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roytam1

Backporting newer browsers to Win9X with KernelEx

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4 hours ago, Retroid said:

Just out of curiosity, are you guys using 98SE for functional work, or just toying around to see what's still possible?

There's still a mix of purposes amongst our regulars I believe, although the numbers have dwindled badly over the last few years.

I believe some still use Windows 9x on their home machines for at least some tasks, although by this point probably most are running dual-boot with a later system. Some of us do just enjoy pushing the envelope of the possible as well. And there are probably still other stances on the issue.

I fall into both of these categories. The first only because it's almost intolerable to browse the web under 9x these days (although roytam1 gives us some hope at least!); the second because I love to do things people say can't be done. :angel

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I spend most of my time on XP so I can browse easily. XP is compatible with my development tools so I can stay in it while writing and compiling 9x software. I don't need to switch OS to use other software and projects that are OS independent.

I switch to 98SE to test or use 9x only software, software only installed in 9x, access files in my 4TB Hard Drive, or experiment with hardware ports. Once there, I will stay until I need to browse difficult websites, access NTFS Filesystems or XP specific software..

I can also multi-boot to access DOS, 95, ME, 7, 8, or 10 as needed. Except for DOS, I use the other OSes less than once per month.

 

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> Just out of curiosity, are you guys using 98SE for functional work, or just toying around to see what's still possible?

Functional work! My main home system is Win98SE, pimped up with all sorts of good stuff (mainly IE6SP1, DX9, U98SESP3, 98SE2ME, KernelEx, and then IEradicator-ing IE6). That system (including it's DOS 7.1 that i most-often boot up to) is what i do about 95% of my computing work on... including work work.

I also have an XP system that i had been using maybe 5% of the time for what i can't do with 9x, but more often lately i've been using a lightweight Linux distro (Q4OS) that emulates the 'classic desktop'.

We do have some newish Windows systems at work, but i only use them when i can't avoid it -- i try to do most of my work work at home.

The 9x browser is Pale Moon 3.6.32, the XP has a later version of that, and for the Q4OS some newish Firefox. But using the 9x PM browser *is* starting to become a little frustrating, due to "Connection Reset" failures when trying to connect to a gradually-increasing number of sites.

- Doug B.

Edited by DougB

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While I actually tried to sort of use 98SE daily in 2015, in the recent years, it's been proven increasingly difficult.
Now I use it just for fun, and trying what boundaries I can push it.
Will actually make a new topic as an update to one of my old topics about running 98SE on a modern PC, as some things have changed since then.

98SE is running fine on my main PC on an 1TB HDD (50GB partition at the front of it, rest is an NTFS partition for data storage), alongside Windows 10 on an separate SSD (will revert to Windows 7/ArchLinux some time in the future). 98SE cannot see any other drives than its own, so no risk of getting other data corrupted/lost. It's a happy world!
My PC is an ASRock H110M-DVS R3.0 motherboard, with an Intel Pentium G4560, GTX 1050 Ti (normal GPU) / 6600 GT PCIe (98SE GPU) - I swap those around (very fun to do!), 8GB of DDR4-2400MHz RAM (limited to 1GB for 98SE via HimemX, as MaxPhysPage trick doesn't work with such a new PC, also lowered the timing to CL13-14-14-34 CR1), an USB 2.0 PCIe x1 card, with a cheap generic USB sound card attached to it, and finally, the @rloew's AHCI Driver. The motherboard's LAN chip has official drivers for 98SE from Realtek's website! (RTL8111C)
This is as best as I can do for a modern 98SE experience!
 

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Wow. I do have to admit that I am very impressed with what everyone is able to accomplish.

@MrMateczko: I had given up on trying to run 98SE on modern hardware a long time ago. I guess I never could justify purchasing new equipment for that purpose, but given that I had kept around so many old pieces of equipment for a long time, including some PCI graphics cards, I suppose I probably could have done it if I had been targeting it. Unfortunately, so much of that stuff has made its way to the landfill since then. HOWEVER, since I do make regular trips to the landfill and often see old 98/XP era machines laying around there, perhaps I could rummage for some precious items in your spec list.

@DougB: Thanks for giving me the faith that this actually was a worthwhile endeavor. I am actually typing this post now on the 128MB Pentium III laptop in Pale Moon 3.6.32, and it is performing quite decently here on MSFN, which had been crushing poor Opera 12.02 for me yesterday evening. I have to imagine that you are an x86 assembly developer, if you are booting to DOS 7.1 on a regular basis! If I were to be using this laptop on a regular basis, it would likely be to be reading the NIV84 on the one remaining site on the Internet that I have found that contains it, as well as using Acrobat Reader 6 to pull up PDFs for my Bible Study.

