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Running vanilla Windows 98 in 2020 and beyond...


Wunderbar98
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Oh yeah , I'm still running several FSP PSUs (Fujitsu Siemens Power) from 2004 , even though they have some pretty scary (el-cheapo) caps.

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On 2/2/2022 at 2:41 AM, Wunderbar98 said:

Haven't even used this OS for 25 years, new discovery. Hold Ctrl key, select multiple applications from the taskbar, right-click and close them all at once (or minimize/maximize). This i knew before but never found it practical, when more than one application is open, right-click on the taskbar to cascade or tile all open windows (horizontally or vertically).

That's new to me. Now I wonder which was the last Windows version that supported it. I didn't find this mentioned in the help files. Even though holding Ctrl to select multiple things is regularly used, never thought about applying it to taskbar buttons.

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Thanks for all responses, checked it works in Windows 2000 too.

Spent time at ReactOS site and forum. Seems they aim to replicate functionality and UI of Windows Server 2003. Unfortunately seems they are stuck with browsers like Firefox 48 and MyPal. One recent reviewer indicated something like 'ReactOS is slipping off the internet like Windows XP'. I've never tried ReactOS but check their updates on occasion. Still hoping to someday see a big change announcement in this regard, since internet facing software is often the final blow to an aging 'modern OS'.

Came across an interesting discussion on Stack Exchange titled 'Why did Windows 95 crash the whole system but newer Windows only crashed program'. A good summary was already provided by @Mr.Scienceman2000 on this thread earlier. He said, she said, whatever i find it interesting.
https://retrocomputing.stackexchange.com/questions/11878/why-did-windows-95-crash-the-whole-system-but-newer-windows-only-crashed-program

Since Windows 98 SE is so rock solid stable [1], no big, but yes once things go South with error messages or a blue screen it's time to voluntarily or forcibly reboot. Anyone wondering what the BSoD codes reference, other Windows OS shown too. Interesting how detailed 'The original BSoD from Windows NT' was compared to modern releases.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_screen_of_death#Windows_9x

[1] Joke, you know humour
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On 2/4/2022 at 7:01 PM, RainyShadow said:

Works in XP. Don't work in 7 and 10.

Anyone got 2003 to test?

I suspected Vista would be the last since it was the last OS before the big taskbar overhaul. My guess turned out to be correct.

Edited by UCyborg
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9 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Interesting how detailed 'The original BSoD from Windows NT' was compared to modern releases.

Was it? Most of the text is useless IMO. What shadowing and caching should I disable? My BIOS has none of these settings. Probably why they trimmed the message.

Honestly, probably the most regular mortal can do is to check their hardware with Memtest and the like, try different driver versions if the known driver file shows in BSOD, experiment with power management settings.

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On 2/4/2022 at 7:01 PM, RainyShadow said:

Works in XP. Don't work in 7 and 10.

Anyone got 2003 to test?

I do use server2003 and it does work 2003 is almost the same as XP.

For me CTRL+Click in the taskbar has always be a nice feature, I do not understand why they removed it, it is really annoying.

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It has been quite some time since got gear upgrade, but this time it was good one. One of my friend sent me old Pentium 3 desktop with price of postage for me. That machine had A-OPEN AX33 mainboard, 20gb Maxtor, 128mb ram, 866mhz Pentium 3 and Geforce 2 MX400 64MB. I ended up, upgrading RAM to 640mb, adding ESS SOLO1 audio card and replacing hard drives with 60gb samsung and 80gb seagate (sata ide adapter). That seagate been one of most reliable hard drives I ever had. It was in active use from 2005/2006 until 2015 when it was taken out of comission for larger drive. I did diagnostics to it and it is still kicking without issues.

Here is picture from tower now. Currently it is waiting for Windows 98SE to be loaded. POMI branded tower on bottom got it original 266mhz celeron again and it will run windows 95. Black computer is my first computer with Windows XP SP3 and picture also got my printer. Black unit next to them is my Philips FW630 HI-FI system.

