VOGONS


First post, by ldeveraux

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Hi all, first time long time!

I have found a lot of tape backups and decided to make a new Windows 98 PC with a tape drive to read them all. I finally got an proper installation but the issue is it's dog slow. Installing the unofficial SP3 takes hours. Here are the specs:

P4PA Via Motherboard
Intel Pentium 4 1.70 MHz chip
Windows 98 SE installed from Upgrade disc (had to prove to the software I owned Windows 95!)
80GB Seagate HDD
Geforce3 Ti 200 GPU
1GB PC2100 RAM (I also have a 256MB PC2100 RAM stick, but never noticed a difference)

I've installed the software for my tape drive (Colorado Backup) and software for my external Iomega Ditto drive as well. I've gotten all the video drivers updated and even have LAN working. No luck yet on USB. I've been moving files back and forth with a ZIP250 !!

That's about it. I recognize the RAM may be the issue here, as I haven't applied MEMPATCH or HIMEMX. Is there anything else anyone might think that would cause this system to drag on endlessly??

Reply 1 of 17, by VDNKh

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Slowness could be from DMA not being enabled in Windows or in the BIOS, or the HDD is failing. I would downgrade to the 256 set of RAM and reinstall windows from an actual 98SE disk, you can get the ISO pretty easily now-a-days. I don't see why you need SP3 in order to use the tape drive, just skip it and leave 98SE vanilla.

Reply 2 of 17, by The Serpent Rider

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DMA is not enabled by default, unless you've already installed VIA driver for ATA.

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Reply 3 of 17, by ldeveraux

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I'm perfectly able to get data off the tape, that's not the issue. I'm past that and I want to recreate a usable Win98SE box! That said, how would I know if DMA is enabled or not? I'm nearly certain I installed the 4in1 drivers from the VIA CD I had laying around. Everything except the USB drivers seemed to be working correctly.

Reply 4 of 17, by VDNKh

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ldeveraux wrote on 2021-11-21, 23:03:

That said, how would I know if DMA is enabled or not?

Control Panel > System > Device Manager > Disk Drives > (Whatever device it is) > Properties > Settings

DMA should be checked. If it isn't, check it.

I also wouldn't bother with those unofficial patches, unless you're trying to make 98 your daily driver PC, I don't see a point. If you do want something like it I'd recommend Autopatcher, but without "Recommended System Tweaks", Windows Media Player, or 3rd Party Apps. It's all extra bloat. I used this when I toyed with running newer games on 98SE.

Reply 6 of 17, by ldeveraux

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VDNKh wrote on 2021-11-21, 23:31:
Control Panel > System > Device Manager > Disk Drives > (Whatever device it is) > Properties > Settings […]
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ldeveraux wrote on 2021-11-21, 23:03:

That said, how would I know if DMA is enabled or not?

Control Panel > System > Device Manager > Disk Drives > (Whatever device it is) > Properties > Settings

DMA should be checked. If it isn't, check it.

I also wouldn't bother with those unofficial patches, unless you're trying to make 98 your daily driver PC, I don't see a point. If you do want something like it I'd recommend Autopatcher, but without "Recommended System Tweaks", Windows Media Player, or 3rd Party Apps. It's all extra bloat. I used this when I toyed with running newer games on 98SE.

I checked my HDD and it's using DMA. Should I shrink the partition just in case? It's using all 80GB which seems like gross overkill!

After a restart (after installing the SP3) it had to refind all my hardware which is weird. I also turned off PnP in BIOS and a few other changes, so not sure exactly why all the hardware needed to be reinstalled. At this point I have an unknown device and what it thinks is a "Shuttle EPAT External ATAPI Adapter" and I'm not sure what in the world that could be.

The important thing is all my peripheral drives work. Still I remember the last time I made a new install of 98 it was just super fast, because there was nothing to it, no overhead. I wonder if it's optimized to be used as a true 98 box?

Reply 7 of 17, by VDNKh

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ldeveraux wrote on 2021-11-22, 00:45:
I checked my HDD and it's using DMA. Should I shrink the partition just in case? It's using all 80GB which seems like gross over […]
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VDNKh wrote on 2021-11-21, 23:31:
Control Panel > System > Device Manager > Disk Drives > (Whatever device it is) > Properties > Settings […]
Show full quote
ldeveraux wrote on 2021-11-21, 23:03:

That said, how would I know if DMA is enabled or not?

