VOGONS


First post, by Guy With 3 Cats

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Hey all! This is my first post here so please bear with me if I ask anything stupid or if this is in the wrong forum!

I recently got the nostalgia bug with old Windows 3.1 software and especially DOS stuff. Being a huge fan of ThinkPads , I researched what was the latest released ThinkPad to support Windows 98 and it was the T41, so I bought one on eBay.

I opened it up as soon as I got it the other day and removed 1GB of RAM to leave it with only 512MB. (I've read some Win 3.1 programs will freak out if you try to run it with more than 512MB). Then I found my Windows 98 SE CD from decades ago and installed Win98 SE with no issues.

Everything seemed to go fine. I currently have sound working, the Radeon graphics drivers are working, and even the LAN port is working. Makes sense because IBM officially supported Win98 on this laptop and the drivers were sparingly easy to find. I am, however, having a few issues that I have been trying to resolve for days now and I've given up trying to do this on my own.

1) I cannot get sound working in DOS. Same for running DOS stuff inside Win98. From what I can gather, it seems like I need a SoundBlaster-compatible sound card, and this laptop might not have one? That seems pretty crazy to me because I would think that people were still using Win98 for compatibility purposes and to have an entire slew of games not work would be a pretty big deal I would think. Is there any way to get sound working in DOS on this thing?

2) If there is in fact no way to get sound working in DOS on this laptop, what reasonably-priced PCMCIA card could I buy that would give me SoundBlaster audio in both DOS and Win98? I saw the PCMCIA audio thread on these forums but they were incredibly confusing. I would just like something that would work and won't cost me $200 on ebay.

3) For some reason "restart in MS-DOS mode" from Windows 98 does not work for me. I just get a black screen with a flashing cursor and nothing ever happens. Is there another way to boot into DOS mode without having to use a startup disk? Is there a way to prevent Windows 98 from auto-booting so I can choose DOS or Windows 98 as soon as I turn the computer on?

4) I seem to vaguely remember in Windows 98 (and 95) that there was an option to make Windows more "DOS friendly". Here is what I see in my System Properties -> Performance:

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If I recall correctly, if I want proper DOS compatibility, it should say something like "Virtual Memory: Compatiblity-mode paging reduces overall performance.".

Je3qtCx.png

Mine does not say that. Could the above be why I am experiencing issues? Is there a way for me to turn my Win98 install into "Compatibility mode"? I tried googling it but every result I found was people asking how to do the opposite.

5) Finally, I tried to play one of my favorite games today off of CD, which is Discworld for DOS. I could not get sound to work at all; not even MIDI, and my computer plays MIDI files just fine. What options am I supposed to pick?

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I honestly have no idea what to choose to get it working. The funny thing is I USED to know this stuff. Back in middle school when my first PC was Windows 3.1 and then 95 two years later I had to know all this stuff, but that was 28 years ago so my memories on how to do this are long gone.

I really appreciate any help anyone could give. I know these are a ton of questions but I tried to figure this all out on my own to no avail. Hey, at least I got Windows 98 SE up and running with USB drive support! 😀

Reply 1 of 11, by megatron-uk

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First off, the Thinkpads, whilst fabulous machines (no kidding, I have an old 385ED, 600X and a modern T440P) they are most definitely not gaming machines. They were sold as business machines first and foremost, to running Windows (or sometimes OS/2 🤣) and had windows-compatible sound hardware.

Unless you did a bit of research to find if the particular model you bought had a Dos-compatible / Soundblaster-compatible sound chip like a Crystal CS or similar, you might have a bit of a problem getting it to work.

Looks like the T41 has a boring-old AC97 compatible sound chip:

http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Category:T41
http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/AD1981B

Here's an old thread talking about the AD1881: Analog Devices AD1881 DOS driver

Some earlier models had AC97 and legacy audio controllers (I think my 600X has one chip for Dos, and another for Windows), but it looks like by the T41 they dropped the legacy chips and just focused on the Windows-support.

Ignore the 'compatibility mode paging' message - it has nothing to do with the hardware supporting Dos applications or games.

My collection database and technical wiki:
https://www.target-earth.net

Reply 2 of 11, by Jorpho

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Guy With 3 Cats wrote on 2021-02-03, 20:15:

Is there a way to prevent Windows 98 from auto-booting so I can choose DOS or Windows 98 as soon as I turn the computer on?

Press F8 when the computer starts up (specifically when "Starting Windows 98..." appears) and you can select MS-DOS mode from the resulting menu. (There are other useful keys, but F8 is the most convenient one.) You can also edit MSDOS.SYS with a text editor to change the default behavior.

