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Running vanilla Windows 98 in 2020 and beyond...


Wunderbar98
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For virtualization\emulation on 9x:

DOSBox 0.74-3

Connectix Virtual PC 5.1

VMware-workstation-4.5.3-19414

Bochs 2.6.9 (SSE2)

Bochs 2.6.6 (SSE)

Qemu Manager v7.0 (QEMU 0.11.1)  (Accelerated)

Qemu 14 (Not Accelerated)

 

I wouldn't recommend web browsing in a guest on a 9x host performance is horrible. Use a Linux dual-boot or livecd for a more modern browser and use retrozilla on 9x if you don't want to use kernelex.

 

Edited by DosFreak
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Thanks for the information DosFreak.

Bochs v2.6.6 looked interesting. It installed but failed to launch expecting a newer version of Windows. Linked below if anyone wants to check it out. It can be downloaded with RetroZilla v2.2 without JavaScript provided View -> User Style is changed to None.
https://sourceforge.net/projects/bochs/files/bochs/2.6.6/

QEMU Manager not required, prefer configuring by hand. Closest found to QEMU v0.11.1 was Qemu-0.11.0-windows-Lite.zip but it fails indicating QEMU.EXE linked to missing export WS2_32.DLL.
http://lassauge.free.fr/qemu/release/?M=D

As mentioned QEMU v0.8.2 was the most recent version thus far found to run. Running Windows 98 as host does appear to provide poor performance, maybe it's emulation in general though, which seems to waste a lot of CPU cycles. Will keep digging, agree multi-boot is best, just want to try things out.

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I last tested those Qemu versions before Kernelex was a thing so it's possible kernelex will work for those.

Bochs 

It's possible for those versions I tested with Kernelex. If you don't want to use Kernelex you can try Bochs 2.3.7.

Bochs 2.0 (Windows 95)

Bochs 2.3.7 (Windows 95B)

Bochs 2.6.6 (Windows 98+) Kernelex

Bochs 2.6.9 (Windows 98+) Kernelex

QEMU 14

1. Download Qemu v15 http://virtuallyfun.superglobalmegacorp.com/?p=1214
2. Extract contents of .zip.
3. Download Hexedit.
4. Open up all executables with hexedit
5. Replace all instances of "freeaddrinfo", "getaddrinfo", and "getnameinfo" with "gethostname". (Zero out any extra characters).
6. Done!

Qemu Manager v7.0 (QEMU 0.11.1 (Accelerated)

1. Must have at least IE5 installed!
2. Install Qemu Manager.
2. Execute Qemu Manager.
   If you receive an error about wininet.dll then you do not have IE5+ installed.

3. Open Qemu.exe with the Hexedit program.

4. Replace "freeaddrinfo", "getaddrinfo", and "getnameinfo" with "gethostname".

5. Start Qemu Manager!

6. When you create a VM in the VM options change "Main Display" to "QEMU Windows", otherwise your VM will not load.

Unknown if the above changes break network functionality so try kernelex first.

 

Qemu 0.15.0 - Use Kernelex (No acceleration)

Edited by DosFreak
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Thanks DosFreak. You may want to paste your last post as a new thread, maybe even member project for emulation, so it doesn't get buried. Will seek and try Bochs v2.3.7 later. The others will probably pass, don't want a graphic manager and want to try without kernel extensions, as per thread title. If HEX editing is required, to me the software isn't natively programmed for the OS, just want to keep it pure. Thanks again for your suggestions.

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Bochs v2.3.7 installed and ran on vanilla Windows 98. The menu bar provides some GUI and the software is very configurable. It initiated the BIOS, found the ISO, started to load an OS but never successfully booted any kernels, aside from the built-in sampler. Tried several ISOs, many many different configurations, reviewed log outputs, numerous forum posts, still no luck. Should anyone want to play, downloads in RetroZilla without JavaScript, just change View -> Use Style -> None.
https://sourceforge.net/projects/bochs/files/bochs/2.3.7

Bochs v2.0.2 also installed and ran on vanilla Windows 98. Similar failures noted, too fatigued to keep troubleshooting. Same RetroZilla download procedure as above.
https://sourceforge.net/projects/bochs/files/bochs/2.0.2

Frustrating yet still fun to try something new. Will stick with the old QEMU release that's been working, thanks for trying to help.

