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Author Topic: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?  (Read 8392 times)

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AtomicSpud

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I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
« on: March 06, 2018, 02:55:06 PM »
Several reasons really, nostalgia being the foremost. However, the system I built it on isn't what you'd normally expect to see running Windows 98. Also, this post will serve as my "Hello, here I am!" post. If you don't understand my logic (or lack thereof) by the end of this post, you may never understand it. There is a madness to my method, wait, was it the other way around?  ;D

So I'll back up a little and say, first off, I've got old computers stacked around as spares because my father uses the "MagicJack" phone service, and every few years the system rigged up (Usually something close to 20 years old) decides to die, so I dig out another garbage PC from eons past and force it into service as a new host for the telephone. With all of this hardware laying around, none of it even powerful enough to really open a modern internet browser and check YouTube, I started to wonder "What on earth CAN I run with this stuff?".

So I set to it, my first choice for a Windows 98 system was a Dell Precision 360, 2.8GHz Pentium 4 with hyperthreading, 512MB DDR RAM, 128MB nVidia Quadro FX500, 40GB WD HDD. The install seemed to go well, though slowly. The first boot also went the same, however after that I was plagued with video card errors, pertaining to resource allocation mostly. I quickly learned that Windows 98 SE does not play well with ACPI BIOS', and this motherboard lacked features to disable the ACPI functions. So, I decided to abandon the Dell and began rummaging around, I dug up an old Socket 478 MSI 661FM2-LSR, I robbed the 2.8GHz Pentium 4 from another Dell, I wanted to use an older 1.6 P4 but that CPU is very dead.

To my surprise, and amusement, the BIOS settings in the MSI motherboard allow me to not only disable ACPI functions, but also enable USB legacy mode forcing the USB ports to 1.1 (Which was handy later on because Windows 98 doesn't like the controller operating in 2.0 even though Win98 SE supports USB 2.0), and it also allowed me to disable the usual onboard devices I would not be using, such as LAN, SATA, and the floppy controller (Surprisingly I didn't need a floppy drive, which is good 'cause while I have floppy disks up to my eyeballs still, I don't have a single working drive).

So, backtracking a little again, my first attempt to install Windows 98 SE on the Dell was by way of USB, it however only saw the USB drive and could not see internal drives. So I rummaged around some more and found a blank "Optimum" branded CD-R that I'm pretty sure dates back to the mid 2000's. Considering Windows 98 SE abandonware, I sought out finding a proper ISO, and succeeded. I had no issues burning the ISO as Windows 10 makes this pretty (Stupid) simple compared to Windows of the dark ages, (I'm looking at you, Vista, I know your true name).

Anyhow, now that I had the parts sorted and laying out across a table, and the parts being the aforementioned MSI motherboard, A 2.8GHZ Pentium 4 with HT, 512MB of DDR, a 40GB Western Digital WD400, a 48x Samsung CD-ROM drive (Dell OEM), a nVidia FX500 Quadro (Dell OEM), a Dell power supply, and an old 15 inch view sonic LCD panel I set out to install windows. The install went without too much trouble, except that, unbeknownst to me, it simply updated the failed install from the Dell with many issues. Much to my surprise, windows installed and booted with no issues, the first reboot however hung up. I went into safe mode, accessed the device manager and, uh oh, everything from the Dell was left over. So I painstakingly manually removed every single device from the device manager, even the ones for the system. Upon rebooting, I spent quite a bit of time going through the usual rigamarole of Windows 98 discovering new hardware on startup (A whole computers worth). I could not get the onboard AC'97 audio to work with Windows 98 for the life of me, I'm not sure why, this chipset is pretty common. I instead installed a Diamond audio PCI sound card (5.1 channel, strange for windows 98 yet again!)) (C-media CMI8738). I could not get the gameport working, which is a bummer, but I have no idea where my Microsoft Sidewinder is anyway, so not a huge deal.

After being sure the system was (Fairly) stable, I went about assembling this bizarre rig. I put away the Dell power supply and dug out an Antec 350 watt PSU (With the dual fans and gold fan grills, huzzah, 2003 again!) some mid 2000's HP case with a rear 80mm fan mount, a single 3.5" HDD bay, and dual 5.25" ODD bays. The floppy bay is missing, odd enough. Upon assembling this rig, I installed an old copy of Destruction Derby, and immediately realized I have no CD audio cable laying around, so that's on the "Where am I going to find THAT!?" list. Other games where abandonware and run off the hard drive, they function fine.

Everything seemed to be going great, until the computer froze while I was playing Blood, and would no longer display video after POST. I got several rapid beeps, the computer booted, but no video. The FX 500 had finally had enough and decided to exit stage right, I swapped it out for an entirely overkill (As if 128 megs in win 98 wasn't overkill) nVidia GeForce FX 5500 AGP 8x w/ 256MB of RAM made by BFG. I also, purely for my own amusement, threw in another 512MB of RAM (1GB total now). The fun didn't stop there though, no, not at all. The first attempt to boot with that FX 5500 went fine, except that the fan sounded like a coffee grinder. I robbed the heatsink (and fan) from the dead FX 500, applied some modern thermal compound that came with the Cryorig H7 I am using in my main rig. Same stuff I used on the Pentium 4 when I installed it in the MSI motherboard. The CPU needed a thorough cleaning, I think there where two kinds of thermal crap on it and the heatsink.

