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Running vanilla Windows 98 in 2020 and beyond...


Wunderbar98
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5 hours ago, UCyborg said:

Just 3D round see-through shape. This was probably most advanced game I played using that GPU. It was released in 2006. A year later Half-Life 2: Episode Two was released, this one refused to launch. Interestingly, there's this page last updated in 2021 with comparisons of some scenes in Half-Life 2 going back to DirectX 6.0. But, a plot twist, most relevant modifications of the page are from over a decade ago.

That page kinda reminds me from Xbox port of half-life 2. It did run on DX8.1, but hardware was way underpowered (733mhz Pentium 3, 64mb ram, nVidia NV2A aka geforce 2 based gpu), yet still game had decent fps. I played it trough on Xbox and was enjoyable experience. They got around memory limit by splitting whole game small areas and it had way more loadings than pc versions. Still was near miracle they managed to make it playable.

5 hours ago, UCyborg said:

Well thank you for causing me 2007-2008 flashbacks :buehehe:.

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Thanks for the story @Mr.Scienceman2000, your contributions are welcome and helpful. You have a wonderful collection, an old 486 would be very nice. I regret getting rid of a lot of my 30 pin RAM and 'new' floppies years ago. My situation is similar with Windows, tend to stay further back (Windows 98 era) but with GNU/Linux happiest with newer (eg. OpenSSL, web browsers). Looked at some computer history, 64-bit processors were already invented by 1992 and in 2021 i'm happiest using 32-bit. Your father sounds like a good man, supportive. Keep Windows 98 alive, for sure.

Hi @UCyborg, thanks again for your input. Watched a YT video 'Why Was Crysis A Big Deal?' via Windows 98 SE (Spooky Edition) of course. The game came out only a few years after my Windows gaming era but wow, crazy, that game would still look good today. The premise looks interesting too. The DirectX screenshots were nice, maybe the biggest jump from DirectX v7 -> v8. Growing up with Pong, Pac-Man and an Atari 2600, all modern (early 2000s) games look great to me. One of my favourite all-time PC games is old Simcopter, have you seen the graphics :)

Thanks for clarifying hardware @Dixel. I'm trying to stay away from Intel's IME (Intel Management Engine, started ~2008) and AMD's PSP (Platform Security Processor, started ~2013) and was browsing some used computers. Funny how everyone seems to own good or perfect condition 'gaming' hardware. Well i play FreeCell on my old Athlon, guess it's a gaming system too.

Flaw in AMD Platform Security Processor:
https://hackaday.com/2021/10/01/flaw-in-amd-platform-security-processor-affects-millions-of-computers/

Anyway, there was hardly any old stuff, almost all within the last 5-8 years. Someone was selling an old Dell Dimension, based on Pentium D ~2006 era. Sounds like Pentium 4 with Dual Core, SSE2 capable. Online research indicates lacklustre performance, lots of heat. The Dell site has Windows XP and Vista drivers only, would probably be tough getting Windows 98 running. Someone posted notes on Windows 98 with Pentium 4 that may be useful.
https://flaterco.com/kb/W98.html

Downloaded and quick deleted a DOS game for testing, Formula 1 from Domark. Marketed as the 'fastest racing game on the planet'. Just wanted to compare gameplay to my Sega Genesis version. The DOS version had better music, more detailed track backgrounds (distant buildings) and gameplay was smooth. Makes sense, by 1994 early Pentium 60-100 MHz processors were available and the old Sega Genesis has an ~7 MHz processor. To me PC games were almost always superior to their console counterparts.
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1 hour ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Someone was selling an old Dell Dimension, based on Pentium D ~2006 era. Sounds like Pentium 4 with Dual Core, SSE2 capable. Online research indicates lacklustre performance, lots of heat. The Dell site has Windows XP and Vista drivers only, would probably be tough getting Windows 98 running.

