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Running Windows 98 in 2020 and beyond...


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Win95cmd.exe is not part of cygwin, it's a partial implementation by Microsoft of NT cmd.exe that runs on 9x OSes and unlike command.com it can run from inside bash. There are several versions and they can be found online quite easily. The following link has them all I believe: http://ftp.st.ryukoku.ac.jp/pub/ms-windows/cygwin-ports/porters/Wilson_Charles_S/consize/index.html

I have uploaded the whole cygwin legacy archive I downloaded in 2013 as it can't be found online anymore (or it's very well hidden). I can't guarantee all packages are vanilla 98 compatible (the included mintty certainly isn't) but many should be I guess. Several versions of Rxvt are included. I'm using the non-unicode one, it doesn't require an x-server and should run OK on vanilla. A sample regedit to open it in any folder follows.


@="Rxvt Here"

@="C:\\cygwin\\bin\\rxvt.exe -sr -sl 10000 -fg grey -bg black -fn fixedsys -tn cygwin -e /bin/bash --login -c \"cd '%1'; exec bash -i\""

Cygwin-Legacy archive (Retrozilla friendly): https://www.mediafire.com/file/1bi5t27y76ne1dz/file (it's an unregistered account so the file might not stay for too long)

Edited by loblo
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Hi loblo. Cygwin-Legacy perfect, that's a lot of bandwidth, thank-you very much for sharing! Downloaded it this morning and will store it on a USB stick as this system does not have adequate drive space. Will extract the files on the stick and start digging through it all. Thanks also for the consize link. Some of this stuff is very hard to find, buried deep in the bowels of the internet.

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No problemo, it took only about 20 minutes to upload . I had to use an XP laptop and chrome as I found no way to do it from my ME desktop machine.

I found another complete cygwin archive of similar size on another disk which I downloaded around 2007. I haven't compared it with the one I uploaded yesterday but I think some packages are likely to be older and chances of vanilla compatibility greater I would think (no mintty in this one). Are you interested in getting it too?

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Hi loblo. A 900 MB upload would take me a while. No need for another release, the Cygwin-Legacy you linked is circa 2008 and works great in vanilla Windows 98. Nice update, believe Cygwin-Lite was 2003 era. Posted via Cygwin-Legacy's Links v1.00pre20 browser, connects to this forum but not all HTTPS sites.

Unfortunately Cygwin-Legacy breaks my Enhanced Cygwin-Lite. No worries the data and registry was backed up. After numerous reinstall attempts, trying different things, reversing install order, manual registry cleaning, etc, there are functions in both Cygwin-Lite and Cygwin-Legacy either configured or hard coded to C:\cygwin (default path). Changing install path with either installer doesn't fix this.

For example, despite telling Cygwin-Legacy to use C:\cygwin-legacy, it still created an empty directory structure in C:\cygwin along with the C:\cygwin-legacy installation files. Similarly, installing Cygwin-Lite into C:\cygwin-lite seems okay but when running scripts that refer to $HOME, it seeks C:\cygwin\$HOME not C:\cygwin-lite\$HOME. So best to just install one of these Cygwins at a time, into C:\cygwin.

Will update the thread if a workaround is found for simultaneous installation. My 9xweb script runs well in Cygwin-Lite but would need porting for Cygwin-Legacy's Bash release, maybe in the future if the older Wget fails. Will keep using Cygwin-Lite on this system for now. If a new Windows 98 system is set up, especially with a larger drive, will probably switch to Cygwin-Legacy. Thanks again.

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Watched a well done 20:00 min YouTube video entitled 'The History of Windows 98 Development'. A review of various development builds, comparisons with Windows 95, new and experimental features, good stuff. There are numerous similarly titled videos for other releases too.

Also the Computer Chronicles series can be found at archive[dot]org. There are episodes about old hardware, browsers, Windows 3/95/98, etc. Lots of retro stuff surrounding the Windows 9x era. No JavaScript needed to view and download. In RetroZilla change View -> Use Style -> None and in K-Meleon v1.5.4 use the StyleKill macro.

