VOGONS


First post, by lifewithmatthew

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I have an HP Pavillion a6130n. It's old enough where HP has stopped hosting any drivers for it, but new enough that the video card is PCI-e and Hard drive/CD-Rom drive are SATA.

I can easily get freedos up and running on it, but I'm trying to get Windows 98SE working on it and looking for advice. There is an IDE port and I was able to scrounge up an IDE cd-rom drive and get windows 98 SE installed and booting onto a SATA hard drive (I have no idea why the SATA hard drive was okay, but the SATA cd-rom was not).

Once in windows I had a lot of issues getting drivers (duh) and it seemed like it was chugging along, transfer speeds from the CD-ROM to the hard drive were absurd, even installing windows took hours. I'm thinking this might be some driver related stuff where things are mostly working?

So I'm curious, how much of the system files from freedos can I sneak into Windows 98?

I should be able to use udvd2.sys instead of oakcdrom.sys, or swap out himem.sys for XMGR.SYS, right? I know at the end of the day if I want the best experience I need a computer from the time, but this is what I've got to work with, you know? Am I thinking along the right lines here or is this a waste of time?

Reply 1 of 16, by brian105

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Swapping DOS system files won't work, since the MSDOS part isn't the issue. Your chipset is too new for most 9x stuff to work properly, including SATA modes (sometimes the SATA compatibility mode for MSDOS is still used in Windows 9x unless proper drivers are installed; I've heard nForce was pretty bad for this). Seems like a waste of time to me.

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Reply 4 of 16, by fosterwj03

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You might have more luck if the system BIOS can set the SATA ports to "IDE Compatible" mode. That tells the SATA controller to use the traditional IDE IRQs and addresses. Windows 98 should then detect it as a standard IDE controller.

Reply 5 of 16, by lifewithmatthew

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brian105 wrote on 2022-04-06, 06:28:

Swapping DOS system files won't work, since the MSDOS part isn't the issue. Your chipset is too new for most 9x stuff to work properly, including SATA modes (sometimes the SATA compatibility mode for MSDOS is still used in Windows 9x unless proper drivers are installed; I've heard nForce was pretty bad for this). Seems like a waste of time to me.

The only reason I'm holding out some minor hope that it isn't a waste of time still is because I think if I get the video card driver installed (I have a radeon X300 that looks like it might have a work around for 98) everything else was running enough to *possibly* work. Sure I'd have hardware left uninstalled, but if it works... 🤷‍♂️

dr_st wrote on 2022-04-06, 09:01:

In addition to the above - Win9x will not work with DOS DMA drivers.

Ah, so all I would be doing is by swapping things out is affecting the boot disk used to install windows. And would have issues after win98 was installed.

Disruptor wrote on 2022-04-06, 09:46:

How much RAM do you have in that machine?

Thankfully I had a 1 Gig stick so I was able to get it booted

fosterwj03 wrote on 2022-04-06, 12:30:

You might have more luck if the system BIOS can set the SATA ports to "IDE Compatible" mode. That tells the SATA controller to use the traditional IDE IRQs and addresses. Windows 98 should then detect it as a standard IDE controller.

The Bios in this machine appears to be extremely stripped down. There are a just a handful of options in it, and some of those options only have a single entry making their inclusion seem pointless.

Reply 6 of 16, by dr_st

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lifewithmatthew wrote on 2022-04-06, 12:55:
dr_st wrote on 2022-04-06, 09:01:

In addition to the above - Win9x will not work with DOS DMA drivers.

Ah, so all I would be doing is by swapping things out is affecting the boot disk used to install windows. And would have issues after win98 was installed.

My experience is that Windows will simply crash. If it actually tries to work, it might be worse - you may have data corruption due to incompatible DMA drivers.

So you should disable any DOS DMA drivers before starting Win9x. But it is not a terrible loss, since Windows has DMA drivers of its own (assuming the chipset is supported). They are only useful in Win9x pure DOS mode.

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Reply 7 of 16, by kepstin

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lifewithmatthew wrote on 2022-04-06, 12:55:
Disruptor wrote on 2022-04-06, 09:46:

How much RAM do you have in that machine?

