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Running Windows 98 in 2020 and beyond...


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Thank-you for the feedback Goodmaneuver. Interesting experience, the FTP address can be entered into either Internet Explorer v5 or Windows Explorer. It then shows the Windows Explorer toolbar with a title bar labelled 'Microsoft Internet Explorer'. The Help dropdown menu provides selections for FTP Server Welcome Message, FTP Help and About Windows 98. There is no About -> Internet Explorer. Works with password protected FTP too, of course with correct password. Guess part of Microsoft's web integration. Makes sense though as FTP browsing is more similar to using Windows Explorer than traditional web browsing. Sad FTP isn't more popular.

Maybe monitor capacitor but still looks like flaky solder or connection. Will investigate further if the monitor conks out again. It's been rock solid since repositioning it but it's only been about a week. The repositioning 'fix' appears more consistent with a flaky connection. When the monitor is running there is no power or image brightness fluctuation, the image is stable. In the last week it's been booted dozens of times, including many reboots in and out of DOS, and many resolution changes in/out of video games.

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I wish there was a way we can talk with people on whatsapp, facebook messenger, discord, Zoom or any modern instant messaging services on retro machines using existing messaging clients (NetMeeting. MSN Messenger, etc) or a third party client (similar to Pidgin). But I think that's impossible and I'm just dreaming.


I apologize if this isn't vanilla.

Edited by Bracamonte
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Thank-you for your input Bracamonte. Being anti-social i have little use for such software, for me forums and occasional email are enough. If it has a chance the kernel extension users will likely know best. Good luck with your quest. Wonder how sofware like Chatzilla works on the modern internet?

Spent the better part of my free time today picking up a used (of course) Canon MX310 printer. This is exactly the same printer used here at home now with Windows XP. The printer appears to function well and it came with a new black cartridge, more valuable than the printer. So now a backup printer plus a new cartridge. This is a pretty good printer, works natively in Windows XP and prints okay in GNU/Linux. Doesn't fuss or require any special resetter when refilling cartridges, which can be done many times if careful. Cleaned it up nice with a rag and lots of warm soapy water, hopefully good for printers for a while.

For anyone into retro hardware, highly recommend checking out Kijiji or whatever your country uses for used buy/sell. Kijiji has a free section for giveaways. Usually try to make 2-3 pickups per year and, therefore, always have a supply of used parts. Once this stuff goes to recycling it will never be used in production again, what a shame. Here the recycle depots do not allow others to take or cheap purchase items for re-use. Remember dropping off a bunch of stuff a while back, dozens of used childrens bicycles, all wasted, couldn't parents just pass it along to some kid up the street? We're doomed :(


When people give away computing stuff they are just trying to do the right thing. They too realize that re-use is preferred to recycling. Forgot to mention, happened a few times over the years, once they know you are into 'retro' computing they find other stuff that they also want to give away. Most modern computer users don't realize that a 6GB hard drive or a 500 MHz processor, for example, is still extremely useful. They sometimes then dig around a little more and find other stuff, usually still worth it even if it takes a couple more emails and a follow-up trip. The world needs more scavengers :)


Meant to post this link earlier, was bookmarked on a different system, hopefully loads fine in Windows 98. The article is entitled 'If it ain't broke: You share your oldest working gadgets'. Thankfully Windows 98 software will essentially last forever, provided we have the hardware or a virtual machine. Believe Tiny Core Linux founder Robert Shingledecker was once quoted as saying something like 'software has no expiry date'. Guess that's technically true, although it may no longer work properly in the modern world.


Hardware Info Utility for Windows -> C:\WINDOWS\HWINFO.EXE. Always wondered about it as the executable won't launch from DOS or a run box, run as 'hwinfo /ui'. Why the cryptic '/ui' switch and why not in the default System Tools menu. Maybe Microsoft used it moreso during development phase or for support personnel. They probably thought Accessories -> System Tools -> System Information and Control Panel -> System stuff was adequate for the consumer. Information overload, colour key is at the bottom, numerous filters help find what you want.


