VOGONS


First post, by Boohyaka

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I had the idea for this thread when I discovered something I've never seen before as far as my memory goes - basically that my ESS Solo-1 PCI I solely use as an MPU-401 was doing stuff on its own every time Win98 boots:

- Modifies autoexec.bat and dosstart.bat to add c:\essolo.com
- Modifies config.sys to add device=essolo.sys
- Prior to it makes a backup of all 3 files as ".ago" files

That pissed me off. First of all because I don't need it (I'm simply enabling MPU through PCISET in DOS mode, I don't need any other DOS emulation out of it), but most of all, because I can't stand having stuff forced on me - I want my retro computers to do what I tell them to do and behave, enough with the hand holding! We've got enough of that on our modern rigs 😁

So I wanted to understand how it was done, and most of all, show it who's boss.

So first I disabled the "DOS Emulation" driver in Windows, thinking it may be linked to it. It apparently wasn't.

Out of good measure I deleted the essolo.com and essolo.ini from the root. Essolo.ini keeps coming back every time Win98 boots, but essolo.com does not, so that was already a small win - I was getting a "cannot find the file specified" error on DOS boot obviously, but at least it didn't mess with my PCISET and sound cards config.

Then looking into the drivers .inf file I saw it was creating some interesting registry entries. Looking for them this is what I found:

reg.jpg
Filename
reg.jpg
File size
125.05 KiB
Views
523 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Those 3 entries were initially set to FF. Changed them to 00 and bingo, looks like the automatic file modification is dealt with. Essolo.ini keeps getting copied to the root if I delete it, though...not ideal but not a very big deal either.

I must say that maybe memory doesn't serve me (we're all getting older right?) but I can't recall ever seeing anything like this, that feels like really, really intrusive to me. My only assumption is that those functions are included in the drivers themselves, essolo.drv and/or essolo.vxd?

Hopefully this can trigger a funny topic - what are your drivers horror stories? I'd say posting about 300+ MB printer drivers could be considered cheating, but please share anyway 😁

And if anyone has more info about the ESS stuff I just described, I'd be curious as well!

Reply 1 of 40, by Jo22

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

A story about printer drivers.. Never thrust them. 20+ years ago, when Euro banknotes were new and were still considered toy money..:
*Some* people intended to made a joke and scanned one of these and tried to print it out in black/white.
The result: The printer driver noticed, printed half of the note only and threatened the user with legal actions, prison, provided an url to report himelf etc.
This makes someone wonder what could have happened if there was an established internet connection..

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 2 of 40, by Errius

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Jo22, that's hilarious. I didn't know it was illegal to photocopy banknotes. Who would be fooled by such a thing?

“Your mission is to attack and destroy the Apple Computer manufacturing plant. You are allotted 35 bombs and 60 lasers."

Reply 3 of 40, by The Serpent Rider

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

I didn't know it was illegal to photocopy banknotes.

Well duh, potential attempt of forgery. Although such restrictions across the world is typical lack of understanding of technology from older generation in most governments, which enforce such laws.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 4 of 40, by tannerstevo

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
Errius wrote on 2020-09-12, 16:08:

Jo22, that's hilarious. I didn't know it was illegal to photocopy banknotes. Who would be fooled by such a thing?

Where I work we had a cashier accept a photocopy of a $100 bill.
Some people just do not pay attention.

Reply 6 of 40, by The Serpent Rider

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Yes, they identify it by certain pattern on banknotes. Only main ones though, like dollar and euro. Nobody cares about currency from some african republic.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 7 of 40, by tannerstevo

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-09-12, 17:16:

Yes, they identify it by certain pattern on banknotes. Only main ones though, like dollar and euro. Nobody cares about currency from some african republic.

Just out of curiosity, I tried making a copy of a $20 bill with my All-in-one, (HP Envy 4520) and it did make a copy.
But it is out of black ink so it looks real bad.

Reply 8 of 40, by The Serpent Rider

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Hm, it seems modern law will allow to photocopy dollar with some restrictions (color, size, etc). That's why your HP printed it.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 9 of 40, by bakemono

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I had a similar experience with an ESS driver, called Maestro or something like that. It was on a Toshiba laptop with Win98. There was a file in CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT that did who-knows-what, it didn't seem to be necessary either in DOS or Windows. I commented it out, and then it reappeared! I think I came up with a hack to make it stay out, but it's been too long to remember.

Another thing I recall was having two bootable partitions on my harddisk, because the BIOS would let you select booting from C: or D:, and then installing Win95 to one of the partitions and the installer would screw up the other partition so that it wasn't bootable anymore (#`Д´)

More recently I took a harddisk out of a used laptop and put it in a different one running a different version of Windows. One of the laptops must have had LoJack for Laptops on it. There were a couple of files named RPCNET or RPCNETP that would appear in the SYSTEM32 directory and would cause an error message when booting. Couldn't delete the files from inside Windows. If I deleted them from DOS they would reappear later. Eventually I used a sector editor to search the whole harddisk and found hidden copies of the files. Cleared those out and deleted the ones in SYSTEM32 again and it stayed dead.

Reply 10 of 40, by shamino

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I scanned an old style (normal size heads) $20 bill on a late 90s scanner without issue. I guess posting it would be against the law. 😀
I've never tried it on my current scanner (which isn't really that much newer).

Not quite the same as the topic, but I had a Windows 95 game that would automatically update my video driver while it installed. The newer driver was broken on my PC. I suppose I must have been able to reinstall the old driver but that game wasn't worth the trouble.

I want my retro computers to do what I tell them to do and behave, enough with the hand holding! We've got enough of that on our modern rigs

That's how I feel about all computers.
My newest computer is a modern laptop that misunderstood our relationship. I disabled "secure boot" and installed Windows 7 in Test Mode. I'm not ashamed.

