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Running vanilla Windows 98 in 2020 and beyond...


Wunderbar98
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With Win9x having such a primitive and easy to understand structure of system files and folders, you can clean the system yourself with relative ease, there are no protections after all, mostly due to the usage of FAT32 filesystem that doesn't have all this permissions rubbish :D

And no, cleaning registry doesn't do anything useful.

WinME versions of ScanDisk and Defrag are much faster than 98SE ones, though this probably is against your policy of using only vanilla apps, so to each his own.

Though I don't use Defrag at all when using 98SE myself, I only install 98SE on SSDs these days :D

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

On 6/23/2022 at 10:58 PM, Wunderbar98 said:

VCACHE can be disabled by checking System Properties -> Performance tab -> File System -> Troubleshooting -> 'Disable write-behind caching for all drives'.

Vcache also caches reads as well as writes, so disabling write-behind caching is unlike to completely disable Vcache.

 

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On 6/9/2022 at 5:28 PM, Wunderbar98 said:

DDHELP.EXE no longer runs at boot but does load when initiating a DirectX game

DDHELP is required for DX and therefore is required for DSOUND.dll. I think it will come unstuck if you disable DDHELP as DSOUND will not work and other software like Alcohol and media players use DSOUND. If DDHELP still loads before DVDplay.exe or Alcohol etcetera then not a problem.

Edited by Goodmaneuver
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Thanks for all responses, busy getting back to nature. It appears we're doomed but gotta make an effort, gardening, composting, growing trees, reduce/re-use/recycle. Humans disgust me, of which i am too, continuous consumption and pollution, worse than invasive, noxious weeds.

Hi @MrMateczko. Permissions was a thorn to me years ago but since i now have a good understanding and can easily manipulate file systems, it's a good thing. But yes running an old OS like Windows 98 is easy and fun. Nice knowing you can make trouble if not careful, DOS and Windows 9x provides that freedom.

I do use Windows ME ScanDisk and Defragmenter, mentioned before. The Defragmenter is very fast and efficient, has caused no issues on this otherwise vanilla Windows 98 SE system.

Since you SSD nothing to worry about, performance on spinning drives, especially slower RPM drives, defragmenting the filesystem makes a difference. Windows 7 benchmarking below, including SSD comparison, couldn't readily find anything Windows 9x (FAT) specific.
https://www.hofmannc.de/en/windows-7-defragmenter-test/benchmarks.html

Hi @jumper, makes sense as the option only disables 'write caching'. Perhaps setting both Min and MaxFileCache to 0 (zero) fully disables, don't know, C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM.INI:

[vcache]
MinFileCache=0
MaxFileCache=0

Hi @Goodmaneuver, disabling DDHELP.EXE has caused no difficulties on the software used here, video or sound related. Concerned users shouldn't disable the service or backup registry beforehand (own risk), any performance improvement is negligible anyway.
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23 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Thanks for all responses, busy getting back to nature. It appears we're doomed but gotta make an effort, gardening, composting, growing trees, reduce/re-use/recycle. Humans disgust me, of which i am too, continuous consumption and pollution, worse than invasive, noxious weeds.

Its been a conundrum for me. Can we blame the ignorant for being ignorant. We are told that we are part of the human race, and all that comes with that. Achievements, like faster than sound travel. However, only a small fraction of us can make a door knob or shoe. More of us conceptualize, with an external observation, how a door knob works. But a staggering majority don't know what the internals of a door knob look like. Are these achievements of man ours? Or do we just assume that the farms fencing belongs to our heritage?

23 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

DOS and Windows 9x provides that freedom.

It is really quite nice. I don't think anyone would argue about the things modern systems provide. Its quite important for large scale administration. But when I am the total sum of the hierarchy accessing a computer (Personal Computer) the hierarchy system gets in "my" way. Dos, Win3, Win9x, Aros, and Kolibri for the Win. In this light, Win9x is far from obsolete. Is it the most developed, and developed on, single user "MODE" O.S. to date?

Edit:It occurred to me how profound the combination of the two above subjects could be; if one were to read into them with a certain insight. Something about the "personal" being obsolete, and what has replaced it being a conditioning architecture. The conditioners being the architects.

Edited by awkduck
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On 8/21/2022 at 6:07 PM, Wunderbar98 said:

makes sense as the option only disables 'write caching'

Caching is part of the 32-bit drivers, so the above Troubleshooting option "Disable all 32-bit protected-mode disk drivers" should do it.

Caching can still be done by Dos Buffers, SmartDrv.exe, and the drive itself.