I have run Windows 98 on Dell Optiplex GX620. I needed external soundcard, but was able install 945 chipset driver with unoffical one, use nvidia PCI e gpu (6200TC), intergrated nic had windows 98 driver. There was few issues like system hanging if had usb flash drive connected on boot, hdd intensive operations made system hang until was done and sata performance was lacking

As for 865 chipset. I got that on my P4p800 mainboard. ACPI is buggy though so must disabled with /p i before setup and then disable APM at device manager on 9x. Also you need RLoew sata patch for native sata operation.

I must have had run test Windows 98 install on every piece of pc hardware I own:lol:.

1 hour ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Makes sense, by 1994 early Pentium 60-100 MHz processors were available and the old Sega Genesis has an ~7 MHz processor. To me PC games were almost always superior to their console counterparts.

Good comparisation is Doom on NES vs Doom on DOS. NES one looks overall worse even on crt and is not even filling whole screen.

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Thanks @Mr.Scienceman2000. If i get an over-juiced system i will need to try these options. Thus far i've always used native hardware, never requiring SETUP.EXE installation switches. Still pondering an offer on a Pentium 4. Previously i've never paid for old hardware, looks like the law of 'supply and command' (Rickyism - Trailer Park Boys) has shifted.

Watched a Doom comparison video that included DOS, SNES, 3DO, Sega 32x or similar. Definite difference between DOS and SNES, which was very pixelated with stepping graphics. Water and weapon effects were also much better in DOS.

Completed basic startup/shutdown timings since first time using Windows 98 SE and Windows XP Pro on same hardware. Both systems are set up pretty lean, booting only a basic firewall. Many Windows XP services have been disabled but it also has NET Framework v2, which i've read can slow down boot time.

Startup time was from boot menu until the system gets to desktop and busy mouse cursor and hard drive thrashing stop. The Windows 98 boot requires entering both username and password while the Windows XP boot only requires entering the password. The Windows 98 SE boot also requires manually selecting from a secondary hardware configuration menu (with/out NIC). I rushed it so these items only add maybe 5 seconds to the Windows 98 SE boot.

Windows 98 startup 40-45 seconds
Windows XP startup 60-75 seconds

Windows 98 shutdown 04 seconds
Windows XP shutdown 15 seconds

Overall obviously Windows 98 SE is faster, doesn't matter much, but i can see how back in the day users complained about bloat with every new release.

Edit: Accidentally reversed system startup time data.
Edited by Wunderbar98
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1 hour ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Previously i've never paid for old hardware, looks like the law of 'supply and command' (Rickyism - Trailer Park Boys) has shifted.

I me neither. I either got or trash picked my old hardware for free.

1 hour ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Completed basic startup/shutdown timings since first time using Windows 98 SE and Windows XP Pro on same hardware. Both systems are set up pretty lean, booting only a basic firewall. Many Windows XP services have been disabled but it also has NET Framework v2, which i've read can slow down boot time.

Startup time was from boot menu until the system gets to desktop and busy mouse cursor and hard drive thrashing stop. The Windows 98 boot requires entering both username and password while the Windows XP boot only requires entering the password. The Windows 98 SE boot also requires manually selecting from a secondary hardware configuration menu (with/out NIC). I rushed it so these items only add maybe 5 seconds to the Windows 98 SE boot.

Windows 98 startup 40-45 seconds
Windows XP startup 60-75 seconds

Windows 98 shutdown 04 seconds
Windows XP shutdown 15 seconds

Overall obviously Windows 98 SE is faster, doesn't matter much, but i can see how back in the day users complained about bloat with every new release.

what is funny Windows 98SE boots in few seconds before installing drivers then takes 20-30 seconds. One thing that slows it down is system file check on every boot. Not sure how disable it manually, since 98lite disabled it during setup. Can get 10 seconds off from boot time. 

On XP .net framework NGEN service if exist will cause network to hang 10+ secs in my experience. Cannot say from firewalls since I use network level firewalls only after having too many issues with software ones.

NT by design is slower because of memory protection. Windows 9x is faster for lacking it but prices comes in case of bogus program that takes whole thing down. Also XP did have useless services and things, but after tweaking it is very solid NT based operating systems offering sweet spot on performance, stability and compability with newer and older hardware.