 I rebooted into safe mode, removed the old GPU from the device manager, the last thing you want is a ghost device in the pre-NT Windows. Upon rebooting, the drivers installed, as the legacy drives for any FX card are the same, much as most GTX cards now use the same drivers. I'm not going to say all because I know there is some one off oddball out there waiting to make me wrong. So, back to playing Blood, risen from the dead, uh oh, here I go a murderin' again! ... Or... Not... Random hangs, lag, frequent bluescreens stating that the system resource was occupied, the one that goes back to desktop rather than rebooting. Wasn't sure what was going on, sooo... I crawled through the BIOS, that's when I noticed something up to this point unknown. The Pentium 4 I installed supports hyperthreading, I literally facepalmed myself at this point. I disabled HT and APIC, as Windows 98 likes neither of these without some patchwork to the best of my knowledge (Though this is coming from information I learned well over a decade ago and haven't used in at least a decade). After disabling an alphabet soup of BIOS functions meant for NT era windows computers, windows 98 is now stable (And flying toasters across my screen  ;D)

So, now with that sorted, apart from a few software bugs like the version of 7zip I use, this system is rock solid and ready to go. I did a few things to make the system more usable, they are as follows:

First and foremost, I installed a universal USB mass storage controller, it works with most anything I've tried so far, even a USB to IDE adapter, and modern SanDisk Cruzer Glide 16GB Flash Drives.

Second, 7zip, crucial so I don't' have to unzip everything on my main rig before copying it to the win98 rig.

Third, I installed an older version of CCleaner to clean up the bulk of crap and registry issues that would follow if I didn't clean up after all the unzipping and installing.

Fourth, I updated the inbuilt windows installer to 2.0, this helps a lot with later programs and windows components you may need

Fifth, I installed DirectX 9.0C, most people don't' even know this runs on Windows 98,  but it does run quite well, however I recommend installing the runtimes with the game you get, as it may be lacking certain run times for 6, 7, and 8.

I also plan on swapping out the slow 40GB drive for a faster IDE drive later on, I'd like to get my hands on a good late model 80 gig Western Digital or Seagate. The 137GB limit on hard drives in Windows 98 doesn't really bother me, I can't even see how I'd fill up that much space in Windows 98. I'm also going to dig up a genuine Sound Blaster 16 somewhere.

If there is any interest in this post, I will post further on the topic and see if anyone can come up with some creative ways I can use abandonware to use and abuse this thing. I've installed my old copy of Flatout (derby racing game), it runs it quite well and that game is from 2005. I've tried out Doom, Doom 2, they both have sound issues I'd like to sort out, a few DOS games don't like the sound hardware too much actually. Everything else seems to work fine however. Most games from the Windows 95, 98, and games that supported 98 up into the 2000's work fine.

So, I have this system hooked up to a Dell 17" 1708FP LCD monitor, 1280x1024 @ 75Hz, it has a built in USB hub which I use as front USB as the USB ports are missing from this case. I now have two keyboards and two mice on my desk, until I find a cheap USB keyboard / mouse switch later on. So, that's it for now, as I said ,if there is interest in this bizarre experiment of mine I may continue to post on it.

I've learned something from this mess too, and that is, how much I'd forgotten about Windows 98.  ;D

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Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2018, 03:37:33 PM »
Quote
Considering Windows 98 SE abandonware
You are mistaken.

AtomicSpud

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Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2018, 03:54:36 PM »
You are mistaken.

How's that? No one runs it anymore outside of obscure outdated systems, it's not supported by the manufacturer anymore, there is no noteworthy active development going on for Windows 98 SE either. I'd say that lands completely within the realm of abandonware.
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Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2018, 03:56:42 PM »
Legally, Windows  98 is copyright software. So are MS-DOS and NT. This is that kind of forum.

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Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2018, 04:38:59 PM »
"Abandonware" isn't really a thing; it's sort of a fabricated moral divide people made up to try to address their cognitive dissonance over copyright terms to justify piracy of older software. It doesn't have any real legal basis in copyright, though; Software not being actively developed or even sold doesn't change how copyright works, after all. The best description is "abandonware" is copyrighted software that you can pirate with little risk of the copyright holder coming after you... which is a rather wide brush.

Personally I just leave out where I got software I installed when telling stories. Some of it is legally acquired, some of it isn't. Doesn't really matter, and I certainly wouldn't want to condone piracy.

Anyway my OS selection criteria:

IBM PC and XT get MS-DOS, obviously. They can run Real Mode Windows but there is no reason to and it runs poorly. Best ot let them do what they do best.

286's  that have VGA cards get Windows as well as MS-DOS. Lower graphics cards means Windows isn't worth it.

386's get MS-DOS and Windows 3.11 (And of course a VGA card if they don't have one- ideally, a Video accelerator)

486's I think excel as MS-DOS and Windows 3.11 systems. With enough RAM they can run Windows 95 well.

