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Azvareth

Memory limit installing W9x/ME, and various...

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Hi!

 

Me: Old member, but not really active until now...

I have started to build a W9x system, I used an Athlon 3800+ CPU, A8V-E SE MB, 4GB of RAM, Quadro FX 1700 recently swapped to an GeForce G 100 (don't know what is best) - was planning to use it in combination with an ATI Mach 64 VT2 (PCI) card...., Soundblaster Audigy 2, and one 120 GB SSD mapped in bios as an IDE (I think), anyway I installed Win 7:32 on it, then MSDos 7.1 and was planning to install Windows 98 SE from there. But my son stole the machine to be used as a youtube watching equipment, so until I can get a new youtube machine to him, it is gone...

So now I am back on my main machine
  CPU: AMD A8-7650K Radeon R7, 3.3 Ghz
   MB: Gigabyte F2A88XM-HD3 (P0)
MEM: 16 GB
     OS: Win10 64Bit, Linux Mint and MSDOS 7.1 in a multiboot system
HDD1: Corsaire Force GS - 128 GB partition (1:System Reserved - 682 MB,  2:Win764 - 108.7 GB,  3:DOS7.1 - 2 GB,  4:WIn9x - 7.7 GB) DOS&Win9x is FAT 32 (logical) the other NTFS
+ 1 HD for Linux and various data (1TB) Ext4 + NTFS
+ 1 HD for Music (700GB) - NTFS



I have not yet installed my Win9x/me system and here is where my question is starting to unfold...

First: Is it a good idea to install Windows 9x/me on a machine like this will it "work"? My DOS works so I thought that my Win98 will Work to

Second: I have read everywhere that Win9x installers don't like to much memory, is there a way to bypass that ? - I searched your forum and did not found any good topic about it.

Third: Is it possible to attach the Mach64 VT card (VGA) and use it in combination with the internal graphics so that I output Mach64 to monitor VGA input and R7 internal GFX to same monitor DVI input and switch between those cards with monitor input selector? (if you understand my thoughts).

Fifth: What about sata drives, do I need to change it to IDE mode in BIOS or does it work with some drivers loaded in DOS mode, and DOS71 do work on SATA HD at least, so I guess Win9x should to...?

lastly: are there any other limitations with the HW itself that could cause problems?

thanks in advanced...

(no, there is no option to build yet another retro machine, I got a wife)

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Posted (edited)

1. It will work. Make sure you're running the system in the CSM/Legacy mode, not UEFI mode!

2. Before you run setup from DOS, you need to download and put HIMEMX.EXE in CONFIG.SYS (DEVICE=C:\HIMEMX.EXE) with the /MAX=524288 switch, this will eliminate all memory issues.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/himemx/

Also please run setup with the "/p i" switch or you might get errors during installation.

3. I don't think any motherboard can do that. It's probably only one of them, so you would need to disconnect cables every time you need to switch OS'es. But at least you have a card that will work with Windows 98, so that's something. If you can't use the PCI card/don't want to screw around, you can use VBEMP with the APU. It will only give you 2D support in Windows desktop to get higher resolutions and colour depth, nothing else.

http://bearwindows.zcm.com.au/vbe9x.htm

But I would recommend using Mach64, even though it's a card better suited for Windows 3.1/95 :P Windows 98 should have drivers for that card built-in. It might lag less at the desktop than with using VBEMP. And you get full MS-DOS prompt support without any issues/workarounds which is buggy in VBEMP.

4. Easiest way is to buy the AHCI driver from R.Loew. I use it with my H110 motherboard and I have full 32-bit Disk Access with AHCI/SATA/Enhanced mode enabled. But if your motherboard can switch to IDE/Compatibility mode, Windows 98 should work if it sees the drives as IDE Controller and not something else. You can also experiment with the DOS XHDD driver from here: http://optimizr.dyndns.org/dos/drivers.html

5. With everything I've pointed out, there should be no other problems. There are no driver for the built-in HD Audio, LAN drivers from Realtek's website maybe will work:

http://www.realtek.com/downloads/downloadsView.aspx?Langid=1&PNid=13&PFid=5&Level=5&Conn=4&DownTypeID=3&GetDown=false

For USB 2.0/USB Flash Drive support, use the Unofficial USB drivers from here:

http://www.technical-assistance.co.uk/kb/usbmsd98.php

You can use cheap Chinese USB Sound Cards to get some sound, or a PCI sound card like the one you had.

Hope it works :)

Edited by MrMateczko

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Posted (edited)

Hi

Thank you for the reply...

