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Running vanilla Windows 98 in 2020 and beyond...


Wunderbar98
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On 12/6/2021 at 10:43 AM, Mr.Scienceman2000 said:

I had one 40gb Maxtor that had only half usable even after wiping drive.

It may just have been pulled from a machine that had a hidden recovery area. Many manufacturers employed this trick of having part of the HDD turned into hidden area unreachable from the OS, where a copy of the original system was placed for full recovery when needed. The BIOS usually provided such recovery option hotkey at the POST screen.

I had one such drive too, also 40GB (and may even have been a Maxtor like yours), and found it hard to believe the sticker saying 20GB while the original drive label said 40GB, so I searched the web and found details about the issue along with a free application that could restore the drive to its full capacity. For the life of me I can't remember the exact name of that application but searching for "HDD capacity restore" could provide useful results. It would be a pity to scrap a usable drive for only this reason, or even work with partial capacity when it can be restored to its full glory.

  

On 1/6/2022 at 11:33 AM, Mr.Scienceman2000 said:

I plan hook it with USB to my newer XP rig and Printer cable to my Windows 98 PC that got limited USB ports.

A network-capable printer would be more suitable to a multi-computer environment. A few years ago when I still had money I bought a used Lexmark e352dn (printer only, no scanner) and hooked it to a local network hub, so both the XP and the 98SE machines were able to access it. Another advantage, crucial in certain cases, is that the device can be placed at long distance from any of the computers, even in a separate room, while USB and COM/LPT cables usually are limited in length, not to mention one LAN cable versus two means less clutter.
Having it connected to a router with Wi-Fi capability would allow access to it from any machine with Wi-Fi capability.

Edited by Drugwash
added printer info
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10 hours ago, Drugwash said:

It may just have been pulled from a machine that had a hidden recovery area. Many manufacturers employed this trick of having part of the HDD turned into hidden area unreachable from the OS, where a copy of the original system was placed for full recovery when needed. The BIOS usually provided such recovery option hotkey at the POST screen.

I had one such drive too, also 40GB (and may even have been a Maxtor like yours), and found it hard to believe the sticker saying 20GB while the original drive label said 40GB, so I searched the web and found details about the issue along with a free application that could restore the drive to its full capacity. For the life of me I can't remember the exact name of that application but searching for "HDD capacity restore" could provide useful results. It would be a pity to scrap a usable drive for only this reason, or even work with partial capacity when it can be restored to its full glory.

maybe I did not phrase myself correctly. I meant drive had so much bad blocks I could only use half of it capacity even after did proper wipe using manufacture util. It was retail hdd and was using it on my custom build. At that point I had no choice but try keep using it before was able get money for new drive. Luckily I no longer have to do that.

10 hours ago, Drugwash said:

A network-capable printer would be more suitable to a multi-computer environment. A few years ago when I still had money I bought a used Lexmark e352dn (printer only, no scanner) and hooked it to a local network hub, so both the XP and the 98SE machines were able to access it. Another advantage, crucial in certain cases, is that the device can be placed at long distance from any of the computers, even in a separate room, while USB and COM/LPT cables usually are limited in length, not to mention one LAN cable versus two means less clutter.

Having it connected to a router with Wi-Fi capability would allow access to it from any machine with Wi-Fi capability.

Windows can convert any printer into network printer with few clicks.

435130811_nimetn.GIF.fe3507e91709490559417a77339ad69d.GIF

I use that on most cases but was thinking would be nice to have local access to scanner and printer on Windows 98 pc that is right behind workstation I am writing this from

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Congratulations on your Windows 98 printer @Mr.Scienceman2000, laser printers are nice. Unfortunately all mine are deskjet type for Windows XP and newer. It's getting harder to find local ink cartridges for these too. I'm sure it happens sometimes but i don't recall a printer ever failing, the actual hardware (other than printhead), always those pesky cartridges.

Welcome back @Drugwash, you're alive!
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34 minutes ago, Wunderbar98 said:

It's getting harder to find local ink cartridges for these too

Searching for "deskjet cartridge refill" yields plenty of results :P

And maybe you may even find a local company/workshop to do it for you if you want to avoid the mess.

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On 1/10/2022 at 10:29 PM, RainyShadow said:

Searching for "deskjet cartridge refill" yields plenty of results :P

And maybe you may even find a local company/workshop to do it for you if you want to avoid the mess.

unless he got unit with DRM to prevent refill. I tried refill to friend inkjet. It went fine but printer gave error from cartridge due DRM counter had different value than ink level. I am not saying there is no way reset them, but feels ridiculous that I don't own cartridges on modern printer.

Well 1l tank of printer ink costs way less than one "genuine" cartridge and I could even buy new ink printer with price of cartridges

Edited by Mr.Scienceman2000
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Hi all. With grumbling i still refill cartridges, 20 years now. Most refills are completed before i could drive to a store. Since i don't purchase online i'm limited to local retailers and private sales. I was fortunate to have someone give away free bulk ink a few years ago, all three colours plus black in 1 litre bottles more than half full. At 3-10 ml per refill, should last many years.

