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Running vanilla Windows 98 in 2020 and beyond...


Wunderbar98
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Thanks all. Misunderstanding, as mentioned above left click wore out months earlier, which is expected. Your explanation for premature right-click failure makes sense in some cases @RainyShadow but not this overworked mouse. Generally i think it's best to use old hardware frequently, it sometimes fails sitting in storage anyway.

Some solder in a new microswitch when mouse clicks start to fail. Makes sense if you have a parts mouse and want to fix an old favourite. Maybe even pro-actively swap microswitches (left/right), like rotating tires. In my case it's not the microswitch, rather plastic wear underside of the mouse buttons where they contact the microswitch. One or two layers thick of scotch tape is enough to restore good click action.

Thanks for the feedback @Mr.Scienceman2000, no free Norton explains why cheap me doesn't have any. Setting up a fileserver doesn't interest me but i would be happy to provide share-able items if someone hosts. I remember the Xbox was probably the most 'computer' of the gaming consoles. I heard some installed GNU/Linux on Playstation but that doesn't interest me anymore. My old Playstation 2 almost never gets used, only as a DVD player. Never liked the analogue controllers, which seem to fail (die) for no good reason. Asked an electronics store employee a couple years ago if they still sold Playstation 2 controllers, he thought i was from the stone age. I don't purchase online so desires need to be local.

Hi @Gansangriff, too bad most don't get that mice and most hardware is fixable. I was fortunate to have motivational experiences and a mentor at a younger age. When something breaks, what is there to lose. Just be careful you don't hurt yourself, me thinks. I don't work in automotives, my most stressful maintenance was replacing the timing belt on a Suzuki Sidekick, mistimed and may need to replace the engine. Agree it takes a bit to get used to some hardware quirks. For me your psychology approach works to some extent but when mashing buttons while gaming then it needs to work consistently, otherwise frustrating.

ScanDisk with 'surface scan' was good. I'm experimenting with DEFRAG.EXE switches, probably do a new scenario with testing every few days, will report results later. Thus far the /H option (defrag hidden) made no difference. Windows 'Help' and 'DEFRAG.EXE /?' provide no assistance. Wonder if anyone ever used command line defrag from DOS v6 in Windows 98? I don't like running DEFRAG.EXE from Windows but it does not appear to allow a DOS mode option.

Some command line switches are summarized at the site below. In RetroZilla use the NoScript extension to activate the domain to get the data. Will paste into next post in case the site goes down. One interesting note on the site, 'Defrag supports the command line options from Dos 6.22, however they appear not to do anything. Some of them are from Norton's Utilities and didn't do anything in Dos 6.22 either'.
http://mvps.org/serenitymacros/winprogs.html
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Defrag

Defrag [Drive] /All /F /U /Q /P /Concise /Detailed /Noprompt /Pmioctl /Sageset:x /SageRun:x /Mwmem /Task:x
&ltnothing> Starts a UI to defragment drives
Drive Drive to defrag
/All Defragment all local, non-removable drives.
/F Defragment files and free space.
/U Defragment files only.
/Q Defragment free space only.
/P System and hidden files will be optimized. Be very careful. Reboot after use. Dangerous on drives that hold drive space container files
/Concise Display the Hide Details view (Default).
/Detailed Display the Show Details view.
/Noprompt Unattended mode; do not stop and display confirmation messages.
/Pmioctl Turns off use of the protected-mode IOCTL from Drvspacx.vxd.
/sageset:x Display the System Agent-Aware Setting dialog box and store the settings in the SETx registry key.
/Sagerun:x Runs in unattended mode using the System Agent-aware settings in the SETx registry key.
/MWMEM
/TASK:x
Defrag supports the command line options from Dos 6.22, however they appear not to do anything. Some of them are from Norton's Utilities and didn't do anything in Dos 6.22 either.
/B
/SN Old sort by Name
/SE Old sort by Extension
/SD Old sort by Date
/SS Old sort by Size
/H Defrag hidden files
/NOIO
/RESCAN
/CVF
/NCD
/DT
HELP, SKIPHIGH, NOALTKEY
BW, LCD, HERC, NOZOOM, G0, G1, G2 Old display and mouse options
MULTITASK
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  • 2 weeks later...
Regarding defrag, 12 test cycles. Reverted to Windows 98's DEFRAG.EXE to confirm it wasn't a Windows ME DEFRAG.EXE issue, it's not. Got impatient and defragged without 'optimization' to get things in order. Will probably let it go. Some command line switches seem to help, then not with repeat testing, strange. Also trialed disabling startup items and using safe mode.

