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First post, by Rikintosh

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First of all, yes, I know that there are other topics with this title, I have read them, but my case is not so simple.

I am developing something similar to Launchbox, to manage the games of our old computers, this program will bring countless functions that will make our life easier, one of these functions is to optimize an operating system from scratch, to work only with games (since most of us does not use dialers, printers, internet, office, in our old machines, it would be convenient to remove them to save resources).

I plan to have my program run from a Pentium 1 with little memory, to a Pentium 4.

I intend to use a base operating system, but which one? Win95c or Win98SE?

- Both 100% updated
- None of them will run explorer.exe,

I know the W98 is more updated, has better support, but is it faster? (do not take into account the internet explorer based shell) Would it work as well on a pentium machine as win95c?

Obs. Do not worry, I will not do anything piracy, will not include a version of windows in my product, it will do something similar to nlite, in which you show a folder with the windows files, and he will do the modifications

I'm developing a game manager frontend for Win 9x, take a look: https://rikintoshsmultimediamanager.blogspot.com/

Reply 2 of 29, by Jorpho

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I think you will find this has been attempted before. You will have to go digging through the msfn forums for topics such as https://msfn.org/board/topic/28825-how-to-win … ws-95-on-535mb/ . Or you can consider projects like HX Dos Extender or BoxedWine. Needless to say, if what you propose was desirable or viable, someone over the course of the last twenty years would have done it by now.

Anyway, I don't think there's an easy answer to your question. There are probably tradeoffs between bugs and speed that will vary from case to case.

Reply 3 of 29, by rmay635703

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Generally anything that runs under 95 will also run under 98

So for dos gaming through twilight 9x era 98 is likely best, even if you are shell swapping 95 into 98 like nlite

Something that isn’t properly included with either 98 or 95 is USB support which now days is a “thing” even though it’s resource intensive
On big memory systems automatically detecting and setting up a ram drive with the swap file in ram is also beneficial as a time saver.

Another consideration is that 95 historically had walkthroughs to do just what you suggest manually, not telling you to bite off more than you can chew but the 98lite process is similar on both 95 and 98

My thought is the main reason to do what you suggest is to make 98 more like 95

95 getting lighter is nice but I doubt we will expand 386 Windows gaming capabilities much, food for thought, no right or wrong answer, just depends on your end goal and target platform

Reply 4 of 29, by DosFreak

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Minimal install for DOSBox/95 gaming

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline

Reply 5 of 29, by Rikintosh

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Thank you for answering me.

I have had some experience optimizing these systems manually. I provided maintenance on digital totems, and digital arcade toys and amusement parks. But every time, I created optimizations for a single system, a single machine, a single configuration...

I have some old machines here, I believe it will be easier to modify the system in the retro machine than in the dosbox, since I use a core2duo in my daily life, and it is not very powerful or reliable for emulation

I think I will try with win98, due to greater compatibility.

I'm developing a game manager frontend for Win 9x, take a look: https://rikintoshsmultimediamanager.blogspot.com/

Reply 6 of 29, by creepingnet

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Windows 98 SE and 95 can be quite comparable speed-wise if you use 98 LIte on the 98 SE machine and strip out that IE interface. I'm toying with doing such a setup for one of the Versa to try out WPA-PSK via Novel Wireless Security using my WiFi cards.

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Reply 7 of 29, by Zup

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- Windows 95 is lighter.
- Windows 98 seems to be more stable then Windows 95.
- Windows 98 supports FAT32 (=bigger hard disks).
- Windows 98 can run (some) DirectX 9 games, while Windows 95 only supports up to DirectX 8.
- Windows 98 supports far more hardware than Windows 95.
- Windows 98 has (unofficial) USB mass storage drivers, so it may be easier to transfer data between systems.

So I'd recommend using Windows 98 unless you really need a light OS (because of CPU and disk).

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Reply 8 of 29, by xcomcmdr

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Windows 95 OSR 2 already had FAT32.
You can install DirectX 9 on Windows 95. It was officially supported. But I can't think of any DirectX 9 game that supported Windows 95...

But yes, Windows 98SE with the unofficial USB mass storage drivers is the best.

Last edited by xcomcmdr on 2021-05-27, 08:17. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 9 of 29, by Hezus

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I've had so many driver and hardware issues with Windows 95. I had to take out all my expansion cards, install a clean win95 and then insert and install each card one by one, or else Win95 would just not find the hardware anymore. And if you ever change a setting so slightly the entire installation just corrupts itself and I had to start all over again.

And then I installed Windows 98 SE and everything worked fine out of the box. I can experiment and tinker with it without it going completely bonkers.

I've not touched Windows 95 ever since.

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Reply 11 of 29, by Jo22

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Same here. Well, in most cases.

Win95 ran rock-solid on my fathers old ISA-only PC (no APIC, no ACPI, no PCI).
- An AT compatible with 386DX-40 CPU, 16MB SIMM RAM, a Mitsumi LU005, HP Laserjet+, two HDDs (120MB/250MB), chip card reader etc.

By comparison, on my Pentium 75 (Compaq PC), Win98SE caused the most stability issues 've ever had.
Blue screens over blue screens (kernal 32)..

Once, I also tried to get one of these "cheap" calculator/camera hybrids to work..
You know, these gadgets that were around by the turn of the century.
They support up to a whooping 320x240 pixels..
Crashed my PC.. The driver was MMX-only, which my Pentium 75 didn't support.

Another issue. I had a Sharp MZ-731 PC (Z80) which I downloaded a Japanese emulator for.
It never ran on Windows 98SE, even though 98SE was the current Windows still (~2001?).
Years later, it ran flawlessly on XP.