Pentium's/Nx586 I think are best for Windows 95. However, the Faster MMX chips can run Windows 98SE well.

Pentium II-class systems I think work best with Windows 98SE.

Pentium III can be used with Windows 98SE but I think it get's more bang for it's buck with Windows 2000. Windows XP can run well on some higher end chips or Pentium M's.

Pentium 4 get's Windows XP.

Beyond that and it's pretty much a choice between Vista/7/8.1/10, or, of course, Linux.
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patio

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Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2018, 05:42:11 PM »
No Windows for Workgroups ? ?
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BC_Programmer


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Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2018, 06:47:59 PM »
No Windows for Workgroups ? ?

Yeah, That is what I meant with 3.11, rather than the rather "rare" version of 3.11 that wasn't. That said, I seldom make use of networking on such old systems- not much point really- so Most of the main benefits of WfWG are lost. It might be useful for transferring files but I disabled the earlier versions of SMB on my main systems long ago so Windows 9x and earlier can't access them properly.

On the topic of Windows 98SE, however:

Generic USB Storage Drivers for Windows 98FE and Windows 98SE

Windows 98 Unofficial Service Pack Which rolls in hotfixes and some useful other software fixes into one large cumulative update.

KernelEx Which can allow some later software to run on earlier windows versions than they were intended for. It reminds me in some sense of Win32S for Windows 3.1.
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Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2018, 09:06:41 PM »
Where do you live? In Siberia?
In the America,s Europe and much of Asia a used working PC desktop can be purchased for under $70 on auction sites or even locally. Depends where you live.
They can be found on eBay.
Like this:
Dell OptiPlex 755 Desktop Computer.
Pentium Dual 1.6GHz, 2 GB RAM, 80 GB HDD
$49.00 + $18.00 Shipping. Returns accepted - 14 days money back.


So yes,  you are obsessed with recovery of junk. Been there myself.  :-[

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Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2018, 09:51:18 PM »
That's still more than the 0$ it costs to use what he has already. It would also be exceedingly pointless since their goal obviously is not to simply have a second PC but to specifically use older hardware and software.

It's sort of like complaining that revolutionary War re-enactors don't just line Rappahannock River with Anti Infantry machine guns. It sort of misses the point.

Also, there is a reason many of those systems are so cheap. Like any prefabricated system they are built down to a price, and those ones even more so, using stripped motherboards and a crippled BIOS, underpowered power supplies, and a reduced form factor that makes pretty much any upgrade difficult.

I'd say Garage sales and craigslist or kijiji are better if somebody wants a cheap, semi-modern system. But that was clearly not OPs goal.
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Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2018, 10:08:37 PM »
Myself, I really like the idea of using something for a very long time. It just seems to be thong to thing to do. I still wear shoes that have holes in the doles because they are comfortable.   ;D
Likewise, one can feel comfort in maintaining and old system  that one can understand. The new modern computers introduce concepts that are hard to grasp. If you look at it as a hobby, then it starts to make sense.   8)

Still, you can get a working desktop with a windows 7 OS for less than the cost of the tools and parts needed to replace capacitors on an old motherboard.  :o

patio

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Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2018, 05:31:51 AM »
Holes in the doles.....
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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #11 on: March 07, 2018, 09:34:11 AM »
    Thorough write-up, entertaining and informative read, thanks! Next step: Install broodwar, photocopy invitations to the LAN party...
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    AtomicSpud

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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #12 on: March 12, 2018, 11:55:42 AM »
    Well this got more interest than I thought it would, but that's cool though. I didn't mean to start an ethical debate on software copyright, my bad.  ;D

    Anyway, I've been toying with the windows 98 machine for quite a while now, changed a few things the (most likely) final specs are as follows:

    Pentium 4 2.8GHz (Underclocked to 1.86GHz) Northwood W/ HT (Disabled), 512KB L2, 800MHz FSB (Might swap it out for a P4 Northwood 2.4, 512KB L2 533MHz FSB, no HT)
    MSI 661FM2-V (7060) 478 mATX motherboard, with the following features disabled; Hyperthreading, ACPI, APIC, SATA, and HDD SMART, onboard AC'97 audio
    1GB DDR 400 (At 333 due to mismatched sticks)
    BFG nVidia GeForce FX 5500 256MB AGP 8x
    Soundblaster Live! Value PCI 5.1ch sound card (Supports Soundblaster 16 Emulation, including FM Synth, doom sounds great)  ;D
    Stock-ish aluminum chunk heatsink with a bracket and 70mm fan robbed from a AMD socket 939 heatsink
    80GB Western Digital IDE HDD
    Pioneer DVD-RW DVR-107D (With CD audio cable, also robbed from a Dell)
    250W Dell PSU (Changed out the Antec 350w because it was loud, ran hot, and had far too many wires)
    HP compaq DX2000
    Viewsonic 15" VA520 LCD panel
    Microsoft IntelliMouse 1.3A PS/2
    Dell SK-8135 keyboard

    I have full USB 2.0 support working, pretty reliable USB mass storage support working through 3rd party drivers, and for the most part everything seems to work decently, a few minor graphical glitches but it's mostly directx related. All in all this is a pretty solid build and a pretty reliable setup. Although I did have to manually tell the computer not to install the wrong USB 1.1 drivers. It wants to install SiS 7001 drivers, even though the USB chipset is the 7002, strange but I fixed it by using generic drivers.