Computer Chronicles
Internet Archive
Hosted by Stewart Cheifet, Computer Chronicles was the world's most popular television program on personal technology during the height of the personal computer revolution. It was broadcast for twenty years from 1983 - 2002. The program was seen on more than 300 television stations in the United States and in over 100 countries worldwide, with translations into French, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Set up the latest Tiny Core Linux v11 on a > 10 year old netbook yesterday, the only household SSE2 capable hardware. Using OpenBox window manager, iptables firewall, Dillo and the latest SeaMonkey v2.53.3. The operating system for the job gets booted, even if not an all-time favourite. Here it's GNU/Linux (Devuan Jessie and Ascii, Debian Wheezy, Tiny Core). Two Windows XP installs primarily used offline, one for graphic art/print projects and the other for Windows gaming and last year an official income tax return.

Of the two Windows 98 SE installs, the primary is used almost daily for news and forums, some YouTube, retro gaming and computer learning. The other is a backup in storage. Rediscovered some 500-700 MHz processors in the basement, should be able to run Windows 98 SE on bare metal for a long time. Hope to free a 10 GB hard drive later this year for a third Windows 98 SE build, a 'slower' system primarily for DOS and early Windows gaming. Found a Pentium 4 processor but no motherboard, it may eventually become a high performance Windows 98 SE machine.

MemTest v7.0 from HCI Design (2019, free for personal use, MemTest.zip, 17 KB) allows testing system memory for faulty RAM modules. It runs from within Windows, as instructed close as many open applications as possible before testing. May be useful for quick convenient testing, otherwise seek memory test software that runs outside the OS (boot floppy or CD, boot loader). Personally an old GNU/Linux live-CD is used to MemTest questionable RAM.

Since my Windows 98 C:\WINDOWS footprint is probably larger than the new and shiny Tiny Core install, i'm interested again in a more minimal install, which won't get trialed until fresh hardware becomes available. My experience is these 'lite' tools are best used after a fresh Windows 98 install, before too many customizations. As indicated earlier, Kan's Minimum Windows 9X Install Project (minwin9x.zip) was used previously with good success.

May look at 'winimize', although the current website needs JavaScript and does not work in RetroZilla. A direct download is available below, unsure if it's the latest version to trial. Maybe forum member @jaclaz can clarify.

Another option is 98lite v4.5 Preview Edition (98lite45.exe, 319 KB) and IEradicator (IEradicator2001.zip, 200 KB), both free for personal use, license acceptance required. Promoted as a 'custom installer for Microsoft Windows 9x'. Can be used to remove Windows 98 web integration, Internet Explorer and convert default features to removable options.

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Sigh, so much great stuff... which I'll probably not find anymore when needing it one day :-/

Just a little note regarding waybackmachine without JS:
archived versions can be found by testing various cropped dates in URL bar.
Without a starlet * in URL it needs no JS, and can not show a list, instead just opens the nearest hit.
For winimize.com this was the last available version:
Later dates show the domain was for sale since 2012

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Thank-you siria. The direct download link from the last available is below, though the min98.zip download has the same byte count as the earlier link, so probably the last release. Although untested, it should be noted 'winimize' requires some Windows 95 files plus the Windows 98 files. Personally will probably stick with another Kan's Minimum Windows 9X Install Project (minwin9x.zip) next time around, although 'winimize' was officially hoarded just in case :)

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Thank-you jaclaz for the information and forum link. Winimize may be too minimal for me, sounds like basically reverting to a Windows 95 shell. The min98.zip Readme.txt indicates just win95_02.cab is needed from the Windows 95 CD for the following. No problem but the note below is vague.

Note : The 95 files should be from an early version of Windows 95 that does NOT have the dreaded Internet Explorer "integrated" into the OS.

My 'Microsoft Windows 95 With USB Support' CD is dated 1997, query too new. Don't know regarding IE integration, the win95 directory has a 'ie4setup.ini' file containing 'Shell_Integration=1'. No good, just not optimal, anything else to check?

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The 2001 era 19" ViewSonic CRT monitor used here daily continues to be flaky, first reported below.

Limped it along for over half a year, used several times daily. Sometimes weekly the monitor would need to be turned on/off and physically pursuaded to initialize an image. Not a 'Fonzie' hit, more of a back/forth rocking motion.

