VOGONS


First post, by johnyept

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I searched the forum but couldn't find a list of essential system files for Windows. I'm not referring to extra programs like FTP, PDF/Image viewers, MP3 players, etc. Instead I mean Microsoft software and some 3rd party software (not KernelEX) essential for ALL old programs and games to install/run without asking for extra files/patches/updates. I found these in my HDD for the Windows versions I'm using in my retro machines, I'm not sure if they're the latest versions or if they're in the correct order or if I added them to the correct Windows version, but I'm sure I'm missing something and it would be nice if someone could chime in with missing software and/or links for better lists than these.

Windows 3.11:
- Internet Explorer 5.01 16-bit
- Windows Media Player 5.2
- Euro Patch (WIN3EURO.EXE, language specific)
- Win32S v1.30c
- Visual Basic Runtimes 16-bit (VBrun100.exe/VBrun200.exe/VBrun300.exe/vb4run.exe)
- WinG 1.0
- Video for Windows 1.1e
- TCP/IP 32 3.11b

Windows 95 OSR2:
- Windows Installer 2.0 (InstMsiA.exe)
- Internet Explorer 5.5 SP2
- Windows Media Player 6.4 or 7.0
- DirectX 8.0a
- Jet 4.0 SP8 (Jet40SP8_9xNT.exe)
- MMC (Microsoft Management Console) 1.2
- Paint.exe patch if using Office 97 (Paint95.exe)
- Comctl32 Redistributables 5.80.2614.3600 (50comupd.exe)
- DCOM95 Redistributables (DC95Inst.EXE)
- Microsoft Libraries Update (SPEU.exe)
- Windows Sockets 2.0 (w95ws2setup.exe)
- Visual Basic Runtimes 16-bit (VBrun100.exe/VBrun200.exe/VBrun300.exe/vb4run.exe)
- Visual Basic Runtimes 32-bit (vb4run.exe/Msvbvm50.exe/vbrun60sp5.exe)
- Euro Patch (w95euro.exe, language specific)
- Java 1.3.1_20
- Adobe Flash Player 7.0.73

Windows 98 SE:
- Windows Installer 2.0 (InstMsiA.exe)
- Internet Explorer 6 SP1
- Windows Media Player 6.4, 7.1 or 9
- DirectX 8.1 (9.0c is supported but if you need it you might as well use XP)
- Jet 4.0 SP8 (Jet40SP8_9xNT.exe)
- .Net Framework 2.0
- MMC (Microsoft Management Console) 1.2
- Visual Basic Runtimes 16-bit (VBrun100.exe/VBrun200.exe/VBrun300.exe/vb4run.exe)
- Visual Basic Runtimes 32-bit (vb4run.exe/Msvbvm50.exe/vbrun60sp5.exe)
- Visual C++ Redistributables 2005
- Java 1.5.0_22 (also seems to work with 1.6.07 and 6u7?)
- Adobe Flash Player 9.0.280
- QuickTime Alternative 1.5.6
- Real Alternative 1.5.2

Windows NT 4.0:
- install network drivers before any Service Pack
- Unofficial DirectX 5.0 beta (install SP3, then NT4DX5, then SP6a + Rollup, otherwise it breaks DirectPlay)
- Service Pack 6a
- Service Pack 6a Post Security Rollup
- Windows Installer 2.0 (InstMsiW.exe)
- Internet Explorer 6 SP1
- Windows Media Player 6.4
- Jet 4.0 SP8 (Jet40SP8_9xNT.exe)
- .Net Framework 1.1
- MMC (Microsoft Management Console) 1.2
- MSXML 3.0 SP7
- Visual Basic Runtimes 32-bit (vb4run.exe/Msvbvm50.exe/vbrun60sp5.exe)
- Paint.exe patch if using Office 97 (Paintnt.exe)
- Euro Patch (NT4_Euro.exe)
- Java 1.4.1_07
- Adobe Flash Player 7.0.73 (also seems to work with 9.0.47)
- QuickTime Alternative 1.5.6
- Real Alternative 1.5.2

