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Why Use Win 98/SE/ME?


jimc52
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Hmmm .....

... I switched over to this AMD, with 576 MB RAM. And let me tell you, its absolutely nothing like the P3. Everything is way slower, and even having more RAM than I did earlier makes no difference.

Socket7 and SuperSocket7 performance is tightly related to chipset support. Most S7 can only cache memory upto 128MB/256MB. Some VIA S7 can cache upto 512MB or even 1024MB. Even with k6-2+/k6-3+, the chipset still have a role to play. I did have an experience with k6-2+ 500 on an VIA board 1mb L2 cache with 512MB RAM a long time ago. It was lightning fast (at the time). Disable that L2 cache, and things start to go a bit slower ...

In contrast, a SiS S7 chipset with any S7 cpu is limited to 128MB cacheable range (most model). Go any higher and windows will crawl ...

Rgds

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I recently picked an old PC with Win 2000, no upgrades done on it. Put the hard drive in my 98 (not SE) box, set up a dual boot, and updated 2K to SP4. Got all the unnecessary services disabled, drivers updated, tweaked and tuned. My hardware is old, an HP Pavilion 4463 with a 366mhz Celeron and 160 MB RAM, upgraded from 64 MB. Hardware upgrades include a new USB card, network card, and CDRW. I removed the original combined modem/sound card and put in an old Sound Blaster.

So far, I haven't found one instance where the Win 2000 OS outperforms my old 98 install. 98 boots faster, even with the batch files I added to the startup, shuts down faster, and navigates the file system faster, including the external USB hard drive. With the same browser on each, internet speeds are about equal, both browsing and download. So far, I haven't found any apps I use or want that don't run as well on 98 as they do on 2000. Was very disappointed to find that my file/partition encryption program of choice (Scramdisk 3.01r3c) wouldn't run on 2000. There's supposed to be a 3.02 beta version that was around for a while but I haven't found it.

I didn't really expect to see any significant improvements in performance from 2K on this old hardware, but some of what I've observed has suprised me. On web pages with large animated images like weather radar loops such as this one, the CPU demand on 2000 and 98SE stays at or near 100%, and the speed the animation moves slows down quite a bit. With 98FE, the processor usage is still high, approaching 100% at times but the animation runs at the proper speed. This is using the same hardware and browser on all OS, except for the hard drives they're installed on. 98SE is using my best hard drive at the moment. I would have expected 2000 and 98SE to handle such a page better that 98 first edition, or at least equally as well but in this instance, 98FE works much better.

As for stability, my 98 box runs 24/7. I can't remember the last time I shut it completely down. It does see an occasional reboot, but not because it needs it. It's usually to finish an install or to switch to an alternate configuration. Can't remember the last time I saw a BSOD that wasn't the fault of something I did. On my hardware, newer equals little if any gain in function and compatibility, lower performance, and a less secure system.

Why use 98/SE/ME? I can't find a good reason to update.

Rick

Edited by herbalist
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One more reason you could add to the list is incompatibility. Some old mobos have this weird version of ACPI in the BIOS that causes BSODs in 2000+ OSes, as they don't allow the BIOS to access the hardware in that manner. I have one such mobo, and the only fix for it to work without crashing in XP is a costly $60 bios upgrade from eSupport. And there's no guarentee whether that upgrade has a fix for the ACPI issue.

9x on the other hand, works perfectly on this mobo.

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As for stability, my 98 box runs 24/7. I can't remember the last time I shut it completely down.

I second this. MS has a patch which cures a hang after each 49.7 days. This prooves that W9x can be up for this period.

I find that I have to reboot my Win ME quite often due to the pesky "Windows Resources" issues. They slowly run down over time and usage and the only way to clean them up is to restart. Annoying to say the least!

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I find that I have to reboot my Win ME quite often due to the pesky "Windows Resources" issues. They slowly run down over time and usage and the only way to clean them up is to restart. Annoying to say the least!

Annoying is putting it nicely, especially if you wait too long and the system doesn't want to reboot, just crash. Until someone figures out how to fix the problem at its source, the best you can do is minimize it. What makes the problem bad is applications that waste those limited resources. Shortly after I got this PC, I updated it to IE6 and installed Norton Internet Security 2002, only brand I knew of back then. Learned quick that NIS was a major resource hog. I was down to 48% just from booting up and starting IE6. On the average, I'd get about one hour of good browsing before the resources dropped low enough to make it unstable. Getting rid of Norton doubled my usable online time, but still had the gradual draining of resources. To make a log story short, the worst drain on my resources proved to be Internet Explorer. When I tried out another browser, the Mozilla Suite, it didn't solve the problem, but the rate of drain was a fraction of what it was using IE6. I could browse all day with it instead of just an hour or two.