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The Enhanced Cygwin-Lite post back one page (page 17) was modified. The Bugs section recommendation to periodically run 'exec bash' to reset the Bash environment was removed, as this was found to create multiple Bash instances, not good. The recommendation was modified to below.

If experiencing instability it may be useful to periodically reset the Bash environment by exiting Cygwin-Lite and it's COMMAND.COM window.

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Forum member roytam1 kindly provided TCPMP media player, tested good for YouTube MP4s over the last couple days. It works in Windows 95 and 98, download link below to help keep the player alive. It is lightweight, full featured and does not require installation. Just unzip to an appropriate directory. For me this execuatable path is good for 9xweb's YouTube playback configuration.
vidPlayer1="c:/program files/tcpmp/player.exe"

If a new 9xweb release is needed TCPMP will likely be added as the default player. It plays MP4 out of the box. Minor settings configuration may be required to get video to display, etc. It can be set to autoplay and autoclose on completion, nice for YouTube surfing. Still untested whether 9xweb works in Windows 95, if someone knows, please tell (confirmed to work in Windows 95).

For comparison, TCPMP launches faster than VLC and SMPlayers 'mplayer.exe', even when bypassing SMPlayer. It is also the easiest to configure. Based on simple monitoring of Process Explorer's CPU meter, it requires more resources than SMPlayer's MPlayer but makes up for it with a nice full-featured display and GUI settings. As an all around player TCPMP is probably best of the three. Only on lesser hardware, if playback isn't smooth, would SMPlayer's mplayer be the better option.

TCPMP_Win95.zip (2.27 MB, no JavaScript needed).
http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=26236836007896588087

Edit: 9xweb script confirmed to work in Windows 95.

Edited by Wunderbar98
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Got QEMU to boot OS, install and painfully load Firefox v49.0.2, as well as SeaMonkey v2.46. This is the last Firefox that apparently runs on a non-SSE2 capable processor. The SeaMonkey install should have been easy to update manually to v2.49 but alas this system does not have the horsepower. All RAM was quickly exhausted and the CPU can't handle the throughput. Took more than one hour to open either browser. Tried to lean out prefs.js, like disabling auto update checker, still no major difference. Couldn't even load 'about:' to screenshot the browser version from the Windows 98 desktop.

Will put this project aside for now. If anyone wants the files or notes let me know. Hope to put together a faster tower this year and retest, low priority project. Don't even know what Windows 98's native hardware limits are. From forum posts and elsewhere i've read anywhere from a 1.8 GHz Pentium 4 to Windows 95 running 2.1 GHz, probably patched. Apparently single core processing only. RAM not sure either, query 1 GB?

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7 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Got QEMU to boot OS, install and painfully load Firefox v49.0.2, as well as SeaMonkey v2.46. This is the last Firefox that apparently runs on a non-SSE2 capable processor. The SeaMonkey install should have been easy to update manually to v2.49 but alas this system does not have the horsepower. All RAM was quickly exhausted and the CPU can't handle the throughput. Took more than one hour to open either browser. Tried to lean out prefs.js, like disabling auto update checker, still no major difference. Couldn't even load 'about:' to screenshot the browser version from the Windows 98 desktop.

Will put this project aside for now. If anyone wants the files or notes let me know. Hope to put together a faster tower this year and retest, low priority project. Don't even know what Windows 98's native hardware limits are. From forum posts and elsewhere i've read anywhere from a 1.8 GHz Pentium 4 to Windows 95 running 2.1 GHz, probably patched. Apparently single core processing only. RAM not sure either, query 1 GB?

Did you actually get Firefox 49.0.2 and SeaMonkey to load on Windows 98? How much RAM does your computer in question have? In My Experience, you can expect Firefox 49.0.2 to consume 150-160 MB RAM on the startup. BTW, The RAM limit for Windows 95 is 944 MB, 1024 MB for Windows 98, and ~1152 MB for Windows 98 SE. I don't know the RAM limit for Windows Me though.