1295497238_DSCN2512(Large)(Small).JPG.b38468ae3b3b6f341951592904fa4c8c.JPG

(link to image for older browsers https://msfn.org/board/uploads/monthly_2022_02/1295497238_DSCN2512(Large)(Small).JPG.b38468ae3b3b6f341951592904fa4c8c.JPG)

Also good to note for anyone with old hardware (not just Windows 98 era) make sure that GPU fan is not jammed like it was on Geforce 2 MX. I noticed it when was doing thermal gun testing and PCB was around 50c. I ended up doing ziptie fix to it

701224157_MacGyverziptiefix(Small).JPG.a7d0258b523dc424100d81ad5a5003fb.JPG

(link to image for older browsers https://msfn.org/board/uploads/monthly_2022_02/701224157_MacGyverziptiefix(Small).JPG.a7d0258b523dc424100d81ad5a5003fb.JPG)

Edited by Mr.Scienceman2000
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On 2/2/2022 at 7:30 AM, Dixel said:

Oh yeah , I'm still running several FSP PSUs (Fujitsu Siemens Power) from 2004 , even though they have some pretty scary (el-cheapo) caps.

I got few FSP power supplies running too without issues. I checked caps and they were not bulging and power supply produces proper power so it is fine enough. What I noticed is that pre 2010 channel well power supplies are almost certainly dead. All I had had bulging caps and strong smell of acid.

Edited by Mr.Scienceman2000
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29 minutes ago, RainyShadow said:

Just stumbled upon this interesting video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-ZZkZk9QRk

For anyone near Dallas, Texas, who would like to dive in a warehouse full of piles upon piles of retro stuff and take all you can for a flat entry fee. 

If anyone ends up going, share here your loot, lol.

I actually got one friend in Texas who visited there multiple times to get good hardware.

I kinda wish we would have similar here but no since many places even trash motherboards with hammers "since they contain sensitive data". I have no idea where thing came from. That is true for some newer laptops with onboard EMMC storage, but desktop mainboards (expect maybe management engines) contain no company data. If very paranoid just wipe cmos and even on servers with ILO or similar remote management there is "emergency reset jumper" to wipe it clean from custom settings. I give my old hardware away for someone who need it or sell it away instead or trashing it.

Best way to find free old hardware here is dumpsters and friends. People sometimes leave stuff visible on purpose so someone can pick it up. That is how I got my brother laser printer. Someone had left it next to garbage cans one place. I just put it on bag quickly and took away.

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Thanks for all responses and clarifications. Life gets in the way and Windows 98 SE (Stable Edition) doesn't run critical software here so it doesn't get booted as much anymore.

That's why 'the original BSoD from Windows NT' was described as detailed, not useful @UCyborg, maybe to a developer.

Thanks for the old browser friendly image links @Mr.Scienceman2000, nice new (used) hardware. My faster Windows 98 system also uses NVIDIA GeForce2 MX 400. It works well but graphic glitches running some games (Madden 2000, SpellForce) while my MX 200 ran Madden fine. My MX 400 was also received used, don't believe it ever had a cooling fan. Overall i'm happy with it, lots of video memory for Windows 9x era.

So jealous @RainyShadow regarding 'warehouse full of piles upon piles of retro stuff and take all you can for a flat entry fee'. For environmental reasons alone this should be done everywhere. Sad most perfectly useful hardware goes to recycling never to be functional again.

My 2001 era 19" ViewSonic CRT monitor is fixed, last update 1.5 years ago:
https://msfn.org/board/topic/177106-running-vanilla-windows-98-in-2020-and-beyond/page/31/#comment-1186295

It's been running without a case for over a year. The issue persisted and worsened. Several times per week the monitor would not degauss or output an image. Sometimes it would even conk out during runtime. Video output could always be restored by gently rocking the monitor on a temporary wooden block or, once the flaky connection was identified, prodding the component with a wooden chopstick.

Since the problem was worsening the monitor was unplugged and flipped. No visible connection issues were noted 1.5 years ago but there were now two obvious cracked solders underneath the flyback transformer. Quick solder refresh and the monitor's been rock solid for over a month. The casing will be reinstalled tomorrow.