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2 hours ago, Mr.Scienceman2000 said:

slower because of memory protection

Just disable that crap in BIOS . Problem solved. I also disable prefetch and plenty of other junk in BIOS , like HPET , etc. Though HPET is only used on late 2004 - 2005 mobos and up.

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9 minutes ago, Dixel said:

Just disable that crap in BIOS . Problem solved. I also disable prefetch and plenty of other junk in BIOS , like HPET , etc. Though HPET is only used on late 2004 - 2005 mobos and up.

I did not mean bios memory protection, rather kernel level one. Windows NT and OS/2 prevent program memory areas from intefering with each other. That has performance hit but very minor and unless you got 386 or 486SX-33 you wont notice it.

Bios one is useless as it causes more trouble than does good.

Only worse thing I can think is bios antivirus that messed up installations by protecting me from installing new boot sector because virus like activities done by installer which formats drive and installs boot block.

 

I have bunch of Windows and other operating system install manuals and all states to disable bios antivirus to avoid it. Never got the point of it anyway. BIOS need supply hardware config to machine nothing else

Edited by Mr.Scienceman2000
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Thanks for responses. As mentioned boot speed doesn't matter much here but it's nice to check this stuff. System File Check every boot on Windows 98 is news to me, don't see anything related to SFC.EXE in SYSTEM.INI, WIN.INI, Startup entries or even RegEdit's 'run' and 'runonce' entries. It would be nice to confirm SFC.EXE at boot, but i don't see it. If it does run at boot, it is a lengthy process and would make a difference. The SFC executable could be disabled then startup re-timed but i would still like to see documentation.

I do see 'C:\WINDOWS\SCANREGW.EXE /autorun' at every boot (MSCONFIG.EXE -> Startup tab), which can be disabled, personally i wouldn't and this process doesn't take long.

In Windows XP i do not see any service similar to NGEN in either the service utility or task manager. Windows XP is more stable, no doubt, just wanted to isolate startup times. BIOS settings on this system do not have anything for memory protection, HPET or anti-virus.
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Of my original Windows 98 SE system from 1999 (450 MHz, 64 MB) the 16 MB Voodoo Banshee graphic card and 17" CRT died on separate occasions within the first 3 years. The rest of the hardware has been separated over the years, most still used, some stored. These old desktop systems are so modular and versatile.

The case is used daily as a media centre, upgraded years ago to 1.8 GHz running Debian and Windows XP. It's original CD burner works fine. Don't remember if i still have the original power supply. The motherboard, processor, RAM and 56K modem are in storage. The 6 GB Quantum Fireball IDE drive and SoundBlaster audio card is now used in my slower (800 MHz), DOS-tweaked Windows 98 system. The original PS2 keyboard and mouse is used daily in a different office computer, nothing like a rollerball. The keyboard makes nice clicking action, old dried spacebar grease removed, works like new.

The original flatbed scanner still works but sits unused, as the Windows XP printer also scans. The original HP Deskjet 882c printer was reluctantly recycled 10 years ago. Regret getting rid of it, as it still worked great after probably 1000s of pages (business and personal). The Altec Lansing speakers (4 + subwoofer) are in storage, too much sound and bass for daily use, will likely use them again to play Microsoft Train Simulator or Sports Car GT.

My faster Windows 98 SE system (1.8 GHz) does not, unfortunately, have any components from the original build. The original Windows 98 SE compact disc wasn't even used, as i burned a copy of this CD years ago to keep the original pristine. This Windows 98 release came with a bootable CD, don't believe the boot floppy was ever used, can't find it, probably recycled.

Not including a Commodore VIC-20 as a kid and some Apple lent to me by a client, this was my first true home system. As there was always a computer available in the workplace, purchasing a system was delayed. By 1999 the internet was maturing and it was obvious a computer was essential. I believe internet was the greatest invention of my generation. Unfortunately, the technology can be used for good and evil. My first home internet was free 56K dial-up with banner ads using software received from a fast food restaraunt - those innocent early years.

