Windows 2.03 on Amstrad PPC640

I’ve been feeling retro all weekend, and one of the things I’ve done is to install Windows 2.03 on my Amstrad PPC640. I’ve already written a post on my PPC640, which you can read here. Quick summary of the PPC640 – 16 bit 8086 compatible CPU running on 8MHz, 640KB RAM and a monochrome 9″ LCD display.

Why Windows 2? Well Amstrad only has 2 720KB floppy drives, and Windows 2 is the last version of Windows that can be installed onto floppies – no hard drive required. It installs itself on 2 720KB floppies, which gives you the bare bones Windows 2.03 environment. A third floppy gives you a bunch of Windows applications, some of which you still get with new versions of Windows (modern versions of course).

Applications that you get are:
– CALC.EXE – Calculator
– CALENDAR.EXE – Calendar application
– CARDFILE.EXE – Personal database
– CLOCK.EXE – Clock
– NOTEPAD.EXE – Notepad
– PAINT.EXE – Paint
– REVERSI.EXE – Reversi game (no Minesweeper or Solitaire in those days)
– TERMINAL.EXE – Terminal emulator application
– WRITE.EXE – Windows Write word processor

There are also a few other system utilities, like spooler, pif editor, image converter and configuration utility. Amazing what you could fit on a single 720KB floppy in those days.

Windows 2.03 takes 238KB of memory when loaded, which leaves a whole 402KB free to run applications (as you can see on one of the screenshots). It was enough to run multiple apps at the same time, though.

Here are a few screenshots of the system up and running.


11 thoughts on “Windows 2.03 on Amstrad PPC640

  1. Thanks, i am trying to find on internet, not really a luck with windows 2.03. i found windows 1.0 and windows 3 but not windows 2.03 😦

    • Hello,
      Install options would depend on the actual hardware you are installing it on. Amstrad has a CGA display, which is the option I would have chosen during install. As for other config options, I can’t remember exactly, but again that would depend on your hardware.

  2. thanks Simke! i was stuck because of the DIP switches of my PPC640. the settings were wrong, so i couldn’t get the windows running, now it works, all thanks to you 🙂 BTW, what about the third floppy with all those applications you mentioned? when i was installing, the installer didn’t ask me to put any disks except setup, build and fonts disks. i mean, how to get all those applications on a floppy so that i can see them on windows’s MS-DOS executable screen??

  3. Hi just wondered if anyone else has had trouble installing 2.03. I’ve tried both the OEM standard and Amstrad OEM version. Both give me this error: “error can’t open win.cnf (files= may be too small or disk full).”

    I’ve tried different disks and reformatting, and even gave it a go on the 2x360kb option which didn’t work either. Obviously I’m trying to install to 2 x 720kb 3.5 disks…

    Thanks for any help!

    • Hi I figured out why I was getting that error… Something to do with the setup not formatting the disks correctly. So I formatted them on the Amstrad in MSDOS first, then ran setup again and it worked fine. 🙂

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