@LoneCrusader: I am very similar in liking to prove that computing tasks can continue to be done on machines that have long since been written off by others. Part of it is my built-in annoyance that software has become so ridiculously bloated these days, because developers frankly just don't need to be optimal anymore. Sloppiness can still unfortunately achieve acceptable results with today's ridiculous amount of horsepower most people have at their disposal. Like you, another part of my passion is just simply the technical challenge of proving it can be done. And with everyone else's help here on MSFN, you have helped me get a LOT done with a meager 128MB of memory. Just imagine how much more virtual computing could be accomplished if we simply made the effort to keep our VMs operating with minimal resources consumed. Before DougB showed me the Pale Moon 3.6.32 light, i was experimenting with Tiny Core Linux and was actually starting to make progress running even more modern browsers on this same hardware. But so far here on MSFN, I have not gotten anything to perform better than 98SE with PM 3!

@rloew: Once I get strapped into a particular workstation, I try to stay there as long as possible to prove that I can keep on functioning without pulling the parachute. One of my "bail out" (or "bail sideways") tricks is to pull up Microsoft Remote Desktop and start controlling other modern machines on my network. Of course, I have to admit that I really am a Mac guy, so I probably need to figure out what is the most modern VNC software available for 98SE and cross my fingers that I can get through the security protocol modernization that Apple has been pushing out over the past few years.

@all: Thanks a lot for keeping all this rolling. I believe there is still a future for squeezing the most life out of the fewest system resources possible. I have a Xen Hypervisor running on one of the stray machines on my network, and am wondering if any of these tricks we've been coming up with might have some use in that space. Thanks for the quick responses to my posts, gentlemen. I am praying many blessings on you all!

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I created a Greasemonkey script which should hopefully get YouTube working again on Firefox.  Just be aware that it's quite limited in what it can do (sometimes slow to load, fullscreen doesn't work, some videos still don't play, and there's no quality select).

Tested On the Following:

  • Adobe Flash Version 10.3.183.90
  • Firefox 9.0.1
  • Greasemonkey 0.9.22.1

Installation Link

GitHub Page

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"I created a Greasemonkey script which should hopefully get YouTube working again"
Hmm. Any manual how to download youtube videos? (by hands, notepad, calc of course)

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On 10/25/2018 at 2:58 AM, MrMateczko said:

98SE is running fine on my main PC on an 1TB HDD (50GB partition at the front of it, rest is an NTFS partition for data storage), alongside Windows 10 on an separate SSD (will revert to Windows 7/ArchLinux some time in the future). 98SE cannot see any other drives than its own, so no risk of getting other data corrupted/lost. It's a happy world!
My PC is an ASRock H110M-DVS R3.0 motherboard, with an Intel Pentium G4560, GTX 1050 Ti (normal GPU) / 6600 GT PCIe (98SE GPU) - I swap those around (very fun to do!), 8GB of DDR4-2400MHz RAM (limited to 1GB for 98SE via HimemX, as MaxPhysPage trick doesn't work with such a new PC, also lowered the timing to CL13-14-14-34 CR1), an USB 2.0 PCIe x1 card, with a cheap generic USB sound card attached to it, and finally, the @rloew's AHCI Driver. The motherboard's LAN chip has official drivers for 98SE from Realtek's website! (RTL8111C)
 

Excellent work. Did you have any troubles getting it running? 

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Yea, it took a long time doing trial and error. And also a lot of money :)

You definitely need HIMEMX.EXE and the AHCI Driver to make your life easier and the system much faster!

The USB part is easy on pre-Skylake motherboards. Just install unofficial USB 2.0 drivers and you can use USB Ethernet cards and USB Sound Cards that are compatible with 98SE.

With Skylake and newer motherboards, you need the expensive USB 2.0 PCI-E x1 card, bummer!

Sometimes, if the Motherboard uses a generic Realtek chip for LAN, the 98SE drivers for it just might work like in my case! Intel/Killer is out of the question.

As for the GPU, the GeForce 6/7 series PCI-E versions are best to use, as those are the only ones I've ever tried under Windows 98 with much success using the 82.69 drivers.

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Back on the topic of browsers, has anyone tried running Wine Internet Explorer on Win9x? It uses the Gecko engine like Firefox, Pale Moon, and K-Meleon, and it's pretty lightweight. I'll try it when I get a chance.