One reason my nostalgia is strong is i assembled and configured this first system myself. The parts were purchased from a small local shop. They had a promotion where the tech would teach you to build the system. I studiously purchased a computer building book beforehand. At least two sessions were spent assembling hardware and loading Windows 98 in the store's back room. Probably won't see that sort of thing anymore, i am forever grateful.
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9 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

System File Check every boot on Windows 98 is news to me

I believe he meant File system check - scandisk.

It can be disabled by setting AutoScan=0 in MSDOS.SYS

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Hi @RainyShadow, maybe but it doesn't make sense either. AutoScan in MSDOS.SYS sets ScanDisk run options for improper shutdown, not every boot:
https://www.computerhope.com/msdossys.htm

Following proper shutdown ScanDisk doesn't automatically run next boot, confirmed with another BOOTLOG.TXT and a step-by-step confirmation boot. So this shouldn't affect normal startup and a sane default would be AutoScan=1 or AutoScan=2 to maintain the filesystem. I backed up this system's original MSDOS.SYS file and AutoScan=1 is default.
Edited by Wunderbar98
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WinFAQ:

http://www.winfaq.de/faq_html/Content/tip0000/onlinefaq.php?h=tip0048.htm

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ System\ CurrentControlSet\ Control\ Session Manager


den Eintrag "BootExecute" und ändern Sie die Einstellung


BootExecute   REG_MULTI_SZ  Autocheck Autochk*       nur beim Absturz (after incorrect shutdown/crash)

BootExecute   REG_MULTI_SZ  Autocheck Autochk /P *   immer (always)


Beim Ausführen von CHKDSK wartet Windows eine gewisse Zeit, auch das kann unter diesem Schlüssel verändert werden


AutoChkTimeOut  REG_DWORD   0 bis 259200 (Sekunden ) Standard ist 10 Sekunden

 

Shutdown delay of 4 seconds: Should avoid ScanDisk, if it happened on every start.

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion]
"CacheWriteDelay"=dword:00000fa0

 

The Program RegistrySystemWizard makes it with a few clicks only.

 

Edited by schwups
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On 10/15/2021 at 7:03 AM, RainyShadow said:

I believe he meant File system check - scandisk.

It can be disabled by setting AutoScan=0 in MSDOS.SYS

To disable MS-DOS' SCANREG.EXE the right entry in MSDOS.SYS should be SystemReg=0. See https://www.mdgx.com/98-1.htm

Disabling auto-SCANDISK after improper shutdown with  AutoScan=0 is a bad idea. MS-DOS' SCANDISK is your Best Friend (but like 'best friends' unexpected visits are not always appreciated). 

@schwups Are you sure you didn't mis-read winfaq? CHKDSK is not used in this case in Win9x. I don't expect because of your German....

Edited by deomsh
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On 10/13/2021 at 4:38 AM, Wunderbar98 said:

One of my favourite all-time PC games is old Simcopter, have you seen the graphics :)

:thumbup

On 10/14/2021 at 8:36 PM, Wunderbar98 said:

In Windows XP i do not see any service similar to NGEN in either the service utility or task manager.

It's display name is something like .NET Runtime Optimization Service v2.0.50727_X86, the description is Microsoft .NET Framework NGEN. .NET Framework 4 has Microsoft .NET Framework NGEN v4.0.30319_X86. These are also versions of CLR (Common Language Runtime). .NET 2.0 - 3.5 share one and .NET 4.0 - 4.8 share another.

Most of the time, the services shouldn't be active as you're not getting any updates for these framework versions on XP that would require generating new native images of its libraries.

Don't remember having problems with .NET in general, except there was something about v4 on XP out-of-the-box, I suppose libraries weren't NGENed on install. It somehow caused waiting on the logon screen. Then you ran the optimization process manually and the issue was solved.

I have those services on manual, if I'm not mistaken, the one for .NET Framework 2.0 - 3.5 is set to manual by default while the one for 4.0 is set to auto by default, so without changing startup setting, it would run only for a short time, just to see there's nothing to do.

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