WINDOWS 98 DISCUSSION
Saturday, June 16, 2001
THIS IS THE PAGE WHERE I REALLY LOST IT (wind9898.htm)
If you get here, this is an ARCHIVE PAGE. For the real discussion click here.
Observations by readers and myself on Windows 98. The picture above is Chaos Manor Associate Eric Pobirs, who has been testing Windows 98 from earliest beta, and likes it; I make no doubt he'll have something to say on his own. I am also trying the automatic table of contents bot that comes with Front Page, and an experiment in templates. Who knows the evil...
Friday Morning: the organization of this makes it very difficult to see what's new. The page looks good but it's hard to figure out what to look for. Anyway, Eric has a new observation on installation. There's some important stuff in here. I have pulled all of Eric's stuff together into one section, which at the moment is at the bottom.
ANNOUNCEMENT: This page is accursed. It is not going to be fixed. I will not fiddle with it any longer. I may or may not try to reconsistute the contents from raw ingredients, but I am doing nothing with it ever again.
I will also no longer import people's html code. Send me letters in document form and do not try to write a letter I am to paste in in html. Someone's letter did this. Or maybe I managed. I don't care. I hate this page, I detest the time I have wasted trying to fix it, and I don't want to hear any more complaints about it. If you don't like this page you cannot possibly dislike it as much as I dislike it. Ignore it. Pretend it does not exist.
I have made attempts to make it better.
and it is enough. Enough and more than enough. I hate this thing. I will when I recover my composure start a new page. And this thing can go hang.
We have had off and on problems with installations. One comparatively late beta installation was so awful that we had to reset the BIOS on one Pentium Pro system; W 98 was rewriting the BIOS cache and messed things up so badly that the machine would not even boot from a DOS disk. We had finally to remove the battery. On another we could use BIOS setup software to reset everything to defaults. Microsoft was very interested in that report, and that problem is, they say, fixed, and I believe them. Certainly I have been unable to duplicate the problem. Lately I have been seeing Explorer crash for no reason, but I blush to say that while I have what I think was the release copy of W 98, I have not installed the shrink-wrapped copy they sent.
I am told that there is a unique serial number on each W 98 CD, and if you try to install the same copy of W 98 on two machines on the same internal network, one will not work. I do know know if this is true; does anyone know? I will test it later, but at the moment I don't have two networked machines with 98. Real Soon Now.
ChaosManorMail - Win 98 installs
What are you hearing about Win 98 installs?
I have had the following experience doing my own, the office and friends systems.
AMD K-233 - no problems
Gateway P133 - no problems
Gateway 9100 solo - on reboot got invalid media type. Tried resetting bios, and fdisk /mbr (to rewrite master boot record). Tried Microsoft and Gateway tech support. Above suggestions, then fdisk, format and install from scratch. By the way, found out that if you use a diskette version of Win 95 to verify an upgrade on a clean disk (as forced here), you will have to insert about 8 of the 13 disks and wait while the install program verifies them. Use a cd-rom if possible.
Gateway P166 - copied all of the programs, rebooted to hardware detect, kept getting GPFs as soon as plug and play detect started. As this is my main work computer, I uninstalled (which went very smoothly - definitely use the option to save system files) and have not retried to install. I think that the problem may have been caused by Novell's client32. I had v2.2 which, in the fine print of network.txt, is not supported. I have since upgraded this machine and the p-133 above (which went with no problems) to v2.5. Hopefully, that will fix this problem as well.
Gateway Destination - no problems
So my score, 3 no problems, 1 big problem (reformat) and 1 undecided.
Be interested in others experiences.
I would be interested also. Thanks.
Sent:Saturday, June 27, 1998 9:14 PM
To: Jerry Pournelle
Subject: CHAOSMANORMAIL / Win98 / Table Border
Did you know that the table on the Win98 Discussion page was centered? Perhaps that's the problem you mentioned? In Word, click on the table, right click, choose Table Properties... and you'll find a checkbox and some other justification opens. Perhaps that will solve things. If you're talking about an actual line, I don't see it.
OS Installation Stories:
I re-installed OSR2 once, after reformatting my drive, and it messed things up, plug 'n' play wise. I tried deleting drivers and re-installing and things were a mess. The solution was to boot to "safe mode," delete drivers, and then everything installed correctly.
I upgraded to Win98, and everything went fine there, too, until I started messing around with my sound card, an SC128-3D. This device insists on installing three devices: a PCI Audio device, a Gameport device, and a "Legacy Relocator for PCI Audio Device." Each one of these takes an IRQ, and with all three of them active, I've no room for my tape back up, which conflicts with the "Legacy Relocator." Since I don't play any games that need that thing, I thought to delete the thing. WRONG! When I reboot, Win98 tries to re-install, and I get lots of errors and a "cannot write to drive c:" error. Here's how I fixed it:
2) put in my sound card (nothing worked, except safe mode, or if I refused to allow Win98 to install sound drivers).
