First post, by Guy With 3 Cats
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:
If I recall correctly, if I want proper DOS compatibility, it should say something like "Virtual Memory: Compatiblity-mode paging reduces overall performance.".
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?
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! 😀