    I think that's it, total budget, $0, nada, nothing. Well, a little bit of gas to go get a the free Soundblaster when I traded a 4GB SODIMM of DDR3 1333 for a 4GB DIMM at my local favorite PC shop. I needed the RAM to get my Dad setup with my old 1st gen Core i7 920 I bought with a Dell board back in 2013 for $100, stupid cheap, I'm good at finding stupid cheap stuff though.

    The motherboard, hard drive, and DVD drive are parts my dad bought back in 2005 to build his own desktop, he'd had no prior experience and needed little help from me or anyone else doing it. I still have the CPU (2.93GHz Celeron) RAM (512MB kingston), case (Antec mid tower of some variety that requires the top to be removed to remove the side panels), and power supply from that original build. The BFG FX 5500 I got a long time ago to upgrade my Dad's PC, I think in 2008. I swapped out the Celeron based system for a Athlon X2, which was just this past week swapped out for the aforementioned i7. I am fortunate to have space to store this stuff (Junk, it's really junk), gives me something to do when I don't have money to do anything else.

    The rest of the parts I got mostly out of PC's I've picked up off the side of the road. I have three Dell Precision 360's, some compact form factor Precision desktop, and a dead (Parts) optiplex GX260. I also picked up the HP case I am using for my Win98 rig on the side of the road. I'll upload some pictures of the antique spud I've built later on today, gonna borrow my Dad's old Kodak EasyShare for that 4:3 ratio goodness (And because my cell phone takes pictures that look like they're from a Logitech webcam circa 2006) ;D

    For now, I'll leave you with one of those horrid quailty cell phone pictures. And the hope that my suffering and stubbornness have helped someone build a vintage gaming rig rather than go the lazy (sane) route of emulation.


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    AtomicSpud

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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #13 on: March 12, 2018, 01:13:39 PM »
    So, through some trial and error I've found that my cell phone can do some interesting photos when it wants too, though most of the time it still looks circa 2006 webcam, here's a few of them scaled down.

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    AtomicSpud

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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #14 on: March 12, 2018, 01:16:31 PM »
    And a couple more...  ;D

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    AtomicSpud

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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #15 on: March 12, 2018, 01:23:35 PM »
    And two more for good measure, plus a bonus from installing Monopoly  ;D

    They're like, so totally 90's dude! ... I miss the 90's...

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    AtomicSpud

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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #16 on: March 12, 2018, 02:01:56 PM »
    And, as a bit of a bonus (And something I'd rather forget than write about), I will document a few other things I'd like to go into minor detail on. First off, how I managed to copy Windows 98 to another drive (From the 40GB to 80GB). This trails off into USB issues, and getting mass storage devices working on windows 98 SE. So, first off, updating the hard drive from a 40GB IDE Western Digital HDD (Noisy, slow, NOISY!) to a 80GB western digital HDD (Quieter, only slightly coffee grinder sounding, no more high pitched whine) shouldn't be hard right? Just plug them both into my windows 10 PC with USB to IDE adapters, format the 80 gig in FAT32... Oh wait! You can't format anything larger than 32GB in FAT32 in Windows NT based operating systems, and windows 98 won't see the drive to format it properly unless it's already in FAT32.. Huh, that's a problem, right?

    Not really, well, somewhat... I just needed a 3rd party tool to format in FAT32, I used Fat32Formatter on my first try, that ended in weird issues, bad clusters and whatnot. After a while of passing glances at my shotgun leaning in the corner, with thoughts of sending this desktop the way of Old Yeller, I did another search and found a tool called guiformat. GUIFormat did the trick, formatted the drive in FAT32, copied the files over, and as expected, even though the partition is marked as active, it will not boot. Not to fear though, pop in my Windows 98 SE CD, go through the "Reinstall" (Windows 98 is very frugal and reuses things, though it does reinstall drivers if it has equal or "better" ones, more on this soon), everything goes fine, but on the first boot it hangs. Huh, wonder what that is?

    I went into safe mode, went back through msconfig so a bunch of nonsense doesn't run at startup, like the task scheduler, the "First start" tour guide thingamawhatsit bloatware. Obviously this wasn't the issue but I gave booting a try. No go, so back into safe mode! I checked the device manger, and if you've paid attention to my previous threads, Windows 98 keeps trying to install the USB 1.1 controller as SiS 7001 Host Controller, even though the chipset is the 7002 chipset (though the USB 1.1 may very well be a SiS 7001 for all I know.) Either way, it does NOT boot with these drivers installed, though the OEM SiS 7002 USB 2.0"Enhanced Host Controller" drivers work fine. Instead I have forced Windows 98 to install the driver tiled "Standard OpenHCI USB Host Controller" for the three USB 1.1 drivers, as seen in the attachment below. Worked like a charm, everything is back up and going, I reinstalled Directx 9.0c, windows had rolled it back to 6.X, not acceptable.