Windows 2000:
- Service Pack 4
- Service Pack 4 Update Rollup 1 v2
- Windows Installer 3.1 (WindowsInstaller-KB893803-v2-x86.exe)
- Internet Explorer 6 SP1
- Windows Media Player 7.1
- DirectX 9.0c
- Jet 4.0 SP8 (included in SP4 Update Rollup)
- .Net Framework 2.0 SP1
- MSXML 6.0 SP1
- Visual Basic Runtimes 16-bit (VBrun100.exe/VBrun200.exe/VBrun300.exe/vb4run.exe)
- Visual Basic Runtimes 32-bit (vb4run.exe/Msvbvm50.exe/vbrun60sp5.exe)
- Visual C++ Redistributables 2005/2008
- Java 6u31
- Adobe Flash Player 10.3.183.5
- QuickTime Alternative 1.9.0
- Real Alternative 2.0.2

Windows XP:
- Service Pack 3 (requires SP1a or SP2 if installing on RTM)
- Windows Installer 3.1 (WindowsInstaller-KB893803-v2-x86.exe)
- Internet Explorer 8
- Windows Media Player 9, 10 or 11
- DirectX 9.0c
- Jet 4.0 SP8 (included in SP2)
- .Net Framework 3.5 SP1 / 4.0.3?
- MSXML 6.0 SP1
- Visual Basic Runtimes 32-bit (vb4run.exe/Msvbvm50.exe/vbrun60sp5.exe)
- Visual C++ Redistributables 2005/2008/2010/2012/2013/2015/2019
- Java 7u9
- Adobe Flash Player 32.0.0.371 (last version without timebomb)
- QuickTime Alternative 3.2.2 ou 4.1.0 Lite
- Real Alternative 2.0.2

Underlined version numbers are the last officially supported version for the O.S. mentioned in the official page, in forums or by my own testing.

EDIT 2021-10-29 (1): Added WinG, QuickTime Alternative, Real Alternative
EDIT 2021-10-29 (2): Added Video for Windows, TCP/IP 32, plus installation steps for NT4/DX5

Last edited by johnyept on 2021-10-29, 20:25. Edited 7 times in total.

Retro-W95/NT4: ASUS P3B-F, P3 550, 3x64MB, VD3 AGP, VD2 PCI, ESS1868F, 120GB IDE
Retro-W98/2K: ASUS P4S8X-X, P4 2.66, 2x256MB, FX 5600 128MB, SB Live! SB0060, 80+320GB IDE
Retro-WXP/7: ASUS P5KPL-AM EPU, XEON E5450, 2x2GB, GTS 450 1GB, 120GB SSD, 1TB sATA

Reply 1 of 20, by leileilol

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You forgot QuickTime. A lot of the 90s FMV games need certain installations of Quicktime! Usually version 2.

Have WinG for Win3.1 installed for that odd bunch of 1995 Windows action games that weren't fully committed to the Win95 hype.

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long live PCem

Reply 2 of 20, by johnyept

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leileilol wrote on 2021-10-29, 10:13:

You forgot QuickTime. A lot of the 90s FMV games need certain installations of Quicktime! Usually version 2.

Have WinG for Win3.1 installed for that odd bunch of 1995 Windows action games that weren't fully committed to the Win95 hype.

Yeah, I remember using WinG at some point in time... About QuickTime, I do have it in my HDD, but in form of QuickTime Alternative 1.56 (last version for 98/Me), and QuickTime Alternative 2.9.2 which the folder mentions being for Win2K/XP/2003 but wikipedia says that 1.90 was the last version to support XP. Will these do the job or does it have to be the full Quicktime program? I also have Real Alternative 1.6.0 and 2.0.0, not sure if these are required by any program but i do remember using them for some reason.

