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Running vanilla Windows 98 in 2020 and beyond...


Wunderbar98
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Thanks for all responses. CD/DVD drive update, the hair elastic works but not well as eject is not smooth and the elastic is flimsy. Retrieved the belt from the recently discarded drive and it seems to work well in the problematic drive. Strange as the donor drive is several years older (early 2000s vs 2011) yet the belt still feels grippy like real rubber. Query an indication of quality degradation in newer hardware or maybe just usage or environmental storage differences between the two drives, don't know.

In the CD/DVD drive maintenance post somewhere above i failed to mention 'Pot Tweaking' as a potential fix for lasers that no longer work properly. There's lots of information on this topic online. I tried this once on a broken DVD player and it didn't help but i didn't know if this was even the real problem. Nonetheless to me this would be a last ditch attempt to 'fix' a CD/DVD drive where every indication is it should work but somehow the laser isn't reading data. Worst case scenario you wreck a drive that wasn't working anyway.

Just finished my taxes again using Windows XP, even though it's not Windows 98 it's still a champ. Long live Windows XP - so say we all.

Recently came across a company marketing 'Windows 98 hoodies'. Cool i thought but isn't this more of a Windows XP type logo? Hmm, maybe not, maybe it was Windows 95/98 marketing, don't recall.
http://ae01.alicdn.com/kf/H30e8541483f340d5906d88f5657be30bk.jpg

Now i have a summer fantasy, mow the grass wearing a cool Windows 98 hoodie up top with some baggy sweatpants that have 'sweaty' or 'juicy' written across the buttock in large letters (all credit to Howie Mandel).

To me crazy people are spending money on this old stuff @Gansangriff. When i started my (small) hoard years ago it was all free giveaways, nobody wanted it. Guess the price cycle goes like this with most collectibles. Get in at the right time when the items are no longer new and shiny but before they become nostalgic and desirable again.

Thanks @Mr.Scienceman2000, i will refrain from using 'retro' to avoid price hikes :)

Thanks for the advice @MrMateczko, PATCHMEM has already been hoarded here long ago. Interesting someone saw fit to upload to archive[dot]org already, especially since R. Loew's son is already hosting the files for free AFAIK.

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@Wunderbar98 I might have found a modern printer that would be useable with Windows 98. To be fair and honest, I sell these things of one particular manufacturer daily...

Here we have a screenshot showing RetroZilla (being inside a Windows XP VM), acessing the web service (Javascript required) of a Xerox B215 multifunction printer, released in 2019. The web menus look like they haven't been changed since 15 years. Luckily! Because now it should be possible to send PDF files to the printer even with a Windows 98 machine without a proper driver. Interestingly, the menus of some Xerox machines still look like this (another example is the Primelink, big A3 production machine). However most of them got modernised...

If your Windows 98 machines break, will you try desperately to get one as a replacement? I won't. I will play the vulture, taking the rests, which will be newer hardware then.

Xerox B215 Retrozilla.png

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The B215 looks like the Samsung Xpress M2885FW with a modern touchscreen. Xerox recently bought the small Samsung printer patents as there was a cooperation with HP in sight (HP supports Samsung printers now). I except the web interface of the Xerox B215 to differ from that though, because it looks very Xerox-ish, like their 10 year old A3 printers, Workcentre 72xx, 75xx and 78xx. These should work driverless on Windows 98, too, through the web interface.

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On 4/24/2021 at 3:20 PM, UCyborg said:

My DVD drive tray stopped opening some time ago. It would get stuck...

Just use a bit of special grease compound (usually green coloured is the best) . Do not forget to clean the surface from the old with 70% Alchol .

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44 minutes ago, UCyborg said:

Is there anything like f.lux for 98? Supposedly some old f.lux build from 2016 works on it with KernelEx.

Indeed it does. Try the latest version of flux 3 (you can find it on their site)... that version probably works. If not I can help find a working one. Also you may be able to just get away with making a color profile on your monitor, if it supports it.

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1 hour ago, i430VX said:

Try the latest version of flux 3 (you can find it on their site)... that version probably works.

