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Planning to downgrade laptop to Windows 98 SE; Any suggestions or recommendations?

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I have a Dell Latitude D630 laptop that I intend to use as retro gaming PC. It had Windows 7 64-bit when I first got it and I recently downgraded it to Windows XP in hopes of getting older games I would like to play to work properly. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. One game I played which I had to use the internet and download it from steam didn't seem to play any different from when I played it on my main Windows 10 PC. Another game I wanted to play would freeze after about 15-20 seconds from starting it up; and another ran too fast because of the CPU speed.

After being disappointed of the results, I thought of looking for buying an older machine, favorably a laptop, that had an older operating system, most preferably to me: Windows 98 Second Edition. So I looked online to find any PC that met my recommendations and shortly I came across a forum post which led me to another post and finally another. After looking at this post (linked below), that got me thinking: I can probably downgrade my laptop even further, can I? 

My Latitude D630 looks to be compatible, but for the best (or at least good enough) results I may need to do some tweaks. I would like to know any suggestions or recommendations when downgrading my D630 to Windows 98 SE (I'll be doing it on a USB stick considering I don't have any CDs so tips on that would be nice too). Here are the specs for the D630 (note: the specs described in this link put multiple component options for the laptop [mine is the D630, not the D630c], I'll check any of the specs on mine for any of you who want to know to provide important information, I do know the hard drive on mine is a 250 GB HDD which is not listed in the specs [likely indicating mine was upgraded] and I don't know if there are any other components that likely aren't original). http://www.dell.com/downloads/ap/products/latit/LAT_D630c_SA_0108.pdf


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There are no graphic drivers for your video card, you can only use VBEMP, which is a generic driver, it will give you basic display, but not much else. No DirectX 3D support, only software rendering.

There are no sound drivers for your audio chip, you can use a generic Chinese USB Sound Card (like this: 41wDzhJZ9TL._SY355_.jpg

after installing the NUSB generic unofficial USB 2.0 drivers. 98SE has built-in drivers for USB sound cards.

If you have more than 1GB of RAM, you have to use MaxPhysPage, or HIMEMX.EXE with the /MAX parameter to limit the RAM to 1GB.

You might need the AHCI driver, if the BIOS does not let you change the SATA/AHCI mode to IDE/Compatibility/whatever it might be called.

As for LAN, I do not have the exact Device ID, this will help me tell if there are any drivers.

Same goes for WiFi.

Overall, not the best candidate for a 98SE laptop. D600 is better for this.


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Windows ME is the same story as 98SE.

For Windows 2000, all drivers should be available, however XP is just a better version of 2000, with more software support (like newer browsers), so no reason to try 2000 in my opinion. It's too much effort for no real benefit.

This laptop is best used with XP or 7, if having 3GB or more RAM preferably. I wish I could help, but I'm just telling the truth.

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Your advice is greatly appreciated. Perhaps I should look for a laptop that comes with or can be installed with Windows 98 SE/ME and has good enough specs for at least 2000/2001 era PC gaming. Thanks for your response!

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On 3/13/2018 at 1:32 PM, ACMDogfight1997 said:

Does anyone have suggestions for a good laptop that meets my needs?

you can do better than 2001 era specs, it all comes down to your budget and also other specific needs like needing wireless internet, etc, i have a lot in my archive list but i'll list some of the fastest that have near full support for windows 98SE with things like only needing an external usb sound card to work ( if it comes with hd audio ) and possibly only limited power management support ( might need to install with acpi disabled ) or some hanging here and there if shutting off / restarting the laptop. so here is the list below, some require unofficial forceware gpu driver:

dell latitude d620 ( only if it comes with nvs110m gpu, otherwise, you would have to use the vbemp solution mentioned earlier in this thread ), not making it worth it since the majority of the performance would be coming from the gpu. i have tested this laptop and it is "ok" to use

Tecra M5-S433 - comes with 128 MB nvs110m gpu, requires external usb sound card, i have not tested this laptop

tecra m7 or tecra s4 may come with 128 MB nvs110m gpu, require external usb sound card, - i have not tested these

dell latitude d820 - might come with 128 MB nvs110m gpu, requires external usb sound card? not tested

dell inspiron 6400 - not tested, can maybe work fine ONLY if upgrading to geforce go 7300 

Acer Aspire 5502WXMi - may need external monitor to work if getting the gpu driver to install, untested

compaq hp nw8240 - almost everything worked when i used it except for that it required using an external monitor as the screen turned black after gpu driver install

dell latitude d810 - pretty much everything works, wm3A2100 mini pci wireless card is NOT supported

dell precision m70 - works well with default acpi install

ibm t41p and ibm t43p - untested but would be good candidates 

there are many more but you can let me know again on what you think about these or other concerns, etc. for some of these or in general, you will need to take specific steps and methods to get them to properly work, for example, with the precision m70, you will need to do some device manager changes, etc. i won't go over the complete list of things you would need to for 98SE overall 


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