A satirical definition of MS-Windows as given by an anonymous USEnet poster.
Windows [n.]
A thirty-two bit extension and GUI shell to a sixteen bit patch to an eight bit operating system originally coded for a four bit microprocessor and sold by a two-bit company that can't stand one bit of competition."

Maybe not too far off, after all MS-DOS is rooted in QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System).

Spending more time in DOS-land. The learning is fresh to me, less clicky-click and Unix-based commandline is now mostly routine chores. Regret missing the DOS heyday, slightly before my young adult computing years plus too busy working.

The DOS gaming forum at VOGONS is active and has lots of DOS setup and performance information. Still tweaking AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files for custom boot options, memory and performance. Many DOS applications have specific memory and setup requirements, definitely not for those who want plug and play.

The VOGONS wiki has a nice DOS memory management section.

Hermit's Free Library has good DOS and Windows 98 information and the Windows registry overview is great. Gets me interested in Windows 3.1 to experience differences under the hood.

Nice to see some HTTP only sites.

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Was checking my parts cupboard for ethernet cards and stumbled across some 1.44 MB floppy drives and a bunch of 56K PCI modems from pre-ethernet era. Still regret getting rid of my floppy disks years ago, many still unused. Just curious if there may still be a demand for dial-up 56K modems or should they just be recycled? Previously contemplated returning to dial-up but the interweb is now too bloated and integral. Vaguely remember hearing high speed is still not available to everyone outside metropolitan areas, curious if true, thanks.

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Slow internet... this year I lived in a city area which had a badly overloaded internet connection. Max. download speed was 300 KB/s. At one point, the scale unit dropped to Bytes per second, which was very scary (is the world tumbling down???).

Of all my computers, the Windows 98 machine handled the situation best! Didn't waste a single byte on updates, scripts, telemetry or advertising. The modern computers only made browsing pleasent thanks to NoScript V5.

Hey! I've scarvenged a properly working laser printer (Brother HL-2030), too. Ha, beat the price of excactly 0 euros, dear businessmen! With Windows 98, there are advantages everywhere. All the good software flies around the internet nowadays. Old computers are reliable (with a grain of megalomania you could say indestructible).

Recently, I realised how much workforce I gain through knowing an old software almost perfectly. This can only be achieved through using the software for years, or better decades. Take something complex like Microsoft Word. If you know it perfectly, you can layout books with it, with pictures, with tables, with diagramms, with collages of shapes, everything. But that's only possible, if you know your way around the problems of Word 97! Which you can only know, if you used it for a very very long time.
As long as no better solution arrives, I will not upgrade, because it would be foolish to change for the only reason of change. It would be a waste of important user experience.

Being anti-social can be a big advantage against the stupidity of the flock. Why did they all upgrade to tiny smartphones and Windows 10? From a user point of view, we were further 20 years ago. Definetly.

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Thank-you for your feedback Gansangriff, will ask Momma if there's a long lost brother. Agree, old systems are resource friendly, tons of software and knowing the system inside/out is very rewarding. It's amazing how many CPU cycles modern systems waste just to boot, manage some files, browse the web and edit a document. Even in GNU/Linux every major 'upgrade' comes with more bloat, new learning curve, asking why something unnecessary changed, getting used to a new LibreOffice release, etc. Congratulations on your 'new' printer :)

Recently switched out a 3Com 3C905-TX ethernet adapter, worked good in Windows 98 just not the packet driver. This was extremely frustrating. Didn't want to admit the packet driver was faulty until too much time was wasted configuring DOS, troubleshooting TCP/IP stack, changing router settings, etc. So just like mentioned elsewhere, make sure the ethernet card has a good working packet driver, otherwise just wasting time.

I would recommend the card for Windows 98, just not DOS networking, which most don't bother with anyway. There is apparently shim and packet converter software but upon questioning why i was reading obscure DOS networking documentation from the 1990s in the middle of the night, it was time to switch out the adapter.

Since sticky-notes aren't really sticky, when organizing stored hardware place the note on the back of the card and gently poke the solder points through the paper, the note will not slip off.