Retro-W95/NT4: ASUS P3B-F, P3 550, 3x64MB, VD3 AGP, VD2 PCI, ESS1868F, 120GB IDE
Retro-W98/2K: ASUS P4S8X-X, P4 2.66, 2x256MB, FX 5600 128MB, SB Live! SB0060, 80+320GB IDE
Retro-WXP/7: ASUS P5KPL-AM EPU, XEON E5450, 2x2GB, GTS 450 1GB, 120GB SSD, 1TB sATA

Reply 3 of 20, by Disruptor

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When you try to get all available updates for Windows 2000 with an offline upgrade tool you may need to install a Microsoft certificate file first.
However, the latest updates may not be essential - so this is off topic.

Reply 4 of 20, by Stretch

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For Windows 2000 robocopy, reg.exe, msconfig from WinXP, and psshutdown.

Win 11 - Intel Core i7-8809G - 8 GB - Radeon RX Vega M GH - Sound Blaster X4
WinXP - ASRock 775i65G R3.0 - Celeron 2.2 GHz - 2 GB - GeForce FX5700 - XtremeSound DDL
Win98SE - Via Apollo Pro Mobo - Pentium II 233 - 256 MB - Voodoo 3 1000 - ESS Solo-1 1938

Reply 5 of 20, by johnyept

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Added WinG (required by some Win3.x games/programs), QuickTime Alternative and Real Alternative (codecs).

Disruptor wrote on 2021-10-29, 11:09:

When you try to get all available updates for Windows 2000 with an offline upgrade tool you may need to install a Microsoft certificate file first.
However, the latest updates may not be essential - so this is off topic.

I didn't mention updates because most of them are no longer available, specially in foreign languages. Individual programs however might not be as hard to find. I still have the original links for some of the ones I listed, so later I'll try to add trustworthy working links for the original files.

Stretch wrote on 2021-10-29, 11:41:

For Windows 2000 robocopy, reg.exe, msconfig from WinXP, and psshutdown.

Thanks for the input, but I'm only looking for SYSTEM files/software that might be required when installing/running programs/games.

Retro-W95/NT4: ASUS P3B-F, P3 550, 3x64MB, VD3 AGP, VD2 PCI, ESS1868F, 120GB IDE
Retro-W98/2K: ASUS P4S8X-X, P4 2.66, 2x256MB, FX 5600 128MB, SB Live! SB0060, 80+320GB IDE
Retro-WXP/7: ASUS P5KPL-AM EPU, XEON E5450, 2x2GB, GTS 450 1GB, 120GB SSD, 1TB sATA

Reply 6 of 20, by Joseph_Joestar

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For retro gaming purposes on Win98SE, all you need is the Windows Installer Update and the DirectX version of your choosing. Usually, that would be DX 7.0a unless you're running software which actually requires something higher. Anything else comes down to personal preference.

BTW, Internet Explorer is not "essential" by any stretch of the imagination.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 7 of 20, by Gmlb256

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-10-29, 14:50:

BTW, Internet Explorer is not "essential" by any stretch of the imagination.

Some programs may require particular DLL files that comes with IE such as SHFOLDER.DLL, ImgBurn is one of these requiring said DLL file. I wouldn't even navigate with that web browser these days though.

Reply 8 of 20, by Joseph_Joestar

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2021-10-29, 15:31:

Some programs may require particular libraries that comes with IE such as SHFOLDER.DLL, ImgBurn is one of these requiring said DLL file.

Just to clarify, I'm not advocating the removal of IE from systems where it's installed by default (i.e. Win98SE). But I don't see the point of upgrading it beyond what comes bundled with the OS, if the main focus of the system is to play retro games.

For those who want to use their rig as an actual old-school workstation with MS Office, utility programs for burning CDs, a media player and whatnot, things may differ.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 9 of 20, by Gmlb256

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-10-29, 15:42:

Just to clarify, I'm not advocating the removal of IE from systems where it's installed by default (i.e. Win98SE). But I don't see the point of upgrading it beyond what comes bundled with the OS, if the main focus of the system is to play retro games.

For those who want to use their rig as an actual old-school workstation with MS Office, utility programs for burning CDs, a media player and whatnot, things may differ.

