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Wunderbar98

Running vanilla Windows 98 in 2020...

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23 minutes ago, siria said:

Wunderbar98 said:
> Of course, rendering is poor compared to a modern browsing experience,
> JavaScript engine is dysfunctional and many sites still don't load, take what you can get.
> To me this drawn out testing experience was worth it. Secure and functional online access
> remains the primary obstacle from keeping Windows 98 fully viable.
> IMHO I am now using the best browser for this old system.

Well yeah, just always keeping in mind it's only a personal decision to keep those obstacles as high as any possible. By sticking strictly to ancient "vanilla" version and not installing even the tiniest updates, just for purity. In reality, users who'd like to use better browsers can of course install KernelEx. That makes the obstacles about half as high only, huge difference. And the system still remains win98.

Yes we all know this here and I'm aware it's just done for experimental reasons, just a little reminder for later passing readers ;-)

Bruninho said:
> If KernelEx with updates on Windows 98 is supposed to make possible to run XP-like apps,
> then why it doesn't work in practice for SeaMonkey? Something must be missing.

That's a misunderstanding. KernelEx doesn't make that "all" XP-apps work, only some. Especially those which are unnecessarily blocked. For example when a setup.exe checks the system and then cancels without even trying, the KernelEx compatibility setting (chosen by user in the exe properties) makes apps believe they were running on another system. And it helps to start some apps which are "mostly" working, just missing a few minor features. Better partly running as not at all. Especially apps which are checking at startup the existance of all sorts of system features by default, when not even needing some of them. KernelEx provides "stubs" for some of those missing system features, pretending those would exist, when in reality they still don't. I think it's also creating some real replacement features, but that's dev stuff, this water is getting too deep for me, no clue.
Not sure how big the current version is, but the slightly older ones had a setup size of only 0.3MB. This alone shows already that it can't contain lots of new functions. And the dev wrote recently again that newer versions replace the original system files only in RAM, not physically anymore, really like this.

Thanks for the clarification!

I've done some more digging on browsers for win98 and so far zero luck. I have tested (and retested) a whole variety of browsers, including QtWeb. Zero, Nada, Nothing.

While on Win2k I also got New Moon 28.8.0a1 working exactly the same way SeaMonkey 2.49.5 does.

Both score 99/100 on Acid3 Test. SSL test is "okayish". Youtube plays fine, pages renders fine. I think I will stick with Win2k + BWC and do some skinning to match Win98 in some places (I already changed the desktop icons to older Win98 ones). And, I also happen to own an old iPod Nano 1st gen 1GB, so I might want to install iTunes to sync some musics on it. If I recall correctly, I never had both in my time, instead I had WinAmp and no syncing devices.

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Yeah, if I could, I'd definitely prefer Win2000 too, since LOTS more stuff runs on it.
But just curious, while you have that super-updated 98 version:
Would Opera 12.18 run on it? (last presto, got cipher updates as farewell surprise present)

With win98 and basic old KernelEx the last version was Opera 12.02 for years, much older, but it must have been incredibly advanced at its time, containing already some TLS1.2 ciphers. Or whatever, at any rate it had access on almost all sites until just 1 year ago, when Google started trying to force all website owners to kick old browsers out. So meanwhile Opera12.02 started failing too. Could still kick myself for not discovering it earlier, could have saved me from lots of broken websites before roytam came to rescue.

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8 hours ago, siria said:

Yeah, if I could, I'd definitely prefer Win2000 too, since LOTS more stuff runs on it.
But just curious, while you have that super-updated 98 version:
Would Opera 12.18 run on it? (last presto, got cipher updates as farewell surprise present)

With win98 and basic old KernelEx the last version was Opera 12.02 for years, much older, but it must have been incredibly advanced at its time, containing already some TLS1.2 ciphers. Or whatever, at any rate it had access on almost all sites until just 1 year ago, when Google started trying to force all website owners to kick old browsers out. So meanwhile Opera12.02 started failing too. Could still kick myself for not discovering it earlier, could have saved me from lots of broken websites before roytam came to rescue.

Apparently - it was even mentioned on MSFN forums somewhere - You cannot, but you can use some files from the 12.18 install on 12.02 install, like Opera.dll and gstreamer folder, I think. I can't find the link now - I am on the move at work now. But I expect it to be a troublesome experience.