1. BIOS is in "both" modes - I don't know how it works - but it does, I did test with a hackintosh wich requires UEFI if I remeber correctly
    (AMD) thing just to see if it worked and it did, then uninstalled and removed, and DOS boots fine as well, however I am using GRUB2 as
    a bootmanager for everything.

2. Thanks for that switch thing, did not know about that, I did some research about switches because I do not wan't Windows 98 to
    destroy my MBR or something - at  http://www.thpc.info/how/switches9x.html, so I guess I need to write SETUP.EXE /IR /P i ?
    (the other approach would have been to map that partion in VBox as a raw disk for direct access)... that would have solved
     the installer memory problem as well I guess.

3. Actually.... it does "sort of", after I wrote my post, I did try it (I kicked my son from that computer) I had the cards mounted,
    allready.
    In windows7 the Mach64 card was marked as not working in device manager, while Geforce G100 did so I went to BIOS and
    switched settings from detect PCI-e from first to detect PCI first and behold, the PCI card was the active card, but only working
    in generic VGA mode (no drivers for Win7) but it worked, however now the G100 was marked as not working... I don't know if
    it is possible to solve with manual IRQ settings or something... as that is over my level for now. At least it is possible to swap
    without fiddling with cables and hardware.

4. I think I go with the BIOS settings, at least for now. I might change my mind later.

5. LAN drivers would not be an issue, but I will not use Windows 98 to surf the web directly, no good browsers left... and that got
    me thinking, how could a community like AROS and ICAROS desktop (based on Amiga 3.1 OS) have a relative good working browser
    called Oddesy or something... and Windows 98 does not? never mind, just thoughts.  Anyway, I have an unboxed LAN 10/100 card
   with drivers included, box says it works with 98SE, 2000 and XP mark is SWEEX, bought at a flea market for ~ $2 dollars, hope drivers
   is on CD and not floppy - however I have floppy drives in the attic :-) .

    Audio is a complete other problem, I have a spare Soundblaster XFI something edition as well, but I do not know if it is compatible
  - have to do some research.

//Thanks for the help.

Edited by Azvareth
3.5 is later then 3.1

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Small update...

Did not work out so well to install it...

Did start setup from DOS71 with SETUP /IR /P i (and to be sure) /Pi

Got error early in the setup, some SUWIN error, so I tried different BIOS settings... did not work.
Finally I created a virtual disk in Windows disk manager. Mounted them there to.
Used a third part app to partition, format and set the flags correctly
I then detached the VHD disk, mounted them in VBox and run the installer from there and let it go
until the first reboot.  There I closed down VBox without finishing the setup.

Then I mounted the drives in Windows diskmanager again and transfered the virtual files
onto the physical drive (only changing to HIMEMX) instead of HIMEM, rebooted and continued thru the
setup.

Seemed to work like a charm, except for the mouse that moves irratic and is useless for the moment.
but when the installer should load Explorer.exe, it failed, showing the same error I remember
long time ago when resources was out, a white requester with thick black text that it could not start.

Any clues to what is happening? yes I know, not much info, but I have not memorised or written down
the errors exactly, yet.

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I would not recommend using /IR.

You only need /P i (that's the version with the space in between, other is not needed).

Personally, I use these switches: /IS /IE /IV /IQ /IM /NR /P i

Also, try to run HIMEMX.EXE (with the switch!) before you run setup, it should popup while booting DOS 7.1.

See if my switches help.

Also, Windows 98 should be the first partition on the hard drive, see if you can switch the order on the SSD.

Ideally I would use the 700GB drive you have, cut a small (no more than 120GB) FAT32 Win98 partition at the front of it (use something like MiniTool's Partition Wizard) , and install DOS 7.1 on the partition, and then Windows 98. That's how I do it on my system. The drive will have the Win98 MBR and you won't have to deal with booting problems. Just to select the proper drive in the boot menu of your motherboard. That's just a suggestion though, do what you want.

I would not recommend installing Windows 98 on an SSD, the performance is good enough, and the built-in defragmenter won't screw things up.

Re-install Windows from scratch with these suggestions. Are you running the installer from the hard drive?

Ooh, the BIOS option of switching between PCI/PCI-E is very beneficial here. Nice!

Can you plug in a PS/2 mouse instead of an USB one? Also, try to enable every Legacy USB support in the BIOS, this can help with USB things on Win98, also, note that after you install the unofficial USB 2.0 drivers, mouse might work normally again. But you can do pretty much install all the drivers with the keyboard, just have everything copied before you boot.

I don't know why to have both DOS 7.1 and Windows 98 on seperate partitions, since you simply can BootGUI=0 in the MSDOS.SYS file, and have both :)

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rloew's RAM patch is also an option here rather than HIMEMX if you want to be able to use the rest of your 4GB of RAM.

