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Running vanilla Windows 98 in 2020 and beyond...


Wunderbar98
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Good to hear from you all, thanks for the DisplaySet information and download link. Pretty cool and lean, small download (displayset.zip, 631 KB) that works well. Nice to have a large preview window that updates in real time before hitting 'Apply'. The 'Revert' and global font size 'Raise/lower all' features are welcome too. Ziff Davis Media a blast from the past. Custom configuration made easy. Now i can play with shades of grey all night, thanks again :)

In the old days i didn't realize for some time that Windows 98 appearance was quite customizable via Display Properties -> Appearance tab -> Item dropdowns (desktop, icon, spacing, title bar, border, menu, message box, scrollbar, selected items, tooltip, window). Custom themes were not important though i was partial to 'Desert', 'Red White and Blue', 'Storm' and 'Windows Standard' with minor modifications. As i get older built-in High Contrast themes may be handy as my vision shifts (so say we all). One thing i think Windows 98 did pretty well was remember window positions and size. To me it really was a well designed, logical and usable interface via keyboard or mouse.
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As indicated earlier FreeCell is my favourite built-in Windows game. Finished the first 23 games and started a log, dedicated to @Drugwash, wherever you are. Only 31977 unique games left but i'll probably never finish. Apparently all games are winnable, good to know, except game #11982 but there is a cheater Easter egg win, tested to work in Windows 98 SE.
https://dan.hersam.com/2009/02/13/how-to-beat-the-impossible-freecell-game/

If anyone else is interested, FreeCell FAQ.
http://www.solitairelaboratory.com/fcfaq.html

My faster 'backup' Windows 98 system was dragged out of storage the other day for service. Lots of work is being done on this system. It needed a new IDE ribbon cable, took a while to figure out the data corruption issue. It also required CMOS battery replacement. Re-configuring the BIOS on a franken-built system without documentation can be tricky and time consuming, all good now.

This system was originally double-vanilla but i went ahead and installed all applicable official Windows 98 updates from my personal hoard. It's currently running defrag, more mesmerizing than a fireplace. First time i've ever run two Windows 98 systems at the same time via KVM switch, delightful way to spend an evening in this (current) dreary world.

Remember to stay safe and try your best to love one another. You'll probably never get a virus hunkering down at home playing with Windows 9x, even if the system's online. Best wishes to you all, especially those less fortunate.
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3 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

My faster 'backup' Windows 98 system was dragged out of storage the other day for service. Lots of work is being done on this system. It needed a new IDE ribbon cable, took a while to figure out the data corruption issue. It also required CMOS battery replacement. Re-configuring the BIOS on a franken-built system without documentation can be tricky and time consuming, all good now.

This system was originally double-vanilla but i went ahead and installed all applicable official Windows 98 updates from my personal hoard. It's currently running defrag, more mesmerizing than a fireplace. First time i've ever run two Windows 98 systems at the same time via KVM switch, delightful way to spend an evening in this (current) dreary world.

So I am not only who prefer to have slower system for main Windows 98 setup. My 800mhz Pentium 3 EB with tnt2 is my main choice to 98 over Pentium 4 system that I use to xp for most of times. Maybe I just like Pentium 3 one more. I also got presario 5000 with 820mhz celeron cpu as backup.

3 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

You'll probably never get a virus hunkering down at home playing with Windows 9x, even if the system's online.

only time I got virus on Windows 98 was from old infected cd with cih aka spacefiller virus. Luckily 815 chipset is not compatible with it bios erasure payload so only had to recover hdd. Now I scan files with Clamwin before copying anything off my old cd disks.

