Installing RealPlayer© 5.0 in OS/2 Warp: Revised

By: Walter Metcalf
Date: 02/17/99

About two months ago, I wrote an article entitled Installing RealPlayer© in OS/2 Warp based on my own research. Shortly after I published the article, my installation broke. Furthermore, several people who used the article reported they were unable to make RealPlayer work in their system. Clearly more investigation was needed. This article is the result. New or significantly revised material will be shown in red.

If you do any amount of surfing on the Web, you've undoubtedly come across many sites that offer high-quality sound and/or video downloadable over the internet, called streaming media. To make use of this feature, you must have a RealAudio® or RealPlayer® software package from RealNetworks, Inc. installed on your system. Doing this on OS/2 Warp, Netscape 2.02, and Netscape Communicator 4.04 is the subject of this article.


Unfortunately, as many of you have found out, RealNetworks does not make an OS/2 version, and has no plans to do so. The latest version is a 32-bit version that works only on versions of Windows 9x and Windows NT.

The good news is that there is an earlier 16-bit version, RealPlayer 5.0, that does work with Warp by utilizing Win-OS/2. The sound provided is really very good, although there can be some interruptions if the internet is very busy. Video works fine too on my Acer Open 56K modem. (When writing the original the original article I only had a USR Sportster 33.6 and noticed several delays due to buffering.)


  • OS/2 Warp with Win-OS/2 installed
    Note: I only tested this with Warp 4, but Warp 3 should work as well. I also used TCP/IP 4.1, but I see no reason why 4.0 should not also work.

  • The latest versions of the Dos Box and the TCP/IP stack.

  • Note: if you get Winsock errors, read the very helpful document, Winsock Help by Judy McDermott.

  • Last, but definitely not least, you must have a sound card installed under Win-OS/2.

    • Tips
      SoundBlaster 16 and AWE 32 PnP Win-OS/2 installation is covered in Section 27.0 of the main Warp 4.0 Readme.txt file written to the root directory of your system drive at installation time.

      Sound cards using the ESS868 PnP family of chips are inexpensive, are OS/2 supported, work extremely well and product a high-quality sound. A package containing the necessary instructions including a revised installation program can be downloaded from here.

      Additional information and files may be found in the WININST.ZIP in the Drivers subdirectory of your Device Driver Pak CD that came with Warp 4.0. If you're using Warp 3, or your CD isn't handy, you can also download the file from here.


  1. Download RealPlay® 5.0.

  2. Install RealPlay (i.e. run the .exe file) and don't select a browser.

  3. Netscape 2.02

    1. Start Netscape and select Options | General Preferences | Helpers.

    2. Scroll down until you find a File Type of audio/x-pn-realaudio. Highlight that entry.

    3. If you don't find one, then click on "Create New Type" button to create a File Type = audio/x-pn-realaudio.

    4. Make sure the File Extensions are ra, ram. If they're not, then edit the window.

    5. Click on Launch the application.

    6. Enter the filename realplay.exe (raplayer.exe if you're installing realaudio) along with the complete path and device name in the last field.

  4. Netscape 4.04

    1. Start Netscape and select Edit | Preferences. In the large box on the left, click on the category Navigator, and then click on Applications.

    2. Scan down the box labelled Applications and look for an entry called RealAudio, or something similar.

    3. If you don't find one, then click on New Type.

    4. Fill in the information as follows:

      Description: RealAudio;

      File Extension: ra ram;

      Mime Type: audio/x-pn-realaudio;

      Application to Use: raplayer.exe plus the full path including the device name.

  5. For successful multimedia playing, it is critical that the path name, device name, extensions, and MIME type be entered exactly as shown.

  6. If using Netscape 2.02, you may find that some multimedia sites will fail with a message about the OS/2 multimedia plugin. The means the multimedia plugin is out of date, and the only solution is to switch to Netscape 4.04. It is doubtful IBM will upgrade the multimedia plugins for the older version of Netscape.

  7. If you have any problems not covered here, please report them on the Focus on OS/2 bulletin board, so we may all work on them together, pooling our experience on various configurations.

Additional Tips

Since publishing the original article, I have discovered a number of very helpful tips in various locations on the Internet.

I have organized them below, based on my own experience with them:

  1. From the Netscape mailing/discussion list In response to my posting the error message that says, "RAPLAYER is not allowed to run in a Win-OS/2 window", Sid Gale posted the following:

    I've seen a solution to something very like this posted in Usenet:

    1. In the win-os2 system.ini, under [386enh], comment out the line which says

      device=dva.386 (i.e. make ;device=dva.386)

    2. In the win-os2 win.ini file, under [drawdib] add


    This information is also given in Netscape Navigator for OS/2 Warp - plug-ins hints and tips, although it's slightly different in that it says that the device=dva.386 *shouldn't* be commented out. However, I used to have this problem (and not just with RealPlayer 5), and making the alterations described in this article completely cured it. The only problem with RealPlayer I still have is that the first time I click on a RP link the viewer gives an error saying the file has an invalid format. If I click on the link again, all is well. I think the problem arises because of the time it takes to spawn the viewer. Live webcasts from certain sites produce the same error messages, but these errors are permanent.¹

    I applied the first fix and now RealPlayer 5.0 for Win 3.1 now runs in a window both as a helper to either NS 2.02 or 4.04 and as a standalone program.

  2. Sid Gale reports the following (which he got from Mike Kaply):

    I installed [RealPlayer 5.0] in a full-screen win-os2 session, then created a program object for it. I had problems because Netscape insisted on started RP in real mode, not enhanced; that's the problem that is solved by passing the file to the WorkPlace Shell. [See next tip.]

  3. From the Communicator/2 tips and tricks document:

    How to cause helpers to be launched by the WPS:

    If you check the application radio button when editing (not creating) a helper, but leave the application entry field blank, the item simply gets passed to the Workplace Shell. This trick can be used to launch Windows helpers with proper settings, as well as just letting the WPS handle all misc types.

¹My system consists of Warp 4, Fixpak 9, Netscape 4.04, and RealPlayer 5.0.

For further reading:

Communicator for OS/2 Bug-Tracker

Netscape Communicator for OS/2 Mailing/Discussion List

Netscape Navigator for OS/2 Warp - plug-ins hints and tips

Winsock Help by Judy McDermott. Document containing detailed instructions on what to do if you encounter Winsock.dll errors. Some parts are out of date because article deals with RealAudio 3.0.

Microsoft Trial See and hear Bill Gates' depositions as well as other videos related to the trial from Court-TV. You'll find this works best if you choose a time when the Internet is quiet, and if you have a high-speed modem (>= 56 KB).

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