Efficient use of resources is a priority for apps on 9X systems. When an app is closed, you should get back most of the resources it was using, something IE6 didn't do on mine but Mozilla did. AVs and security suites are among the more wasteful apps. When I stopped using a resident AV, I not only gained a lot more free resources, I got a big speed increase as well. Not including security apps, on mine the worst software for wasting resources was everything from Microsoft. The less MS I use, the better it runs. I'm inclined to think that this is deliberate, to coerce users into buying new hardware, with a new OS installed of course.

Work your way thru the apps you use one at a time. Check your free resources before starting one, use it for a while, then shut it off and see which one(s) are responsible for the bulk of the draining. If you can isolate and replace them, you'll like the results.

Rick

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I'm glad this topic has been re-opened. An earlier thread was locked just as I joined. What I like about Windows 98 is CONTROL. There is so much that the 'higher' Windows versions will not 'allow' even an Administrator to do.

In Windows 2K/XP: Can you package the entire system into a zipfile and then uncompress it on a different hard drive, or restore it WHEN needed (such as for a mis-install) onto the same hard drive, successfully? Can privacy-invading files be removed, especially those buried deep in the system, such as the contents of %windir%\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash Player\#SharedObjects\ ? Are there not "legacy software" entries in the registry that the OS won't allow to be deleted? Have efforts to 'tweak' the system been thwarted because the OS denies 'permission'? Has System Backup ever been needed to restore a sick OS, only to get 'caught in a loop', because the system needs to be functioning for restore, but first needs to be restored to function? (And why is System Backup necessary in the first place? Is it because the OS can't just be cloned or zipped to back it up?) Can files the OS won't allow modification of (even in Win98) be handled by 'dropping' into a low-level OS such as DOS?

Yes, the latest 'powerful' hardware is needed to run XP (or worse, Vista) fast, isn't it? It is often 'powerful' indeed, gobbling upwards of 200 Watts, requiring multiple fans yet still getting hot enough to shorten its life (including HDD --- and data). Computers can't be turned on or off easily (no, not even 98/ME), so are typically left on. So total electricity use is high, and this could be of greater importance in the future. Yes, more expensive laptops conserve power, but with lower reliability, higher repair cost, and less upgradeability. Windows 98/ME hybrid runs fine on a 25 Watt VIA M10000 M/B desktop. This is great for leaving it on all day, to catch streaming breaking news and the like.

Are there disadvantages of Win98/ME? Sure. Reboots are required periodically because the resource leakage problem persists. So it is for home users, not corporate networks. The ability to modify system files may increase security risks online, especially relying on third-party security patches. And, the control that Win98/ME affords is useful only for advanced users, usually those who 'grew up' on this OS, and/or know well the privacy risks the Internet presents. For someone just now starting computing, WinXP SP2 Home (SP3 rumor?) may be the best choice, if coupled with privacy software that can bypass OS-imposed 'privilege' restrictions. (Does such exist? Even Zone Alarm Security Suite misses the embedded privacy-robbing system files cited above.)

Disclaimer: My eXPerience is limited. And I know just enough about Win2K Pro that it just isn't set up for home use. So I could be mistaken about some of the restrictions that 2K/XP imposes on the user. Relevant feedback regarding such errors is very welcome.

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^

Can you package the entire system into a zipfile and then uncompress it on a different hard drive, or restore it WHEN needed (such as for a mis-install) onto the same hard drive, successfully?

Yes. Although RAR/7z is a better option if you're using NTFS, since RAR can store file permissions and ADS (alternate data streams).

Can privacy-invading files be removed, especially those buried deep in the system, such as the contents of %windir%\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash Player\#SharedObjects\ ? Are there not "legacy software" entries in the registry that the OS won't allow to be deleted? Have efforts to 'tweak' the system been thwarted because the OS denies 'permission'?

You just need to know how to set the permissions. Google for cacls and setacl.

Has System Backup ever been needed to restore a sick OS, only to get 'caught in a loop', because the system needs to be functioning for restore, but first needs to be restored to function?

In most cases, safe mode almost always works, and you can do a restore from the safe mode. If you can't get to the safe mode, then a few basic commands typed in the recovery console (like fixboot, fixmbr etc) can get the system up and running atleast till you reach the safe mode. If the system still isn't booting up (because of files that are missing/corrupted), a simple and quick repair install will fix the problem.

Can files the OS won't allow modification of (even in Win98) be handled by 'dropping' into a low-level OS such as DOS?

Yes, there is a "low-level DOS" (technically, console mode). It's called WinPE and is present in form of the recovery console present on the XP Setup disk. You can either boot off the CD, or install the recovery console to the HDD. Once there, you can do all sorts of modifications/restorations. But you don't even need to do all that. You can use the native mode (remember the blue screen when chkdsk runs?) to do modification of system files. Just edit the PendingFileRenameOperations key. :)

Yes, the latest 'powerful' hardware is needed to run XP (or worse, Vista) fast, isn't it? It is often 'powerful' indeed, gobbling upwards of 200 Watts, requiring multiple fans yet still getting hot enough to shorten its life (including HDD --- and data). Computers can't be turned on or off easily (no, not even 98/ME), so are typically left on. So total electricity use is high, and this could be of greater importance in the future. Yes, more expensive laptops conserve power, but with lower reliability, higher repair cost, and less upgradeability. Windows 98/ME hybrid runs fine on a 25 Watt VIA M10000 M/B desktop. This is great for leaving it on all day, to catch streaming breaking news and the like.