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any luck on wine?  Wine probably has dependency of its own.  I mean if u can get wine itself working that would open a lot of possibilities. 

Edited by Destro

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On 12/18/2018 at 7:00 AM, CamTron said:

Back on the topic of browsers, has anyone tried running Wine Internet Explorer on Win9x? It uses the Gecko engine like Firefox, Pale Moon, and K-Meleon, and it's pretty lightweight. I'll try it when I get a chance.

since it is a front-end of Gecko engine like what K-Meleon does, you will have restrictions from Gecko side no matter what front-end you use.

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wine is more advanced than win 98.  So gecko will call functions that 98 doesn't support.  There is no easy way to fix that short from getting wine to run on 98se which I do not think is going to happen.  look how hard react os was to do somthing like that and is why they tried to make it more like XP.

Edited by Destro

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There is said that 64k is the largest DMABufferSize setting but this can be upsized with system.ini to a size combination of at least 20MB (DMABufferSize and PageBuffer nunbers combination) but not over say 60MB. This played YouTube without frame loss on CometBird9 until September at viewing 1680x1050 screen resolution (1920 - struggled to keep up when source was 640 x 480). Was good with CometBird video play back right click context fullscreen. Eg system.ini settings written like

[386Enh]

DMABufferSize=2048

PageBuffers=20

[vCache]

MaxFileCache=512000

This last setting is on the high side, means 500MB and network cache will use the vCache amount when surfing ("system monitor" Microsoft Network Server: Buffers)

There may be another solution to YouTube play back. Maxthon 3 using retro mode uses MXtrident and works with YouTube. Maxthon 3 is nearly compatible and might work with a help from a KernelEx guru. 3.20.4000 tested and is easier to bring up interface than latest version. Starts up with KnlEx 4.5.2 2K or above settings. Earlier versions may not be suited with YouTube. Maxthon 2.5.18 I have working with (Disable Custom Heap) and mxmute.dll (Vista).  It does not terminate after flash is loaded.

Edited by Goodmaneuver
appended info

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On 1/12/2019 at 7:02 AM, Goodmaneuver said:

There is said that 64k is the largest DMABufferSize setting but this can be upsized with system.ini to a size combination of at least 20MB (DMABufferSize and PageBuffer nunbers combination) but not over say 60MB. This played YouTube without frame loss on CometBird9 until September at viewing 1680x1050 screen resolution (1920 - struggled to keep up when source was 640 x 480). Was good with CometBird video play back right click context fullscreen. Eg system.ini settings written like

[386Enh]

DMABufferSize=2048

PageBuffers=20

[vCache]

MaxFileCache=512000

This last setting is on the high side, means 500MB and network cache will use the vCache amount when surfing ("system monitor" Microsoft Network Server: Buffers)

There may be another solution to YouTube play back. Maxthon 3 using retro mode uses MXtrident and works with YouTube. Maxthon 3 is nearly compatible and might work with a help from a KernelEx guru. 3.20.4000 tested and is easier to bring up interface than latest version. Starts up with KnlEx 4.5.2 2K or above settings. Earlier versions may not be suited with YouTube. Maxthon 2.5.18 I have working with (Disable Custom Heap) and mxmute.dll (Vista).  It does not terminate after flash is loaded.

when you say the dma buffer size, are you talking about the amount of cache memory that normally comes on storage devices, for example, the typical 1 TB hard drive these days would have 64 MB of cache memory? i may have missed these "tweak" in the past, but is it also the setting in device manager for direct memory access controller as i do always set this to the max 64 setting, do you know what the reason is for not being able to set more than 60 MB for the setting? 

i personally always used 44000 for the minimum and maximum file cache ( for 1 GB systems ) with "maxphyspage=40000" and never ran into problems for 98SE systems. hopefully i am right on this but please someone correct me if i am wrong but i believe the these two file cache sizes just need to be a minimum of 1/24 of the ram, and because some problems tend to arrise with large vcache and being unnecessary in my opinion, i simply set it to the lowest possible and this seems to also "fix" another unknown weird issue that arises from having the "Defualt" settings, that's a long story and i don't really want to go and explain it. 

i may be wrong on this but it almost seems like this vcache aspect may be similar to superfetch or prefetch in the newer windows, only for 98SE, it has also a problem vulnerability, and on faster systems, it would seem unnecessary to have a large one in general. 

Edited by cov3rt

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