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Offler

Driver Compatibility

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Here are some tips that may be useful when searching new driver for win98.

1. Turn off the computer, unplug it and take a look on piece of hardware which you want use.

This is not a joke. There are various ways how to find suitable driver.

a ) searching by product name

b ) searching by manufacturer

c ) searching by chip

d ) searching by FCC ID

Example - Adaptec AVA 2904 - adaptec - aic 7850 - 55x77

Most comfortable way is to open manufacturer's web page, click support and find product name, but oops - device is not listed, or driver is not working correctly.

In this case try to find your device driver by finding driver for its chip. For example sound card Fortemedia FM801 is also known as Terratec TT801, I512, AU-10, AWC-510, SF256-PCP, MF4CH-256, Quad-Extreme and La-Ma-Zi. all these devices are based on same FM801 chip and drivers are compatible.

FCC ID is last way how to identify unknown device. Thru this you may find manufacturer, device type, ever year of production

2. Correct OS for my drivers?

Windows 98 can handle drivers designed for Win95,98,98se,Me, 2000. There are two driver standards - Wdm and Vxd - details are below. (mostly XP drivers support windows 2k so there is high possibility that w98 is supported thru them)

3. Test your drivers

Take some time to test their functionality and compatibility. Use so much applications as possible - good diagnostic tool is also DXdiag - suitable for graphic cards and sound cards.

If an error occurs try to fix it with bios or system settings. if everything fail try to install a different driver.

4. Where to search?

Try to use classic search engine web such as google, or you may try www.driverguide.com.

VXD Standard

These drivers were developed for windows 3,11 and 95. All 9x based systems can handle them.

WDM Standard

These were developed as standardized driver model for Windows 98 and 2000 - one driver for both systems. These can be used on windows 98, 98se, Me, 2000, XP and other higher systems. Windows 95 (or earlier system) cannot use them.

They also have some advantages - Tv tuner using wdm driver can gain higher resolution for displayed TV signal. These drivers do not have legacy support for Dos, but you can use DOS driver in real Dos environment.

What is interesting that ATI and NVidia w9x drivers are VXD based, higher standard was used only for 2k drivers, althought there is possibility that they should work on win98 systems. (those drivers seems to have some locks - inf driver is not readable for win98 and their installers are using unknown dlls)

I want to discuss some things about Win9x and their driver compatibility.

Many users (mostly XP users) says that new hardware is not compatible with older windows... Here is my experience.

I use Windows 98SE, with Unofficial Service Pack and Kup. Now i am using WDM drivers with soundcard and tvtuner developed for win2k, and my Lan card is usind driver originally developed for windows 2000.

Also i bought some new pieces of hardware - WifiCard and USB key. Wifi has w98 driver which was useless, but i downloaded driver for higher windows and it worked without trouble... Seller also didnt know that USB key shall work, but it works without limits...

Many drivers which are not developed for win9x are able to work without any error. Problems are caused by driver packages (for graphic cards) which have OS detection and they refuse to install the driver.

In my opinion some drivers work and some doesnt independently on windows version which they officially support, and sometimes it is hard to find useful driver and it is myth that win98 doesnd support new hardware. Many drivers designed for Windows 2000 are fully compatible with Windows 98, but display drivers have some limitations...

Also i want ask you for your experience for w2k/wxp drivers on windows 9x...

Edited by Offler

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so i read some articles about WDM driver standard. There was mentioned that it was developed as unified standard for Windows 98 and 2000. Most of drivers are 2k/XP compatible and that gives possibility that they can run on windows98. I have installed a lot of w2k drivers right now and all of them works...

to nicke85

There are some serious limits:

1. Graphics cards developed by ati have different INF file construction so Win98 cannot read them. I have downloaded w2k driver and i am trying to create new INF which shall give possibility to install w2k driver.

Display drivers for win98 are still using VXD standard, but it seems that win98se is able to use WDM drivers for windows 2000 if we find a way how to install them.

If you dont want to wait try to find Omega Drivers... maybe they have better compatibility.