Thankfully I had a 1 Gig stick so I was able to get it booted

1GB is actually too much RAM for Windows 98. I would expect the installation to crash partway through with that much RAM, and the system is likely to either fail to boot or be unstable. There's some manual steps you can take by modifying INI files to limit the amount of RAM that Windows will use which can make it work (you can do this from the boot floppy in the middle of the install when it crashes in order to continue), or you can look into third party memory patches.

Ideally, if you could go down to 512MB ram it should work fine.

Reply 8 of 16, by Cuttoon

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In general, you will need the correct chipset drivers for Win98 to work in any proper way.
Like, AGP, PCI, I/O, USB, drive controllers, the lot.

In short, anything with PCIe to me seems a bit outside of doable or worth the trouble.

https://support.hp.com/gb-en/document/c01050235

It's from 2007, apparently.

Sometimes with borderline problems, you can experiment with the last drivers available for Win9x for a previous generation of hardware, like that chipset.

But, all seems a bit of an exercise in futility 😉

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Reply 9 of 16, by Zeerex

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There are plenty of supported configurations and even cheap PCIe graphics devices that work in 98 and will perform great with games. Using this link I was able to use a PCIe GeForce 6200 perfectly on 98 and I mean perfectly. 3D accelerated and stable: PCIe devices on Windows 98 SE

Results will vary by chipset and the driver support they provide, but Intel platforms had broad 98 support into the early Core era. For best results I would stick to 512mb RAM, but RLOEW memory patch addresses that well post install. In these newer systems it’s helpful to install with ACPI off ie: setup /p i, and SATA only for BIOS that allow you to run it in IDE mode.

Reply 10 of 16, by Jo22

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kepstin wrote on 2022-04-06, 15:10:
lifewithmatthew wrote on 2022-04-06, 12:55:
Disruptor wrote on 2022-04-06, 09:46:

How much RAM do you have in that machine?

Thankfully I had a 1 Gig stick so I was able to get it booted

1GB is actually too much RAM for Windows 98. I would expect the installation to crash partway through with that much RAM, and the system is likely to either fail to boot or be unstable. There's some manual steps you can take by modifying INI files to limit the amount of RAM that Windows will use which can make it work (you can do this from the boot floppy in the middle of the install when it crashes in order to continue), or you can look into third party memory patches.

Ideally, if you could go down to 512 Mebibytes ram it should work fine.

Hi! I second that. Windows 9x was made in a time when 486 PCs were around still.
16, 32, 64. Megabytes were considered huge back then.
I'd say the whole code base of 9x was never intended/prepared for several hundreds of megabytes of physical memory.
- Akin to Windows 3.x, which was made with 286/386 machines in mind, but never ever Pentium class machines.

We shouldn't forget that Windows 95 was just a messy patchwork and an intermediate solution until a real Windows comes eventually by.

Unfortunately, Nashville and Neptun never made it, so it wasn't until Windows XP that a real substitute for Windows 9x came along.
More or less.

However, on the other hand, Windows 2000/98SE also were popular around 2000, when Pentium III systems had 128 to ~256 Mebibytes of RAM..

But after that we're entering Pentium IV/Windows XP territory quickly with Gibibytes of memory.

Also, Windows 98SE/Me support was extended to the year 2006 back then,
when already 512 Mebibyte or 1 to 1,5 Gibibyte were common.

Edit: I forget to add.
a) Windows 2k/XP also was installed ln low-end hardware at the time.
Systems with 64 to 256 Mebibyte of RAM.
b) There's a Windows 9x memory patch made by a deceased programmer.

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Reply 11 of 16, by fosterwj03

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I think this thread has gotten a couple of pieces of misinformation.

First, unmodified Windows 98 can access up to 1.5GB of total system memory (include graphics) without issue. While I'm not sure that it effectively manages memory greater than 64MB, the presence of less than 1.5GB of total memory will not crash Windows 98. If your system has more than that, you can artificially limit the memory Windows 98 manages by adding the following line to the SYSTEM.INI file under the [386ENH] section:

MaxPhysPage=40000 ; limits System RAM to 1GB and leaves room for up to 512MB of graphics memory

Alternately, you can use Rlowes Windows 9x memory patch. Regardless, you may want to replace MS's HIMEM.SYS by calling something like HIMEMX.EXE in you CONFIG.SYS file to improve overall memory management with that much memory. It doesn't come with Windows, so you would need to download a copy.