Control Panel > System > Device Manager > Disk Drives > (Whatever device it is) > Properties > Settings

DMA should be checked. If it isn't, check it.

I also wouldn't bother with those unofficial patches, unless you're trying to make 98 your daily driver PC, I don't see a point. If you do want something like it I'd recommend Autopatcher, but without "Recommended System Tweaks", Windows Media Player, or 3rd Party Apps. It's all extra bloat. I used this when I toyed with running newer games on 98SE.

I checked my HDD and it's using DMA. Should I shrink the partition just in case? It's using all 80GB which seems like gross overkill!

After a restart (after installing the SP3) it had to refind all my hardware which is weird. I also turned off PnP in BIOS and a few other changes, so not sure exactly why all the hardware needed to be reinstalled. At this point I have an unknown device and what it thinks is a "Shuttle EPAT External ATAPI Adapter" and I'm not sure what in the world that could be.

The important thing is all my peripheral drives work. Still I remember the last time I made a new install of 98 it was just super fast, because there was nothing to it, no overhead. I wonder if it's optimized to be used as a true 98 box?

Again, I would wipe the system and install 98SE clean and not upgrade from 95 to 98. But I guess that special tape software prevents that for some reason. Still I'd try and find a work around for it. What's the tape software called?

Turning off PnP is what caused it to refind all the drivers. I would leave it on, letting the BIOS handle IRQ steering unless it creates conflicts. You should reinstall the chipset driver after you turn it off (or better yet, reinstall Windows, as it hates hardware changes). Also get yourself some newer VIA chipset drivers: http://download.viatech.com/en/support/driversSelect.jsp

Reply 8 of 17, by cyclone3d

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DO NOT use the unofficial SP3. It will cause all kinds of problems, including major file system and file explorer issues, slowness being one of them.

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Reply 9 of 17, by ldeveraux

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VDNKh wrote on 2021-11-26, 00:09:

Again, I would wipe the system and install 98SE clean and not upgrade from 95 to 98. But I guess that special tape software prevents that for some reason. Still I'd try and find a work around for it. What's the tape software called?

Turning off PnP is what caused it to refind all the drivers. I would leave it on, letting the BIOS handle IRQ steering unless it creates conflicts. You should reinstall the chipset driver after you turn it off (or better yet, reinstall Windows, as it hates hardware changes). Also get yourself some newer VIA chipset drivers: http://download.viatech.com/en/support/driversSelect.jsp

I've wiped many times, I'm getting pretty sick of starting over from scratch. That's why I asked my question in the first place, I wondered if there was an official guide on how to setup a new 98SE setup on old hardware. I found one here on Vogons but it was from 2017 and mentions installing SP2.1a. Maybe I foolishly thought SP3 would supercede that.

I'm using Colorado backup that works very well on 98SE. But I didn't install 98 over 95, I used the 98 Upgrade disc to fresh install 98, it just requires you put the 95 CD in the drive at one point during preinstall to verify you own it. Which I do. So it installs a new 98 on a new drive. But it still takes hours to install which is why I'd rather not do it again and again.

I thought all of those via driver packages were dead, didn't realize this one existed. Should I get anything other than the chipset drivers there? Just get everything?

Reply 10 of 17, by Garrett W

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ldeveraux wrote on Today, 01:04:

But it still takes hours to install which is why I'd rather not do it again and again.

This is pretty weird. Do you mean that the actual installation takes hours to finish or the entire process of re-installing drivers and such? If it's the former, something's seriously wrong here, on such a system Win98SE shouldn't take more than 10 minutes, probably even lower.

Can you check the BIOS to see if perhaps L1 and/or L2 cache are disabled by any chance?

Reply 11 of 17, by ldeveraux

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Garrett W wrote on Today, 12:43:
ldeveraux wrote on Today, 01:04:

But it still takes hours to install which is why I'd rather not do it again and again.

This is pretty weird. Do you mean that the actual installation takes hours to finish or the entire process of re-installing drivers and such? If it's the former, something's seriously wrong here, on such a system Win98SE shouldn't take more than 10 minutes, probably even lower.