Picked up free older 'Arris boxes' (cable TV, personal video recorder). One server and three TV boxes. The big juicy a 500 GB SATA drive. Used 'dd' to zero the drive, no errors. It's now media center storage and a backup drive. Biggest drive in the house, by comparison my favourite dual-boot Windows 98 system uses two 6 GB IDE drives, one for each OS.

The SATA drive came with a 'Rapid Conn' combined power/data plug that didn't match my computer's power supply plug. The data portion of the connector was needed, not the power wires. A vise and handheld hacksaw blade was used to carefully cut the plastic connector in half. Coarse sandpaper then ground the excess plastic to size. This modified data cable now fits and works well. The main 'Arris' server is essentially an encrypted, proprietary computer. Lots of parts: cooling fan, 4 power supply boards (not for computer tower, need to test voltages), capacitors, backlit remotes, AA batteries, power cords, connectors (eSATA, USB, ethernet).

Knowing many people are needy, i usually don't respond to free ads for at least 4-7 days. After that i occasionally request items. My thinking is if the item didn't get picked up then the owner may recycle or toss it. At the recycle depot it literally gets 'tossed' into bins, forklifted and trucked, may sit in adverse weather, may get shipped half way around the world for 'recycling' (dumping is sometimes most accurate). So the chances of the hard drive and components still being useable is questionable.

At least 3 solders last month, latest bathroom fan repair, all good, my skills are improving. Just like painting, preparation is key (clean surfaces, hot and clean iron, correct amount of flux and solder, occasionally pre-tin wires, stabilize work at correct angle). Certainly ready for a Pentium 4, haven't seen any for free. Complete Pentium 4s with keyboard, monitor and mouse are about $70-125 CDN, a standalone tower about $50. For reference, an inkjet printer cartridge here costs about $50 and a Big Mac meal about $9, maybe not a big deal.

Told myself long time ago i would switcheroo to Raspberry Pi (about 10 watts of power, modern computing) if having to pay for 'old hardware'. As i get older these decisions get harder, one step closer to leaving my good old hardware and OS behind. It starts out innocently enough, distracted by a new toy, the old system gets shoved to the corner, now secondary, pretty soon rarely booted taking up space then eventually recycled :(

Currently stuck on FreeCell game # 178.
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@Wunderbar98 Might I ask, which would be the cheapest computer in Canada? And where to get them? From a second-hand store? That wouldn't be the case here in Germany, getting computers from private people is often more affordable, because they don't sell them for profit. 15 Euros for a Pentium 4... or 4 and a half big macs (the burger) for that price. P4 computers of around 2002-2006 are currently at the lowest price point.

Ebay-Kleinanzeigen is the most widespread site here (but it is Google-problematic). Here on the link, I did search for "PC" below 15 Euros.
https://www.ebay-kleinanzeigen.de/s-pcs/preis:2:15/pc/k0c228

Doesn't look too bad, doesn't it?

Of course the absolute cheapest way of getting a computer would be to own a scrapyard or know the owner of the scrapyard well. Zero Euros or Dollars can't be beaten.

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1 hour ago, Gansangriff said:

Ebay-Kleinanzeigen is the most widespread site here (but it is Google-problematic). Here on the link, I did search for "PC" below 15 Euros.
https://www.ebay-kleinanzeigen.de/s-pcs/preis:2:15/pc/k0c228

Doesn't look too bad, doesn't it?

Of course the absolute cheapest way of getting a computer would be to own a scrapyard or know the owner of the scrapyard well. Zero Euros or Dollars can't be beaten.

Germany seems have more sensible prices than here on marketplaces. Everyone seems to aim for prices they find on internet. Someone asked 100e for 3310 without battery while I was able to hunt down one of those for free and that phone was actually 3330 which is better than 3310. And got free compaq desktop and 2x laptops and other devices along with it.

At the end for me price I get from selling old stuff (unless it is something like old classic car I kept in perfect shape). wont matter if person who recieves it got need for it. When you sell that "super ultra rare" Nokia 3310 (not like it was super popular here) with sensible price you get rid of it easily and may make someone else life better. I would not have gotten hands for DCT3 phones I dreamed without those free phones and person was happy to give them good home.

That site seems nice but too bad they wont ship aboard

Edited by Mr.Scienceman2000
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Hi @Gansangriff. Unfortunately landfills and recycle stations aren't accessible for scavenging. Too bad, probably dozens of systems permanently removed from rotation daily in my city alone. Here too used computer stores are expensive. I don't purchase online or go to yard sales, so for me the cheapest is free ads from local buy/sell sites. Next cheapest private sales from the same buy/sell sites. Being patient helps, i'm not in a big hurry.

Here a working Pentium 4 (tower only) for $50 CDN is about 5 Big Mac meals. So it looks more expensive here, especially if you meant 4.5 Big Macs only (no meal) and/or your Pentium 4s include monitor, mouse and keyboard.