Indeed, there isn't a real reason to upgrade IE especially if the DLL files are already included and the rest of the stuff is entirely optional if the objective is to just play retro games.

Reply 10 of 20, by jheronimus

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Looks like you're not aiming at just gaming-specific updates (there's a bunch of programming libraries in your lists), so for Windows 3.11:

- Video for Windows 1.1e
- Microsoft TCP/IP 32 3.11b
- Netscape Communicator 3.0 Gold (that's what I use to browse old websites over a Wayback Machine proxy)
- some kind of a 32bit disk driver (depends on the hardware used)

MR BIOS upgrades catalog
Unicore Award upgrades catalog

Reply 11 of 20, by johnyept

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-10-29, 15:42:
Gmlb256 wrote on 2021-10-29, 15:31:

Some programs may require particular libraries that comes with IE such as SHFOLDER.DLL, ImgBurn is one of these requiring said DLL file.

Just to clarify, I'm not advocating the removal of IE from systems where it's installed by default (i.e. Win98SE). But I don't see the point of upgrading it beyond what comes bundled with the OS, if the main focus of the system is to play retro games.

For those who want to use their rig as an actual old-school workstation with MS Office, utility programs for burning CDs, a media player and whatnot, things may differ.

Exactly my point, I'm listing required software for games AND programs, because using a retro PC just for games is only half the fun (ok slightly more than half), period correct programs are also part of the nostalgia and can turn a retro PC into a useful machine (once again).

jheronimus wrote on 2021-10-29, 17:04:
Looks like you're not aiming at just gaming-specific updates (there's a bunch of programming libraries in your lists), so for Wi […]
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Looks like you're not aiming at just gaming-specific updates (there's a bunch of programming libraries in your lists), so for Windows 3.11:

- Video for Windows 1.1e
- Microsoft TCP/IP 32 3.11b
- Netscape Communicator 3.0 Gold (that's what I use to browse old websites over a Wayback Machine proxy)
- some kind of a 32bit disk driver (depends on the hardware used)

The first two are very useful and I've added them to the list, the other two are simply a browser and drivers, probably nothing requires them to install/run.

Retro-W95/NT4: ASUS P3B-F, P3 550, 3x64MB, VD3 AGP, VD2 PCI, ESS1868F, 120GB IDE
Retro-W98/2K: ASUS P4S8X-X, P4 2.66, 2x256MB, FX 5600 128MB, SB Live! SB0060, 80+320GB IDE
Retro-WXP/7: ASUS P5KPL-AM EPU, XEON E5450, 2x2GB, GTS 450 1GB, 120GB SSD, 1TB sATA

Reply 14 of 20, by johnyept

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Thanks for the suggestions. I did include the Euro patch which hasn't anything to do essential system files, nor Y2K patches but heck, why not? 😀
The Y2K patch for the file manager seems to be Q85557 (Wfwy2kup.exe) and the calculator update seems to be Q124345 (Ww1138.exe).

Most of the files are still available through the Wayback Machine if following the links on the hpcfactor guides. Unfortunately most links to other languages are broken and/or lost in time, in my case PT-PT for Win9x/2K and PT-BR for Win3.x/NT3.x/NT4 since they don't exist in PT-PT. Instead of adding individual links for each file to the 1st post, I'll try to get whatever I can from the hpfactor guides plus what was shared here, compile a list of all sources from where I got the files, then upload a pack (or packs) of files to share with the community. Might take a while to gather the files since free time and patience is in very low quantities lately...

Retro-W95/NT4: ASUS P3B-F, P3 550, 3x64MB, VD3 AGP, VD2 PCI, ESS1868F, 120GB IDE
Retro-W98/2K: ASUS P4S8X-X, P4 2.66, 2x256MB, FX 5600 128MB, SB Live! SB0060, 80+320GB IDE
Retro-WXP/7: ASUS P5KPL-AM EPU, XEON E5450, 2x2GB, GTS 450 1GB, 120GB SSD, 1TB sATA

Reply 15 of 20, by Warlord

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Around 70% of your lists are non essential.