 

Also few years ago I did go and indeed test claim if you use Windows 98 today you will get infected easily. To test I downloaded lot of malware, adware, worm and spyware samples starting around 2006-2018 or so. I did test on real hardware too. Most of them did not even execute under Windows 98, some had illegal process, some crashed virtual memory manager and funniest were that said "This program requires newer version of Windows" so obsolence can be security too:buehehe:. Some did run but all were removable using clamwin or spybot s&d and consider I had to SEARCH to find samples of newer malware that run under Windows 98 for long time. If I cannot find them intentionally lot wont likely get them in to their machines either

Edited by Mr.Scienceman2000
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12 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

It also required CMOS battery replacement. Re-configuring the BIOS on a franken-built system without documentation can be tricky and time consuming, all good now.

When my battery died in the past, i was using for some time this program to save/restore CMOS settings.

I made a batch file to compare with a previous backup and restore if there is a difference.

CMOS.zip

Edited by RainyShadow
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The only virus problem I remember having was with compromised Classic Shell installer. Even though it rendered PC temporarily unbootable 'till I restored boot sector and fixed the mess with BCD store, it failed to display the message it intended since it was targetting UEFI systems.

I still don't use antivirus and the like and don't intend to. I survived the web simply by avoiding straying to strange sites and blocking the background noise (scripts). Never considered Flash Player to be a threat on its own.

Things are outrageous in real life these days. A healthy (but unvaccinated) person is treated like a criminal. We're not far from having to have QR code tattoed on a forehead. I don't think peaceful protests are the solution.

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Maybe a comparison between AntiVirus and vaccines: My Windows 98 machine runs well without. My body's own machine as well. Never change a running system? Works for me at least! @UCyborg: Maybe you have to consider going to another country, where your freedom is still being respected. It won't become a dystopia everywhere.

Considering the topic of viruses and Windows 98, KernelEx not only enables some newer programs to run on Windows 98, it also enables some viruses to open themselves. That's to consider when testing viruses on Windows 98 computers.

I only had a virus once on a Windows 98 computer when it still was a supported operating system by Microsoft, so around 2006. With an AntiVirus software installed! The reason is simple: I was a stupid schoolboy not knowing how to use the internet properly. My mistake, but a worthy experience too...
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52 minutes ago, UCyborg said:

I still don't use antivirus and the like and don't intend to. I survived the web simply by avoiding straying to strange sites and blocking the background noise (scripts). Never considered Flash Player to be a threat on its own.

Antiviruses are obsolete these days since viruses evolves all the time. Definitions cannot keep up with them all. And most modern av sucks system resources like crazy. I use network/process monitoring and offline manual virus scanner to protection.

10 minutes ago, Gansangriff said:

Considering the topic of viruses and Windows 98, KernelEx not only enables some newer programs to run on Windows 98, it also enables some viruses to open themselves. That's to consider when testing viruses on Windows 98 computers.

I may need to test it, but I do not have KernelEx installed in Windows 98 system because I use 98lite with Micro shell (Windows 95 shell) and kernelex does not like it, so definitely not going affect my system

10 minutes ago, Gansangriff said:


I only had a virus once on a Windows 98 computer when it still was a supported operating system by Microsoft, so around 2006. With an AntiVirus software installed! The reason is simple: I was a stupid schoolboy not knowing how to use the internet properly. My mistake, but a worthy experience too...

Only time I had viruses was for similar reason as kid. I had insufficent knowledge from security and wanted download free games and others from shady sites on internet and well guess how that ended...nobody would definitely believe that considering my security knowledge today, but I learnt all by doing mistakes as younger

Edited by Mr.Scienceman2000
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Thanks for all responses. For sure @Mr.Scienceman2000 my 800 MHz system will still be primary for Windows 98. All my Windows games are from the 9x era but i will try more demanding games on the faster system (Neverwinter Nights, Microsoft Train Simulator). The faster system is better at processing the now higher quality MSN videos and gets less hung-up during multiple tasks. A 200 MB MP4 video, for example, would have been a huge file in the Windows 9x era. On the faster system i experimented with SYSTEM.INI [386Enh] -> MaxPhysPage=20000 (limit 512 MB) but R. Loew's PATCHMEM works well so will use all 1.5 GB RAM.

