Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Getting old software/games running on older hardware.

Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-5-29 @ 05:00

Get it from here.
http://adoxa.altervista.org/shsucdx/

Also, that comment is wrong or at least incomplete. I play Mechwarrior 2 with mixed mode CDA all the time using SHSUCDX. Gimme a minute and I'll loadlin into Linux and ship you my MSDOS.SYS, CONFIG.SYS, and AUTOEXEC.BAT.
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby infiniteclouds » 2017-5-29 @ 05:50

Wow -- that is a LOT of different configurations you have in there.

Also I didn't realize "SET CTCM=" was a command and have been using "LH C:\SB16\CTCM" which seems to work. Yours is yet another config that I've seen with STACKS= which I don't have.

Also the SET BLASTER=%SB16% and SET SB16=%BLASTER% lines have me scratching my head... ? I don't have anything like that and my sound was working fine in the games I tested.

Let me read through the shsucdx.txt and figure out how to install/use it.


.......

==========
SMARTDrive
==========

SMARTDrive caches MSCDEX by modifying MSCDEX' memory, so it is not
directly capable of caching SHSUCDX. However, the supplied SMARTER
program (see README.TXT) can patch SMARTDrive, enabling it to modify
SHSUCDX in the same way.


There is no README.TXT or any such program supplied. :(
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby CkRtech » 2017-5-29 @ 06:36

gdjacobs wrote:Curious why COMMAND.COM is being loaded twice.


I am quite certain it is that end mess that Windows added.

Remove this despite the irony:
REM
REM The following lines have been created by Windows. Do not modify them.
REM
C:
CD C:\
CALL C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND.COM
C:\WINDOWS\WIN.COM /WX


If you want to boot to DOS, set bootgui=0 in msdos.sys.

Sorry - that got lost in the conversation that we were having regarding order of DOS=HIGH,UMB.
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby infiniteclouds » 2017-5-29 @ 07:21

I REM[arked] out all of those lines -- they just keep coming back every time I load into Windows. You're right about it though... when I remove those lines and reboot (but don't go into Windows) there is only 1 COMMAND.COM. However, it really makes no difference since it is 10K in size whereas when there were two of them one was 3K and the other was 7K. Neither taking conventional memory, either.

I can't really make sense of this though -- http://help.fdos.org/en/hhstndrd/base/shsucdx.htm#top

First off -- searching the page for "Virtual" doesn't turn up anything. Is there a guide on how to install and use SHSUCDHD?
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby dr_st » 2017-5-29 @ 08:10

infiniteclouds wrote:I made some changes -- MSDOS doesn't even show in my memory list anymore but instead shows as "SYSTEM" .. I GUESS this is the same? Not sure why this happened.
Probably when NOAUTO is used, it loads the MSDOS module only. Otherwise, it loads other things and calls it 'SYSTEM'.

infiniteclouds wrote:Here's my new MEM read-out:

Largest executable program size 635,184 (620K)
Largest free upper memory block 35,296 (34K)
MS-DOS is resident in the high memory area.

Looks great!

DOS=SINGLE
Why do you need DOS=SINGLE?


infiniteclouds wrote:I'm new to DOS and I just used Phil's .pif file from his website, which includes all these configurations. Yes I boot to both Windows 98 and DOS on this machine.
It's great as a reference, and for educational purposes, but I really can't see a good reason to have that many configurations on a daily basis. In my early DOS power-user days, I experimented with multiple configs, quite a bit, and in the end realized that they are not worth it. My single configuration in the example I provided works for 99% of the games, and gives me enough free RAM for all of them. For the few that have compatibility issues, it is typically enough to press F5 on boot and skip Config/Autoexec entirely. There is also the option of selectively picking config/autoexec lines by pressing F8 on startup.

infiniteclouds wrote:STACKS= ? I don't have whatever this is -- MDGX's config has 0,0 .. should I set this to 9, 128 as you have?
I seem to remember that some games would crash if no stacks were available. The default is 9,256. I set it to 9,128 to cut the memory usage in half and I don't recall anyone complaining.

infiniteclouds wrote:BREAK= ON -- I looked this up ... it just lets you use CTRL+PAUSE/BREAK to stop a prompt from running ?
Yes, it's nice.

infiniteclouds wrote:SHELL= I don't need?
Normally you don't need it. It just lets you specify which shell to load, for example if you wanted to use something different than command.com. It also lets you provide parameters to the shell, like in this case I extended the environment to 512 bytes, from the default of 256, to accommodate the long path and the other environment variables I wanted to set.

infiniteclouds wrote:I'd really like to try SMARTDRV to speed things up but it didn't seem to do anything for me.
What I noticed is that SmartDrive tends to help certain programs start up faster, once they are cached. E.g., if right after boot, I start NC (Norton Commander), it takes a certain time to start. If I exit, and start it again, the second time is noticeably faster. But we are talking about <1 sec times anyways, so it's not critical. There is no harm that I could detect, so I just always use it, since I have enough memory to load it high. I do use /X to disable write-behind cache, as this can lead to data loss if a system crashes before stuff is written to the disk.

infiniteclouds wrote:MDGX.com seemed to suggest these settings...