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Posted (edited)

LIMEM is my special build of XMGR.SYS:

when loaded w/o /Lx key (for example as direct replacement of himem.sys in 9x (NOT ME!!!) safe mode) - always limit xms to 128 MB max;

when loaded with /LN key (from config.sys) - up to 4 GB xms allowed;

when loaded with /LA,B,C,D... key - limit xms to 1,2,4,8... MB.

usage: remane it to himem.sys and copy into 9x distr folder.

after installation, look in config.sys and add/modify string

device=path\to\limem\or\renamed\himem.sys /LN

LIMEM.ZIP

Edited by MERCURY127
typos

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Quote

I would not recommend using /IR.

Yes I need it, so I would not rewrite any MBR - I do not wish to install one, I use GRUB2 to boot everything.
/IR Bypasses detection of system CMOS/BIOS and does not update Master Boot Record (MBR).

But I may do the 700MB variant. I guess that I can load it from GRUB, so I do not have to use BIOS Bootman,  but it is no big deal to use it if I must.

Win98 did start (using HIMEMX) so there where something glitchy with the installer and Explorer.exe
 

Quote

Are you running the installer from the hard drive?

Yes and No, after the SUWIN error, I created (as far as the setup was concerned) a copy of my drive
(the disk where created with Windows disk management and was VHD) , a small C: with DOS71 and
a larger and a D: where win98 should go, I mounted the drives in VBox, installed DOS71 onto C:
(from CD image) then I mounted a CDImage into VBox with win98, booted VBox from DOS71 and then
accessed the CD image from that DOS and started the installer with correct switches. After the first reboot
requester from win98 install, I shut down  VBox and transfeered all files to physical drive/partition and
continued the setup from there.

No ps/2 mouse, but the mouse worked in Win98 as expected, when setup was done. could perhaps be that
the inital setup was done with an emulated PS/2 mouse.

Anyway I will try a new setup, and test the LIMEM thing as well, will report on it later.

The graphic switch is great but on the computer my son stole. I have not these switches in my mainboard BIOS...

//I will be back later for more help (i guess)

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9 hours ago, MERCURY127 said:

LIMEM is my special build of XMGR.SYS:

when loaded w/o /Lx key (for example as direct replacement of himem.sys in 9x (NOT ME!!!) safe mode) - always limit xms to 128 MB max;

when loaded with /LN key (from config.sys) - up to 4 GB xms allowed;

when loaded with /LA,B,C,D... key - limit xms to 1,2,4,8... MB.

usage: remane it to himem.sys and copy into 9x distr folder.

after installation, look in config.sys and add/modify string

device=path\to\limem\or\renamed\himem.sys /LN

LIMEM.ZIP

Do you have some usage manual to it? what switches and what parameters the switches use?

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On 7.05.2018 at 5:58 AM, LoneCrusader said:

rloew's RAM patch is also an option here rather than HIMEMX if you want to be able to use the rest of your 4GB of RAM.

I only mention rloew's stuff if there's no free alternatives.

 

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Hi again...

Ok...

I did go almost completely with MrMateczko's solution a posts up...

I reserved a ~126 GB partion and moved the rest of the data on the 700GB version,
installed DOS71 then added HIMEMX and installed Windows as normal.

I still did have mouse problems during install but I guess it is before W98 loads USB drivers
for mouse... I also had to dump HIMEMX and go with LIMEM, and simply replacing himem.sys.
mouse problems comes back when a failsafe mode is needed, but navigate with keyboard works.

Do not know how to handle LIMEM switches yet, so I go with 128MB ram for now, I guess that is
quite plenty anyway.

Unfortunatly my MB only have one PCI slot (but two PCI-e) so I am quite limited to what to install
into it (sfx card or nic). I have one USB sound card wireless transmitter, and it seems that W98
liked it, have not tested yet as it is late, and it is plugged in 24/7 to my stereo (found on fleemarket to).

However on some pirated and modified Windows 98 install CD's - and not used by me, as I go with legit
CD's from the era. I found some drivers for nVidia Quad FX 1000 and Quad FX 2000. So I think I will try a
longshot and see if one of them perhaps may work with my Quad FX 1700. However I am suspicious, as
that card did not get any drivers to W98 as far as I am aware.

(but I "think" I have a couple of GeForce 6600, and a 6800 lying around somewhere, and that may be supported)

Anyways, I would like to thank you for your support. The machine is up and running with Uni-Vesa drivers (vbemp9x)
and I am going to test all tips and links posted in this thread (after a backup of this working system).

