ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Getting old software/games running on older hardware.

ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby starhawk » 2019-8-08 @ 16:32

I have a lady friend. I am trying to do the usual thing that nerds do for their lady friends... impress her with my computer skills. In this case, she has a very old promotional game CD from Coca-Cola that ONLY runs on Windows 98, and because I tend to tinker with them incessantly, I have a fat stack of "thin client" type computers that can be handily converted to low-power desktops.

Well, usually.

In this case, the patient in question is a 10ZiG RBT-616V aka Dell FX-170 aka about six hundred others you've never heard of... OK, it's actually a Clientron U800 with a different logo, because that's what Clientron does -- they make half-decent hardware and then rebadge it for other companies.

The Clientron U800, by any other name, is about the size of an old internal floppy drive, or two USB floppy drives, stacked, with the tails cut off. It sports an Atom N270, i945-variant chipset, and just enough room for a laptop RAM stick (DDR2 SODIMM) and a flash "Disk-on-Module", which in this case has been substituted with a CompactFlash-interface "MicroDrive" (an 8gb mechanical hard drive in a CompactFlash Type II card form factor) in a tiny IDE adapter that is fitted to a very short cable so that it can sit transversely. The heatsink in this thing is so big that I actually had to cut it down slightly (it hasn't noticed) to fit the card and adapter.

The U800 additionally has a surprising bevy of ports for its size. The front boasts two audio ports (speakers/headphones and microphone) and two USB 2.0 ports. The rear has the 12v power in, a PS/2 keyboard port that is ONLY for keyboards, a DVI port that can take a "just wires" style VGA adapter for analog output, two more USB 2.0 ports, and an Ethernet port. While WiFi cards are available for this system, special ones in fact (they run off a weird internal USB connector), this particular example does not have one... which is just fine.

You can tell I'm a hardware guy, right...? ;)

I've installed FreeDOS and gotten USB mouse and CD support up and running, which is nice. I've thrown a few DOS games in, which is also nice. But I can't get Win98SE to install. (I need SE for the USB support for the CD drive. This machine has neither COM nor LPT ports. I don't have an LPT CD-ROM drive any more anyways...)

Alas, every time I start setup, I get this little gem:

Image

...which gives me a headache and indigestion and makes me want to go AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

More annoyingly, on this particular version of setup, I can't make the /nf switch work, which, per ComputerHope, is supposed to disable that misfeature. IT GETS IGNORED.

I've spent HOURS Googling this nonsense and gotten absolutely nothing and nowhere. Help me, Vogons[dot]org Community, you're my only (remaining) hope...
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby starhawk » 2019-8-09 @ 01:57

I hate to be a pain in the printer port here, but I'm on a deadline and I'd really prefer not to have to need an extension.
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby mothergoose729 » 2019-8-09 @ 04:13

I haven't installed windows 98 from floppies before, but what I do with a CD

Code: Select all
D:
cd win98
format c: /q
mkdir c:\win98
copy *.* c:\win98
c:
cd win98
setup


You can try copying all of the files from the floppies into a directory and running the setup command from there. Alternatively, you can pull the hard drive from that computer and put it in a desktop, then copy the win98 folder from the install disk on to the drive (make sure it is formatted as fat32). Then drop to DOS when booting, and run setup from there.
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby derSammler » 2019-8-09 @ 07:58

What he said.

Your problem is related to the so-called phantom floppy that DOS provides in order to allow stuff like "copy a:\*.* b:\" on systems with only one floppy drive. It will then ask for B: and swap drive letters temporarily.

Now it's not clear why it even tries to access B: Either it's not seeing the hard disk and wants to install on B:, or the BIOS settings are odd. How did you boot the system?
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby starhawk » 2019-8-09 @ 09:31

Actually... here's what worked... and oh boy is it a doozy of a jerry-rig.