The 'new' adapater is a Linksys LNE100TX(v5) Fast Ethernet Adapter (2000 era). So far this adapter is very good, recommended for Windows 98 and DOS. Found an awesome driver download at www[dot]userdrivers[dot]com, from DOS packet driver right up to Windows 2000 and XP. The site is new to me, allows driver downloads without registration, jumping through hoops, no JavaScript needed to download, very nice.

For anyone with multi-boot Debian-based GNU/Linux running 'udev', switching wired ethernet adapters is simple provided it's kernel supported. Just change out the hardware and boot. If the adapter isn't functional or recognized, backup /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent, comment out all entries and reboot, ta-dah.

Edited by Wunderbar98
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Excitedly using new DOS packet driver with Links v2.21, binary ported to DOS with OpenSSL v1.0.2u (Dec 2019). This provides TLS v1.2 support in DOS! Thus far connected to all sites tested. Although DOS geeks will have no problem setting it up a how-to may eventually be posted as a quick member project. Note 'cwsdpmi.exe' is already provided in the link below and a DOS mouse driver is preferred. It can be configured to run in text or graphic mode. Personal LINKS.BAT uses 'LINKS221.EXE -MODE 1024x768x256 https://www.google.com'.

To my knowledge there are now three web browsers that provide TLS v1.2 support for vanilla Windows 98 SE: RetroZilla v2.2, K-Meleon v1.5.4 and Links for DOS v2.21.

Tested out Arachne v1.95 (GPL v2 license) again, formally known as Arachne WWW browser for DOS, now labelled historic. Based on the link Arachne Labs no longer develops the browser. This is the second time i've played with Arachne and my reaction is similar. It is apparent a lot of time and effort was put into development. It offers some neat features, decent built-in help for configuration and performance. It is, however, glitchy and does not appear to connect to HTTPS sites. So for now it is truly historic, mostly just for playing and learning.

Will eventually try the forks below and report only if there are significant improvements or changes. The build from glennmcc[dot]org is Arachne v1.97, the second link yet another fork from Ray Andrews.

Since DOS' conventional memory is precious lots has been tweaked and developed over the years, including memory extenders. From olddos.exe, memmaker was already phased out by Microsoft before Windows 95 and it doesn't run in Windows 98's DOS v7, supposedly a quick and easy way to free DOS memory. There is another DOS memory manager often mentioned, Quarterdeck Expanded Memory Manager (QEMM). I have no experience with this but from the Wikipedia page it appears there would be little gained over using HIMEM.SYS and EMM386.EXE from Windows 98's DOS v7. Many 'heavier' DOS applications already utilize their own methods. For example, many old DOS games already use DOS/4G and the Links browser mentioned above is compiled with CWSDPMI support. Still wish i was around earlier to experience all this DOS goodness firsthand, would have a much better understanding.

Back in Windows 98 tried out MemMAX (freeware, Windows 98 - 2000). Pretty much what i remember from similar software years ago. Unless i'm missing something, RAM is meant to be used not cleared. Waste time and CPU cycles clearing RAM then left with a sluggish computer upon relaunch of previously cached applications. Claimed to be useful for hardcore gaming before game launch. IMHO better to simply ensure the system is set up to boot and run lean, properly configured, with minimal background applications and services.

Edited by Wunderbar98
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Hi Deomsh, no problem, it's been fun learning. A guide will be posted shortly for anyone who wants to test their DOS packet driver and learn how to manually configure basic TCP/IP. Should work on wired ethernet systems running DHCP, only tested on one system. A Links for DOS thread will also be started as a member project. Hopefully experienced DOS users can help get better caching and performance. Web browsing in DOS has always been clunky to me, asking a lot for a basic OS. Amazing it works as well as it does.

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== DOS Networking ==

= Overview =

DOS TCP/IP Networking with Packet Drivers - Why on Earth would anybody want to do that?

The link above is a good overview from the same author who coded mTCP, the TCP/IP suite used below. This is a quick start guide for configuring network hardware for DOS. This includes setting up a DOS packet driver for a wired ethernet adapater, initializing and confirming the driver, configuring and initiating a TCP/IP stack and using test tools to confirm a working network environment. The test system runs vanilla Windows 98 with it's DOS v7.10 on year 2000 era hardware.