Unfortunately they can't be refilled forever and i had to buy one new black cartridge last year. The local big box office store only had one cartridge on the shelf and they no longer sell refill kits. Maybe supply chain issue but more likely being phased out. My printers are more than 10 years old and mainline retailers stopped selling these cartridges years ago.

You can buy in-store brand refurbished cartridges but i've never tried them. I did watch one YT video that compared the number or print jobs from a new vs refurbished cartridge and the new cartridge printed many more pages. Don't know, maybe 'big printer' got to him.

Printer manufacturers have progressively become better at preventing refills - sad. Fortunately my older printers don't have to jump through too many hoops. My Canon MX310, for example, can be reset with the proper hardware button sequence. It will warn about low or uncertain ink but still allow printjobs. No 'chip resetters' or anything fancy needed. My favourite old printer was a Windows 98 friendly HP 882C. It didn't even care if the tri-colour cartridge was dried up and broken, this allowed black/white printing for years.

When you physically open a sponge-based cartridge it's amazing how pristine the sponge is (ie. how little ink was injected from manufacturer). I've read most printers estimate ink levels based on the number of print jobs, not how much ink was used. Many printers apparently even count colour cartridge use when printing black and white ('rich black' or 'full colour black').

I always wanted to test this, install a new black and tri-colour cartridge, print consecutive pages of only one black and white word. See how many pages you get, does the colour cartridge get flagged, open it up and inspect how much ink is still inside. Probably varies by manufacturer and printer, however, so not worth wasting perfectly good cartridges and paper.

There is a popular ink refill franchise here. A few years ago they had a kiosk in almost every shopping centre, now there is only one location left on the opposite side of town.
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These days, I am surprised someone doesn't sell printer kits. Some 3d printed parts, a couple of servos/motors, and a micro controller or small FPGA. We could be making printers for Dos. Might even be easier. Drivers seem harder to write, the more modern the OS. Well, that is unless you don't have the toolchain, documentation, etc. I suppose it would cost more, than a new printer. But that's pretty common, in the obs"ELITE" world of computing.

Seriously, you'd think opensource printers would have been a thing by now. Some silly Slogan, "The FREEdom to print, Richard M. Stallman". I suppose he is more a free software guy. But the firmware could be opensource.

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Just now, jaclaz said:

Thanks for looking into it :)

They would probably work okay with Win98 and kernelex. But, with some trade offs, other might work better. Bochs works on Win95, but is hardly very useful.

After Qemu 0.10.1 accelerated virtualization was moved to KVM. Qemu still works without KVM. But as version numbers increase the evolving compilers build less efficient binary(faster CPUs often more than make for the difference) and non KVM performance is less a focus. So in my tests, Qemu provides less performance beyond 0.9 and 0.10, unless you have a KVM capable CPU.

Kqemu provides similar benefits to KVM, but doesn't require a KVM capable CPU. It doesn't compare in performance or features, but it is way better than nothing. Qemu with Kqemu is similar in performance to Virtual box, without KVM (Maybe Virtualbox 3-ish). You're not gonna wanna play heavy games through it. But it could still be very useful.

Qemu dropped support for Kqemu after 0.10.1, to focus on KVM. So any version after that has no option for kqemu, without manual patching and rebuild.

I am sure Kqemu >=0.10.1 would work with Kernelex and Win98. I am not too sure about Kqemu (maybe). But if you use Win95, you'll need to do some work. Maybe not that much. Kind of like Dosbox for 95/NT. It takes a bit of love.

An older version of Qemu (without Kqemu) would perform worlds better than Bochs. As a Win95 user, I'm primed to want an alternative to running Win98/Kernelex or Bochs. Which seems to mean I need to roll up my sleeves.

Without Kqemu, I can use Qemu >=0.9 under dos using with HXDos. I can even have sound, with a non-official version of HXdos. But depending of host card's VESA design, SDL can produce hairy results. Also, dos doesn't provide 2d VESA acceleration. On a machine with Windows 2D acceleration, SDL would perform more than well enough. As can be seen with the unofficial Dosbox build. The trade-off with older versions, is occasionally running into unimplemented hardware emulation.

If accomplished, Qemu with Kqemu, would likely perform better than newer versions using Kernelex on Win98. And on 95, just about anything would be better than Bochs. Sorry Bochs, but its true.

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No problem @Bruninho, though a separate thread would improve visibility with your project - good luck, game on.

Did a fresh reset install of Windows 7 on my new-used computer last week. The partition structure is new to me, separate boot, Acer reset and C: drive partitions. Acer's built-in software was used to burn the OS reset files and drivers to DVD (x4). It was a pleasant experience, no need to fuss with activation or search online for drivers. All hardware worked without hassle. So this is how the rich do it, so easy.

