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First post, by j'ordos

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Hi all,

I've got an old PC on which I used to run windows 98, but I couldn't get it connected to my wireless network (the wireless utility found the network and connected to it, but according to winipcfg I only got a windows autoassigned IP, and it didn't find a DHCP server), so I decided to install windows server 2k3 instead, since I didn't have a windows XP install CD handy. Unfortunately it doesn't run dos games full screen, the screen becomes garbled (tie fighter for example) or is positioned way offscreen (alley cat, I have an LCD screen) and often crashes with 'ntvdm has encountered a hard error' or something like that. Windows 98 ran those games fine so I assume my hardware isn't at fault here? (a pIII with an ati 3d rage II and 512mb RAM)
I downloaded scitech's display doctor and ran some vesa tests with one of the utilities that came with them and those test resulted in the same problems (garbled screen & ntvdm crash). running the univbe driver reported no vesa compatible hardware found IIRC, though my gfx card is in the supported list. VDMSound doesn't help (I also tried checking 'enable basic VESA support) and DOSbox will probably work fine, but since I'm running on old hardware it won't be able to run anything other than alley cat 😀

Anyone know what's up here? Let me know if you need more information

Reply 1 of 14, by DosFreak

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NTVDM isn't DOS.

Since that computer is too slow for DOSBox then your best solution is to put Windows 9x back on there and figure out what your wireless issue is.
Wireless works fine on Windows 98. If you can never get DHCP to work then you can always force a static IP.

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Reply 2 of 14, by ADDiCT

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Windows Server 2K3 is basically Windows XP, just like Windows Server 2K8 R2 is basically Windows 7. This means you'll need emulation to properly play DOS games, or a "DOS-based" OS like MS-DOS or Win9x. There's no other solution.

Reply 3 of 14, by j'ordos

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I'm aware of that, but under windows XP I could play most/all DOS games fine as long as I used VDMSound, yet on win2k3 it seems like there is something missing. I remember that on my previous PC (an athlon XP 1800+ with a geforce2) it was like that. windows XP handled most things fine with VDMSound, yet when I installed Server 2003 on it instead nothing worked like it should anymore. Now I'm in this situation again, so I wondered if anyone knew what that could be? Has anyone used win2k3 and ran some old games on it?

Reply 4 of 14, by DosFreak

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For VESA games you can try NOLFB: NOLFB - Disables LFB enabling DOS games to fallback to VESA 1.2 modes

If NTVDM is crashing then you can try downgrading/upgrading your video drivers.

I stopped testing games in NTVDM back around the time Windows 2003 came out because DOSBox had gotten so good.

You should use that old machine for games that no longer work properly on your modern machine and not try to use a modern OS on an older machine and then try to get old games (that were never designed for that OS) working on it.

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Reply 6 of 14, by cfoesch

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Windows Server 2K3 is basically Windows XP, just like Windows Server 2K8 R2 is basically Windows 7. This means you'll need emulation to properly play DOS games, or a "DOS-based" OS like MS-DOS or Win9x. There's no other solution.

This is not entirely accurate. Windows XP is not to Server 2003 as Windows 7 is to Server 2K8 R2. Windows XP and Server 2003 are built out of separate code bases (ok, Windows XP 64 is built out of the Server 2003 codebase, but only because it was easier to rebrand Server 2003 than to write in real 64-bit support for XP.)

However, Server 2K8 R2 and Windows 7 are built out of the same code base, as Server 2K8 and Windows Vista SP1 were built out of the same code base.

"What does this have to do with anything?" Windows XP has more compatibility requirements than Server 2003 has. Server 2003 didn't see backwards compat as a major requirement and they started removing parts that slowed things down, or increased support overhead.

So while it is true that a lot of Windows XP is supported in Server 2003, there are large chunks of Windows 9x and prior that disappeared. (Vista (Longhorn at the time) was WinXP up until a certain build then ditched for Server 2003, and rebuilt with the intentions of being a client and server concurrent codebase.)

So, really, WinXP is an extinct line, just like the Windows 9x line.

Reply 8 of 14, by ADDiCT

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This is off-topic, but can't let it stand (; : cfoesch, not sure what you are smoking, or if you are a coder at MS and have access to arcane knowledge. According to this table, it's like I've described. XP/2K3, Vista/2K8, 7/2K8R2 are basically the same "generation" of NT. NT 5.2 (XP) is closer to NT 5.3 (2K3) than it is to NT 6.0. (Vista), especially in the context of this thread. XP is not an "extinct line", it's part of the NT family and has nothing to do with Win9x "family wise".