LH SMARTDRV 2048 16 /B:4096 /E:4096 /L in autoexec and also in the config

You can read here what each of them does.

gdjacobs wrote:Also, IFSHLP and DBLBUF can potentially be excluded depending on what programs you run from command line.
I wouldn't do that, in case you want to run Windows manually later without rebooting and selecting a different config. There is no memory shortage.

infiniteclouds wrote:Where should I get this? I'm concerned about the version since I found a post on Vogons from 2011 where it was stated:

No mixed-mode cd support, anything with CDA is not playing correctly.
SHSUCDX is not 100% compatible with mscdex.


It's not needed either. MSCDEX is robust, and you don't have a memory shortage now. I think there are some dumb CD games that specifically check that MSCDEX is loaded, and refuse to run otherwise.

CkRtech wrote:If you want to boot to DOS, set bootgui=0 in msdos.sys.
Precisely - that's all that needed. Instead, Windows decided to add those lines to do it in a convoluted manner - it loads another copy of command.com and waits for it to exit, then continues to run itself from the end of Autoexec.bat. Pretty stupid and wastes memory on the extra command.com, and all so that you can type EXIT instead of WIN to run it.
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby Jorpho » 2017-5-29 @ 12:35

infiniteclouds wrote:Also I don't see mention of UIDE.SYS here... is it on the UMBPCI page?
UIDE has nothing to do with UMBPCI. It is principally a component of FreeDOS.

infiniteclouds wrote:First off -- searching the page for "Virtual" doesn't turn up anything. Is there a guide on how to install and use SHSUCDHD?
There's not much to it. You already found that other thread.
viewtopic.php?t=28677
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-5-29 @ 15:35

infiniteclouds wrote:Wow -- that is a LOT of different configurations you have in there.

Also I didn't realize "SET CTCM=" was a command and have been using "LH C:\SB16\CTCM" which seems to work. Yours is yet another config that I've seen with STACKS= which I don't have.

Also the SET BLASTER=%SB16% and SET SB16=%BLASTER% lines have me scratching my head... ? I don't have anything like that and my sound was working fine in the games I tested.

Let me read through the shsucdx.txt and figure out how to install/use it.


Stacks was required by something I run, although I can't remember what it was. I have CS32 and SB16 environment variables to make it easy flipping between my two sound cards for games that try guessing sound configurations from the BLASTER environment variable. Honestly, set CTCM is an artifact from when I was messing with Creative PnP cards.
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby dr_st » 2017-5-29 @ 16:24

I think SET CTCM just tells it where to read/write CTPNP.CFG. If you don't have it, it will just put it in C:\. Not a big deal.
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby CkRtech » 2017-5-29 @ 21:15

gdjacobs wrote:Stacks was required by something I run, although I can't remember what it was. I have CS32 and SB16 environment variables to make it easy flipping between my two sound cards for games that try guessing sound configurations from the BLASTER environment variable. Honestly, set CTCM is an artifact from when I was messing with Creative PnP cards.

Seems like I left stacks on 0,0 for awhile and then moved to 9,256. The only time I remember really having to set it to something specific was with BioMenace at 9,128. Funny enough, 3DRealms even had a note about 9,256 on their support site for running it with 386MAX. But I am pretty sure it was 9,128 for at least some period in the early-mid 90s.

But all of that is outdated and irrelevant now, I think. A game made in 1993 could have had a casual patch in 1999/2000 that resolved an issue or a community-based patch that negates what was once a requirement to get the software running 99% of the time back in the day.

Not sure if that was the game you were thinking about, gdjacobs - but that is my only STACKS-related story I had to share!
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-5-30 @ 00:12

Nope, never played Biomenace, but it was something. :)
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby infiniteclouds » 2017-5-30 @ 04:25

dr_st wrote:Why do you need DOS=SINGLE?


Not sure what it does -- it was just part of the .pif by default.

it is typically enough to press F5 on boot and skip Config/Autoexec entirely. There is also the option of selectively picking config/autoexec lines by pressing F8 on startup.