Note most packet drivers work and many DOS networking applications already incorporate the necessary networking code. In many cases using networked software like a DOS web browser is as simple as loading the packet driver and running the application. The guide below, however, is useful for learning, testing the packet driver and troubleshooting networking issues. Windows 9x makes it easy to switch between Windows and DOS, use whichever methods and tools are preferred for the downloads and configuration.

= Prerequisite =

- Working DOS system
- Basic DOS knowledge
- Software downloads below

= Downloads =

Packet driver
Download the ethernet adapter's DOS packet driver. To confirm the ethernet adapater make and model physically check the hardware. Alternatively in Windows 9x check Control Panel -> System -> Device Manager tab -> Network Adapaters or in a COMMAND.COM window run 'ipconfig /all'. Several websites host packet drivers and some vendors still make them available. If possible seek the vendor first.

Download mTCP (GPL v3 license), a set of TCP/IP applications for DOS. The primarily download is 'mTCP_2020-03-07.zip' (615 KB). The 141 page 'mTCP_2020-03-07.pdf' is optional, few projects are this well documented.

= Preparation =

Review packet driver documentation to see how to initialize the driver.

Note the MAC address of the ethernet adapater. There should be a sticker or imprint on the actual ethernet adapter, 12 alphanumeric characters beginning with 00 (zero zero). Alternatively, if the ethernet adapter is already working in Windows 9x, run 'ipconfig /all' from a COMMAND.COM window and note the Physical Address (MAC address).

Organize the driver and mTCP files. This example uses the following directory structure, modify as desired. To avoid a cluttered C:\ root directory, create a C:\DOS directory with a subdirectory for the packet driver (eg. C:\DOS\LNE100, test system uses Linksys ethernet) and for mTCP (eg. C:\DOS\MTCP). Copy the the packet driver into the packet driver directory. Extract the mTCP files into the mTCP directory.

= Configure =

The following AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS entries were used during testing, though most entries are not required. Note the default Windows 98 CONFIG.SYS file already contains the HIMEM.SYS and EMM386.EXE entries.

The only relevant AUTOEXEC.BAT entry is if DOSKEY is desired for easier navigation:


The relevant CONFIG.SYS entries processed on the test system:


= DOS Boot =

Boot into pure DOS, do not simply drop to DOS from Windows. As the packet driver may not initialize properly with a warm re-boot from Windows to DOS, during initial testing a full Windows poweroff is recommended. Then boot into DOS (select DOS from boot menu or use F8 key for boot options).

= Initialize Packet Driver =

In DOS initiate the packet driver, example below. Usually just the software interrupt needs to be entered although sometimes other command switches are needed. The '0x60' entry is common. It may be standalone, as exampled below, or require a more elaborate argument, such as 'your_packet_driver /I=0x60'. If unsure review packet driver documentation.
LH C:\DOS\LNE100\LNE100TX.COM 0x60

Verbose output should be printed to screen. Confirm that the MAC address from the output matches the ethernet adapter's actual MAC address. This confirms a loaded packet driver, not a working packet driver. To test the packet driver either run a DOS networked application or continue below.

= Confirm Working Packet Driver =

Still in DOS navigate to the mTCP directory and use PKTTOOL.EXE to confirm mTCP can find the network adapater. Command output should confirm the same MAC address of the network adapater.

Create a TCP configuration file. There is a 'sample.cfg' file in the mTCP samples subdirectory, although for most use cases is unnecessarily complicated. Most systems should only require the software interrupt of the packet driver. In this test system a C:\DOS\MTCP\TCP.CFG file was created with a one line entry.

Set the configuration file for DHCP.EXE using the SET command below. No confirmation output will be received, just run the 'SET' command again afterward, without argument, to confirm success.

Run DHCP.EXE to send a DHCP request. If successful ouput should indicate 'Offer received, acknowledged' and 'Good news everyone!'. The settings written to the TCP.CFG file will be displayed, including IPADDR, NETMASK, GATEWAY and NAMESERVER entries.