//Thank you

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Looks like your USB Mouse doesn't want to work well with 16-bit drivers (which the Setup and failsafe uses).

Try a different USB mouse, yes, that can depend on the mouse itself, I had such behaviour on one mouse, but not on the other, weird!

From what MERCURY127 wrote, the /LJ switch should give you 512MB of RAM, which is what is recommended as the usual stable maximum amount of RAM for 98SE.

Have you tried the LAN drivers I posted earlier?

For the Quadro card, try the 82.69 unofficial drivers: https://oerg866.titandemo.de/win98/drivers/NV8269_fixed.zip

GeForce 6 series have official 98SE drivers on NVIDIA's website.

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, MrMateczko said:

I only mention rloew's stuff if there's no free alternatives.

Fair enough, that's your prerogative, I wasn't singling you out for not mentioning it, just providing information.

Since you mention it however I will say that I believe everyone should be aware of all options, especially if they are better options. Then they can decide for themselves whether or not to purchase anything. rloew is good enough to spend his time solving problems for these legacy systems that everyone else with much knowledge to fix anything has abandoned. The least we can do is make people aware of his work.

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11 hours ago, LoneCrusader said:

Fair enough, that's your prerogative, I wasn't singling you out for not mentioning it, just providing information.

Since you mention it however I will say that I believe everyone should be aware of all options, especially if they are better options. Then they can decide for themselves whether or not to purchase anything. rloew is good enough to spend his time solving problems for these legacy systems that everyone else with much knowledge to fix anything has abandoned. The least we can do is make people aware of his work.

Hmmm... not sure what you are getting at.

First:
So from my perspective, I am not building a workstation and I am not really a gamer either, I am just doing this for fun, and it is my hobby to test all kinds of stuff, and what
a computer could be used for. One point of that is, and I am sure you understand if you have read my posts and my references to flea markets. Is that it must be as cheap as
possible. However it MUST be done on real hardware in my case, everything works in VBox or VMWare, so some investement is neccessary, but I hope to reuse as much old
stuff I got in this project.

second:
I don't beleive in turning this into some Amiga thing, Amiga was something else, a milestone in computer history, Amiga stuff do cost much money today, and the Amiga
community is perhaps not bigger, but has a better software library and a deeper ? knowledgebase, that few can compete with - and is still usable if you have an accelerator.
Yes, I did own an Amiga before I jumped on my first PC, a P90 with Win95 so I am "biased". Therefore I don't think you can make money on a Win9x machine / OS. Not
much anyway, it should be for some specific usage with software that still is mandatory for that person/organisation. The rest of us? not so much (my opinion only).

Stuff for the OS itself should be free, if not, then it is better (my opinion again) to create a suite of everything needed on top of Win9x and sell it as a bundle so the
end user pay for one product and then got a working machine instead of: ohh to get that to work, go to this adress and buy this... and then later discover that, ohhh if
you need that to work, then go to this adress and buy that. to last figure out, there is no way that could work. Actually, if all files to make Win98 usable today was pay
for only, I guess rloew solution would be obsolete in that case.

Third:
It might be that I could build a perfectly older system (based on early XP hardware) and that I might consider bying some solutions if neccessary, but not before I know
if I really need it, and I can make the system work. Im my case there is only one application that I would like to use that not exists as newer version to my knowledge,
and that is something called DOP (Digital Orchestral Pro), and the only reason I would like to have it is because I used it on my first P90 in combination with nTrack if
I remember correctly and my electric guitar and Roland AMP, I could not record the guitar with the sequenced music playing along, I had to have the tempo clicking,
and remeber the chords I sequenced before and play the guitar "blindly" from memory.

No I never became a rock star, but it was "fun" and for the hardware resources I had back then, quite impressive results despite of that. It would be fun to clone the
setup and see what one could do today with it, when we have been spoiled with so fast computers and so many applications.

if you wish to know how something produced at home, on an old W9x machine "could" sound like -just out of curiosity perhaps

here are three links of music I did and found on one of my old backup CD's burned back then, still working but yellow.
http://recover.novallie.se/HEA1-DOP.mp3
http://recover.novallie.se/HEA2-DOP.mp3
http://recover.novallie.se/HEA3-DOP.mp3

sequenced in DOP saved as WAV, then a lot of effects to remove the "midi" sound as far as possible, then guitar was mixed in with nTrack.
Ok I was a young guitarist and this was 1998 or something.... dont judge.


So that is the reason I am interresting to build a "new" old machine.


 

Quote

MrMateczko

Ok I will check if the mouse is the culprit.

I tried the LAN drivers, and it does not seem to work (downloaded the Win9x version on the site)

Will test the Quadro driver as well...

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