F8 (despite saying SHIFT+F8) just makes it so that I have to press the a number then press ENTER to select one of the config loadouts rather than just pressing the number. F5 sometimes brings me into Safe Mode Windows 98, and sometimes to a unloaded command prompt.



You can read here what each of them does.



Thanks -- this is much clearer than the /? readouts for SMARTDRV. The number one thing I was doing wrong was not loading MSCDEX BEFORE SMARTDRV so my disc wasn't being cached. Also it seems that not adding any /B: or /E: values gives more to SMARTDRV as opposed to putting the highest values I can in there. Either way SMARTDRV doesn't seem to hold more than 20-21K of memory and still doesn't make much of a difference in the loading times. When I type SMARTDRV to view how it's loaded it shows that D: Read caching is enabled but the Buffers line just has a "--" ... could that be why? The funny thing is before I started tinkering at all Arena loaded significantly faster from the CD.. but it would have crashes because of conventional memory. I did try as a test to go back to the original autoexec/config but it remains slower -- maybe it's the disc drive.


Precisely - that's all that needed. Instead, Windows decided to add those lines to do it in a convoluted manner - it loads another copy of command.com and waits for it to exit, then continues to run itself from the end of Autoexec.bat. Pretty stupid and wastes memory on the extra command.com, and all so that you can type EXIT instead of WIN to run it.


I freely admit I have no knowledge -- but it seems important not to tamper with these lines. I have another thread in here where I was posting about how I could not return to Windows from DOS. Each time I would type WIN it would give me the prompt but inputting Y would just have it reboot to DOS again, and again. EXIT didn't work either. I eventually reformatted and reinstalled as none of the solutions were working. I had this happen again after messing with these lines but was fortunately able to get back into Windows 98 except my desktop and drivers were not loaded. When I ran the .pif file to go back to DOS and then returned to Windows again all was returned.

It seems like those lines keep the DOS config and windows config separate somehow? In any case, as I said it automatically adds those lines again no matter what so removing them seems futile.

There's not much to it. You already found that other thread.
viewtopic.php?t=28677

I downloaded SHSUCDX V3.05 from here http://adoxa.altervista.org/shsucdx/ and that wasn't what I was supposed to download, I believe. No SHSUCDHD was included in there. There are 5 download links there. I had downloaded the wrong one which was only the CDX.COM files. I've since downloaded the r 3-3 one which seems to have everything.


As far as the installation and use goes... it really isn't so clear cut to a novice like myself but I appreciate everyone's assistance and I am making an effort to figure it out. I will share the resources I have and my thought process at the risk of embarrassing myself. Apologies in advance -- it is scattered.

The thread I linked gives an example .bat file.

A typical batch file would be:

SHSUCDHD /D:F:\ISO\ALBION.ISO
SHSUCDX /D:SHSU-CDH
CD F:\GAMES\RPG\ALBION
ALBION
SHSUCDX /U
SHSUCDHD /U



Ok.. it's a batch file for an individual game that loads CDHD and CDX, goes to the game directory, loads the game and then uninstalls (or unloads) CDX and CDHD. I come to the conclusion about the /U since there was this bit in that post.

The *really* interesting thing about both bits of software is that they can be dynamically loaded and unloaded from memory at will.


Side thought--perhaps this extra bit (unloading it) is why he wasn't able to get CD Audio and gdjacobs confirms he has had CD audio working. At a second look -- gdjacobs said 'CDX' both times, not 'CDHD' so maybe he just means using the CDX as a replacement for MSCDEX but still with a real drive.

That leads into another confusion..

SHSUCDHD /D:F:\ISO\ALBION.ISO
SHSUCDX /D:SHSU-CDH


Ok, so F: is this guy's main drive (my C: drive) (CD F:\GAMES...etc confirms this for me) and D: is the virtual drive he's creating... but D: is the drive letter of my physical drive so won't that cause a conflict? Or /D is just a switch. I look in the included image.txt file and find...

/D specify drive letter (SHSUCDRI)
Is this a switch he is using... ? But then the drive letter he is specifying is his hard drive and not a virtual drive. Or /D:F:\ISO\ALBION.ISO is just a switch that means .. MOUNT .ISO AT THIS LOCATION.

/D:SHSU-CDH .... well in the image.txt I found...
..a
device driver called SHSU-CDH (SHSUCDHD), SHSU-CDR (SHSUCDRD & SHSUCDRI)


... a device driver.

Now this hints to me at the installation itself of SHSUCDX...