It might, but definitely not on vanilla Windows 98.

18 minutes ago, i430VX said:

If not I can help find a working one.

No need to (at least not for me), it's more like a passing curiosity. Haven't had a Win9x compatible computer in over a decade.

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9 hours ago, UCyborg said:

It might, but definitely not on vanilla Windows 98.

Well, you mentioned kernelex. so I figured that was acceptable.
But yes, I don't beleive i know of such a program for vanilla 9x.
Also worth mentioning besides monitor settings is that some display drivers may support mangling the color temperature.

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As always thanks for all input. It would be cool @Gansangriff if there was still a modern printer that could natively print in Windows 98 without piggybacking off a networked or multi-boot system. If you're still following, does your web interface only allow PDF printjobs or can you print other file types, such as Open Office *.doc or specialty graphic software image files?

In response to your query, if my Windows 98 system breaks there's probably enough parts in the basement to keep Windows 98 running on real hardware until my body decays. But yes i too wouldn't pay for this hardware and would just 'upgrade' to whatever is freely available. The world needs more scavengers. Nature does this naturally, mankind does a p*** poor job.

Since setting up my whopping $25 CDN 64-bit system (latest browser, banking) the old but entirely functional 1.8 GHz AMD (not even SSE2 capable) was moved into the loft as a perfect media centre. Seems a good way to keep old hardware relevant and productive. As probably most households now, most news, media and education is via computer so the computers get a good workout and the old televisions, DVD players and VCRs are only used occasionally.

Recently picked up a free 17" IBM LCD monitor (2005 vintage) via Kijiji. I don't go out of my way and just check in once in a while but three 17-19" LCD monitors were picked up free in the last few years. So here a combination CRT and LCD monitors are used. Still trying to desperately use up the old CRTs but even my problematic monitor just won't die. It fails to lightup and conks out during runtime at least twice a week but i just rock it a bit and picture restored. If The Fonz maneuver ever totally fails i will do a final check for a broken solder and then it will finally get recycled.

My computing needs are basic @UCyborg and have no need for f.lux type software, not sure what's out there for vanilla Windows 98. My computing space is artificially lit day and night so nothing fancy needed. Rarely i adjust monitor brightness as needed, this old 19" ViewSonic CRT even provides colour adjustments. My Windows 98 system has an NVIDIA GeForce2 MX100/200 graphic card (32 MB, NVIDIA driver 24FEB2005) with lots of adjustments for colour profiles, vibrance, brightness, gamma, etc but i never use them.

AFAIK @Bracamonte, YouTube in vanilla Windows 98 no longer exists in the traditional sense. Since YouTube made changes these old browsers can no longer view YouTube pages. I custom coded a Bash script for Windows 9x using a custom Cygwin-Lite install. It allows searching YouTube and downloading most videos via a COMMAND.COM window. The project is discontinued but you could code your own. If you use kernel extensions there is a youtube-dl Megapack, named something like that, that has an updated Python, youtube-dl and other goodies - please query on a non-vanilla-Windows 98 thread.
https://msfn.org/board/topic/181417-windows-9x-web-helper-9xweb-discontinued/

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Posted (edited)

= Quick and Dirty YouTube =

Just a few lines of code to download most videos from YouTube, set up an Enhanced Cygwin-Lite install:
https://msfn.org/board/topic/177106-running-vanilla-windows-98-in-2020-and-beyond/page/17/?tab=comments#comment-1175895

Download the script named 'yt' and copy the file to C:\CYGWIN\BIN. Nevermind visiting YouTube, just use a search engine like Dogpile (doesn't obfuscate YouTube URL) from the RetroZilla Search Engine Collection to search (search_term + youtube). Right-click the desired Dogpile search result and select 'Copy link location' to get the YouTube URL to system clipboard. Open a Cygwin-Lite Bash prompt, run 'yt' (or whatever you named the script) and it will automagically fetch the itag 18 video to C:\WINDOWS\TEMP as a time stamped MP4 file.