Same goes for SNES9X. Never got it to work on 98SE.
On an old Pentium MMX 166MHz running XP, it ran fine with frame skip 2 or 3.

Today, in retrospective, Windows 98SE looks solid.
But back then.. Well. Stability heavily depended on hardware/drivers.
And XP was so much more stable, even before SP2.

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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 12 of 29, by creepingnet

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Jo22 wrote on 2021-05-27, 09:10:

Today, in retrospective, Windows 98SE looks solid.
But back then.. Well. Stability heavily depended on hardware/drivers.
And XP was so much more stable, even before SP2.

That's about how I Feel about all the Windows O/S these days. I think it's because were not "daily driving" them anymore, and giving them a more dedicated role as a "gaming system" or a "retro system" vs. spending every day dialing-up to the internet and chatting online via AIM while reading 2-3 webpages till the whole thing gets an "illegal operation" or bluescreens - or in the case of Windows 3.1x - Stack Segmentation Faults, General Protection Faults, and other hex errors. Back in those days, I was reformatting my Win 98 SE machine at least once a year - starting over fresh, and hence I avoided 95, 98, and Me like the plague. I even preferred Windows 3.1 above them all because I could throw on Dr. Watson and 1mb Fort in the startup and basically never reformat or reload my 3.1 machine ever again.

Now I have Windows 95 running the same setup on 4 different NEC Versa Laptops, a 95 setup on an SSD that I've had for almost 4 years on my desktop, 98 SE just keeps running nonstop until I get tired of it and switch to a different HDD. Also, I think the newer productivity applications hobbyists are making for these legacy O/S are a lot more solid than the stuff we were using back then that likely had a far tighter production schedule and little to no actual passion behind them. Which means, tigheter, faster, better written code, because likely the author is using it his/herself.

That said, one of the other above mentioned drivers in 95 being Cantankerous - that is really true. Part of it is some companies still used driver installation methods similar to Windows 3.1x, while others chose to take the new path that exposes bugs in either patched or unpatched Windows 95. Prerequisites are not always clear for a certain program or feature - some will install on the original 95, while others need some kind of update that was released later that makes 95 more like 98 SE or even 2000 in some respects. In Windows 3.1 about all it did was wrote to the win.ini or system.ini, copied the driver files to C:\Windows\system\, and then restarted Windows 3.x and your hardware worked. 95 used the two methods, and by 98 SE we were mostly seeing it much like today - some kind of installer program just installs the files, sets up all the complex background stuff (system.ini, win.ini, protocol.ini, the binary registry values, plus any shortcuts and groups for the utilites bundled with) - and then you reboot and it all works.

Also, 95 was really the changeover from the "old-world" PC's with manual jumper configs on everything (ie everything 486DX2 on back with an ISA bus or janky early VESA local bus) that were designed in a world were MS/PC-DOS ran everything, to a world of PC's with USB, Plug'N'Play capability, PCI and some late ISA components that could take advantage of it. So it's little surprise a 386 DX40 might be happy running 95 while a Pentium from the same year as Windows 95 is a cantankerous beast. Actually, a lot of those "Windows 95 Certified" machines from 1995 were really older models that were shipped with Windows 3.11 and DOS 6.22 the before. Was researching the Samsung Sens recently and saw this in action on Google Books in an ad for the Sens 700/800 486/Pentium based laptops circa 1995 - they were proudly proclaiming "Now comes with Windows 95 Preinstalled" - on models that only a few months earlier were strictly shipping with MS-DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.11.

The benefit of 95 is it's lighter in weight on a base install compared to 98 SE, but 98 Se can come pretty close with some tuning, tweaking, and 98Lite. When my NEC Versa 40EC was running 98 SE, it had 98 Lite on there, ran pretty much as well as 95, but was far more stable.

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Reply 13 of 29, by Caluser2000

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Lets not forget there are basically 3 versions of Windows 95 and MS never provided an upgrade path to them. They were OEM only. The rtm release never supported fat32 and there was no way to provide the to customers with the original version of Windows 95 with fat32 support.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.

Reply 14 of 29, by Rikintosh

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I have programmed for the more distant future, two additional versions: One for very old Computers (386, 486) and another for a little more modern ones (xp era, P2 400, P3, P4). The version for older machines will come before the version for more modern machines.

Windows 95 may be a bit much for a 386, but Win3.1 is a 16-bit system, and I believe that in addition to the "bit" waste, it is more unstable, and with win 95, there is the possibility to run win32 games, even on an old machine (I loved playing sonic on my 486 dx2, but it requires Direct X, and that would only be possible with Win95)

I'm developing a game manager frontend for Win 9x, take a look: https://rikintoshsmultimediamanager.blogspot.com/

Reply 15 of 29, by Jorpho

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Rikintosh wrote on 2021-05-28, 00:07:

(I loved playing sonic on my 486 dx2, but it requires Direct X, and that would only be possible with Win95)

That depends what version of Sonic you are referring to. The old DOS emulated versions definitely didn't require DirectX, and neither do the recent Retro Engine ports. The earliest OEM versions of Sonic CD used something called the Intel "Dino" libraries; only later retail versions used DirectX. I'm not sure about the weird Sonic & Knuckles Collection; that wasn't quite emulation.

Reply 16 of 29, by BitWrangler

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Wow, what were Compaq sticking in those Pentium boxes? In my experience Pentium 1s on Intel chipsets were the most stable of Win95 systems. My Pentium 60 was so particularly particularly stable on it that I figure it must have near identical specs to one of Microsoft's development systems.

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 18 of 29, by Jo22

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And OPL3 FM (optionally)..

"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 19 of 29, by GigAHerZ

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Didn't win 3.11 also have DirectX 2 or 3 available? 😜

It definitely did have WinG.

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!