Edited by ClassicNick
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As for CPU clock speed limitations, Windows 95 will fail to boot on more than 2.1GHz, however LoneCrusader has a program named Fix95CPU that is meant for making Windows 95 compatible with processors faster than 2.1 GHz. http://lonecrusader.x10host.com/fix95cpu.html

I don't know if there is a similar project for Windows 98 because it feels buggy on processors that fast, but 98 SE In my Experience can run flawlessly on processors with a higher clock speed than 2.1 GHz.

Edited by ClassicNick
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Not sure if you consider this "vanilla" or not but you can use the roytam1 builds of Firefox for systems without SSE or without SSE2. 

Thse are the ones I last tested on XP:

firefox-45.9.19-20200104-ddcd778f4-win32-ia32
firefox-45.9.19-20200104-ddcd778f4-win32-sse

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As always thanks for all responses and information.

Thanks for the feedback ClassicNick. This system is only 800 MHz with 384 MB RAM. Windows 98 needs about 80 MB to boot then allocated the rest to QEMU. Then there's QEMU's overhead, the guest OS, then Firefox v49, actually loaded but not usable. Technically Windows 98 just loaded QEMU, QEMU helped load Firefox. Firefox is piggy, uses more RAM than any OS used in the house. SeaMonkey was loaded during a seperate trial, leaner than Firefox, still not functional. 384 MB doesn't go far when layering graphic OSs.

Thanks again for the feedback DosFreak. I haven't tried that browser, want to use a more recent, unmodified browser from source to see if it will run. Doublechecked a part assembled basement box, Athlon 2500 XP (query 1.8 GHz) with ATI Rage Pro 32 MB, should have 1 GB RAM. If not suitable there's other stuff down there but don't own a processor faster than 1.6-1.8 GHz. Hope to setup and test soon but will take some time.

Since vanilla Windows 98 is still quite functional today, thanks largely to a useful non-JavaScript browser (RetroZilla v2.2), the experiment is to see if there's any way to run a modern browser for occasional email and banking without setting up multi-boot. Basically Windows 98 as primary OS. For me the ultimate test is a reasonably responsive SeaMonkey v2.49 (latest), probably too much to ask.

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Wunderbar98, I'm still confused by which OS you used to load Firefox. Did you install Windows 2000 in QEMU? Do you think upgrading the RAM from 384 MB will be possible? As for a more modern day standards compliant browser for Windows 98, my money is on RoyTam1's K-Meleon 74 and Pale Moon 26.5 VC 2005 (VC8) browser builds.

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15 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

As always thanks for all responses and information.

Thanks for the feedback ClassicNick. This system is only 800 MHz with 384 MB RAM. Windows 98 needs about 80 MB to boot then allocated the rest to QEMU. Then there's QEMU's overhead, the guest OS, then Firefox v49, actually loaded but not usable. Technically Windows 98 just loaded QEMU, QEMU helped load Firefox. Firefox is piggy, uses more RAM than any OS used in the house. SeaMonkey was loaded during a seperate trial, leaner than Firefox, still not functional. 384 MB doesn't go far when layering graphic OSs.

Thanks again for the feedback DosFreak. I haven't tried that browser, want to use a more recent, unmodified browser from source to see if it will run. Doublechecked a part assembled basement box, Athlon 2500 XP (query 1.8 GHz) with ATI Rage Pro 32 MB, should have 1 GB RAM. If not suitable there's other stuff down there but don't own a processor faster than 1.6-1.8 GHz. Hope to setup and test soon but will take some time.

Since vanilla Windows 98 is still quite functional today, thanks largely to a useful non-JavaScript browser (RetroZilla v2.2), the experiment is to see if there's any way to run a modern browser for occasional email and banking without setting up multi-boot. Basically Windows 98 as primary OS. For me the ultimate test is a reasonably responsive SeaMonkey v2.49 (latest), probably too much to ask.

Well nothing is impossible, It may be worth asking Roytam if he'd be interested and if so what amount of money he'd expect for the amount of effort.

The last Seamonkey I tested with regular Windows 98 was SeaMonkey 95 and with Kernelex was SeaMonkey v2.8 but that was awhile back. Not sure if the KernelEx updates allowed newer versions to work or not. The newer builds that require SSE2 would likely just need to be recompiled.

Have you tried WebOne proxy?

https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=67165

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