This assumes you have MY HARDWARE, configured EXACTLY THE SAME WAY. That is, you have a mechanical hard drive (probably a CF Microdrive in an adapter, or an iPod-style 1.8-inch platter drive, in some variant of a Clientron U800-based thin client, with FreeDOS installed on the drive using RMPrepUSB and a USB CD drive at D:\. Your RAM is 512MB DDR2. You should also get a PS/2 splitter and use that with your keyboard and mouse, because Win98SE does NOT like USB HID peripherals... if you have a USB mouse, you will be TAB+ARROWS+ENTER'ing through setup and that just suuuuuuuuucks.

First, you need a Win98SE ISO. I got mine from the WinWorldPC website.
Unpack the ISO somehow and get it (somehow) onto your hard drive. ALL OF IT. I put mine in the C:\98FLAT directory because that's what the helpfile said.

Navigate to C:\98FLAT\TOOLS\OLDMSDOS and run the EXT command. It will ask you for a source. Feed it C:\98FLAT\WIN98. It will ask for a filename pattern. Feed it *.* (extract eeeeeeeeeeeeeeverything). It will ask for a destination. Feed it C:\98FLAT.

This will take approximately THIRTY HOURS (I wish I were exaggerating!) on this hardware. DO NOT WAIT THROUGH THE NIGHT. Go to bed you schmuck :P you'll feel better if you do! (Oh. and put a fan on the thing if you want to avoid it smelling like melty plastic the next morning.)

Once it's FINALLY done,,.

COPY C:\98FLAT\SUBST.EXE C:\SUBST.EXE
MKDIR OLDMSDOS

Now go get an MS-DOS 6.22 boot floppy and (however you can/want) dump its ENTIRE CONTENTS into C:\OLDMSDOS. Then...

SUBST B: C:\OLDMSDOS
SUBST A: C:\WIN98FLAT
D:
SETUP /ie /is /nr /nm

Setup will moan like heck that you're cheating and using SUBST. Hit ESC and it will shut up.

ONE FINAL REQUEST (IF I MAY) -- Does ANYONE have a working 98SE-compatible driver for the i945GSE chipset? The graphics on this thing are being PAINFULLY stupid and I can't seem to explain to the dang thing that the INF file it needs is RIGHT FREAKING THERE because it's technically a Win2k file. ARGH.
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby starhawk » 2019-8-09 @ 16:56

To repeat myself, sort of -- Win98SE is now stuck in what amounts to CGA emulation mode -- 640x480, 16 colors. ACK. This is because it wants graphics drivers and I don't have the right ones. The chipset in this client is an i945GSE. Does ANYONE have ANYTHING that will at least get me 800x600 at 256 colors...? XGA at 16bit color would be nice but not strictly speaking required.
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby mothergoose729 » 2019-8-09 @ 18:02

You are unlikely to get integrated graphics working in windows 98 on a core2duo chipset. You will need to add a graphics card if you want to do better.
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby lost77 » 2019-8-09 @ 21:15

Just wanted to add a note regarding the initial problem in this post. I've always fixed the problem by just using the /ie switch for the setup. No need to create a virtual floppy drive or anything. This tell setup not to create the startup disk and therefor it does not try to read from a floppy drive.

As for the graphics problem you could try this:

https://bearwindows.zcm.com.au/vbe9x.htm

No idea if it is any good.
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby Jo22 » 2019-8-09 @ 21:29

starhawk wrote:To repeat myself, sort of -- Win98SE is now stuck in what amounts to CGA emulation mode -- 640x480, 16 colors. ACK.
This is because it wants graphics drivers and I don't have the right ones. The chipset in this client is an i945GSE.
Does ANYONE have ANYTHING that will at least get me 800x600 at 256 colors...? XGA at 16bit color would be nice but not strictly speaking required.