I will just "cheat" and change some parts of the Windows 2000 (boot screen, logon and shutdown banners, and some other places I can't remember now) to show Windows 98 branding. That will do for now. Unless roytam1 or someone else comes with a magic browser supporting HTML5, CSS3, TLS 1.2 and running on Windows 98...

Web developers need to ditch jQuery - you definitely DON'T need jQuery in 2020. They need to go back to vanilla JavaScript (yes, I know jQuery is nothing more than a JS framework), at least a very basic JS experience is enough. Most of the things you needed jQuery to do can be done with CSS3 now. I for one can understand the Netscape's very early developers reluctancy to use scripts in their browser back in late 90's, before they were sold to AOL and switched to a Mozilla fork before its death. "Why do you need scripts to run a website?"

Edited by Bruninho

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Opera 12.18:
> Apparently - it was even mentioned on MSFN forums somewhere - You cannot, but you can use
> some files from the 12.18 install on 12.02 install, like Opera.dll and gstreamer folder, I think.

I know what you mean, but nope, that turned out a dead end. Just recently was also confirmed in that topic.
Had just wondered if it might be possible anyway in your heavily updated 98, since you can even start KM75.

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On 12/11/2019 at 3:16 AM, Wunderbar98 said:

curious you don't multi-boot Windows 98?

Multiple reasons:

1. Trying to preserve HDD's boot sector avoiding repeated (re)boots. My machines have always run 24/7.

2. The 98SE machine doesn't have enough power to run any higher OS decently.

3. The XP machine came with XP already installed and didn't want to mess it up.

4. The notebook is relatively too new for 9x, most drivers are probably unavailable; original 1TB HDD had Win10, replaced it with a 250GB where there's Ubuntu and Mint already.

5. Other reasons...

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4 hours ago, siria said:

Opera 12.18:
> Apparently - it was even mentioned on MSFN forums somewhere - You cannot, but you can use
> some files from the 12.18 install on 12.02 install, like Opera.dll and gstreamer folder, I think.

I know what you mean, but nope, that turned out a dead end. Just recently was also confirmed in that topic.
Had just wondered if it might be possible anyway in your heavily updated 98, since you can even start KM75.

Actually, I can start KM74, but it runs only if I disable Javascript. Otherwise it crashes without even being able to type an url to load.

The only browser that I left on my Win98SE VM is the MS one (IE6.0), because I am still searching for the "chosen one". :roll1:

Strong candidates are SeaMonkey and RetroZilla. Hopefully RZ's developer can update it enough to almost match the experience I have with Win2K and New Moon/SeaMonkey. Opera is an outsider, but non-presto engine builds probably don't work well so the only way it can win is a fork of an old Opera version with updated stuff, no vanilla old Opera versions can play Youtube at the moment.

I uninstalled KM after that, because of that and because I disliked the UI. I like the SeaMonkey UI and (maybe) the New Moon UI with a Netscape theme. Back in these days, the Netscape was my number 1 browser until its sad downfall. I had switched to Firefox later and before I could even start using Chrome I switched to macOS and Safari, and never looked back again. Chrome is a no-no for me since it eats RAM like a monster.

Edited by Bruninho

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I just noticed one small problem. Probably caused by one of the updates I've installed before.

Why does the System Properties panel report it's Windows Me instead of Windows 98?

EDIT: Just fixed it using some other sysdm.cpl from another source. All OK now so far.

EDIT 2: Ok, not all good at all. The CPU info is missing... ROFL

EDIT 3: Tried to fix it and it returned to showing Windows Me. Oh dear...

Edited by Bruninho

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https://msfn.org/board/topic/152471-kernelex-apps-compatibility-list-new/page/33/?tab=comments#comment-1174556

> ....Puppy Linux for 98...
> KernelEx is not required. Any questions just PM or post on the vanilla Windows thread, no sense cluttering KernelEx.
> FYI - It's a multi-boot, you'll be running Linux, not downloading from Windows 98.
> You can also set up much newer Puppy versions, as outlined.

Yes this thread is really about Win98+Linux (=vanilla98, but Win98+KernelEx is less vanilla? depending on viewpoint ;D)
Not sure but perhaps it would be a good idea to also add Linux to the topic title?