Thanks for CMOS.zip @RainyShadow. CMOS.COM is now in C:\DOS and the CMOS was backed up, hopefully will never need to use it. I didn't realize this type of software existed. Being old school and manual i would prefer software that just outputs CMOS settings to plain text but CMOS.COM would obviously restore a borked system more accurately and efficiently.

Interesting comment regarding KernelEx enabling more viruses @Gansangriff but i have no experience. At first glance what you say makes sense, wonder if it's been discussed here before.

Agree with all comments, most viruses and malware can be avoided through 'safe' computing practices. I vaguely remember having a virus or malware years ago (1999). Whatever it was, recovery was straightforward. If this happened today i would wipe the system and restore from a good backup.

Things are certainly outrageous @UCyborg, healthy unvaccinated who take proper precautions appear to be treated unfairly here too. To me this type of issue was already pre-virus, even basic banking tasks often make a customer feel like a criminal, at the very least just another number.

Windows 10 will apparently do away with a user password, presumably optional (for now). For Windows 98 i don't care, easily bypassed anyway. To me this is a slippery slope, dragging a user's cellphone into the equation for two-step authentication, just to use a computer. Lately i feel like such a dinosaur. For a production machine GNU/Linux or BSD with a strong password is good. A long passphrase is tough to beat and easy enough to remember.

Playing FreeCell game #41, still fun. I'll take this (and roguelikes) over most games for replayability and enjoyment. To me a good game needs the right balance of random (number generator). Wish i would have logged games since the 1990s, my heart will likely stop beating before i can finish them all.

Just wanted to mention for anyone using the forum software's JavaScript enabled '@member_name' tag, the @member_name is not visible in a vanilla Windows 98 browser like RetroZilla (whitespace). Unfortunately forum member's signatures don't show up either, shame as they sometimes include interesting links or information.
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4 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Just wanted to mention for anyone using the forum software's JavaScript enabled '@member_name' tag, the @member_name is not visible in a vanilla Windows 98 browser like RetroZilla (whitespace).

Have a little CSS about this:

@namespace url(http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml);
@-moz-document domain("msfn.org") {
  /* links in post */
div.cPost_contentWrap > div > p > a {
color: brown !important;
  }
}

You can use it with Stylish from here - http://web.archive.org/web/20191005083642/http://www.mirrorservice.org/sites/downloads.mozdev.org/xsidebar/mods/stylish-0.5.9-mod.xpi

Edited by RainyShadow
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16 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Thanks for all responses. For sure @Mr.Scienceman2000 my 800 MHz system will still be primary for Windows 98. All my Windows games are from the 9x era but i will try more demanding games on the faster system (Neverwinter Nights, Microsoft Train Simulator). The faster system is better at processing the now higher quality MSN videos and gets less hung-up during multiple tasks. A 200 MB MP4 video, for example, would have been a huge file in the Windows 9x era.
 

Space is not issue to my on Windows 98. Got 128gb ssd on it using adapter (But ssd is to windows 10 and you cannot use it on 98 despite I do  says normies:buehehe:) and with dynamic disk overlay could do larger (bios limit). Bigger issue is to find proper Media player for windows 98 that is optimised. I stripped most from is installation using 98lite professional so got only windows 95 shell, no internet explorer or anything else and takes around 50mb of space for windows folder

16 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Windows 10 will apparently do away with a user password, presumably optional (for now). For Windows 98 i don't care, easily bypassed anyway. To me this is a slippery slope, dragging a user's cellphone into the equation for two-step authentication, just to use a computer. Lately i feel like such a dinosaur. For a production machine GNU/Linux or BSD with a strong password is good. A long passphrase is tough to beat and easy enough to remember.