The C: drive directory structure seems an evolution of Windows. Software extras, not optional to disable prior to install, included stuff from Acer, Bing, Norton, Office 2010, etc. The default desktop (and icons) look more like a software sales pitch, granted it's Windows 7 Home Premium. More evolution as Windows 9x had this stuff already too. Even the default Windows firewall was disabled in favour of Norton something or other. Fortunately much of the optional software can be removed. I'm sure there's no end to tweaking options.

This base windows 7 install, without any updates (not even SP1) or personal software, was a 22 GB hard drive footprint. My Windows XP installs are typically on 10-20 GB partitions with room to spare, including SP3, NET Framework, personal software and some games. My last Windows 98 install used about 1 GB of a 6 GB partition, including updates and all personal software, excluding games. All Windows 7 eyecandy was activated by default, pleasant enough but gets old quick. Considering the faster dual-core hardware, performance isn't snappy like Windows 98 on much slower hardware.

Eventually i may performance tune Windows 7 and disable most eye candy and services but it's unlikely to get booted. Really only if it helps with a future printer or tax software. At present Windows 7 doesn't provide anything i can't get from another OS and i have no nostalgia towards it.

Without a formal count, the list of system services is longer than Windows XP and, of course, Windows 9x. Being used to having more control over an OS, it's annoying to get popup confirmations even when running with administrative privilege, like directory access and executable launch. If this was an attempt to make the OS feel more secure, all it does is slow things down, surely this 'feature' can be disabled. I read some are applying POSReady 7 updates, seems support just ended October 2021, should keep the OS modern for a while.

^ No turf war intended, personal opinion based on limited exposure.
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5 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Software extras, not optional to disable prior to install, included stuff from Acer, Bing, Norton, Office 2010, etc.

If it is a true install (as opposed to just restoring disk image), there should be a $OEM folder in the source somewhere. Just remove the installers from there.

If you don't want to modify your install disks (read-only media, etc.), boot some live OS after the first restart and search in the C: drive for that folder.

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22 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Hi @awkduck. Not sure this helps, QEMU v0.8.2 runs fine in vanilla Windows 98, not tested in Windows 95. It can be downloaded and extracted from 'dsl-4.4.10-embedded.zip', includes sdl.dll:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/damnsmall/current/

I'll be sure to add it to the collection. Is that a recent discovery, or did you pull that from memory? Good find, either way.

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Thanks for the tip @RainyShadow. It was a formal re-install with multiple reboots. Will try to remember this and probably re-install again should Windows 7 become useful. My preference has always been lean installs.

Hi @awkduck, i used this QEMU release in Windows 98 to run Tiny Core Linux for my 'Modern Web Browser Emulation' project.
https://msfn.org/board/topic/177106-running-vanilla-windows-98-in-2020-and-beyond/page/21/#comment-1177321

An older Damn Small Linux release was also embedded but i didn't check if it has a different QEMU version.
http://distro.ibiblio.org/damnsmall/current/dsl-3.x/

Images aren't handled much here aside from web browsing. Occasionally, however, i open them from hard drive. Thus far i've just been mult-selecting images in Windows Explorer and opening them in RetroZilla, one image per tab. The Image Zoom extension is helpful to re-size images but doesn't provide rotation. It's not as clunky as it seems but if someone has a favourite simple and light image viewer please let me know, i'm used to 'feh' and 'gpicview' in GNU/Linux.
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I have been messing with Teamspeak 2 on Windows 9x. It is nice software for voice communication and got plenty of public servers and best of all allows to host your own private server. It runs without issues on my Pentium 3 under Windows 98SE.

Despite server software being old I was able to make it run on modern day Linux. All expect WEB UI are fully functional on it. That is good example from proper self contained non bloated program and way programs should be. It only need Gclib which is included by default on most distros. I could have used it on Windows but Linux can be shrunk down more.

Following notes on using it under Linux, you need 32bit or if cant get it multi-arch Linux distro. I used Devuan Linux, but Debian or other should work.

Following server software is latest for linux: ts2_server_rc2_202319.tar.bz2 no download here because was unable find official mirror to it. Software is free for personal use so that is not an issue. Create non root Linux user and extract files to home directory. Then go to folder with command line/terminal and type following to start it: teamspeak2-server_startscript start and following to stop it teamspeak2-server_startscript stop

For managing user permissions there is two ways.

Way 1 is having copy of server software ts2_server_rc2_202319.exe on NT4 or newer Windows and using it to create users and then transfer server.ini and server.dbs into linux install

Way 2 is login to server with latest teamspeak 2 client using built in account as credentials (you will find it on server.log file) and add new users by right clicking server on client.

I was thinking this sits best to thread because it is one few remaining VOIP software that support 9x and allows self host.

Edited by Mr.Scienceman2000
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