Run PING.EXE to confirm a working packet driver and network connection.
PING.EXE google.com

= Notes =

Many internet applications for DOS, such as Arachne and Links web browsers, already contain built-in networking capability. If this type of software is utilized, then only the packet driver needs to be loaded upon boot and mTCP may no longer be needed.

Create custom DOS batch files for software utilized to load the packet driver and start up the desired application. Below is an example for Arachne web browser, named C:\ARACHNE.BAT, not to be confused with the browser's ARACHNE.BAT file in the C:\DOS\ARACHNE directory. Place your custom ARACHNE.BAT file in C:\ (root directory) so it's easy to access after booting DOS.
LH C:\DOS\LNE100\LNE100TX.COM 0x60

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= Custom DOS and Windows Boot Menu =

As DOS applications have different hardware and memory requirements, this system's evolving AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files have become elaborate. Below is a boot menu example for the types of applications used on this system. There are endless configuration possibilities. In addition, custom application *.BAT launch files are also useful.

The beauty of DOS is a quick Ctrl-Alt-Delete and in a few seconds working in a different DOS environment. The beauty of Windows 9x is that the user can so easily switch between DOS and Windows.











WIN /d:m

C:\PUPPY\GRUB.EXE --config-file=(hd0,0)/puppy/menu.lst


Current C:\CONFIG.SYS.
REM Default CONFIG.SYS was just HIMEM.SYS and EMM386 lines











Edited by Wunderbar98
Removed unnecessary REMark
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Test: posting with Arachne 1.97 with help of proxycrime.com
Running in a fullscreen Windows 98SE DOS window.
Needed a DOS packet-driver as described by Wunderbar98.
Further "WINPKT.COM 0x60" (no quotes) loaded before Windows starts.

Edited by deomsh
Test. Second edit failed: typo, Android used
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Hi Deomsh, very cool you posted with Arachne! Interesting you can run it within Windows. It's a fun browser, unfortunate no forks appear to provide modern TLS support, yet anyway. Tried both Arachne v1.97 and Ray Andrews' release, okay but did not notice major differences.

Hope to test Fred Macall's DosLynx v0.43b browser. Reportedly last updated in 2012 with some HTTPS support. Maybe long in the tooth now, don't know how many HTTPS sites will load.

Fred appears to have worked in DOS a long time, even DOS cracks for YouTube (2019) and Dailymotion (2013). No recent updates so they probably don't work at the moment.

Current DOS development appears slow and sporadic. Better Software is still releasing stuff and a link to their 'DOS ain't dead' forum.

Recently watched a good video on mTCP, using it's FTP server to set up home networking between a DOS system and another local system running FileZilla, pretty cool.

Interestingly, Windows has a small (44 KB) built-in FTP client, C:\WINDOWS\FTP.EXE. Can run in Windows via a COMMAND.COM window, outputs an 'ftp>' prompt. Run '?' or 'HELP' for usage. To connect to an FTP server enter 'open server_name' and 'disconnect' when finished. Works with password protected too. Familiar commands like 'CD' and 'DIR' are used to navigate.

Longs lists with 'DIR' are a problem, in COMMAND.COM setting Properties -> Screen tab -> Initial Size to 50 lines helps a bit. Trying to quick-hit the Pause key for long lists never worked well for me, maybe there's a secret? Globbing is supported by default so 'DIR *name_snippet*' filters output.

Use 'PWD' (print working directory) if you get lost. The FTP commands are Unix like. Case sensitive is required and 'CD ..' requires the space. Wrap the file or directory name in double quotes if it contains spaces. Unfortunately DOSKEY doesn't help with auto-complete of remote file names.

Too bad FTP is disappearing, such a useful and efficient way to move files and share software. It takes some searching to find current FTP sites, most addresses linked in web pages are now defunct. The browser search engines below help find files. Fun to spelunk.

Since using Windows 98 and DOS regularly feel more POWER USER. Sharing stuff others may find useful or learned and forgot, some may have been mentioned before.