5) Finally, I tried to play one of my favorite games today off of CD, which is Discworld for DOS. I could not get sound to work at all; not even MIDI, and my computer plays MIDI files just fine.

Please be advised that you can play Discworld flawlessly using ScummVM on any computer – new or old, the experience will be substantially the same.

Reply 3 of 11, by Guy With 3 Cats

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I appreciate the advice about emulators; however I am well aware of them and really wanted to do this on real hardware.

Is there a PCMCIA sound card I can buy that will give me SoundBlaster audio in DOS and Win98?

Reply 4 of 11, by megatron-uk

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Big discussion here:

PCMCIA Sound Cards

Bear in mind that pcmcia cards will be tough to find compared to internal ISA soundcards. Prices also vary wildly.

My collection database and technical wiki:
https://www.target-earth.net

Reply 5 of 11, by chinny22

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It may be cheaper/easier to find a 2nd laptop with native dos support.
Keep this as your Win9x machine and have another for dos gaming? that's the benefit of laptops, you can put them away when not using them.

edit: quick google found this post that mentions a few options that have working sound in dos
https://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=122967

Reply 6 of 11, by Guy With 3 Cats

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I was hoping to be able to run most if not all games inside Win98 running DOS on top of it.

I just enabled Soundblaster Emulation in the driver's settings. Now I am finally getting sound in Wolfenstein 3D. However I am not getting music.

I also still can't get any sound at all in Discworld.

Reply 7 of 11, by megatron-uk

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There's going to be things that just won't work, no matter what you do. It's emulation of a sound blaster using a non-soundblaster device, in Windows, after all.

My collection database and technical wiki:
https://www.target-earth.net

Reply 8 of 11, by Jorpho

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Guy With 3 Cats wrote on 2021-02-04, 03:32:

I appreciate the advice about emulators; however I am well aware of them and really wanted to do this on real hardware.

I should emphasize that ScummVM is definitely not emulation. You might even be able to get it to run on this Thinkpad.

Reply 9 of 11, by jholt0147

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megatron-uk wrote on 2021-02-03, 20:44:

First off, the Thinkpads, whilst fabulous machines (no kidding, I have an old 385ED, 600X and a modern T440P) they are most definitely not gaming machines. They were sold as business machines first and foremost, to running Windows (or sometimes OS/2 🤣) and had windows-compatible sound hardware.

I have to disagree with this. While the OP's thinkpad isn't suitable for DOS/win31 gaming are thinkpads such as the 700 series are great for that purpose. My 760ED, ESS audiodrive 1868F, Trident Cyber9385 2MB VIdeo Card, Pentium 166MHz, 64MB. There hasn't been a DOS game yet I haven't able to just setup and run.

Reply 10 of 11, by MrD

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jholt0147 wrote on 2021-02-09, 02:54:
megatron-uk wrote on 2021-02-03, 20:44:

First off, the Thinkpads, whilst fabulous machines (no kidding, I have an old 385ED, 600X and a modern T440P) they are most definitely not gaming machines. They were sold as business machines first and foremost, to running Windows (or sometimes OS/2 🤣) and had windows-compatible sound hardware.

I have to disagree with this. While the OP's thinkpad isn't suitable for DOS/win31 gaming are thinkpads such as the 700 series are great for that purpose. My 760ED, ESS audiodrive 1868F, Trident Cyber9385 2MB VIdeo Card, Pentium 166MHz, 64MB. There hasn't been a DOS game yet I haven't able to just setup and run.

jholt: Does your system run Sim City 2000 in DOS? I have a Pentium 200Mhz, 64Mb and I get consistent hard reboots if I try SC2000 in DOS, which I think is due to having 64mb ram.

Reply 11 of 11, by crazii

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T41 is not a good option IMO, I recommend T20, T21, T22, A20(p/m), A21, A22. Those are the last IBM
win98 laptops with a Sound Blaster compatible sound chip (Crystal Semiconductor CS4624).
I remember someone posted a thread here about A20m, he's got a satisfied sound in native DOS with a proper DOS driver from IBM win9x driver bundle.

Toshiba Satellite Pro 4300 - YMF744, Savage IX
Toshiba Satellite 2805-S501 - YMF754, GeForce 2Go
IBM Thinkpad A21p - CS4624, Mobility Radeon 128
main: Intel NUC11PHKi7C Phantom Canyon: i7-1165G7 RTX2060 64G 2T760PSDD