Well Microsoft really tries to push their ms authentitator application to their users even on work. I do not want use it workspace smartphone. If phone breaks or is lost I am locked out from accessing resources. And if someone is able to access to your login screen it means they can just use hdd over live media or mount it into another computer and copy your user data. As for home all I got is my old brick nokia for phone and jailbroken nokia e90 communicator as pda and I do not want to upgrade touchscreen device just to be able use my pc. Peoples say I need get smartphone, but I see no real use to it. If I talk someone using IM or send email I prefer do it on home using desktop or on a road from my notebook and even more prefer IRLTalk with f2f (face to face) mode which seems to dying, many peoples do not want come to visit or go walk or driving or do anything else anymore.

 

Most modern peoples cannot be without their phones even for single minute. If someone comes spend time with me they should put their phone on mute and into somewhere they wont see it alerting like I do. I really would like to say "next time you check that social media feed while you are with me I throw phone out of window", but not feeling up to it. I miss time when cellphones were mostly luxury item, smartphones were mostly for business use (Nokia communicators and palmOS devices as example) and peoples were able do fine without one. Back then I had better conversation with peoples since they were not distracted all the time. Why that is bothering me is because it is forced down peoples throat, peoples cannot live without one needing check it all the time, most of phones are wasteful items with 2 years or less lifespan and go crazy if you say bad from their phones or phone usage.

Edited by Mr.Scienceman2000
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This all sounds, like new technology isn't working at all. Being too dependant on other factors will make in unusable indeed! Blow the dust off your old machines, maybe they are the future? Might be some ARM processor either. Hopefully the companies of Intel and Microsoft collapse soon. They work too much against their users.

@Mr.Scienceman2000: Maybe you can use the web to gather some people around you for real-life "Face-2-Face" activities. I currently set up a card club as a non-digital activity, got some people invited to playing cards after work. This game requires too much focus and concentration, so there is no room for a Smartphone nearby. Might feel good to not sit in front of a computer "all" the time maybe.

Although I'll still like to use the Windows 98 machine most of all my computers. I was creating an OpenSearch plugin for FrogFind last week with the old thing! Unfortuneatly the developer didn't reply on my mail to put in this fantastic technology in use so far...

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On 9/21/2021 at 4:05 AM, Mr.Scienceman2000 said:

I really would like to say "next time you check that social media feed while you are with me I throw phone out of window", but not feeling up to it.

AGREED!

I don't even own a phone!  NONE!  No land line, no cell phone, NOTHING!  A very stress-free lifestyle!

In the news a week or so ago, Facebook was under fire for internal office memos being discovered where Facebook is AWARE but DOES NOT CARE that their Instagram app is the direct cause of 1 in 3 teenage girls having MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES directly tied to them spending all their time on Instagram.  My only comment at the time this "news" broke - NO DUH!  But not only does Facebook (owner of Instagram) NOT CARE, but NEITHER DO PARENTS.  Because they FALSELY think their child's SAFETY is all tied to them having access to a PHONE.  BULLCRAP!

1 in 3 teenage girls with MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES all on account of SOCIAL MEDIA.

But you think this is ONLY teenage girls?

Look around at the ADULTS you see "tied to their phone" - you can't tell me you don't see glimpses of MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES among those ADULTS also.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not undermining the importance of taking care of folks with mental health issues - quite the opposite in fact!

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2 hours ago, Gansangriff said:

This all sounds, like new technology isn't working at all. Being too dependant on other factors will make in unusable indeed! Blow the dust off your old machines, maybe they are the future? Might be some ARM processor either. Hopefully the companies of Intel and Microsoft collapse soon. They work too much against their users.