2. FAT32 have some limits for harddisk space. If possible try to use smaller (i use 80gb disk), or take a look to the rest of forum... I saw that somebody is trying to break the 137gb limit...

for all cases you can try win2k drivers if possible and available, but i dont know if that should work - it depends on the driver...

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Offler, thank you for interesting topic. :)

I have a couple of questions:

do you think it is possible to install the newest Creative drivers on my Audigy1 (I'm using Audigy2 ZS drivers through ctcomp patch)? Btw, what is your sound card?

Is it necessary to install KUP (I've tested it for only a short while)? If yes, do I need to configurate it in a special way, modify the registry, etc.

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to rainyd:

Honestly i really dont know if KUP is necessary or not, but if you look closer at Exuberant service pack you may find info about better WDM support - this is most important... Kup is giving compatibility mainly for applications such as new games - doom3 and others...

look at www.driverguide.com - register there and try to search drivers.

Try to find driver not only for win95/98/me but also try use driver designed for win2k... What is important is that driver must be able to install (throught inf file or installer), if not try another... In best case you may be able to install w2k driver so easy as any other w98 driver.

I am using win98se and today i tried a couple of win2k drivers. Each of them worked without any trouble. (SCSI bus, USB bus, Lan card, )

i have Fortemedia FM 801 card, using i512 WDM driver in windows (another w2k) and classical FM801/fm1000 driver in Dos.

to all:

Is here anybody able to rewrite INF file?

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This is quite interesting. It would be cool to post here all drivers not designed for Win9x that work fine (brand/product/driver version) and update a list in your first post.

Just an idea. :angel:

Edited by glocK_94

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well :) Driver guide has more than 400 000 drivers for various OS and devices... That list should be too long :) Maybe i edit first post and recoment to try win2k drivers... Each win2k driver that i tried worked (except graphic drivers)... What about your experience? Give me feedback to this please...

edit: Ok, first post sucessfully edited.

Edited by Offler

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to nicke85:

i have taken look at ATI video drivers. it seems that their W2K driver shall work on windows 98SE, but it has been blocked - by installer and INF file...

Ati drivers for win98 are VXD based - in fact they are designed for windows 95, WDM drivers are designed for windows 2000 and higher, it is possible that only what we need is new INF file which can be read by windows 98 device wizard.

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2. FAT32 have some limits for harddisk space. If possible try to use smaller (i use 80gb disk), or take a look to the rest of forum... I saw that somebody is trying to break the 137gb limit...
It's been broken already, by me. (see Enable48BitLBA thread)

What LAN card are you using? This sounds very interesting, as I have an Intel gigabit LAN on my laptop which currently does not work under 98SE.

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I have Realtek 8029. Rather old card... Realtek is still offering driver download for it. I tried to download w98 version but when i downloaded version for win2k i realized that drivers ale identical - that seems to be a classic WDM driver.

Also i am using "Cpu to AGP controller" driver for windows 2000 - i installed it when ViaHyperion4in1 was executed and its files was in Temp folder. It works and it has improved performance little bit. If the driver should not work correctly it shall damage all 3d graphics, but all worked good.

Also i have taken a look on files which are used by drivers:

win2k and wdm drivers were always using ntkern.vxd and some sort of *.sys. Older drivers (such as mouse) were using *.drv and *.vxd (but not ntkern.vxd)

I have analyzed just "scriptable" parts of drivers - such as inf and registry entries... I really dont know anything about writing of drivers (dlls, vxd, sys) but it seems that ntkern.vxd works as w2k driver core on windows 98...

WDM and W2k drivers installed on windows 98 have some functions that are available on higher windowses:

1. As was written before you can gain better performance for device

2. After driver installation you dont need to reboot - device shall disable itself and reenable again.

That is little bit strange for this version of windows but it works without trouble. Also in my opinion it can upgrade system stability and its performance (when i reinstalled most drivers for w2k version Oblivion gained better stability and less chopping of graphics), but this may vary.

also i use "no reboot" for diagnosing of correct and most efficient driver...