Reply 11 of 14, by cfoesch

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cfoesch, not sure what you are smoking, or if you are a coder at MS and have access to arcane knowledge.

The later. I've actually compiled Windows XP, Server 2003, and Vista.

XP/2K3, Vista/2K8, 7/2K8R2 are basically the same "generation" of NT.

Yes, those pairings are the accurate pairings of client and server generations... but that alone is almost as useless as it is to note that Windows 98 and Windows 2000 are the same "generation". Namely, in truth, they are just the client/server OS pairings, and it says nothing of how the code between the generations are related.

WinXP 32-bit and Server 2003 were developed separately from Windows 2000, and are built from different codebases. They are thus sister codelines. (Pedantic note: Windows XP 64-bit was (is) built from the Server 2003 codebase, that's why there were (are) so many compatibility issues... people are actually running 2k3, and not XP. They are slightly different operating systems, with unique quirks.)

This is different from the situation with Vista SP1+, and Server 2k8, as well as Windows 7 and Server 2k8 R2. Where the client and server OS are built out of the exact same codebase, and the only things that change are the binaries included, and the branding. They are not sister codelines, they are literally the exact same codeline.

(Pedantic note: the Vista RTM codebase had internal versions of what would be Server 2k8, at the time referred to as Longhorn Server, that were built along with the client, but none of these were ever released. Server 2k8 RTM is however the exact same codebase as Vista SP1.)

XP is not an "extinct line", it's part of the NT family and has nothing to do with Win9x "family wise".

Longhorn began development from the XP codebase, because it was going to be the next version of the client OS, and Microsoft had developed the client OS separately from the server OS for years.

However, when it became apparent that 64-bit was going to become common in the consumer market, they weighed extending the 32-bit only early Longhorn (and after extending the 2k3 codebase, they knew how much work it would take to work out the bugs), against throwing everything out and starting from scratch from an already 64-bit capable codebase (Server 2003 being already stable and established). They chose the later, and that is in part why Longhorn suddenly lost so many features that they had been boasting about for so long.

All of this was offset by the fact that Longhorn was now 64-bit capable. And while they did port some (perhaps even a lot) of the changes in the earlier Longhorn development into this new Longhorn, they did not carry over everything. This is why there were compatibility issues between Vista and XP... Vista is a descendant of Server 2003, and not Windows XP.

So, while Vista/2k8 and Win7/2k8R2 descend directly from the Server 2003 codebase, no product or codebase descends directly from the Windows XP codebase. Thus, Windows XP is an "extinct line". The fact that its cousins live on, is cold comfort though to an extinct line...

Reply 12 of 14, by cfoesch

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Disregarding all the off-topic stuff, my point was: Server 2003 is not the same thing as Windows XP, and has its own independent compatibility issues... just a lot of them tend to overlap.

Reply 13 of 14, by Tetrium

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cfoesch wrote:

Disregarding all the off-topic stuff, my point was: Server 2003 is not the same thing as Windows XP, and has its own independent compatibility issues... just a lot of them tend to overlap.

Are these differences comparable to the differences between XP and 2k?

The thing is, I'd think XP and 2k3 (and 2k to a lesser extend) were supposed to "more or less" work with the same software? And yes, I'm aware that a server OS was never build to be used as a consumer OS.

Just curious 😉

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Reply 14 of 14, by cfoesch

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Are these differences comparable to the differences between XP and 2k?

With the caveat that I have no empirical data about compatibility issues, I would say, "yes".

WinXP got a lot of work to ensure that it was highly compatible with Win 9x software, Server 2003 picked up at least some of that, but again, it also dropped a lot of support that had been in WinXP.

The thing is, I'd think XP and 2k3 (and 2k to a lesser extend) were supposed to "more or less" work with the same software? And yes, I'm aware that a server OS was never build to be used as a consumer OS

You're totally spot on, and in fact, I used Server 2003 SP2 nearly my entire time working at Microsoft and never really had any compatibility issues, some things I had to install by futzing with things so that it would let me install on Server 2003, whereas it was "only written for WinXP", but it ran just fine on Server 2003, if you could coax it into installing.

So, while they were supposed, and in fact do have "more or less" the same compatibility, there are minor weird breaks in compatibility that can creep in sometimes. This is entirely different from the situation on Win7 and 2k8R2 where compatibility is entirely on par with say, between SKUs. (Server 2003 Small Business Server and Server 2003 Ultimate have meaningless compatibility differences, only because of feature differences.)