I know that the following in my autoexec/config are for my optical drive.

LH C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\MSCDEX.EXE /D:OPTICAL [In autoexec]

DEVICEHIGH=C:\DRIVERS\VIDECDD.SYS /D:OPTICAL [in config]


There's no mention of VIDECDD.SYS anywhere... and since none of the files included in the download are a .SYS file I assume I need that to stay as is.

So maybe I just replace the first one with something like..

LH C:\SHSU\SHSUCDX.COM /D:OPTICAL ...? Some thought to replacing an .EXE with a .COM...

...but then what of SHSUCDHD ..? Does this not need to be a part of the autoexec or config and it just runs from an individual batch file for the game like the above example?

When he just puts ..

SHSUCDHD /D:F:\ISO\ALBION.ISO
SHSUCDX /D:SHSU-CDH


in his batch file does he really mean..

C:\directoryforSHSU\SHSUDCHD.EXE
C:\directoryforSHSU\SHSUCDX.COM

?

Then I'm thinking -- since it was mentioned there could possible compatibility issues without MSCDEX -- can I just use SHSUCDHD with MSCDEX? Looks like I can..

from the image.txt file..

SHSUCDX (or MSCDEX) can then be used to
access the images as normal drive letters. Note: SHSUDVHD will NOT work
with MSCDEX.


as long as I'm not using DVD images.

Judging from jacob's config file I don't need to do anything in there with SHSU... just in the autoexec and only if I'm going to use the CDX in place of MSCDEX... which seems like it may not even be necessary?
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby infiniteclouds » 2017-5-30 @ 06:05

Got it!

I had SHSUCDHD /F:ARENA.ISO down. Originally I was doing SHSUCDHD /F:C:\SHCDX\ARENA.ISO but that was not necessary since /F: seems to always search current directory. What I was needed after that was..

SHSUCDX /I /D:SHSU-CDH
the /i is important because without it I'd just get a prompt that MSCDEX or SHSUCDX was already installed. In any case this automatically creates the virtual "E:/" drive which is loaded with whatever I use the SHSUCDHD command for.

My old ARENA.BAT

@SET ARENADATA=C:\ARENA_CD
@D:
@ACD -Ssbpdig.adv -IOS220 -IRQS7 -DMAS1 -Msbawe32.adv -IOM240 -IRQM5 -DMAM0


and my new one

CD ..
CD C:\SHCDX
SHSUCDHD /F:ARENA.ISO
SHSUCDX /I /D:SHSU-CDH
E:
CD ARENACD
C:
CD C:\ARENA_CD
@SET ARENADATA=C:\ARENA_CD
@E:
@ACD -Ssbpdig.adv -IOS220 -IRQS7 -DMAS1 -Msbawe32.adv -IOM240 -IRQM5 -DMAM0
C:
CD C:\SHCDX
SHSUCDHD /U
SHSUCDX /U
CD ..
C:\ARENA_CD


Didn't have to do anything with AUTOEXEC or CONFIG.
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-5-30 @ 17:28

Please note that SHSUCDHD will not work for disk images containing redbook audio tracks. I'm not sure about multi session disks, but it may not work for those as well.
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby FFXIhealer » 2017-6-05 @ 20:08

..... wow.

Read through most of the first page of posts and skimmed through the 2nd. I would say that your CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files are HUGE. Is there an honest-to-goodness reason for all of that extra crud in there? I did my own tests in order to get Arena working and I only used 19KB of Conventional memory, everything else was dropped into my 64MB of High Memory and the game runs properly. The things I saw, which have probably already been pointed out, is A. you have two Command.com programs running...why? B. You have two different CD-ROM drivers running...why? (VIDECDD and MSCDEX)

If it would help, I can put what MY files contain. I had to pick apart every single line, study the old DOS commands and such in order to customize it to my own system, then find out what works and what doesn't work. Because I had the same problem with not having enough conventional memory to run Arena...which prompted me to re-read and re-learn all this DOS stuff. And the system I am using is Windows 95 OSR2 and Windows 98 (on a 2nd PC).
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby dr_st » 2017-6-05 @ 20:18

FFXIhealer wrote:..... wow.

Read through most of the first page of posts and skimmed through the 2nd.
Joined late to the party, I see. :)

FFXIhealer wrote:I would say that your CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files are HUGE. Is there an honest-to-goodness reason for all of that extra crud in there?
Not really, and it's been discussed.

FFXIhealer wrote:A. you have two Command.com programs running...why?
Yep, pointed out. It's because he did something in Windows to get it to automatically add this stupidity.