Second, Windows 9x already includes a driver for both PCI and PCI-Express on modern systems. It's the Microsoft PCI Bus driver found in the Add Hardware utility. If Windows doesn't detect the PCI bus during installation, use the Add Hardware utility to search for the PCI Bus driver under "System Devices". Once added, the plug and play manager should begin detecting both PCI and PCIe devices (as well as bridges). You don't need chipset specific drivers since they were mostly just .INF files anyway. If you're a stickler for reducing the number of misidentified devices in device manager, you could try to manually update the unknown devices in the Device Manager with an older chipset's .INF files.

Third, PCIe devices do work with Windows 9x provided that you have manufacturer device drivers for them (technically true for all add-on cards that don't have drivers included on the Windows install disk). This includes network adapters, USB controllers, and GPUs. Windows 9x treats them all like PCI devices. The trouble is finding a Windows 9x driver that supports your device.

Finally, you could try Rlowes generic SATA driver. It hasn't worked for me, but you might have more success. It would probably work better than BIOS managed storage. I have gotten his AHCI driver to work, so if your system BIOS offers an option to put the SATA controller into AHCI mode, that could work for you even better.

Reply 12 of 16, by Jo22

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"There are generally some limits for memory.

1. 16 and 24 and 32 mb of ram.

Dont remember which capacity is reccomended as minimum for Windows 95 and for 98. If you are below this limit GUI will start and perform very slow and computer performance will be more related to its harddisk.

2. 128/256 mb ram

Here is limit for Win9x where people dont experience performance trouble related to memory.

3. 512 mb ram

Generally reffered as maximum memory for windows 9x by some MS documents.

4. 768 mb ram

Some sources referr to this number as last bootable amount of memory. Generally it is hardware limit for most of intel boards from years 1999 to 2001 so this amount was hardly to hit.

5. 1,128 mb ram

This amount of memory was last bootable for me without any software modifications while all memory was available to system.

6. 1,512 mb ram

My current configuration. 512 mb ram is used as ramdisk, and rebooting must be prevented by some settings in autoexec and config.sys.

7. 4 gb of ram

With Rloews patch you can run system with amount of ram as with any other 32 bit Windows.

Vcache trouble can be easily fixed. Set Maxfilecache to 32kb in system ini and you will never experience any trouble."

https://msfn.org/board/topic/139879-win98se-w … 256mb-vs-512mb/

Actual behavior of Windows will vary depending on various factors, perhaps.
The hardware used, the updates that are installed, what community patches were used etc etc. 😀

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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 13 of 16, by Disruptor

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Jo22 wrote on 2022-04-07, 02:09:

6. 1,512 mb ram

My current configuration. 512 mb ram is used as ramdisk, and rebooting must be prevented by some settings in autoexec and config.sys.

What ramdisk driver do you use?
How does the initialization in your config.sys / autoexec.bat look like?

Reply 14 of 16, by Jo22

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Disruptor wrote on 2022-04-07, 06:12:
Jo22 wrote on 2022-04-07, 02:09:

6. 1,512 mb ram

My current configuration. 512 mb ram is used as ramdisk, and rebooting must be prevented by some settings in autoexec and config.sys.

What ramdisk driver do you use?
How does the initialization in your config.sys / autoexec.bat look like?

Sorry, I didn't try it myself yet. Was merely quoting the chart from the link. 🤷‍♂️
However, I did encounter stability issues my self at some point when I had 98SE running on an Athlon system. Socket 939, I guess.
Reducing RAM helped getting it installed.

"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 15 of 16, by mastergamma12

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I was able to get 98 up and running on an EVGA 610i board so you should also be able to get it up and running on a Nforce 430.

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Reply 16 of 16, by lifewithmatthew

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mastergamma12 wrote on 2022-04-07, 07:36:

I was able to get 98 up and running on an EVGA 610i board so you should also be able to get it up and running on a Nforce 430.

Yeah, I've gotten it working acceptably it seems, most things *appear* to be working despite having a few uninstalled components. I was able to get some forceware drivers for my radeon x300 graphics card so that's nice.

One thing I can't find is forceware drivers for the Nforce 430. I found some for nforce 3 drivers, and I've seen people reference the nforce 430 being used with windows 98. Does anyone know what drivers are being used with it?