Well, you could try UniVBE for Win9x. It's rather slow, but should work.
https://bearwindows.zcm.com.au/vbe9x.htm

Edit: lost77 was faster. :blush:
"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//
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby starhawk » 2019-8-10 @ 01:27

So far no luck. I'm gonna email the WinVBE guy tomorrow.
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby derSammler » 2019-8-10 @ 07:54

It would have been much easier to just let it run with Windows XP and install 98 in VirtualBox. While the N270 has no virtualisation technology, it would still be enough for 98 and some old promo game.
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby starhawk » 2019-8-10 @ 19:33

Yeah, that's not how I roll...
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby starhawk » 2019-8-10 @ 20:27

I ran the diagnostics and sent the email. I hope he replies with something helpful, even though that log he will be wanting, won't generate, because the driver dies before it even gets THAT far...
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby starhawk » 2019-8-11 @ 15:55

WinVBE Guy replied! He gave me a driver, some sort of "SNAP" thing by a SciTech company I've never heard of. So, trying that today...
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby starhawk » 2019-8-11 @ 19:18

Well that didn't work out too good :(

For some reason, with all these drivers, Windows is claiming that there is another "primary display adapter" but it hasn't detected this device. There's only one entry under Display Adapters and it won't find any others. Very odd.
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby starhawk » 2019-8-11 @ 22:37

Decided to take the nuclear pill. I'm reinstalling.
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby starhawk » 2019-8-12 @ 08:11

I'm /still/ reinstalling.

Gee, Redmond, couldn't you have at least housetrained this thing before you released it?

I miss my C64. Commodores were simple and made sense.This thing reminds me of a guy I knew in middle school named Kenny. Kenny was argumentative and troublesome, because Kenny liked the idea of that. Kenny liked to fight and bully and beat up people. I found out from a distant relative of his, sadly, a few years ago that Kenny had been killed in a fight in IIRC the early 2010s. Apparently he took on a bit more than he could handle. FWIW, although there were a lot of things I wished on him, that was not one of them. I'm too nice for that.

RIP Kenny. At least you died doing what you loved.

Now if only I could make this Win98SE installer behave Not Like Kenny.
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby Wolfus » 2019-8-12 @ 14:11

starhawk wrote:Yeah, that's not how I roll...


Well, you can do it your way or you can get laid... It's up to you ;-)
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby starhawk » 2019-8-13 @ 22:06

Being laid was never a possibility. Strictly speaking I'm being a bit improper in doing all of this, and so is she for accepting it, but we do have established boundaries and we both know what they are. See, I iive in a small apartment complex and she's the office person.

For the record, if I managed to deprive the complex of her in any way, including romantically, I'd feel bad about it -- she's an excellent manager. Her grandmother used to manage this complex (and live in my apartment, coincidentally) and the management co actually asked her (the granddaughter) to come in after a string of useless idiots.

So here's the wrapup. I delivered the computer yesterday, more-or-less as planned. The CD drive works. The graphics work. The sound... maybe works in DOS. I didn't have time to properly test it... it's a VIA 1708B chip (ugh) which doesn't seem to have drivers going back that far. Win2k yes, 98/98SE no.

But she was thrilled to have the setup and should have plenty of fun with it. I threw some old DOS games I had on there as well.

So there we have it... I'd love to stick around but most of my computer work these days is on modern gear, or stuff that's actually too old for this forum -- Commodore stuff, basically -- so there's really not much point. I want to say that I appreciate all of everyone's help, and that I hope I'll be back someday, maybe with something to contribute instead of just taking up all ya'll's time.

See you folks, well, out there... :) you all take care, y'hear?
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Re: ARGH! Win98SE Setup wants to swap floppies, and hangs...

Postby i2lgames » 2019-8-21 @ 07:27

starhawk wrote:More annoyingly, on this particular version of setup, I can't make the /nf switch work, which, per ComputerHope, is supposed to disable that misfeature. IT GETS IGNORED.

I've spent HOURS Googling this nonsense and gotten absolutely nothing and nowhere. Help me, Vogons[dot]org Community, you're my only (remaining) hope...



I am sure that the windows setup accepts commands using - and not /

Try using "setup -nf"
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