Hi @Mr.Scienceman2000. Cellphones i pay little attention too, never spent much on them. For years my employer provided internet and cellphones. Then when i ran a business it was tax deductible. I'm presently grandfathered into a pay-as-you-go plan, which has cheap rates and allows money to build up (no mandatory monthly withdrawal) if i don't text or call much. I actually only purchased one cellphone myself, cheap flip-phone in 2007. When the provider 'upgraded' networks requiring an updated phone, i refused to pay for a new phone as my old one worked fine and the network upgrade wasn't my doing. They agreed to provide a free replacement, I selected another dumb old flip-phone.
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1 hour ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Hi @Mr.Scienceman2000. Cellphones i pay little attention too, never spent much on them. For years my employer provided internet and cellphones. Then when i ran a business it was tax deductible. I'm presently grandfathered into a pay-as-you-go plan, which has cheap rates and allows money to build up (no mandatory monthly withdrawal) if i don't text or call much. I actually only purchased one cellphone myself, cheap flip-phone in 2007. When the provider 'upgraded' networks requiring an updated phone, i refused to pay for a new phone as my old one worked fine and the network upgrade wasn't my doing. They agreed to provide a free replacement, I selected another dumb old flip-phone.

I never paid from my units outside batteries. First one I ever had was found on trash (nokia 6600 from 2003) just because had small crack on casing glass that did not affect usability. Back then that was high end smartphone with 500 euros pricetag. After that I had few samsung and others that never paid.

Eventually went back to 6600 then downgrded to Nokia 6110 from 1997. Amazing is that that phone with 1200mah battery lasts 1-2 weeks depending how much I call with it. Plus it got that nice chameleon color body and it was assembled in my home country. Plus it got cool ringtones and snake that is timekiller sometimes.

 

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2 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Here a working Pentium 4 (tower only) for $50 CDN is about 5 Big Mac meals. So it looks more expensive here, especially if you meant 4.5 Big Macs only (no meal) and/or your Pentium 4s include monitor, mouse and keyboard.

I know those prices on Canada since one friend which brought fun story in mind. One of my friends who lives in Canada actually chose buy old 720mb IBM hard drive to his 486 from me since was cheaper ship it from Finland to Canada than buy there plus it was tested by me. I wonder what custom was thinking that single 720mb hdd was shipped from other side world.

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15 hours ago, Mr.Scienceman2000 said:

I wonder what custom was thinking that single 720mb hdd was shipped from other side world.

They were in a bad mood the whole day because they couldn't rip him off . 

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I've found a nice little feature in Invidious, the alternative Youtube interface. You can download Youtube videos right to your Windows 98 computer. Tested with a TLS-patched Netscape. When going to a video site, it says "Download as:", then there is a wide choice of video and audio-only formats. Currently, the instance at invidious.snopyta.org makes a healthy look now. But that can change rather quickly, as instances come and go, and need to close down when the load on them becomes too much or Google changes their code to block them.

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Wanted to post this since ages, but never enough time, sigh...
For downloading youtube with old browsers, love genyoutube:
Link+youtube-ID: video.genyt.xyz/xxxx
This offers the TINIEST size by far, in 3gp format :-)
Yeah the image is kinda fuzzy, but recognizable and a whole lot better as nothing at all (am on a whopping 22kbps connection since they dropped umts/h4, argh) and sound is normal.

For reading comments kinda like ruclip:
Link+youtube-ID: ruclip.com/video/xxxxxx/

And finally here's my brandnew tiny little bookmarklet to download videos directly from ori youtube (but depending on browser settings, see below)
javascript:/* itag: 18=360p, 22=720p, ...*/ var x=document.body.innerHTML.toString().match(/\"itag.:18,.url.:\"([^\"]+?)\"/i); if (x){var lk=x[1].replace(/\\u0026/g, '&'); document.location=lk;} else alert('not found:\n\"itag\":18,\"url:...\"');


(code is less than 256 chars, hopefully works in FF2 but haven't tested yet, only FF3.5-KM):
VIDEO SIZE:
Default above is itag 18 = 360p = 640 x 360 px
Alternatively change in code 18 to itag 22 = 720p = 1280 x 720 px
SADLY no tiny 3gp-format available directly from YT anymore, only with genyt :-((

EDIT:
Improved code above, now version3. Removed unnecessary character replacements and added a bit help text instead.
What I'm not sure about due to lack of expert skills:
how to fire a direct "download" command by JS??
Especially in such ancient browsers as Firefox2 for Win98.
As a workaround, am simply opening the mp4-link like a normal page. This makes that very old browsers (like mine), or which are set to ask "Open or Save" for mp4-files, will not really flip the current page but instead just show the SAVE dialogue - perfect! The prob are younger browsers or if set to PLAY mp4 directly inside, those will start playing of course instead of downloading. Can't help that for now, sorry. One tiny improvement may be to open the link at least in a NEW page instead of the same, but this requires POPUP permission for JS-scripts. Alternative code for this, instead of "document.location":
window.open(lk, '_blank');
.
Edited by siria
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11 hours ago, Gansangriff said:

I've found a nice little feature in Invidious, the alternative Youtube interface. You can download Youtube videos right to your Windows 98 computer. Tested with a TLS-patched Netscape. When going to a video site, it says "Download as:", then there is a wide choice of video and audio-only formats. Currently, the instance at invidious.snopyta.org makes a healthy look now. But that can change rather quickly, as instances come and go, and need to close down when the load on them becomes too much or Google changes their code to block them.

i need test that. Is page HTML cuisinart or looks ok on retrozilla or netscape?

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Thanks for all responses. I remember those Nokias @Mr.Scienceman2000. Apparently it would no longer work with my provider, cool you can still use it. Don't remember text being a thing in 1997 though. Corporations and people ship a lot of garbage, if your friend found the hard drive useful then it was worth the journey.

Thanks for the Invidious tips @Gansangriff, the link you provided works well in RetroZilla, no JavaScript required, good download speed, lots of video formats from dropdown. As the sites change, if anyone is looking for alternative instances.
https://api.invidious.io/

Hi @siria. I couldn't get 'video.genyt.xyz' to work, tested on two systems. It just forwards to 'www.genytb.net/?e503' with '503 NA - Service Deprecating'. Maybe i'm missing something.

The last time i visited the K-Meleon forum your StyleKiller download didn't seem to work. If you have time and inclination feel free to place a download link on the MSFN K-Meleon thread. Without this macro web browsing isn't functional on many sites.
https://msfn.org/board/topic/181726-k-meleon-tls-12-in-vanilla-windows-98-se

Unfortunately keepvid[dot]works now fails in RetroZilla with a CAPTCHA error, now out of vanilla Windows 98's reach.

Watched a good review of the 'weeCee - Tiny DOS Gaming PC' from LGR on YT (~15 mins). Pretty cool hobby hardware. Old DOS, games and Windows 9x without emulation. Don't think it's in production. Seems neat until it's limitations are realized, then to me get proper retro hardware for the richest experience.
https://www.pcbway.com/project/shareproject/weeCee___Tiny_DOS_Gaming_PC.html
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8 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Watched a good review of the 'weeCee - Tiny DOS Gaming PC' from LGR on YT (~15 mins). Pretty cool hobby hardware. Old DOS, games and Windows 9x without emulation. Don't think it's in production. Seems neat until it's limitations are realized, then to me get proper retro hardware for the richest experience.
https://www.pcbway.com/project/shareproject/weeCee___Tiny_DOS_Gaming_PC.html

for me dealbreakers are lack of expansion, I mean ISA or PCI slot would be cool, lack of 3d accerlation, lack of beeper, sd card as only storage option, but idea and fact it is made from new parts is cool.

Though there is something cool about having  big old noisy white tower too.

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Hi @Mr.Scienceman2000, the list of missing features got long for me too. Shame but i guess it's almost always the case, hard to substitute for the original, almighty DOS hardware.

Two more successful solders, hard wired DC power supply to a Palm Tungsten C to compensate for a fading battery. This old hardware is fun so i limp it along. I have one Palm-Pilot Pro from 3Com and another Palm-Pilot Pro from USRobotics. They are about 1997 era, sync with system via serial port and use replaceable AAA batteries. The other is the Palm Tungsten C, about 2003, syncs via USB and has a built-in specialty battery. Got them for free over the years before they became retro-valuable, probably junk drawer clean-up.

These Palms were never used here for legitimate business, just tinker toys, adult gameboys. Since they were received after switching to GNU/Linux, J-Pilot was always used here to add software, sync and backup the devices. Palms were peak popular during the Windows 9x and earlier Windows NT heyday, there are probably lots of sync clients available, haven't checked.

My Palm applications were hoarded years ago when it seemed most sites were shutting down. Fortunately somewhat of a revival. The PalmDB site works well with RetroZilla using View -> Use Style -> None.

PalmDB about:
PalmDB is a community effort to preserve the work and history of Palm OS and its developers. From 1996-2007, Palm dominated the pocket computer marketplace and ushered in the modern smartphone era years before it became mainstream. Originally marketed as business devices dubbed "personal digital assistants" (or PDAs), Palm found unexpected popularity in the home as well, with a vast library of apps and games arising for use both in and out of the office. Future models would go on to be some of the first smartphones ever made.
https://palmdb.net/
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