 

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On 8/22/2022 at 11:07 AM, Wunderbar98 said:

MaxFileCache=0

This is not a setting, it is ignored. MaxFileCache puts most used modules into RAM. It is not a HDD cache as such. Modules in use need to be loaded into RAM.

https://msfn.org/board/topic/152080-getting-the-ati-mobility-firegl-v5000-mobility-radeon-x700-to-work-w/?do=findComment&comment=1134660 rLoew

If you want to improve just the disk drive then you could try HardDiskDMABuffer=<kilobytes>

Edited by Goodmaneuver
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5 hours ago, MrMateczko said:

HardDiskDMABuffer is for Windows 3.1 only

Some say it is but the only reason MaxBPs is considered win3.1 only is that it is automatically increased with the size of the VXD with later Win9x. That does not mean that it still cannot be limited by using system.ini. I am not sure though even though I have used this setting as it is a safeguard against VXD stack overrun. The same with HardDiskDMABuffer, it is automatically calculated if smart drive and double buffering are implemented so maybe it can be controlled via system.ini. It could be worth a try and worst case it gets ignored, The 64kB limit for DMABufferSize is not true, it does increase further if written in the system.ini.

Edited by Goodmaneuver
had MB
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Hi @awkduck, thanks for thoughtful response. To me ignorance is no longer valid. Most everyone has internet, all get news. Being observant of one's local environment, it's obvious there are drastic, rapid changes everywhere.

Since ignorance is no longer valid, choosing not to act for positive change is even worse. A special 'for shame' to parents who choose not to act, remember this polluted fishbowl is your children's future. Unfortunately i think societies, and most individuals, are going 'crab bucket'.

I think you are correct, Windows 9x is probably the most developed and popular single mode OS of all time. FreeDOS is developed and supported much longer than Microsoft supported MS-DOS, but the user base is small and it can't do cool, old Windows (graphic) sofware. As mentioned before, with an up to date web browser Windows 9x would still be a viable daily use OS.

Thanks for the information @jumper and @Goodmaneuver. Since my systems are running well i do not need to troubleshoot these items, hopefully they will help someone else.

Thank-you for providing clarification @MrMateczko.

*****

If you've got your ears on @UCyborg, hope you're doing well. No response is expected or required. Maybe you're taking a break or moved on to bigger and better things. IMHO social media isn't a healthy place to spend signficant time, including computer forums.

*****

This may only be of interest (a little bit) to @Drugwash, since many Windows users have Unix-based allergies, AutoHotkey for Linux is a thing. It's been really nice to use a little AutoHotkey on my Windows 98 systems.
https://github.com/phil294/AHK_X11

*****

Doubt many here still fax and also unsure if modern Windows (eg. Windows 10) provides fax functionality. Back when fax was setup here regularly, these links were useful.

Fax page to test send, view web page for quality:
https://www.faxtoy.net/

Fax page to HP, await response, to test send/receive:
https://support.hp.com/bg-en/document/ish_2385619-2276753-16

In GNU/Linux fax is straightforward with a 'hardware modem' and packages like Efax. I have quite a stack of 'WinModems' in the basement from my active Windows 98/XP days, which will not likely get used again. This is the first year my household no longer has an activated old-school copper telephone line.

I don't fax for work anymore, though 10 years ago it was still used extensively in many medical and legal offices. Although anything can be intercepted, to me it was more secure than sending attachments via interweb.
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3 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

This may only be of interest (a little bit) to @Drugwash, since many Windows users have Unix-based allergies, AutoHotkey for Linux is a thing. It's been really nice to use a little AutoHotkey on my Windows 98 systems.
https://github.com/phil294/AHK_X11

Thank you for thinking of me. I already knew about that attempt as well as about Keysharp, AutohotkeyX and others. See this comment in AHK forums for details. :hello:

In a world where options are slowly (or quickly) being taken away from us I think we should refrain from second-guessing other people's choices as at some point they may even become our own choices. ;) Don't forget: allergies are treatable with close to 100% success. :cool:

Be well! :worship:

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6 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Hi @awkduck, thanks for thoughtful response. To me ignorance is no longer valid. Most everyone has internet, all get news. Being observant of one's local environment, it's obvious there are drastic, rapid changes everywhere.

Since ignorance is no longer valid, choosing not to act for positive change is even worse. A special 'for shame' to parents who choose not to act, remember this polluted fishbowl is your children's future. Unfortunately i think societies, and most individuals, are going 'crab bucket'.

I think you might be an interesting person to converse with on this topic. I don't know that I should do it here. Maybe in private messages? I can see that I would have better used "Ignorant" as opposed to "Ignorance". I guess there is a slight difference in meaning. One being uneducated in general and the other uneducated in something specific. To me, both words equate to both definitions.

So, I agree that hardly anyone is unaware. However, I cannot say that people are wise. And it is not my opinion that wisdom is actually encouraged. You cannot, for example, raise wise livestock and and expect them to accept the future slaughter.

Even very educated persons, lack the reflection to examine beyond the expected outcomes of their plans. They just follow what is found in favorable dictum.

The very key factor of any society, is to exchange self interest for societal interest. That does not equate to acting in the interest of humanity. However, being raised in society, we have come to see societal interests as one with personal. This encourages an innate dissonance. Many have not the adequate self awareness needed to internalize a realization of it, let alone circumvent it.

Like you, I do what I can. But I admit, it probably has more to do with achieving a sense of self reliance.