    Now, onto my next topic, how to make USB mass storage devices to work in windows 98 (For the most part), to do this, we'll use the universal (Keep this word in mind, all drivers are generic and this may not work for all hardware but I am using modern cheap SanDisk Cruzer 16GB drives) website:

    http://www.technical-assistance.co.uk/kb/win98se-usb-mass-storage-drivers.php

    HOWEVER, I MUST note the following issue I've had with this driver, it's nothing that ruins it, it's just something really irritating that probably isn't fixable. If you reboot your Windows 98 machine with the mass storage device still connected (Or powered on if it's an external HDD), it will show as both a fixed disk and removable disk, this will persist until another reboot without the drive inserted. This makes it irritating if you have a machine like mine with no functioning front USB, as you continually have to reach behind the computer to remove the drive each time you reboot. And that's very frequent with Windows 98. Furthermore comes the issue of installing this driver package, or rather getting it onto the computer to install it. I didn't want to waste a CD as I have few and I am very frugal (Yeah right, I'm a cheapskate ;D ), so I removed the hard drive and connected it to my desktop, dumping on not only the mass storage driver but other essentials.

    Lastly, I'd like to stress two things, first is the importance of a proper sound card supported in this era, these later SoundBlaster Live! series cards usually support SB16 emulation, which is very useful, the difference in the soundtrack of Doom, Blood, and other DOS games is amazing. If you're wondering what I do to use the same headphones for two PC's, it's really simple. I have a Sony TA-AV431 from ~1993 I got at a yard sale some years back. I use it to power my headphones and as a basic 5ch equalizer. I had two cables running into it. One cable from my main desktop, one from my Windows 98 machine. This caused some horrid interference (Likely due to cheap cables and the old wiring in my house). Instead, I have a audio cable running the output from the Win98SE machine to my primary desktop's "Line Input". I simply mute the line input when I'm not using the Windows 98 machine. It's a temporary solution until I can afford a USB switch, preferably with audio so I no longer have two keyboards and mice on my desktop. It's bad enough being crowded by four monitors (Three on my main desktop, I don't like juggling windows).

    The second thing is that I'd like to stress the useless nature of running a monitor higher than 1024x768 in Windows 98, unless you're running a CRT at least. LCD's don't do scaling well for the most part, and forget about widescreen. Most games of this era run at 800x600 or 1024x768 without any issues, Doom, Blood, Discworld, Twisted Metal, Metal Gear solid all properly support 1024x768 as near as I can tell, but anything larger and you get a lot of weird graphical glitches, if they offer the option at all.

    While I intended this to be less informative, I'd like my experiences of forgotten technology and software to help the few otu there that may actually want to do this. I'd also like to note that three smaller capacitors on the motherboard I am using are bulged and likely will need to be replaced. If you are thinking of buying an old motherboard with a few bulged capacitors, make sure they are not on the power rail, and make sure the board posts. These can be replaced but if the board does not post it's probably too far gone. It's all fun and games until you realize all hardware has an expiration date.  :'(

    As a foot note, I'd like to note that I clocked the CPU down on this rig from 2.8GHz to 1.83GHz, not for stability or compatibity reasons, I have no idea what the CPU limit for windows 98 SE is. I clocked it down so it would run colder, quieter, and more efficiently. I am essentially emulating a first generation Pentium 4 at this point, one of those 1.6-1.8GHz RDRAM units with a 800MHz FSB (I do not recommend building a RDRAM system, burnt fingers much?  ;D ). I have suffered no performance impact in older games, though games past 2003 shouldn't really be run in Windows 98, I'd recommend a Windows XP build for that. Spoilers, I will be building that next, though it won't get much use other than installing GTA III, GTA VC, and GTA SA on it from my Steam library.  :-X

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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #17 on: March 12, 2018, 03:30:14 PM »
    Feel better now ? ?
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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #18 on: March 12, 2018, 04:09:09 PM »
    I think you sort of overcomplicated That HDD upgrade. Unrecognized partitions in Windows 9x don't get assigned a drive letter, but you can use FDISK and delete them all and then create a primary partition, which Windows 98 can then format. Since the 32GB limitation was artificially imposed starting with XP to try to encourage users to move to NTFS, You can also use Windows 2000 or earlier NT Versions to format FAT32 drives. NT4 can actually format FAT16 up to 4GB using ridiculously large 64KB Clusters!

    More relevantly- you could use a partition-To-Partition copy tool like Macrium Reflect. I used that to upgrade my Windows 95 OSRC from a 950MB Drive to an 8GB Drive, with both drives attached via USB adapters.

    For Sound, I think FM Synth is vastly overrated. Only reason I can figure is because people played these games with lower-end sound cards, possibly on family PCs, so I think it is popular today- and the crappy OPL3 has a massive following as a result- because of nostalgia for that technology. Since the first time I played those games myself I was using a SB AWE32 which had sample-based synth, FM Synth, by comparison, was a massive downgrade.