The DuckDuckGo-Lite search engine from the RetroZilla Search Engine Collection also works well. Just perform a search as 'search_term site:youtube.com'. Although DuckDuckGo obfuscates the search result URLs, opening the desired YouTube URL to a blank (broken in RetroZilla) YouTube page will convert the obfuscated URL to the proper YouTube URL where it can be copied to clipboard for the script to utilize.

Add code if you want to extract the video title, autoplay the MP4, whatever. Substitute itag 22 if you want better quality video - too hard on my old system. Note works as of today, YouTube changes regularly, just maintain the code.

 

yt

Edited by Wunderbar98
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@Wunderbar98 The mentioned Xerox B215 is already sold to an animal doctor, but I tried out my Workcentre 7545, an A3 office printer of 2011, with my '98. DOC- and ODT-files can't be submitted over the web interface, so documents have to be converted to PDF first, which I do with CutePDF Writer of 2012, as Word 97 didn't have any PDF capabilities at all.

Pr1.PNG.41ee89d9bed2a8cf55a5c44ece767b2d.PNG

PRT-files might be interesting, too. If you're just looking for text, that seems to work with every printer. On Windows 98, you have to add a "universal" printer, which procudes a text-only PRT-file, that can be passed to the printer over the web interface. Other possible file formats are PS, PCL, XPS, TXT, JPG, BMP, PNG and probably some more.

Pr3.PNG.aa8ad0914598c43be1e1f6df41a9eb94.PNG

Scan-to-USB on the Workcentre works well in combination with Windows 98, if USB drivers are installed. Having a look at the quality settings important here, as scans can get quite big, eventually too big for the old computer to handle.

Pr2.thumb.PNG.5c310613008e79473be03ca9a7cdec62.PNG

No, that's not perfect, but at least the modern printer is somewhat useable on Windows 98 without a driver. Still the old Xerox machines, Workcentre 75xx and Workcentre 78xx will drop out of offical support in a couple of years and by now, people are replacing them. My heart bleeds every time, a properly functioning machine lands on the scrapyard, for being out of fashion. And the scarvengers can't pay much, so supporting them isn't of interest for the company! At least the bigger production machines go to Egypt, where they have a second life beyond offical support.

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Thanks for clarifying @Gansangriff. On my vanilla Windows 98 CutePDF Writer v2.7 works well and PDFCreator v0.8.0 slightly better for web pages converted here. Performance issues noted here too in Windows 98 when working with too high pixel count, so my CutePDF and PDFCreator settings are adjusted accordingly. For me most modern images are too high quality for general use.

My heart bleeds too for old hardware even when it's sent to recycling, as it will never likely be functional again. Not quite abandoned dog heart bleed but still. I noticed Windows XP in your signature, you'll hopefully have an OS and lots of free hardware for several more years. Keep up the good work :)

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Posted (edited)

= Quick and Dirty MSN Video =

Similar to Quick and Dirty YouTube above but with MSN Video. Only a few lines of code to fetch most MSN videos, set up an Enhanced Cygwin-Lite install:
https://msfn.org/board/topic/177106-running-vanilla-windows-98-in-2020-and-beyond/page/17/?tab=comments#comment-1175895

Download the script below named 'msn' and copy the file into C:\CYGWIN\BIN. Point web browser to http://www.msn.com/video. For me it redirects to http://www.msn.com/en-ca/video, not tested in any other regions. There are LOTS of videos here, they change frequently, most work.

Successful: Buzz Videos, The Weather Network, FOX News, US Weekly, ET Canada, People, CBC, Instyle, Tribute, SMG, Pop Sugar, Southern Living, Cityline, Hello Giggles, Drive, My Recipes, Food and Wine, Rumble, National Geographic, CNN, Bumper2Bumper.

Fail: CNBC, Reuters.

Right-click the desired video link and select 'Copy link location' to get the video's URL to system clipboard. Open a Cygwin-Lite Bash prompt, run 'msn' (or whatever you named the script) and it will automagically fetch the video to C:\WINDOWS\TEMP as a named MP4 file.

Add code if you want to autoplay the MP4, whatever.

Note works as of today, the internet changes regularly, just maintain the code.

 

msn

Edited by Wunderbar98
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