floppy after the installation has
finished, as described in the next section.
Now sit back while the BeOS 5 Personal Edition files are copied
onto the chosen drive. When the installation is finished, you'll
be prompted to register your copy of BeOS 5 Personal Edition.
We strongly recommend that you reboot Windows before booting into
BeOS 5 Personal Edition for the first time.
Creating a Boot Floppy
If you're running Windows 2000 or NT4, you should have created a
boot floppy during the BeOS 5 installation. But if you're running
Windows 95/98 -- or if you simply want to create another boot
floppy -- follow the instructions here.
1. Boot into Windows.
2. Go to the Start button, browse to Programs > BeOS 5 Personal
Edition, and select Create Boot Floppy.
3. A dialog asks you if you want to create the floppy. After
you've inserted a blank floppy disk into the A: drive,
4. When the floppy is ready (it takes about a minute), exit
Create Boot Floppy.
Launching BeOS 5 Personal Edition
1. Double-click the Start BeOS 5 icon on your Windows desktop.
If you encounter problems launching or running BeOS 5 try
starting your computer from the BeOS Boot Floppy:
1. Shut down your computer.
2. Insert the BeOS Boot Floppy into the A: drive.
3. Start your computer.
Booting into BeOS 5 Under Windows NT4/2000
1. Insert the BeOS 5 boot floppy you made into the A: drive.
2. From the Windows Start button, browse to
Programs > BeOS 5 Personal Edition and select Start BeOS 5,
or double-click on the Start BeOS 5 icon that's on the
This automatically quits Windows and launches BeOS 5.
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