    Regarding graphics: your issues with higher resolutions were likely because many of the games you mentioned were in MS-DOS and the card has relatively poor MS-DOS support, particularly as it lacks a compliant VESA BIOS. The card works well for games that run within Windows itself- however even then you need specific driver versions for some games. ATI tended to do better in that compatibility department than Nvidia for the time period.
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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #19 on: March 12, 2018, 06:20:34 PM »
    I think you sort of overcomplicated That HDD upgrade. Unrecognized partitions in Windows 9x don't get assigned a drive letter, but you can use FDISK and delete them all and then create a primary partition, which Windows 98 can then format. Since the 32GB limitation was artificially imposed starting with XP to try to encourage users to move to NTFS, You can also use Windows 2000 or earlier NT Versions to format FAT32 drives. NT4 can actually format FAT16 up to 4GB using ridiculously large 64KB Clusters!

    More relevantly- you could use a partition-To-Partition copy tool like Macrium Reflect. I used that to upgrade my Windows 95 OSRC from a 950MB Drive to an 8GB Drive, with both drives attached via USB adapters.

    For Sound, I think FM Synth is vastly overrated. Only reason I can figure is because people played these games with lower-end sound cards, possibly on family PCs, so I think it is popular today- and the crappy OPL3 has a massive following as a result- because of nostalgia for that technology. Since the first time I played those games myself I was using a SB AWE32 which had sample-based synth, FM Synth, by comparison, was a massive downgrade.

    Regarding graphics: your issues with higher resolutions were likely because many of the games you mentioned were in MS-DOS and the card has relatively poor MS-DOS support, particularly as it lacks a compliant VESA BIOS. The card works well for games that run within Windows itself- however even then you need specific driver versions for some games. ATI tended to do better in that compatibility department than Nvidia for the time period.

    The hard drive copy was harder than need be, I tried to clone the drive using Macrium Reflect (freeware version), just threw errors at me, don't remember which. I'd love to have an old ATI Rage 128 or something for this setup but the last one of those I had died many, many years ago. The only two suitable GPU's I have are a 256MB FX5500 and 128MB Quadro FX500, the Quadro has some horrible graphical glitches in most games I tried with it, probably because it's a workstation GPU. The soundcard I have also supports AWE32, so maybe that's what I'm thinking of. It's been so long since I messed with this sort of hardware it's all a blur. I kept having to refer to the /? command when using DOS ;D .

    Feel better now ? ?

    About what? ;D
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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #20 on: March 12, 2018, 07:52:00 PM »
    I threw out a rather large boxful of computer parts 6 years ago or so now. Loads of graphics cards, sound cards, etc. If I had known they would be so valuable on eBay I wouldn't have tossed them...

    I still have a few older systems which I use semi-regularly, so most of this stuff is relatively fresh in my mind.

    The Quadro sounds like it has failed or has failing VRAM. being a workstation GPU doesn't change game software, it makes certain features available that workstation software like 3-D Modelling software uses.

    Quote
    The soundcard I have also supports AWE32
    The Sound Blaster AWE32 was it's own model of card, not really a featureset;  quite a big fellow with it's own RAM slots no less.  It was released after the Sound Blaster 16. The SB16 is well-regarded by enthusiasts now largely because of it having a Yamaha OPL3 chip specifically for FM Synth, which I think is silly but eh.
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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #21 on: March 12, 2018, 09:14:47 PM »
    I threw out a rather large boxful of computer parts 6 years ago or so now. Loads of graphics cards, sound cards, etc. If I had known they would be so valuable on eBay I wouldn't have tossed them...

    I still have a few older systems which I use semi-regularly, so most of this stuff is relatively fresh in my mind.

    The Quadro sounds like it has failed or has failing VRAM. being a workstation GPU doesn't change game software, it makes certain features available that workstation software like 3-D Modelling software uses.
    The Sound Blaster AWE32 was it's own model of card, not really a featureset;  quite a big fellow with it's own RAM slots no less.  It was released after the Sound Blaster 16. The SB16 is well-regarded by enthusiasts now largely because of it having a Yamaha OPL3 chip specifically for FM Synth, which I think is silly but eh.

    I use to have boatloads of this stuff, sold or traded it off over the years. If you google the model number of my soundblaster card, CT4780, they pop up on Amazon for $48 and Newegg at over $100  :o . I'd like to have a real SB16, use to have one actually, might STILL have one, I'd have to dig around, see whats what. As for the featureset of this card, I have no honest clue, it does MIDI really well, it's no Roland SC-55 but it's good. I mean don't get me wrong, I'd love to get a Roland or something similar but this is a no budget build.

    As for the Quadro having failing VRAM, I doubt it, I have three of these cards that came in the three Dell Precision 360's, and all of them have the same quirky issues, though I guess they could all be failing, who knows? We're talking about hardware that is near as nothing else matters twenty years old for the most part.
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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #22 on: March 12, 2018, 09:43:15 PM »
    Quote
    CT4780
    Oh, I see. for some reason I thought you said you were using an actual Sound Blaster 16, but you have stated it is a Live! Card a number of times. Yeah I suspect  that probably supports the features of the AWE32 (and AWE64). I would guess it has the capability to use SoundFonts, for example.