- Start -> Shutdown -> Hold Shift, select Restart to reboot Windows only, not hardware
- Windows Explorer hold Shift then delete file(s) to bypass Recycle Bin
- Windows-F keys for Windows Find GUI
- Windows Find is the best ever used here, efficient, fast, options, updates in real-time!
- Ctrl-Alt-Delete, End Task on Explorer may help if taskbar or system gets glitchy, restarts itself
- Windows Explorer navigation with Tab, Enter, Backspace, Up/Down arrows
- Windows Explorer F2 to rename highlighted file
- Windows Explorer F5 to refresh directory
- Pressing F5 in Notepad pastes a datestamp
- Convenient is 'sysedit' (System Configuration Editor)

- Enter 'START .' opens Windows Explorer to the working directory
- Likewise 'START ..' opens Windows Explorer to parent directory

- After DOS session enter 'WIN' to boot Windows directly
- Ctrl-c or Ctrl-Break to exit hung command or program
- Pipe long output with MORE for screen breaks (eg. DIR | MORE)
- Use MORE as a quick document reader (eg. MORE AUTOEXEC.BAT)
- As spaces are ignored, easy to punch long commands (eg. DIR/W/ON|MORE)
- Run 'SCANDISK' from DOS, personal preference over Windows run
- The 'MEM' command and options are your friend, those precious 640 KB
- Use 'FC' to quickly check text and config file differences
- Find helps search text documents for strings, example 'FIND /I "DOS" AUTOEXEC.BAT'
- Use 'edit', it's a great editor and easier than using 'find'
- When in doubt use 'command_name /?' for usage help
- Use 'SCANREG' to take good care of the registry, including:

- Ensure DOSKEY.COM is in C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\ or get from Windows CD
- Use DOSKEY (up-arrow previous command, tab autocomplete)
- Press F7 for numbered command history
- Press F9 to load previous command number
- Enter DOSKEY /HISTORY for simple history list
- Create command macros, examples, then just enter 'TEMP' or 'D':
--> DOSKEY D=dir/w/on/p
- Review defined macros with DOSKEY /MACROS
- Use DOSKEY -V to review settings

Can't remember DOSKEY only or DOS, did not want to reboot to test:
- Use Escape key to quick clear an errant entry
- Home and End keys warp to start/end of long command, Ctrl-A too

Unfortunately Windows 98's DOSKEY.COM does not support permanent macros, such as the newer 'DOSKEY.EXE /MACROFILE=abc.txt' option. If anyone knows please tell.

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On 9/9/2020 at 5:04 PM, Wunderbar98 said:

Hi Deomsh, very cool you posted with Arachne! Interesting you can run it within Windows. It's a fun browser, unfortunate no forks appear to provide modern TLS support, yet anyway. Tried both Arachne v1.97 and Ray Andrews' release, okay but did not notice major differences.

In a MS-DOS window Arachne can't connect to the Real mode packet-driver, unless a virtual packet-driver is installed (installation in Real mode too, before booting Windows - same intvec as the real packet driver, so in most cases the command will be: WINPKT 0x60). WINPKT.COM delivers virtual mode packet services. Arachne will find now a packet-driver, with the Arachne packet-driver setup. That's all, no external TCP-stack needed, further just like in Real mode!

Can't find my setup anywhere - connecting Arachne to a virtual packet-driver in a Win9x MS-DOS window - it's experimental. The famous Winsock 3.0 TCP uses WINPKT too. Winsock is still no-nag shareware, but WINPKT.COM is free - as far as I know.

Arachne really needs browsing with a web-proxy like proxycrime.com. Without you're lost. Most stable without pictures; pictures sometimes seem to load indefinitely. But after fizzling with the Setup options, things are much better.

Posting on msfn goes through a textbox with nice green fonts. No such limits like Links-2.21.

By the way: I found Links-2.21 is running in a Windows 98SE MS-DOS window too, needs more modifications. I will report in your Links-thread when I'm finished.

Edited by deomsh
Addition; correction Links version number
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Just in case:




Usage: WINPKT <packet_int_number>
Install WINPKT after the regular Packet Driver, but
 before starting Windows 3.

$Virtual packet driver for Windows 3.x, version 11.2
Portions Copyright 1991 Roger F. James
$Packet driver skeleton copyright 1988-90, Russell Nelson.
This program is free software; see the file COPYING for details.
NO WARRANTY; see the file COPYING for details.


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