Author Topic: The 9 Hells of Windows 9x  (Read 2612 times)

Offline number six

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The 9 Hells of Windows 9x
« on: June 22, 2017, 10:57:01 PM »
So my old Toshiba Pentium Laptop died. When I say Pentium.. I mean Pentium I.

I liked having a Windows 9x computer on tap. Yeah, yeah DOSbox works well.. but I have some old hardware that needs Win 9x and a serial port. Sure I can do a USB converter and probably get it working on modern hardware but well.. its easy to just turn on the Pentium laptop.

So anyway it died-died.. well it died or the charger died who knows which. I also had an old Thinkpad.. like Pentium III old.. had XP on it but its stickered for Windows 2000 and checking front.. Designed for Windows 98. OK Sweet newer Windows 9x box coming up and this machine actually works.

Fudge.. I forgot how much of a PITA old windows was.

Installing wasn't so bad at first, I found a bootable Windows 98 SE ISO. This was helpful because this thinkpad has an ultrabay to swap the CD for a Floppy and I don't have the Floppy for it. So it being able to boot to the CD saved me $8 on eBay, good start!

Oh no Windows won't format the hard drive. Says there's a problem. FDISK / Format it.. no go. Burn a copy of Hirens, check drive. Drive is fine. DOD Format drive just in case. Still no go. Apparently you have to boot to DOS from the Windows CD then run the installer there not directly from the disk. I vaguely remember this being a thing.

Windows seems to install OK, next lets find some drivers.

In Windows 9x installing drivers is a chore. Run the installer which unpacks and installs the driver. Now reboot. After you reboot go to the driver folder and run that setup, then reboot again. Each time you reboot Windows will bitch about every bit of hardware it doesn't have a driver for..

OK reboot again, it finds the hardware.. you tell it where the driver it is.. Success! Wait insert Windows 98 CD. OK no problem. No insert the Windows 98 CD.. what? Finally remembered that Windows 9x has no fucking clue where the cabs are. The location is defaults to is crazy wrong. You have to manually point it to the WIN98 folder.

So drivers in but Windows bitches about missing DLLS, have to run a SFC to restore/unpack the DLLs from the Cabs. Then have to figure out which system folder these DLLs need to be in. Finally just copy them all over \system, \system32, etc. That seems to work.

FINALLY it's all good.. I think. I have sound and the monitor is running in more than 16 colors. We'll see how networking works at it doesn't want to read a 1GB thumb drive (shocker..)

As much as i bitch about Microsoft they have come a long way (perhaps fallen back down recently but that's another story). You can install a fresh copy of Windows in about 16 minutes on a SSD.. Back in the day it was an all evening event... and I didn't even have to download the drivers at 28.8k.


Offline HammysHangout ( Hammy )

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Re: The 9 Hells of Windows 9x
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2017, 11:04:29 AM »
hard part is finding the drivers , i have a few laptops you can't find the drivers for :(

i do have an old P100 tower machine i need to get up and running.
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Offline number six

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Re: The 9 Hells of Windows 9x
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2017, 11:31:48 AM »
hard part is finding the drivers , i have a few laptops you can't find the drivers for :(

i do have an old P100 tower machine i need to get up and running.

Luckily there are Thinkpad fan sites that have every driver you can think of for each model.

I wouldn't have even attempted this if the Thinkpad didn't have 'Designed for Windows 98' on the label as yeah.. good luck finding Win 9x drivers if the machine is too new.. it may not even be possible.

Offline HammysHangout ( Hammy )

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Re: The 9 Hells of Windows 9x
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2017, 05:31:51 PM »
Cool, whats the link?
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Offline number six

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Re: The 9 Hells of Windows 9x
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2017, 05:52:50 PM »

Offline Maverick1978

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Re: The 9 Hells of Windows 9x
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2017, 03:35:15 PM »
Apologies for the necro-post. I have a few of these machines as well. I actually kept around my old AMD Duron laptop for the same reason as you - the on board serial port for easier user in my IT job. I did discover a somewhat more modern laptop that had legacy on-board support for the protocol, however. An HP Probook 6570b. It's an older i3, runs Win7 as default, but has USB 3.0, 9-pin serial, VGA, eSATA, and a CD-ROM. It's rather perfect for an IT machine where legacy is needed. One negative, however - it's only got a 100mb ethernet port, but I carry a gigabit USB adapter for my laptops anyway, so this wasn't a deal-breaker for me.

Also, on a related note to Win9x... there are updates available, both official and unofficial, and collected in one place. Perhaps this might make things easier for you the next go-around? I haven't personally used them, but some forum friends on the vintage-computer.com forums swear by them.

http://www.mdgx.com/upd98me.php

Offline number six

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Re: The 9 Hells of Windows 9x
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2017, 06:05:39 PM »
Apologies for the necro-post. I have a few of these machines as well. I actually kept around my old AMD Duron laptop for the same reason as you - the on board serial port for easier user in my IT job. I did discover a somewhat more modern laptop that had legacy on-board support for the protocol, however. An HP Probook 6570b. It's an older i3, runs Win7 as default, but has USB 3.0, 9-pin serial, VGA, eSATA, and a CD-ROM. It's rather perfect for an IT machine where legacy is needed. One negative, however - it's only got a 100mb ethernet port, but I carry a gigabit USB adapter for my laptops anyway, so this wasn't a deal-breaker for me.

Also, on a related note to Win9x... there are updates available, both official and unofficial, and collected in one place. Perhaps this might make things easier for you the next go-around? I haven't personally used them, but some forum friends on the vintage-computer.com forums swear by them.

http://www.mdgx.com/upd98me.php

I have a pretty late Windows 98 SE ISO so most of the updates are already on it but that's good to know.

By far the biggest headache is drivers.

Offline k7

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Re: The 9 Hells of Windows 9x
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2017, 06:44:03 PM »
I haven't installed windows 98 in a decade. :P

you can find drivers most of the time, but it IS a chore. I still use a PIII japan only release laptop, one of the first with wifi...

other than that, I throw 7 on everything. but I do still have old school import software just in case...
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Re: The 9 Hells of Windows 9x
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2017, 07:35:25 PM »
The GF has a shit ton of DOS and Win95 games...looked at setting up a dedicated Win95 machine....15 minutes later I told her good luck with that.
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