amigopi wrote on 2023-08-01, 23:17:
Try to disable everything in the power options. Both my Win 98 SE computers just froze completely if left unattended before I fo […]
Try to disable everything in the power options. Both my Win 98 SE computers just froze completely if left unattended before I forbade Windows from ever powering down the display and hard drives; they don't anymore. (I, too, am using generic Chinese SATA-IDE adapters.)
Though now that I think of it, I guess it might be okay for the display to be powered off since it's probably those cheap SATA adapters.
Re: the locking up when booting, are you using any network cards? For me they have proven at times problematic in 98, causing either loooong delays or outright freezing.
Edit: another idea: have you tested your RAM with Memtest86+ or something similar?
Thanks for the suggestions! I ran Memtest86 from a Clonezilla boot disc, and it passed fine. I had gone as far as completely disabling power management in the BIOS (back to "it is now safe to turn off your computer"!) but without luck.
I seem to have got to the bottom of it by removing the mSATA drive though. First I tried moving the actual mSATA drive to another adapter (the small PCB style rather than 2.5" drive format) but had exactly the same issues. After peeling off the "QA Passed" stickers though, it turned out both used the same controller chip.
Then I tried installing Windows to a 8Gb CF card instead, and had much better results. Everything was much smoother, fewer lockups, although I did have a blue screen about VMM.vxd when I installed the ALi IDE bus master driver (the one from the mirror of the IBM support site no less).
8Gb (the biggest CF card I had at home) seemed quite limiting though, so next I tried a 128Gb Samsung SD card (actually microSD) in one of the ubiquitous IDE adapters, again in several partitions with plenty of unallocated space. This has also been fine! (although perhaps not quite as snappy as the CF card?). I didn't bother with the ALi IDE driver at all this time, as I can still enable DMA without it.
So, the problem seems to be narrowed down to the mSATA drive itself, OR the ALi chipset not getting on with the controller chip on the adapters? I've used identical adapters in other retro systems with Intel or SiS chipsets without any of these issues. I guess I can test the drive in another system to see if it is the mSATA drive itself.
The only other thing I changed was using a rounded (80 wire) IDE cable - mainly because the spacing between plugs was wider. I don't suppose using a modern adapter on the old 40 wire IDE cable might have been a cause?
While changing the IDE cables over, I noticed this little patch of rework on the motherboard. Is it likely to be a factory modification, or has a previous retro enthusiast repaired something?