    That is the Dell OEM Model as well, isn't it? I think I had the same model come in one of my old computers. Honestly I hated it. I had already been scammed by the Audigy SE which isn't an audigy at all, and this was pretty much the same idea- I don't think it even had the Live! DSP chip. the CT0060 is (supposedly) the better option. I've heard good things about the Aureal Vortex card for Windows 98. But of course no doubt you don't have those, and since they are so well regarded they asre probably going for ridiculous price points.
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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #23 on: March 13, 2018, 08:21:42 PM »
    Oh, I see. for some reason I thought you said you were using an actual Sound Blaster 16, but you have stated it is a Live! Card a number of times. Yeah I suspect  that probably supports the features of the AWE32 (and AWE64). I would guess it has the capability to use SoundFonts, for example.

    That is the Dell OEM Model as well, isn't it? I think I had the same model come in one of my old computers. Honestly I hated it. I had already been scammed by the Audigy SE which isn't an audigy at all, and this was pretty much the same idea- I don't think it even had the Live! DSP chip. the CT0060 is (supposedly) the better option. I've heard good things about the Aureal Vortex card for Windows 98. But of course no doubt you don't have those, and since they are so well regarded they asre probably going for ridiculous price points.


    Nope! Not the dell OEM, the Dell OEM has a proprietary front panel header connector on it. As seen here:



    And here's a quote from wikipedia on that horrid knock off Dell sold, I can't believe creative did this, but it's in the same era the Audigy SE came out, they where a bit shady back then.

    Quote
    Sound Blaster Live! Dell OEM

    This card, marketed as a Sound Blaster Live!, did not have the full capabilities of the retail versions of Live! It used a different audio chip, not EMU10K1 but EMU10K1X, that is noticeably smaller with fewer pins. The chip does not accelerate DirectSound in hardware, nor EAX. The sale of this board by Dell created some controversy because it was not obviously marketed as an inferior or cheaper product. The card can be identified by its part number (SB0200/0203).

    Mine is a genuine SoundBlaster Live! Value, nothing fancy but it does well in Windows 98. And yes, from the research I have done it does at least have *some* AWE32 support, again, it's no Roland SC-55 but it is really good.

    Again, according to wikipedia, this is the variation between the Live! and Live! Value:

    Quote
    The Live! Value (also known as Live! 1024) is identical to the full Live! with the exception that it has color-coded plastic connectors instead of gold and does not include the extended digital I/O card.

    I've also removed the Viewsonic from my desk because I realized my main monitor, a 21.5" AOC 2279WH supports 4:3 scaling when run through the VGA connector. It also allows me to, as expected with most monitors with dual inputs, switch between two input sources easily. So I can run the Windows 98 desktop environment in 1920x1080 (Already booted the computer a few times this way, it still makes me chuckle). When a game, say for example Doom, or Destruction Derby, or Flatout, or American McGee's Alice pops up running in 1024x768, 1280x1024, 800x600 or so on it displays this properly in 4:3 with black bars on either side. Since this monitor has a matte finish, not glossy, this is an acceptable arrangement as after a short moment you don't notice you aren't gaming on an actual 4:3 monitor. I've found this monitor handles everything I've thrown at it without a problem, for $100 I think it's well worth it.

    Also, I had a Audigy SE back in the day too, I hated that card, turned me bitter towards SoundBlaster for a good while. Had a middle of the road Asus Xonar for a while too, wish I knew where that card went, it was brand new, only used it for a little while. Gonna have to ask my brother about that, I think I lent it to him.
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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #24 on: March 13, 2018, 10:04:57 PM »
    I don't have mine so I'm not certain what model # it was. It did need specific drivers since the Creative drivers didn't work. I think I just put in one of my other PCI sound cards I had at the time instead.

    I found it listed on Creative's Site here though. It's listed as both "Sound Blaster Live! Value Dell OEM" and "Live! Value"; I'd always assumed "Value"  was the same as "SE" in that it was Creative's code for "Not what it says on the tin teehee, suckers", with the AWE32 there was a Value version which lacked the ASP processor and dumped the SIMM slots, for example.

    Interestingly, I have an Audigy 2ZS (SB0350) and it has the same front-panel connector. I suspect perhaps Creative used it for a short time for their front-panel connections before moving to the standard AC '97 connector? It's endlessly annoying since I cannot use the front panel connector on my own Pentium 4-based build, and the breakout box seldom appears on eBay on it's own and when it does it's like $60 which I cannot reasonably justify

    My problem when I bought the Audigy is that I had incorrect assumed that it was, you know, an Audigy. But really it was just an output for the driver software and didn't actually "do" any of it's special features itself.

    Worse still, I never connected to dots. Some of my games just stopped running well enough to play (This was with an AMD K6-2 so for a lot of them it was somewhat borderline as it was) and I never really connected to dots until much later, when I was testing a sound card I couldn't get working in another PC to make sure it worked and found the problem went away. I had to have been using it for like a year at that point!