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The so called 137 GB limit is due to the use of 28-bit LBA. With just 28 bits, the biggest number that can be represented is  1111 1111 1111 1111 1111 1111 1111 = 268,435,455 so one can count from sector 0 to sector 268,435,455. Ala in all that gives a total of 268,435,456 x 512 bytes (512 being the lenght of one sector) = 137438953472 bytes~wich is ca. 137.4 GB or exactly 128 GiB. However, the system is interessed in addresses, so a partition starting right at the begining of the disk can have any of its sectors addressed using just 28 bits. But no sector beyond that point can be addressed at all. The solution is to patch the correct system file for it to use 48 bits, instead of 28, which is what both LLXX's and RLoew's patches actually do.

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@Wunderbar98, Please don't take this a criticism of your choices, but rather as gentle teasing:

You insist on using "pure" vanilla Win 98, which we know is strictly your choice and not a requirement. Though as @siria reminds us, you think that Win 98+Linux is OK, and you don't have an issue with using ClassicNick modifications to RetroZilla, which is a modified version of an outdated version of FireFox. So modified versions of Apps are OK. I'm just trying to understand your thought process regarding the definition of "pure", and how that ties in with the definition of consistency. Especially since AFAIK, using things such as KernelX doesn't change the feel, look, hardware requirements, or overall experience of the OS, but merely allows some applications to run that ordinarily wouldn't,. And the same is mostly true with other updates from ME and/or unofficial service packs, etc. In the latter cases, most of the files used are official MS files, just not originally intended for use with Win 98. I'm just curious.

It might be interesting, if you are so inclined, once you get your "pure" vanilla Win 98 installation as far as you can reasonably go in the next few weeks (months?), to begin adding in some of these other "improvements" to see if they truly enhance the OS's capabilities without degrading the experience. I think you would be in a perfect position and uniquely qualified to do this. rLowe was another one to have been able to make such a comparison, but he was able to make his own modifications to the OS to meet his needs, far beyond any other method to do so that I am aware of.

Those are just random thoughts off the top of my head.

Cheers and Regards

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10 hours ago, Bruninho said:

I just noticed one small problem. Probably caused by one of the updates I've installed before.

Why does the System Properties panel report it's Windows Me instead of Windows 98?

EDIT: Just fixed it using some other sysdm.cpl from another source. All OK now so far.

EDIT 2: Ok, not all good at all. The CPU info is missing... ROFL

EDIT 3: Tried to fix it and it returned to showing Windows Me. Oh dear...

Use this:

https://lonecrusader.x10host.com/rloew/sysdmcpl.html

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Hi @Bruninho, thanks for the browser link. Briefly installed SeaMonkey95 but it only supports TLS v1.0. Let me know if you find the chosen one. For me running vanilla, RetroZilla has been very good the last few days. Most of the websites i routinely visit are now accessible.

Thanks for the feedback @Drugwash. Hopefully your old Windows 98 machine will continue to have a good long life. Reading posts from yesteryear, you're the Windows98 fellow. 'Other reasons...' adds a nice air of mystery.

For me Linux is now my frame of reference @siria. Like everyone else, i do not function in a vacuum. I have not used Windows on a daily basis for many years. These are, therefore, the tools i use to solve some computing issues. There are likely others in my position, having left Windows around the Windows 98 - XP era. So what are their choices and present day frames of reference. In all likelihood either Apple, Linux, BSD or Solaris. I know nothing about Windows scripting or compiling, just some DOS. Eventually i may begin Windows coding and compiling, it's tempting but life is short and there are other projects. All Linux tools and mods mentioned in this thread install and launch from a vanilla Windows 98 system. FWIW Unix-tools existed long before Microsoft existed and Linux was born before Windows 98 was conceived. Apparently Windows 10 is now Bash compatible. It's not the new and shiny, rather real applications to solve computing problems.

Thank-you @dencorso for your informative post, readers will surely find it helpful. Presently i only own one hard drive exceeding this limit and the system does not run Windows 98.

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Thank-you for your provocative post @bphlpt. Thus far running vanilla has served my purpose and i have little desire to delve into kernel extensions and the like. The primary reason for repeatedly mentioning vanilla is to keep this from turning into yet another hybrid system thread, with numerous posts related to mis-matched software versions and broken software. Most members have tweaked their systems to such degree that they are no longer certain which software runs on a fresh install. Recent examples above. Believe me, getting tired of typing 'vanilla'.