XP's minimum requirement is a 233 MHz processor. Although this is much higher than 98's (66 Mhz), it can in no way be considered as the "latest powerful hardware". Regarding Vista, 1GHz CPU and 512 MB RAM is once again not considerd "latest". (The 1GHz barrier was broken atleast 7 years ago.)

Now I haven't run XP on a 233 Mhz system, but I am at present typing this on a 10 year old AMD K6-2 PC, running fine with XP installed (tweaked fully, of course).

About electricity consumption, Windows XP has better power management features. One example is that when the PC is idle, XP issues HLT instructions to the CPU. This puts CPU in a suspended mode, thus reducing heat generation and power consumption. Windows 98 doesn't have this feature, thus needing third-party programs like RAIN or CPUIdle, which do not always work that well.

Also, your statement "computers can't be turned on or off easily" is a bit debatable - with XP's Hibernate feature, (and Vista's Sleep), one can startup/shutdown in less than 30 secs. XP/Vista take full advantage of the ACPI features of a modern PC. 98 on the other hand, doesn't even enable ACPI by default, and from personal experience, its ACPI support is buggy (eg: Shutting down windows doesn't always turn off the PC). With XP/Vista, it has never been more convenient to quickly turn the PC on/off.

Finally, about power consumption, a standard XP system uses about 38Watts in idle state and 58W during regular usage (nowhere close to the 200W you assumed!). So yes, the consumption on a standard XP system is more compared to a 98 system, but that's because of all the extra services and the new GUI processes that are running in the background. Turn of the unnecessary services (there are many!) and configure the system to run in Best Performance mode (no visual effects), and the power consumption will drop like a ton.

I'm not sure what hardware you're using, but my PIII system (450 MHz | 40GB Seagate | nVidia Riva TNT) has been constantly up since 1999, without any extra fans. I upgraded to XP in 2002 and since then I've almost never shut the PC down, except for maintanance/cleaning. I got the AMD K6-2 recently, but it's been running fine too without any extra fans. The 20 GB Seagate im using on the AMD is much older, but it too has been running nearly 24x7 and running fine too. (touchwood). Just FYI, I'm not in an air conditioned room, and the room temp here is almost always 30c (give or take a few degrees).

For someone just now starting computing, WinXP SP2 Home (SP3 rumor?) may be the best choice]

XP SP3 isn't a rumor, its real. Not only that, they say its actually 10% faster than SP2!

Btw, regarding your #SharedObjects concern (commonly called Flash Cookies), the best option is to go to the Global Storage Settings panel and disable the option “Allow third-party Flash content to store data on your computer”. You can also review and delete the cookies from the settings panel.

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XP's minimum requirement is a 233 MHz processor. Although this is much higher than 98's (66 Mhz), it can in no way be considered as the "latest powerful hardware". Regarding Vista, 1GHz CPU and 512 MB RAM is once again not considerd "latest". (The 1GHz barrier was broken atleast 7 years ago.)

Microsoft's minimum requirements have never been accurate. Not even close. XP runs like crap on 233 Mhz.

And don't you run that "disable services/eye candy" argument by me. The minimum requirements are for the default install, and default settings are important, and part of the OS experience.

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^

Minimum requirements mean the minimum requirements needed to *run* the app, never mind if it runs like crap. Which is why there are various performance settings in the GUI so that you can speed it up if it's running like crap.

Having shadows under the menus and a large blue-green skinned taskbar, imho, isn't important for either performance or productivity.

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Minimum requirements mean the minimum requirements needed to *run* the app, never mind if it runs like crap.

Incorrect. Any application can be run on pretty much every setup, it will just take longer to load and have sluggish performance. For example, Windows XP runs on a 66 Mhz CPU.

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^ Not entirely correct. Windows XP, by default, can't be installed on PCs less than 32 MB RAM (though it can be overcome using nLite), on the other hand, it *cannot* be installed on a 486 or below.

Many apps have specific hardware requirements, for example, most modern games won't run *at all* if a necessary feature isn't found in the graphics card.

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The two biggest reasons I have win 98 and win 3.1 computers lying around has to do with old hardware and port access. Usually I only upgrade hardware or get a new computer when there's one out on the corner for the trash ;*)

The big issue is port access. If you've ever tried to program anything that uses an LPT port in recent years you'd know that all these newer systems force you to go through a driver. This, in itself, isn't that big an issue, but port access is still limitted even then. If you intend to send, say, a couple MB of data through an LPT port you can expect it to randomly fail periodicly on XP/2000 unless you use a driver and don't build a GUI application. Why it is more stable from the command line is anyone's guess...

Personally I don't have any real issue with XP, but for many purposes you almost require an earlier OS.

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