FFXIhealer wrote:B. You have two different CD-ROM drivers running...why? (VIDECDD and MSCDEX)
Refresh your memory. :) VIDECDD is the driver, MSCDEX is the application that actually allows DOS to see the CD drive. Both are needed (although MSCDEX can be replaced with SHSUCDX).

FFXIhealer wrote:If it would help, I can put what MY files contain. I had to pick apart every single line, study the old DOS commands and such in order to customize it to my own system, then find out what works and what doesn't work.
A few people did that already, but there is no harm in sharing more files. One can always pick up a few new tricks. ;)
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby FFXIhealer » 2017-6-05 @ 20:58

I'm certainly no expert at DOS. I was a child when it was used and my father was always the one who maintained it. I was a Windows kid and now as an adult have several IT certifications, one of them being a Microsoft Windows 7 certification.
But what I DID read up on and the little bit I have done to try to free up memory might have helped if I wasn't so late to the game, because it's the same game. And I agree with what others have pointed out - there's really no need for such an option screen in DOS. I mean, for DOS games, you really only need 4 basic things: a CD-ROM driver (if the game needs it or not), a MOUSE driver (if the game needs it or not), sound card drivers (just about all games use it) properly configured, and DOS itself. To me, DOS is one of those things where less is more. I mean, get everything down as simple and as uncomplicated as possible and get it running as lean as possible. I don't mess with RAMdrives, multiple sound cards, ISO drive emulators, yadda yadda. I guess since it's relatively hard to find an IDE CD-ROM drive in good/working condition (as I am fortunate to have a few of), it might be required to get an emulator. I don't know...I always saw DOS as a very basic and simple while Windows was huge and comprehensive.
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby infiniteclouds » 2017-6-05 @ 21:32

FFXIhealer wrote:
A. you have two Command.com programs running...why?


Yep, pointed out. It's because he did something in Windows to get it to automatically add this stupidity.


I would honestly like to figure out how to fix this especially because now even when I exit to windows the system restarts and brings me to that config selection screen -- I have to choose to not load anything (just conventional memory) and then I can get into a working Windows 98.

When I deleted those lines added by Windows, though, it just wreaked havoc and it ended up reappearing there every time anyway. Strange this is if you examine Phil's .pif that I use to enter DOS it does NOT have those lines at the bottom so I'm not sure why windows keeps adding them.
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby FFXIhealer » 2017-6-05 @ 22:25

Well, here I will post my files' contents. This is my Windows 98 FE system running a 600 MHz Pentium III, 256MB of PC-100 RAM, a 40GB HDD, CD-ROM, Sound Blaster AWE64 ISA sound card, yadda-yadda.

CONFIG.SYS

DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\himem.sys
DOS=HIGH,UMB
DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\EMM386.exe NOEMS
DEVICEHIGH=C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\cd1.sys /D:MSCD0001
DEVICEHIGH=C:\WINDOWS\setver.exe
SHELL=C:\WINDOWS\command.com /P /E:512

AUTOEXEC.BAT

SET SOUND=C:\PROGRA~1\CREATIVE\CTSND
SET MIDI=SYNTH:1 MAP:E MODE:0
SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 P330 E620 T6
SET GRIP=C:\PROGRA~1\GRAVIS\CORESO~1
SET PATH=%PATH%;C:\PROGRA~1\GRAVIS\CORESO~1

DOSSTART.BAT

LH C:\WINDOWS\CTCM
LH C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\MSCDEX.EXE /D:MSCD0001 /L:R
LH C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\MOUSE.COM

With this setup, I only use 23K of Conventional memory. Granted, this isn't the system I did most of this file work on - that was an older Windows 95 Pentium system with only 64MB of RAM, but I did map over a few things to the Win98 system here. I can tell you though, that these files make DOS run pretty much ROCK-SOLID, as well as Windows 98. Sound works, mouse works, CD-ROM drive works for both digital sound, MIDI, etc. The CD-ROM drive is letter R: while in DOS, but E: in Windows. I had partitioned my 40GB drive to have C: 32GB and D: 8GB, where I dumped my Windows 98 CD-ROM onto it so I don't have to do disk swaps every time I install something. I also archive a bunch of stuff there like my network share folder.
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-6-06 @ 00:12

I think you'll want an EMS configuration for X-Wing.
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Re: Freeing enough Conv. Mem for TES:Arena? (Logs included)

Postby FFXIhealer » 2017-6-06 @ 00:32

On my Windows 98 system, it runs perfectly fine from within Windows, so why would I care about configuring DOS for it?
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