Edited by Offler

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It would be nice to make to work with Win9x

- generic USB 2.0 (EHCI) drivers

- HD Audio support

- generic SATA driver

- Intel 915G/915GM video drivers

- new Intel network adapters, like Intel 1000 PRO/GT

- Intel Matrix storage driver

Any chance?

Petr

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I have Realtek 8029. Rather old card... Realtek is still offering driver download for it. I tried to download w98 version but when i downloaded version for win2k i realized that drivers ale identical - that seems to be a classic WDM driver.

Also i am using "Cpu to AGP controller" driver for windows 2000 - i installed it when ViaHyperion4in1 was executed and its files was in Temp folder. It works and it has improved performance little bit. If the driver should not work correctly it shall damage all 3d graphics, but all worked good.

Also i have taken a look on files which are used by drivers:

win2k and wdm drivers were always using ntkern.vxd and some sort of *.sys. Older drivers (such as mouse) were using *.drv and *.vxd (but not ntkern.vxd)

I have analyzed just "scriptable" parts of drivers - such as inf and registry entries... I really dont know anything about writing of drivers (dlls, vxd, sys) but it seems that ntkern.vxd works as w2k driver core on windows 98...

WDM and W2k drivers installed on windows 98 have some functions that are available on higher windowses:

1. As was written before you can gain better performance for device

2. After driver installation you dont need to reboot - device shall disable itself and reenable again.

That is little bit strange for this version of windows but it works without trouble. Also in my opinion it can upgrade system stability and its performance (when i reinstalled most drivers for w2k version Oblivion gained better stability and less chopping of graphics), but this may vary.

also i use "no reboot" for diagnosing of correct and most efficient driver...

WDM is a standard API for device driver development under all windows systems, it was announced in 1996 so 1 driver could fit all platforms. As you have found Ntkern.vxd allows the Windows 98 architecture to appear, to the class drivers,bus class drivers,minidriver etc, to be the same as the NT architecture. The wdm drivers you have installed are not win2k specific, your os will have been using them before instead of vxd`s

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to Petr:

that is question... i try to use some direct w2k specific drivers here instead of w98 drivers - i have some new ones especially for wifi

to oscardog:

hard to say. Info that i found about WDM standard is real confusing.. Some information were mentioning that wdm drivers are forward compatible but not reverse compatible, but also i was able to use drivers which were developed for different line of windows.

Mostly when you search drivers you may be sure that between windows 95, 98, 98SE and ME is full compatibility if all of them are VXD based. If they are WDM based win95 is automatically out of game, but there is really wide range of compatibility between NT based and 9x based systems...

Also most of drivers are for both win2k and winXP without limitations. For now i didnt found driver which was for winXp only, so at this point i really dont know if some drivers are really designed for win2k and not reverse compatible - only non compatible drivers that i found were with artifical blocks...

Edited by Offler

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so i tested driver for Wifi Card once again. I was wrong when i thought that it was w2k driver.

Also i was succesful at one experiment when i replaced w98 driver file with file for win2k or higher. Driver was installed correclty, but device was unworkable - it gived error message that ntkern.vxd and ndis.vxd are not able to load driver file...

At this point is interesting that whole wifi driver contains one *.sys file, one *.inf file, and one *.cat file, and there are two *.sys files - one for windows 9x, and second for w2k and higher...

This is giving possibility to take a closer look at w98 and w2k *.sys file and read the differences between them. Also if there is somebody capable to edit ntkern.vxd we may be able to upgrade it to "understand" higher win2k/xp drivers (it seems that w2k drivers are always smaller to more work is done by the OS).

At this point is interesting that more than 80 percent of newer drivers (wdm, or w2k based) are working only with ntkern.vxd. Throught this we may be able to reach full compatibility for most w2k and wxp drivers (simple driver with inf but no driver packages)

The next problem is with INF file construction. Newer INFs are not readable by "windows device installation" wizard, some of them do not even contain information for w98 registries.

I am just scripter and betatester (my real job), i can edit inf files, but not without help of coder...

to Petr:

i think that there is chance throught ntkern.vxd upgrade and INF file conversion ...

Edited by Offler

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