Though CRTs have many components that can fail, makes sense this may be the issue. It's a large, heavy part that probably jostles easily on the main board during transport and setup. Flyback transfomer solders are easy to visualize on the under side of the main board, a U-shaped pattern of 10 large solders, see image below.
https://jestineyong.com/how-to-locate-the-primary-winding-of-flyback-transformer/

If anyone is picking up a used CRT, most can be rudimentary tested without a computer connection. Plug in the power and press the power switch, green LED should light up, should hear degauss, with good ears will also hear some static. Patiently wait 5-10 seconds and most monitors should briefly output something similar to 'off mode' or 'no signal' (no graphic card connected) then go into sleep mode (green LED usually goes orange). A simple test for basic functionality if there is no computer handy before passing someone your money or breaking your back hauling home broken hardware.
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Screen (adjust brightness) and focus (fix blurry output) screws on the flyback transformer were adjusted slightly prior to re-install of the monitor case. If you've never done this before review online for safety precautions, be careful as the monitor is live and exposed during calibration. You've been warned, i take no responsibility for carelessness or shaky hands, death may result, no exaggeration.

The monitor is > 20 years old and prior to adjustment was dim even when adjusting brightness to maximum with the front-face hardware buttons. It's now calibrated nicely with wiggle room for future brightness adjustment. This computing station is now at full glory, dual CRT monitors side by side, running like brand new.

If reluctant to adjust flyback brightness on a dimming CRT, and if maximum brightness is already set on the front-face hardware buttons, most graphic drivers in Windows allow gamma adjustment via software controls.

For multi-booters running GNU/Linux, most Desktop Environments have a GUI. If you run a Window Manager like me then use 'xgamma', create a script or add a custom startup entry, example below.

Run 'xrandr' to identify screen name, here it's 'DVI-I-1'. Sad GNU/Linux is leaving the traditional 'VGA-0' nomenclature behind even though this is a bonafide old school CRT monitor with a VGA connection.
xrandr

Then adjust gamma using 'xgamma' command. Review 'man xgamma' or 'xgamma --help' for more information, especially for colour balance adjustment.
xgamma -screen DVI-I-1 -gamma 1.2

This monitor test site was useful to get the settings dialed-in, no HTTPS or JavaScript needed, test images can be downloaded for future use.
http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/
Edited by Wunderbar98
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13 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Screen (adjust brightness) and focus (fix blurry output) screws on the flyback transformer were adjusted slightly prior to re-install of the monitor case. If you've never done this before review online for safety precautions, be careful as the monitor is live and exposed during calibration. You've been warned, i take no responsibility for carelessness or shaky hands, death may result, no exaggeration.

The monitor is > 20 years old and prior to adjustment was dim even when adjusting brightness to maximum with the front-face hardware buttons. It's now calibrated nicely with wiggle room for future brightness adjustment. This computing station is now at full glory, dual CRT monitors side by side, running like brand new.

If reluctant to adjust flyback brightness on a dimming CRT, and if maximum brightness is already set on the front-face hardware buttons, most graphic drivers in Windows allow gamma adjustment via software controls.

those seems not to exist on some digital monitors. Last time I check my very dim 17" acer (goldstar tube) I did not find manual adjustments i usually found on older analog CRT monitor. Not sure from my Diamondtron since have not had need to adjust it yet. It is from 1998 and dimmer acer is from 1997 and both were left to one old office building for long time until friend of mine saved them to me. That building had lot of tubes and other stuff left when it was demolished but he was allowed get there only once and did not have anything to carry more with. I kinda wished would have been there with rented van to save more stuff. Many good tubes and old DEC mainframe atleast were crushed with building.

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

Run 'xrandr' to identify screen name, here it's 'DVI-I-1'. Sad GNU/Linux is leaving the traditional 'VGA-0' nomenclature behind even though this is a bonafide old school CRT monitor with a VGA connection.

Seems you've encountered some quirk, here's the output of xrandr from my laptop, which does have a VGA port, running live Kubuntu 21.10 image:

spacer.png

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