    They did something similar with their X-Fi cards; They had Xtreme Audio, XTreme Music, and XTremeGamer models (to my recollection) and Xtreme Audio was "fake" in that it wasn't an X-Fi but a sort of boring DAC chip and all the "X-Fi" features were emulated in the driver software. Very misleading IMO since they used all the same X-Fi branding on the packaging.  I think they rebranded the XTremeGamer at some point as well into the XTremeMusic? it's all very shifty and hard to keep track of.

    In my systems ATM I have a Creative Sound Blaster PCI, Sound Blaster Audigy 2ZS, Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer (great card, stupid name...) Asus Xonar DG, and Sound Blaster ZXR. Also have a low-profile Inspiron system which is just using it's on-board.
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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #25 on: March 14, 2018, 09:26:54 AM »
    So I did a bit of research on that white connector, found little, it could either be specifically Dell on the Live Value Dell OEM, or it could be the same header on the Audigy 2 ZS, not sure, it seems proprietary to Creative, not Dell, which is strange. Pardon my assumption that this was always a Del thing, you've corrected something I was wrong on for 15 years  ;D . But yeah, I think you're right, that connector predates the AC'97 connectors.

    But yeah, don't even get me started on the X-Fi cards, I looked into buying one but never did because of the confusing lineup and feature set.

    To the best of my knowledge the only SoundBlaster base model card that isn't missing huge features is the Live! Value, it's only missing that massive front panel accessory that takes up a 5.25" drive bay that the Live! came with, oh an it's missing the fancy gold connectors on the back, because that doesn't look tackier than color coded plastic ones.   :P

    Come to think of it, apart from interesting features, why do people keep putting up with SoundBlaster's shenanigans? I feel like Asus is a much better company to buy from these days. Although I also feel like the sound card in general is going extinct, especially with HDMI taking the forefront. HDMI is an amazing standard, HDMI can run video, audio, 3d video, ethernet, and USB (Even type C on supported devices)  to name a few that I know of. The future is a strange place to live in isn't it? Yet all these wonderful things so quickly seem to be made obsolete and forgotten, it's like living in a constant state of paradox when you try to keep up with modern technological developments. I mean just look at all the cell phones lurking around now that are growing ever faster by the day.

    Anyway, it's funny how working with computers that, in retrospect, aren't technically even that old, can make you realize that technology turns into an antique far faster than anything else humankind has ever built. It's very strange, but interesting at the same time.
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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #26 on: March 14, 2018, 12:52:09 PM »
    For the connector, It seems like they first appeared on those Dell OEM Live! Cards- so they could be argued as having started as a "Dell" thing, and Creative just decided to keep using it themselves.

    Creative was hardly alone in these sorts of shenanigans, though I cannot really think of any specific examples; Intel does have some "i7" Chips that have only two cores which seems counter to what one would expect from an i7. And there was that whole "performance number" thing AMD was doing for a while.

    I suppose Creative "got away" with what they did in the low-end market with what they contributed to the high end?

    The really interesting time was with the mid to late "X-Fi's" They are plopping all sorts of special features into the cards, like a sort of "Audio shader" framework which involved the use of their cards that had XRAM.

    I'd say that Audio cards have been largely obsolete since motherboards started coming with on-board audio as standard. Even my Pentium 4's motherboard has on-board (Some sort of ESS AudioDrive). So for the most part, Audio Cards are mostly useful for music creation and certain "professional" tasks. Not to mention people like myself who like shiny things. Though in fairness the fat-size TRS connector it allows for makes it easy to use my headphones which also use it.

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    Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
    « Reply #27 on: March 18, 2018, 11:07:17 PM »
    Sorry for the delay, been a bit of an odd week.

    Anyway, yeah soundcards do still have their purpose, not much of one, more of a niche market, they can still sound better than onboard for various reasons and handle surround features better, but that's about it.

    I noticed something funny about Windows 98 though, when booting to a widescreen monitor the windows 98 boot screen is in 720x480 instead of 640x480, and a few other games do this as well, such as Destruction Derby. But as I've stated my monitor supports scaling and it's a proper LED monitor so when it does scale the image it doesn't look like there are glowing borders on either side. I think it's both interesting and a bit strange that Windows 98 and a few DOS programs and games will run natively in 720x480. Not sure what aspect ratio that it is but it's some kind of early widescreen support. Of course the FX 5500 supports 1920x1080 out of the box for whatever reason, windows 98's desktop in that size is very silly. I remember a lot of cluttered desktops I use to see back in the day that could've used that high of a resolution. The bizarre things I keep discovering that Windows 98 supports never stop amusing me. Some screensavers even render properly in widescreen, though not most, I need to toy with After Dark's screensaver pack in widescreen. Heeere toaster toaster toaster!  ;D
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      Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
      « Reply #28 on: June 26, 2018, 06:42:14 AM »
      Just put this in the 386 enh line:

      MaxPhysPage=524288

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      Re: I've built a Windows 98 SE system in 2018, but why?
      « Reply #29 on: June 26, 2018, 06:56:46 PM »
      HuHH ? ?
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