Reply 12 of 40, by yawetaG

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-09-12, 17:46:

Hm, it seems modern law will allow to photocopy dollar with some restrictions (color, size, etc). That's why your HP printed it.

Normally a printer driver won't threaten you with legal action* because that isn't necessary. Modern banknotes contain hidden features (patterns, special textures, holograms) that will prevent an accurate copy from being made because the scanning device in the scanner/printer/photocopier can't handle those security features and the resulting image will have artifacts showing it is fake.

The dollar has long been a notable exception to this, but that has changed in recent times.

* Frankly, this sounds like an urban legend.

Reply 13 of 40, by Zup

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Boohyaka wrote on 2020-09-12, 14:46:

Hopefully this can trigger a funny topic - what are your drivers horror stories? I'd say posting about 300+ MB printer drivers could be considered cheating, but please share anyway 😁

Not only printer drivers, audio, video and (some) network drivers make huge installations as well.

Fortunately, except audio drivers (that usually installs their own volume/equalizer/effects application), you can do "minimal" installs for those drivers via the device manager... if you have the tools needed to unpack them first.

Jo22 wrote on 2020-09-12, 16:05:
A story about printer drivers.. Never thrust them. 20+ years ago, when Euro banknotes were new and were still considered toy mon […]
Show full quote

A story about printer drivers.. Never thrust them. 20+ years ago, when Euro banknotes were new and were still considered toy money..:
*Some* people intended to made a joke and scanned one of these and tried to print it out in black/white.
The result: The printer driver noticed, printed half of the note only and threatened the user with legal actions, prison, provided an url to report himelf etc.
This makes someone wonder what could have happened if there was an established internet connection..

Not only banknotes, but passports and ID documents are forbidden as well. In most office printers / copiers that limitation is written at firmware level, but I don't think they'd report you.

There are some articles on internet about how the machine identifies a legal document, it's not a secret. As a hint, copiers would make a copy of a banknote if zoomed/stretched beyond some limits... but keep on mind that color printers also prints a pattern that makes easy to relate a copy with a unique machine (the pattern codifies the serial number).

How can anyone be fooled by those copies? Just remember that there is a huge leap in quality between home machines, office machines and production printers. And even an "average" quality banknote can pass as an original on a dark, noisy, dirty bar or night club.

Miphee wrote on 2020-09-13, 07:37:

What about using a Deskjet 690C, a 12/600PS or other old color printers from the 90's?

Most stuff that came in floppies won't make a huge installation, and 90's stuff is not likely to connect to internet. Still they could alter your autoexec/config, but (except winprinters, and those usually didn't have DOS drivers) no printers would need to install something on your init files.

I have traveled across the universe and through the years to find Her.
Sometimes going all the way is just a start...

I'm selling some stuff!

Reply 14 of 40, by The Serpent Rider

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

And even an "average" quality banknote can pass as an original on a dark, noisy, dirty bar or night club.

You can't replicate certain texture and metal/plastic strip of modern currency on such hardware. So chance of success is increasingly low.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 15 of 40, by yawetaG

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
The Serpent Rider wrote on 2020-09-13, 08:34:

And even an "average" quality banknote can pass as an original on a dark, noisy, dirty bar or night club.

You can't replicate certain texture and metal/plastic strip of modern currency on such hardware. So chance of success is increasingly low.

Precisely. Banknotes use special paper that isn't easily available outside the bank note printers (which usually have very high physical security).

Reply 16 of 40, by creepingnet

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Well, there's the Trident TGUI-9440 1MB SVGA PCI Graphics card that used to default to 75 Hz under Windows 95 making it almost unusable in any graphics mode other than standard VGA with the paltry VGA monitors I could get back then. Any color depth above 16 colors at 640x480 or higher would cause it to run at maximum refresh (75 Hz) - this caused it both not to work, and for anything running at a compatible resolution that would accept that speed to be very dark on some of the worn out, burned out picture tubes I had at the time. To get it to work I had to run it in safe mode, and hack the registry to force a 60Hz mode, or other apropriate refresh, for all modes being used.

~The Creeping Network~
My Website - https://sites.google.com/site/thecreepingnetwork/home
My Youtube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc6sYw9FvwuKahBHE_06diA

Reply 17 of 40, by pixel_workbench

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

My Diamond MX300 sound card had the same issue - modifying autoexec.bat to add DOS driver initialization, even though I selected to not install DOS support when installing the driver. Really annoying, and happened every boot. Luckily there are modded drivers to prevent this. But another way to prevent this nonsense is making autoexec.bat read-only.

My Youtube Channel
P2 400 unlocked / Asus P3B-F / Voodoo3 3k / MX300 + YMF718

Reply 18 of 40, by waterbeesje

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

My Soundblaster live sb220 w9x driver just takes up just above 150MB for standard install (that's the whole package). With advanced options I can choose the driver only, which reduces the install to just 65MB.

No other w9x capable soundcard I have, best more then 10MB...
So... What on earth were the creative people thinking when clogging up what's supposed to be a few driver files?

Stuck at 10MHz...

Reply 19 of 40, by shamino

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

There was some HP "all in one" printer/scanner/fax that a relative bought for her computer which at the time was a mostly outdated, 2nd hand Cyrix M2 machine she bought on a budget. It was running Windows 98 and was just used for basic Office and web browsing type stuff. It did those things fine, as this was before the internet turned into scripting hell.
I think her RAM was somewhere around 64-96MB.
The printer "driver" was a big bloated application that ate most of the RAM and slowed her computer to a crawl. That application had to be running or the printer wouldn't work. That "driver" was intolerable, so we had to return it.