Installing Windows NT 3.1 on Qemu
Windows NT 3.1 will install, however it does not have PCI support so you'll be restricted to the ISA machine. Also NT 3.1 cannot drive IDE CD-ROM's. So you would have to follow the network installation guide.
When NT 3.1 was released pentium CPU's were still beta, and the cpuid thing had not been finalized enough in the install script. You will have to fix the setup.inf script to always install the 486 path.
You need to edit a string in the files INITIAL.IN_ and SETUP.IN_
Open each one in notepad and search for: [ProcessorVar]
Then change the string below it from
STF_PROCESSOR = "" ? $(!LIBHANDLE) GetProcessor
STF_PROCESSOR = $(ProcessorID_I586)
You'll have no choice but to have a MS-DOS Qemu VM installed & operational to start a Windows NT 3.1 installation. Start with the Installing MS-DOS on Qemu tutorial, then come back here.
With MS-DOS installed and able to access a CD-ROM, you will need a blank floppy image, in addition to either an ISO image with NT 3.1 or a 3.1 CD-ROM.
I'll be using my physical NT 3.1 CD with WIN32 SDK, and Qemu 0.10.5 which will allow me to set my cpu to an Intel i486 cpu so I won't have to worry about the inf files.
qemu -L . -cpu 486 -hda windowsnt31.disk -cdrom \\.\d: -fda nt31boot.vfd
The first thing in MS-DOS I'm going to do is format the floppy to make sure it's blank to appease the installer.
Then change to the cdrom & run winnt.exe...
d: cd i386 winnt /F /C
I'm going to skip the verifies for disk space & floppy writes.. When setup has completed it's job exit Qemu and run it like this:
qemu -L . -cpu 486 -hda windowsnt31.disk -M isapc -fda nt31boot.vfd -boot a
With that out of the way, this would make a great time to boot back into MS-DOS, and alter the setup.inf & initial.inf files as mentioned above. You may have to expand them manually but it's really not that hard.
Windows NT will boot from the floppy, and it will naturally detect NO SCSI drivers. I recommend changing the mouse to the "Microsoft Mouse Port Mouse (including BallPoint)" driver. It will then go thru the motion of copying files (yet again) and then it'll prompt to reboot. Quit Qemu as we won't need the floppy now.
qemu -L . -cpu 486 -hda windowsnt31.disk -M isapc -net nic -net user