First post, by Dochartaigh
So after failing to get a fully running install of Windows 98 SE working properly (literally after 20+ installs), and from the advice you all gave me last week, I'm now on plan #21 and wanted your feedback. I think this covers nearly everything anybody mentioned that might be the root cause of my issues. Here's the new hardware and the plan I would like advice on:
Switched to yet another Dell Dimension XPS 440bx motherboard
Switched in the other stock Dell power supply (have new 400w w/ cable adapter - but need to post some questions about that before I use)
On delivery truck for today is: 3x sticks of Toshiba 128mb/each RAM
120gbIDE mechanical 7200rpm HDD (also somehow found a 40GB I didn't know I had too)
TNT2 Video cards these XPS's originally (I think) came with
Installing ONLY the ESS EF1869F sound card **I WAS USING BEFORE**
I'm trying to eliminate ANY of the old hardware I had before (GeForce 4 ti 4600, 1x then 2x Voodoo2's in SLI, Audigy 2 ZS, multiple SSD's and SATA to IDE adapters, the old MB and power supply, old RAM). Then get that up and running before I try anything else.
The ONLY thing I'm reusing (besides things like the 3.5" floppy and CD/DVD burner --which I switched out to a new burner last week fyi--, even using new 40-pin IDE cables!) is the ESS ES1869F sound card with Dreamblaster X2 on it - do you think that's OK to reuse for this troubleshooting process? Win98SE automatically installs the WDM drivers for that during the Windows install process. Other choice is a Turtle Beach Montego II these came with and I've never used - don't even know if it plays nice with DOS and the Dreamblaster X2 I have (and I'll have to lookup drivers for it of course).
I also wanted to keep a 2nd non-bootable SSD in the computer with a StarTech SATA to IDE adapter so I can easily copy over drivers and games - is that OK? I was going to only plug it in after Win98SE is done installing and just quickly copy over my test games and drivers folders (USB is WAY too slow - I can't handle it taking 20-30 minutes to copy over a single CD's worth of data...SO slow).
Am I OK with installing the entire 384mb of RAM? No problems with DOS games? I have 3x slots (which is weird...most have 2 or 4 I thought...?) so I thought I'd use all three. I initially went with 256 (2x128) because my buddy said Crusader No Remorse won't run with more....but I can't get that game to run anyway so is it a moot point? I'll be fine in DOS and Win98 with 384mb?
WINDOWS 98 SE SOFTWARE / CD
Just in case the ~5+ versions of Win98SE I've downloaded are all bad, I bought an official (perfect condition) Win98SE CD off eBay. It says "For distribution with a new PC only. For product support, contact the manufacturer of your PC". Is this version OK to use? Is it bootable or do I need a 3.5" boot disk? I made a Win98SE boot disk during previous installs, but it doesn't even have the format program on it so I'll have to figure out something to format this drive beforehand (easy enough)
HOWEVER, I then was doing some reading and came across this post here on how to install Win98, and he suggests to copy the entire Win98 folder off the CD onto the HDD into a "Win98CD" folder. I want to try this to limit any read errors from the CD drive. I figure if I don't get any copy errors when I copy it to the HDD it should be good (plus original disc) + I'll never get the "insert Windows 98 CD" prompt ever again, right? I'm then going to run "setup.exe /p i" to install Win98SE without ACPI per that topic.
I reset the BIOS to factory and did some slight changes: that topic above says to turn off ACPI so I changed Power Management to "Disabled". Also turned off Plug n Play. Turned off Serial and Parallel ports to free-up resources (this is correct to do, right? - I've never ever plugged anything into those). Everything else in the BIOS was reset to factory.
Random note: in the BIOS under Video COnfiguration is has AGP Aperture Size. Says "Sets the aperture size for the AGP Video controller". This has ALWAYS been set to 64mb. My GeForce4 has 128mb RAM but when I googled weeks ago it says to leave this at 64mb. Is that correct? (just making sure for when I finally give it a go with that video card)
UTILITY SOFTWARE / DRIVERS
Like I mentioned on my last topic I've switched up the software I use just in case those are causing any issues/conflicts.
--7Zip to WinRAR
--NUBS 36E to NUBS 33 - any possibility the NUSB USB drivers are causing issues? These are 'unofficial drivers' ...although the computer does have 2x USB ports so I don't know how people used them in 1999...
--Any alternative to Daemon Tools for CD/ISO mounting? Using 3.47 off Phil's site. I've redownloaded just in case corrupt... Set to be the first optical drive so programs can find it. Digital CD Audio turned on (which still doesn't work for Quake CD Audio for example...have to revisit this).
--For the new Nvidia TNT2 M64 32mb 64-bit video card I switched over to, I found these drivers randomly (SO many dead links, including from Nvidia itself, so these are hard to find...) "nVidia TNT2-M64 v. 1.0 A01 - M64W98". Any worse or better drivers to use?
BUT what confuses me is I saw on Phil's site that the TNT2 from 1999 uses the same drivers (and there's like 30 different versions...) as my GeForce 4 card from 2002? Does that make sense? I guess it included 'legacy' hard ware drivers too? From research on this forum people recommended the "45.23_win9x_international.exe" drivers for my GeForce 4, so I should stick with those? The GeForce4 file is 19mb vs. the 818kb from the TNT2 drivers above for example...so this just seems weird to me and I wanted to ask.
--ESS EF1869F ISA sound card. Windows setup automatically installs WMA drivers for this, and I get system sounds and such in Windows, BUT, a fresh install of windows has nothing in Autoexec.bat, and DOS games need those lines added (even if they're being played inside of Win98). So Phil has two sets of drivers, Windows and DOS, 185xw98 and 185xdos. I've been using the DOS one since it has an install program which will add the SET BLASTER line to your Autoexec.bat (I set it to the same IRQ and such as Windows gives it), and it also loads up ESSCFG.EXE (with similar IRQ D etc values) upon boot-up. Does that mess up Windows at all? That it's loading DOS drivers for the sound card before Windows is fully booted up? ...just checking.
Does anything need to be done with this? I've been reading articles that say things like set it to 2.5 times your RAM. Others say use half that but put the same number in for min AND max.... I've never messed with this before - is that a good thing? or a step I've been missing which made my last setups not work so well?
So that's all I can think of. In a nutshell once that HDD comes in I'm going to format the HDD. Copy Win98 disc to the HDD. Then run setup off the HDD... then slowly see how things run with the bare minimum of hardware and report back.