My system and i are not pure, there are inconsistencies, we are all hypocrites, i have been transparent. For example, my system uses Windows ME ScanDisk and Disk Defrag, mentioned early in this thread. They are just drop and replace from MS, no compatability layering required. So i pick and choose too. If the software installs without manipulation, then to me it's vanilla Windows 98 compatible. If it's been custom coded and/or compiled to work with Windows 98, such as RetroZilla or a Bash script, that's fine too. In the end, the system administrator decides where to draw the line. I just want a stable system, using software intended for the system. In the Linux world, doing otherwise is referred to as a Franken* system and often leads to instability and unintended complications. All the software i've installed has been specifically coded for Windows 9x, most tested on thousands of Windows 98 systems back in the day.

If someone modifies and compiles software specifically for Windows 98, as with RetroZilla, then why not. An about:config change in a stand-alone browser should not be compared to kernel extensions or modifying system files, that is not fair play. The component has already been compiled in, it's just a default about:config oversight.

If my future hardware exceeds Windows 98 limitations, then of course i would make changes to get the system running. If RetroZilla continues to be unmaintained and stops working well with the ever changing internet, then i too would consider 'enhancements'. Almost all of my browsing is without JavaScript anyway, poor page rendering is par for the course. This is a trade-off i have happily lived with for many years for a calmer computing environment and to prevent unauthorized code execution.

In general what is acceptable to me is software that can easily be installed and removed, without affecting the kernel or any critical system files. I do not desire compatability layers, nor do i necessarily need more recent versions of software, to me this is what a newer OS is for. In my assessment, if upgrading Firefox from v2 (vanilla) to version 3 or 8 is still inadequate to securely perform banking and emails, the improvement is negligible.

This thread is intended to be an archive for users that just want a basic Windows 98 system in the present day, the barriers, knowing some software versions that may work, some work arounds and what to expect. More experienced Windows 98 members may want to start a new thread, as you proposed, showing off the best Windows 98 is able to roll out. In my opinion this would be worthwhile, if for no better reason than providing a clear and simple how to. To newer members, the many, often overlapping, enhancement projects are probably overwhelming. Another fun project would be to install Windows 95 for it's 25th anniversary, tweak the heck out of it and see how it runs.

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It's interesting how our opinions are at the same time so much opposite and so much alike. Like you, I'm also avoiding javascript wherever possible at all. Like you, I'm also very hesitant of messing too much with system stuff. Although in my case, that's mainly due to lack of self-help skills, aside from making a complete backup of win folder etc. before experimenting. Especially fearing all sorts of possible side-effects which may show up only much later. That's why so far I didn't manage yet to replace those two core files you mentioned (but meanwhile high on my todo list)

On the other hand, although I was "forced" to try and install KernelEx to get some crucial newer apps running, I absolutely love about the old, stable version 4.5.2 that it could be installed with a DEFAULT setting OFF. That means it's NOT ACTIVE by default, the system and all apps still use the original files. Except those apps with a compat-setting in their properties get tweaked system files, and only in RAM.

Only OLDER or NEWER versions as Kex4.5.2 have given me much trouble. Long ago, the very first installation attempt with a yet OLDER version was a disaster, because after uninstalling it again (for some forgotten reason), the original kernel dll file was also deleted and Windows didn't start anymore! Luckily, I could copy it over from a backup folder, using DOS, and all was fine again, but was quite a sweat. This ancient version had still replaced the system files physically. Since Kex452 that bug was fixed and the system files get replaced in RAM only, if I got that right (?)
And yet newer versions, like Kex4.5.16/17, which I was again "forced" to install to get KM-Goanna74 and other stuff running, gave me different killer probs: the "default=off" setting doesn't work anymore, a real disaster, and it's not even possible to completely disable it in single app settings. Well possible I did something wrong while updating, for lack of clue, but now some native, old Win98 apps are broken. On the other hand of course, some newer apps starting working, especially can't live without KG74. My hope is that a future stable Kex version will allow a default-OFF setting again, but for the time being am mighty glad to have a much younger fallback browser.

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I switched to Windows 2000 and I am trying to keep using the apps and games that are compatible with the vanilla Windows 2000. So far only the two browsers and some other app I can't remember now are using the BWC Kex. I don't know, I say it is a victory for me: the classic windows desktop and some of my favorite apps & games.

If there is something to improve the situation with Windows 98 and the browsers, I'll try again, of course. 20 years ago it was not the case, but now, in 2019 (2020), an operating system is as good as the browsers it can run. An operating system without a browser is not of much use in today's world.

Edited by Bruninho

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