Now when the monitor sits in it's casing it doesn't work at all. When the case and stand is removed, it works. Without the casing the monitor's weight flexes the circuit board that it now rests on, not recommended but it works. Working diagnosis is a flaky solder on the board but darned if i can find it.

Now running it without a case, placed a wood block under the circuit board bracket to reduce some pressure and allow the monitor to sit flat. With casing removed will cautiously poke components with a wood chopstick if it conks out again to isolate the problem.

Important safety note, the monitor does not run unattended, no kids or pets, exposed electrical not touching anything conductive. Long live VGA.

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Where do you want to go today?
- Windows 95 marketing

Spent yesterday evening enjoying my 'Windows 95 with USB Support' CD, which 'INCLUDES CD Sampler with FREE GAMES!'. Holy crap there's a lot of fluff on it. IMHO the world was already too busy by 1997. Can see why DOS purists resisted Windows 3.1, Windows 95 users never wanted Windows 98, Windows 98 fans thought DOS-based should never die, Windows XP lovers trash Windows 7 through 10. Been a long time since Microsoft was just about an OS.

Reviewed the seemingly endless demos, extras, trials and marketing on the CD. This is, of course, in addition to bloat already built into the OS itself. The entire CD contains 588 MB of data, the D:\win95 directory is 148 MB. Scattered list below:

3D Movie Maker, Automap Trip Planner, Cinemania, Dogs, Oceans, PJ's Reading Adventures, Wine Guide, World of Flight, Streets Plus, NBA Full Court Press, Close Combat, Dreamworks The Neverhood, Gex, Arcade, Entertainment Pack, Flight Simulator, Golf, Sidewinder, Sidewinder 3D Pro, Soccer, Space Simulator, Cooper McQue Breaks Through, Dreamworks Goosebumps Escape from Horrorland, Dreamworks Someone's in the Kitchen, Explorapedia, Bookshelf, CarPoint, Encarta Encyclopedia, Encarta World Atlas, Complete Gardening, Mouse, Home Mouse, Natural Keyboard, Julia Child Home Cooking, Money, Reader's Digest Do-It-Yourself Guide, Hallmark Greetings Workshop, Kids Easy Ball mouse, Hellbender, Magic School Bus, Pac-Man, Picture It, Publisher, Deadly Tide, Monster Truck Madness, Hover, Edie Brickell's Good Times, Creative Writer, Works, ClipBook Viewer, Microsoft Diagnostics, Word View.

In addition, the 'content' subdirectory in D:\win95 contains content for: aol, audionet, cmpnet, cnet, cnn, cnnsi, comics, conline, discover, disney, epicur, espn, expedia, forbes, fortune, hwood, investor, ivill, msn, msnbc, mtv, nbc, ngc, nyt, pcn, people, quicken, snap, sptline, time, wbros, wired, wsj, zdnet.

Will stop now before i make myself crazy, too late! Next install will definitely be minimized in some way. Thinking multi-boot with DOS only, Windows 3.1, a minimized Windows 95 or 98 with RetroZilla and K-Meleon, one modern GNU/Linux for modern browsing, OpenBSD for banking.

Scary: Microsoft Remote Registry service was already available in Windows 95.

Fun fact: Pac-Man trial allows playing the first two levels :)

Edited by Wunderbar98
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There was a recent forum thread from @Sergiaws entitled 'NVDA and Windows 9x' regarding screen readers, text to speech and running JAWS v7.10 with RetroZilla.

Came across a website from Jake Gross, who is either visually impaired or helps out. An eclectic collection of software, most appears to be Windows 3.1 to Windows ME era. This includes braille sounds, sound files, NVDA and JAWS stuff, a JAWS in Windows 98 podcast, etc. A link is not provided as the site appears to host some copyright software, keyword search 'jake' and 'grossgang' should find it.

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FTP sites are default accessible in both RetroZilla v2.2 and K-Meleon v1.5.4. For dedicated FTP access FileZilla v2.2.22 works well in vanilla Windows 98, readily available, ~3 MB download. Let's just say there is a certain FTP site that apparently contains over 700 GB of primarily DOS software. It's also available from that site that likes to archive stuff. Crazy amount of stuff, likely lots of duplication. Mixed feelings, undoubtedly much is copyright yet a shame it may otherwise be lost forever.

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