The powers that provide the path to this self destruction, are the ones best poised to prevent it. Lord knows that, the masses themselves have not the immense capacity to design such a perfect demise.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/31/2022 at 5:30 AM, Wunderbar98 said:

If you've got your ears on @UCyborg, hope you're doing well. No response is expected or required. Maybe you're taking a break or moved on to bigger and better things. IMHO social media isn't a healthy place to spend signficant time, including computer forums.

I'm still here. You're right, I needed a break. I'm doing as usual. While things could be much better, they could also be much worse. I'm noticing this constant pattern when it's just peacefully raining where I live, all hell breaks loose in some other part of the country.

And one day when I was at work, had no idea until I heard the news in the evening that roofs were flying in a nearby town!

Edited by UCyborg
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  • 2 weeks later...
Thanks for replies. Harvest done, busy with projects. To clarify my comments are specific to the environment and ravages of climate change. Everyone's situation is different for sure @Drugwash, thanks for the kind words.

The need for us to do better is targetted towards those who are in a position to make a change. If someone is impoverished, unhealthy, aged or living in a disaster or war zone, of course focus on survival. For the rest of us, please brainstorm some ways to make a difference.

IMHO relying on government is useless, yak, yak since at least the 1970s. World governments are too concerned with the immediate economy and ongoing emergencies. So much greenwashing, churning and wasted energy.

To me it's grass roots, house by house, but fear it's too late. Not sure why i fret, we're not supposed to worry, the outcome may be predestined.

Lots of insight have you @awkduck. I'm not interesting to converse with, please place public messages here, others may also be interested. In 20 years most of us Windows 9x geezers won't be around, so post whatever, wherever. My efforts are also part selfish. The city owned trees i water, for example, also shade my house and yard.

Good to hear from you @UCyborg, welcome back. Something awry when the house may no longer have a roof upon return from work. Seems most have already been directly or indirectly affected.

*****

My slower, daily use Windows 98 SE system (800 MHz, 32 MB graphics, 6 GB partition) was upgraded from 384 MB PC100 to 512 MB PC133 RAM. Many have beefier Windows 9x hardware though this would have been a superb Windows 98 system back in the day. My original build was only 450 MHz, 64 MB RAM, 16 MB graphics.

Hard to tell if any performance improvement, other than helping avoid swap when multi-booting for a full-featured web browser. My Windows 98 boots will not likely need 512 MB RAM, the swap file may be deleted.

*****

Full Windows 98 backup from a GNU/Linux multi-boot to USB stick, as root, example:
cp -axv /dev/sda1/* /dev/sdc1/win89_202209

*****

Japan declares war on floppy disks for government use
In Japan, 1,900 government procedures still require submission on floppy disk.
https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2022/08/japan-declares-war-on-floppy-disks-for-government-use/

*****

Seems newer hardware and OS aren't helping much with website loadtimes.
https://www.datafantic.com/how-much-time-do-we-waste-waiting-for-websites-to-load/

*****

Microsoft executives say it's 'wrong' for managers to spy on remote employees' mouse clicks and keystrokes: 'That's measuring heat rather than outcome'
https://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-executives-call-remote-employee-surveillance-spying-wrong-2022-9

Hmm, well the world needs more humour. A quick search like 'is windows 10 spyware' is satisfying enough. I'll keep it old school with Windows 98 SE (Spyware Excluded edition), surely not whole truth, close enough.
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Screenshot of Firefox 102 ESR running in Devuan Beowulf on 32-bit non-SSE2 capable hardware. Mozilla officially dropped non-SSE2 support after Firefox 52. This was reported in my 'Multi-boot Windows 9x with current GNU/Linux' thread but i wanted to place the screenshot here as this thread probably gets more traffic. The purpose isn't to brag about GNU/Linux, it has issues too, though usually a workaround and solution.

This is my 23 year old multi-boot Windows 98 hardware with a 15", 1024x768 CRT monitor. Openbox window manager, fbpanel, launchers on the left. Open applications: Caja, Firefox, terminal displaying 'lshw'. Top right custom Conky as dashboard: % CPU use, % RAM use, % Swapfile use, uptime. Under opened windows Conky displays partition freespace and network activity. The only two add-ons used here in Firefox are NoScript and Bluhell Firewall. Multiple browser preferences and about:config settings were modified for performance and security.

Maybe this helps others keep their old DOS and Windows boxes running to slow the perpetual upgrade cycle. This slower 800 MHz multi-boot is still my daily, goto system that gets 90% of the work done. My faster 1.8 GHz multi-boot system, which also runs Windows 98 SE, does another 9%. Unfortunately there was one banking login that didn't work in older Firefox 78 ESR last month, requiring a newer 2010 era 64-bit system.

Over the weeks i'll trial this Firefox 102 ESR with my important websites and logins. There were some issues with tab crashes in Firefox 78 ESR, likely releated to non-SSE2 capability, i am curious to see if this improved.

Some browsers may need to click on 'Download original image' to view:
https://i.postimg.cc/kghbvTVY/2022-09-28-231552-1023x767-scrot.png
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