If your game doesn't need those files than they are not essential. If your video card or drivers don't need them they are not essential either.

johnyept wrote on 2021-11-02, 11:48:

The Y2K patch

Also number of times a game asks for this = Never.

Now if we want to talk about files that may make your user experience better at just general pupose operation of a computer than I might consider some of them, but certainly no all of them.

My general approach to what is essential is how many files can I "REMOVE" from a os and it still be functional at playing my games. SO if I remove 60% of the files from the OS and it still works and can play all my games than obviously they were not essential

Reply 16 of 20, by chinny22

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Warlord wrote on 2021-11-02, 16:26:

My general approach to what is essential is how many files can I "REMOVE" from a os and it still be functional at playing my games. SO if I remove 60% of the files from the OS and it still works and can play all my games than obviously they were not essential

This is my thinking as well. Why bog down windows with software that's unneeded?
Only time I install a dependency is if I'm specifically asked for it. eg Daemon tools on 9x needs the updated windows installer.
None of my 9x boxes need VB, C++, java, etc.

The Y2k patch for file manager is a quality of life patch when sorting files by date, only other update I apply to 3x is the newer TCP stack.
9x only needs Windows installer
2k and above I don't think I install any patches

I do install the final service pack and supported versions of IE, Office, WMP but that's purely personal and fully admit pointless on retro game rigs.

Reply 17 of 20, by maxtherabbit

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That's all fine and good if you're only interested in retro gaming. I myself prefer my retro computers to be capable of the full spectrum of retro computing tasks

Reply 18 of 20, by Warlord

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I'be done that too somtimes, however I've found that the choice of software needs to be very light weight and non intrusive for my liking. Also some real soul searching needed to lower expectations as to the worth of certain applications and their usability in 2021 and beyond. Like I can install retrozilla and apply all the tweaks but realistically the usability is so low that I've found it not worth it. I suppose one could still get alot of work done with word 97 and email can still be a thing, but am I really doing that not really it's more of a pretend thing and all that does is bog the system down. I more or less use my retro rigs just for games and if I had serious work to do I wouldn't bother with trying to edit images with some antiguated version of photo shop just becasue it feels like its some retro task I should be able to do I rather use a much more powerful system that doesn't take days to render somthing.

Reply 19 of 20, by johnyept

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As expected, the posts are starting to go a little off-topic. As I mentioned in the first post and several posts after, the "essential system files" refer to those files that are usually required by some games AND programs . The purpose is to have a Windows setup in a way that I can install any game AND program without searching for some obscure patch, DLL, codec or 3rd party utility required by it.

I'm not interested in the impact they might have on a game, or CPU usage they might use, since I'm not using a slow computer anyway: 550Mhz + 192MB RAM + 120GB HDD is already overkill for Windows 95 and/or NT4. And if you stop to think about it, back in the day you didn't just install Windows 95 + Windows Installer + DirectX + drivers + games: you would probably have installed almost all that was mentioned in the first post, PLUS a bunch of programs for daily use, on a much slower computer, AND you would game on it anyway!

So, can we agree that this topic is not about how the files/programs mentioned in the 1st post impact the performance of the games or Windows itself, but simply how to make life easier when installing a game OR a program? I know that games are the main reason most of us build our retro machines, but for me the programs are also part of the nostalgia, even if I don't use most of them. Y2K and EURO patches are not needed (that I know of) by any game/program, but they just add to the experience. If I just wanted to quench my thirst for retro games, DOSBOX and GOG on Windows 10 would more than suffice.

Retro-W95/NT4: ASUS P3B-F, P3 550, 3x64MB, VD3 AGP, VD2 PCI, ESS1868F, 120GB IDE
Retro-W98/2K: ASUS P4S8X-X, P4 2.66, 2x256MB, FX 5600 128MB, SB Live! SB0060, 80+320GB IDE
Retro-WXP/7: ASUS P5KPL-AM EPU, XEON E5450, 2x2GB, GTS 450 1GB, 120GB SSD, 1TB sATA