OS/2, eCS & ArcaOS - Technical > Multimedia

PC Speaker output to sound card?

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Greg Barrett:
Background:  I am working with medical device software running in eComStation 2.1 on a virtual machine (currently VirtualBox 6.1). The host OS is Windows 10. The software uses the dosbeep API call to generate its audible alarms (which, as you can imagine for a medical device, are important).  Unfortunately, VirtualBox does not support PC speaker output for OS/2 family operating systems.

Is there any way, at the OS level, to redirect PC speaker output (or even just dosbeep specifically) to the sound card?

Martin Iturbide:
Hi Gregg.  Welcome to the forum.

For what I read, running Windows 10 as host on VirtualBox, there is no support to pass the beeps of the Guest OS to the host machine. There is something experimental that VirtualBox has, but it only works on a Linux host and it may not work depending on the distro. (Here it is the source)

I also had tried a program (rhythm.zip) that uses the PC speaker on a ArcaOS VM (Guest) running on VirtualBox Windows 10 (host). And I confirm that it does not beep.

I'm not sure if there is something, like a driver that pass through the pc sepaker to the sound blaster or Uniaud audio driver. Maybe someone else has a different idea for a solution. You don't have the source code for the medical software on the device, right?


David Graser:
There is an old pc speaker driver for OS/2.  However, don't know if it would work, especially using a virtual machine.


This is the readme:

--- Code: ---
                   IBM Multimedia Presentation Manager/2
                            Speaker Audio DD
                               Version 1.1
           (C) Copyright IBM Corp. 1991, 1993  All Rights Reserved.
                     IBM is a registered trademark of the
                 International Business Machines Corporation
   U.S. Government Users Restricted Rights - Use, duplication or disclosure
            restricted by GSA ADP Schedule Contract with IBM Corp.


   The Speaker audio device driver provide support for playing digital
   audio waveform files on the standard PC speaker by using the
   MMPM/2 audio system.   This support is important because it allows
   non-multimedia enabled systems to play short sound effects and other
   short digitized sound through the PC speaker.

   The speaker driver provides support for PCM waveform files that
   are (8-bit/16-bit, stereo/mono, 11Khz-44khz).

   This driver is intended for use under OS/2 2.1 or greater.

   The quality of sound produced from the speaker device is low
   compared to a real audio card, and will vary from machine to


   The standard PC speaker was not intended to play digitized waveform
   sound.  In order to produce a reasonable approximation of the
   sound contained in .WAV files, the device driver requires
   exclusive use of the CPU for an extended period of time.  This
   may have undersirable effects on performance critical multitasking
   such as communications, modem transfers, networking, etc.
   We do not recommend that this software be used in conjunction with
   communications software, time critical, or mission critical application.
   This may include printing and mouse operation during sound generation.

   If you experience problems, you should discontinue use of the
   speaker device driver.

   Interrupts are enabled while the speaker is being operated, however
   multitasking operation is suspended.

   This software is not supported by IBM technical support channels.


   IBM grants the right to use, reproduce, and distribute this
   speaker driver software provided that (1) it is not distributed for
   profit, (2) it is used only with licensed copies of OS/2 2.1,
   (3) the software is not modified, (4) all copyright notices
   remain with the software, (5) the end user agrees to the license.

   This speaker driver is provided in 'as is' condition without
   warranty of any kind and no support will be provided.

   IBM and its vendors takes no responibility and is not liable for
   any consequences or damages of any kind resulting from the
   use or existence of this software.

   IBM does not guarantee that the speaker driver software will run
   on all machines.  IBM is not obligated to provide any updates to
   this software.


   1) Install the MMPM/2 base.  The MINSTALL program requires you
      to select one of the subsystems in order to do an install.  If
      you don't already have a audio card, or CD-ROM, then you
      can select Software Motion Video which doesn't require any special
      hardware other than the monitor.

      Reboot after this installation.

   2) Place the files from the SPKRDD package into a subdirectory (i.e. \spkrdd)

   3) Use the MINSTALL installation program from the MMPM/2 folder to
      select the \spkrdd directory.  Install the Speaker Driver
      package by selecting the speaker driver object and pressing Install.

   4) After install is complete, a reboot is required.


   The speed and volume of the sound produced by the speaker device
   driver must be configured on a machine by machine basis.

   1) Select the Multimedia Setup program in the MMPM/2 folder.

   2) Select the speaker settings page, to customize the speed and
      volume of speaker.  The speaker push button will place a test
      sound, that will give you some feedback on the speed and volume


   If you experience problems with the speaker device driver and wish to
   un-install it.

   1) Edit you config.sys, and comment out the device driver line:


   2) Edit MMPM2.INI and remove PCSPEAKER and SPKRDDAMP and any references
      to these names.


   1) If you install only Software Motion Video support, and then the speaker
      device driver,  the Software Motion Video support will run without
      audio support. This is preferable, since both software video and
      the speaker driver compete for the CPU.

      If however you want to try, running them both together, the
      MMPM2.INI can be updated as follows.  This will also cause the
      audio and video to be out of sync.


   2) The system sounds support, for which the speaker driver is intended for,
      will be installed automatically by the install of MMPM/2 base.  System
      sounds plays on the default device.  If you install support for
      another audio card first, then install the speaker device driver, the
      other audio card will be the default.  The default can be changed
      in the Multimedia Setup Program.


   1) The internal design of the drive has been modified to use a time
      critical thread rather than a timer.

   2) A defect causing problems with interrupt driven devices has been
      fixed.  It most commonly caused the mouse to lock up, but has
      also caused printing problems.

--- End code ---

Greg Barrett:
Thanks for the reply, but this is basically the opposite of what I'm hoping for.  I need audio intended for the PC speaker to play through the sound card instead.

--- Quote from: David Graser on April 02, 2020, 09:06:54 pm ---There is an old pc speaker driver for OS/2.  However, don't know if it would work, especially using a virtual machine.


This is the readme:...

--- End quote ---

Martin Iturbide:
Hi Gregg

Can you try to specify the medical device and the software that is running there? Maybe some other solution can be thought, or maybe someone already had worked with that device and software.

You don't have the source code of the OS/2 medical application, right?



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