Can you check the BIOS to see if perhaps L1 and/or L2 cache are disabled by any chance?

yeah just windows installation (albeit from CD) takes hours. I couldn't get it to install from HDD directory, kept freezing on the Copying Installation Files dialogue. I don't doubt something is wrong here haha! I've tried partitioning my 80GB hdd down to ~4GB because I thought that might be the problem.

I did have to disable L1 and L2 cache, and for the life of me I can't remember why. I think the 98SE installation wouldn't continue until I had disabled them. Haha, this is why I was hoping for an up to date guide!

Reply 12 of 17, by maxtherabbit

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2021-11-22, 00:09:

Go to system properties and check the performance tab. Make sure you're not using "compatibility mode" for any of your disks.

did you ever check this? seems commensurate with all your symptoms

Reply 13 of 17, by ldeveraux

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maxtherabbit wrote on 55 minutes ago:
maxtherabbit wrote on 2021-11-22, 00:09:

Go to system properties and check the performance tab. Make sure you're not using "compatibility mode" for any of your disks.

did you ever check this? seems commensurate with all your symptoms

I did, nothing was using compatibility mode

Reply 14 of 17, by VDNKh

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ldeveraux wrote on Today, 13:05:
Garrett W wrote on Today, 12:43:
ldeveraux wrote on Today, 01:04:

But it still takes hours to install which is why I'd rather not do it again and again.

This is pretty weird. Do you mean that the actual installation takes hours to finish or the entire process of re-installing drivers and such? If it's the former, something's seriously wrong here, on such a system Win98SE shouldn't take more than 10 minutes, probably even lower.

Can you check the BIOS to see if perhaps L1 and/or L2 cache are disabled by any chance?

yeah just windows installation (albeit from CD) takes hours. I couldn't get it to install from HDD directory, kept freezing on the Copying Installation Files dialogue. I don't doubt something is wrong here haha! I've tried partitioning my 80GB hdd down to ~4GB because I thought that might be the problem.

I did have to disable L1 and L2 cache, and for the life of me I can't remember why. I think the 98SE installation wouldn't continue until I had disabled them. Haha, this is why I was hoping for an up to date guide!

Can you re-enable the cache and make a bootable CD or floppy of MemTest86 to see it your system is stable? Download the V4 legacy version. I'd actually just reset all defaults on the BIOS just to be safe. You could have some faulty hardware. Might be a bad IDE cable or dying hard drive, faulty RAM, or some other dying part like a capacitor.

https://www.memtest86.com/download.htm

Reply 15 of 17, by mihai

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something is very wrong here. My only two cents is to enable bios defaults, and run an extended SMART test on the HDD. Dying disks may have very slow reads / writes.

with those specs, win98 should install in less than 10 minutes and performance should be stellar.

Reply 16 of 17, by ldeveraux

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Thanks guys, I'll try out memtest 4.3.7 today, though I remember these taking hours! I've put the original 256MB RAM stick back in and put the 1GB aside. What do I look for when Memtest is complete??

with respect to the HDDs, it's not the HDDs! I have 3 80GB drives here and this occurs on all 3 that I've tried installing on. 2 are WD and the 3rd is Seagate. That was my first thought which is why I wanted to partition to <10GB. I tried to get some actual 4GB HDDs but they are prohibitively expensive.

Reply 17 of 17, by VDNKh

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ldeveraux wrote on 21 minutes ago:

Thanks guys, I'll try out memtest 4.3.7 today, though I remember these taking hours! I've put the original 256MB RAM stick back in and put the 1GB aside. What do I look for when Memtest is complete??

with respect to the HDDs, it's not the HDDs! I have 3 80GB drives here and this occurs on all 3 that I've tried installing on. 2 are WD and the 3rd is Seagate. That was my first thought which is why I wanted to partition to <10GB. I tried to get some actual 4GB HDDs but they are prohibitively expensive.

Shouldn't take that long. Just look for something like "1 pass complete with no errors" or something like that.

Are you using an 80 wire IDE cable? Have you tried swapping IDE cables to see if one is bad? Do you know the CD drive is good?