Well I expect someday to happen when all are using Windows 365 or other mostly cloud based os and central server crashes. That point peoples will be locked out from their own  hardware while I still rock on my own non locked down computer:lol:. Maybe then peoples would realise point of computers. If this cloud computing goes crazier we could go back to monochrome terminal connected to Microsoft or Google mainframe. Purpose of personal computers was to get rid of single company control

2 hours ago, Gansangriff said:

 

@Mr.Scienceman2000: Maybe you can use the web to gather some people around you for real-life "Face-2-Face" activities. I currently set up a card club as a non-digital activity, got some people invited to playing cards after work. This game requires too much focus and concentration, so there is no room for a Smartphone nearby. Might feel good to not sit in front of a computer "all" the time maybe.

problem is most peoples like me wont hang lot on internet. On MSFN I originally ended only because was looking few XP patches and end up being here more if got good topic

53 minutes ago, ArcticFoxie said:

 but NEITHER DO PARENTS.  Because they FALSELY think their child's SAFETY is all tied to them having access to a PHONE.  BULLCRAP!

when I was young I had no phone and only had landline phone on home and later siemens phone as shared. Those two were used so we could contact parents or emergency dep if something happened and were not used to browse internet.

My first phone I got around mid preschool (near 7 years old) and even then phone was on home most of time and I mostly used it while was on move so could reach parents or friends if needed. It had no internet connection due prices of mobile internet were insane and biggest it had was snake and ringtones. If you need get phone to kid get them old brick without any features and if can recist allowed numbers to neccessary ones, young kids are most easily infulenced by things and young mind is not meant to be exposed to all

53 minutes ago, ArcticFoxie said:

1 in 3 teenage girls with MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES all on account of SOCIAL MEDIA.

But you think this is ONLY teenage girls?

Look around at the ADULTS you see "tied to their phone" - you can't tell me you don't see glimpses of MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES among those ADULTS also.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not undermining the importance of taking care of folks with mental health issues - quite the opposite in fact!

it is all by social media design. Algorithm is meant please then displease you to keep you hooked while draining your mentality. For example if you like party A and really hate party B algorithm will push news and other posts why party B is better to make you angry and make you react and comment on it then will give you article about why party A is best to please you so you stay on platform. Purpose is to overwhelm user with information to keep them hooked that side effect is mental wellness issues. Also most of them say they need to be aware of world issues and use social media to that.

I do not use facebook or twitter or instagram, but I am still aware of world issues, know what is happening etc. I do not check them when told to, I check them when want with 4 ways. One is using rss feeds (rather limited these days) then second is watch TV news from Yle (Public radio company) or MTV3 channels. Also few radio channels got news reguarly. Then there is Teletext (text based information service broadcasted with tv channel popular in europe) I use to check news, check some reciepes or even check weather or alerts on my area. Last one is great since work on any television or tuner that can recieve dvb-c or dvb-t signal and YLE one lacks ads.

 

So there is ways to stay up to date  on news without social media, but with more control, where and when

Edited by Mr.Scienceman2000
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Since I am one of few here who uses Windows 98 with 98lite and 95 explorer with Internet Explorer rendering removed would like to share some of my recent multimedia tests. Having no Internet Exploiter installed limits some software that can be used, but found media players and codecs that work on this configs. Vlc works but have lot of shuttering running standard quality videos, 800mhz cpu got no cycles to spare. TCPMP mod and Mplayer seems to be okayish but rather limited.

Player I currently use is GOM player 2.1.33.5071 with ffdshow 2322 and Haali media splitter  1.13.138.14 and works great on dvd quality MP4 files on 800mhz cpu. It works fine without ie too, but asked if website can store data (some leftover IE comoponent likely) since autoupdate contacted server (can untoggle on settings).

desk.gif.462159b3699269c721c9e75df4c50d58.gif

One thing noticed is that player can take down whole system if do too much multitasking. It is old Windows 9x flaw since os did not handle so well on low resources. NT did it better but as long as wont overload it works just fine.

I know 98lited 98SE is not same as vanilla but outside explorer and removal of few components it is same thing with no kernel patches or extensions

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1 hour ago, Mr.Scienceman2000 said:

Player I currently use is GOM player

Got any ads? You can get rid of them by blocking these two :

http://info.gomlab.com/eng_ad.html
http://playinfo.gomlab.com/eng.html

 

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