3) pulled out my tape drive, allowed Win98 to install the drivers for the sound card, then went into the Device Manager, and "disabled" the Legacy driver from the hardware profile, and rebooted. This freed up IRQ 5 for my tape drive.
MORAL OF THIS STORY: Win98 messed with my previous hardware profile such that "disabled" devices conflicted. The fault is with the Aztech driver installation for never asking me if I wanted the Legacy driver installed. Grr! All in all, though Win98 works.
And the title bars are pretty! And you can stick icons anywhere on the desktop with Active Desktop. Other than this, and other than learning a lot about how I need to install OS's on this particular machine (and I'm a home user veteran of OS/2 on my ole 486).
Question: What the heck is "IRQ Holder for PCI Steering" which "conflicts/shares" with my sound card, net card, and "USB to Universal Host Controller?" Does everyone have this?
Question: I have only one IDE drive, but two controllers (for a possible total of four drives, two master/slave pairs). Can I disable the second one safely so as to free up an IRQ? Is this a BIOS setting? Motherboard jumper? Software setting?
Interesting: Our experience has been that OSR2 and W98 solve a lot of plug and play problems that earlier W 95 versions couldn't handle. Eric has been a W98 enthusiast, and since I have W98, I'll certainly install it on the new Socket 7 system I'm building. As to the IRQ Holder, I don't know: our machines have all the IRQ's used up, one reason we very much look forward to USB and Firewire. You can disable the secondary IDE, but whether that will free the IRQ is not clear. How you do it is specific to the motherboard and BIOS you have, and there's no general answer I know. Sometimes it works, sometimes it's a mess.
I wish IBM had continued OS/2 but they didn't.
Saturday, June 27, 1998 9:53 PM
Front Page and your site
Tried to open the photo of Eric in a new window, so I could blow it up big enough to see. Error: HTTP:www.princess.com not found. Apparently, NS 4.05 saw your - I guess - internal network link to a server and tried to execute it as a web link.
Clicked on mail in the w98 section, got an error: "Netscape is unable to find the file or directory named C:/InetPub/wwwroot/chaosmanor/mail.html Check the name and try again".
With luck I have fixed all this. Front Page does weird links when you try to make template; a mistake I will not make again. I am still not sure how the links work, and whenever I open this thing in Word it changes html code, the Front Page changes it again. And I don't know how to test things since a model of the site is maintained here. I keep working on this. Of couse this has little to do with W 98 but it does apply to this page. Thanks.
Sent:Monday, June 29, 1998 9:19 AM
RE: Windows 98
I've used a couple of beta versions, and most recently installed the one that Microsoft sent me (it arrived on Byte's last day of existence), which is a full version. I installed that one on a virgin disk, an IBM 14-GB deskstar, and everything went well.
I've had one problem only, using SciTech's Display Doctor universal video drivers, and that wasn't really SciTech's fault, it was caused by their following Microsoft's directions about uninstalls. Turns out that you can delete the driver from the disk and current settings, but Win98 doesn't update the registry and so it starts looking for a video driver that no longer exists. Makes it impossible to reboot, so after several attempts I tried reinstalling Win98. Even that hung twice, but finally succeeded after I manually deleted the old registry files. SciTech has fixed the problem in their latest release, but it was a real headscratcher for a while. (SciTech says I could have booted into safe mode and changed the video driver there and it would have worked.)
Anyway, that aside, I've had no other problems with Win98 that I didn't have with 95, and it seems like it crashes or hangs less often. My system is a Pentium-233MMX, 64MB RAM, Number Nine Revolution 3D graphics card with 8MB, and it's got all kinds of stuff hanging off it (every bracket slot is filled!): 4 serial ports, 2 USB ports; 2 parallel ports supporting a Lexmark 7200 printer, Storm TotalScan flat-bed scanner, and ZipPlus; a SCSI Jaz external drive, AWE64 sound card, USR 33.6 modem, CD-ROm and CD-R drives, the aforementioned 14-GB drive and from time to time another hard drive (as I try to consolidate things from past computers-that 14GB is great, just copy everything onto it and it doesn't burp).
I'm using a FAT-32 (or is it FAT-32X?) file system, and some apps don't seem to know how big the disk really is; they seem to think it's only 8 GB, but it only affects their space-remaining display.
So far, I'm happy.
-- Russ Kay
Thanks, Russ. I'm just getting around to building my Win 98 system: with things the way they are, I don't want to change any system vital to operations here. Fortunately I have all the parts for building up a good Socket 7 system that I can put 98 on for extensive tests, and I'll get to that sometime this week. With luck I'll be able to put my scanners and a new Microsoft proportional force joystick on it too...
I've also, thanks to reader Clark Myerns, finally sort of understood the border problems I had on this page. I have a new formula for page creation, and I'm about to try template making. Hope it all works...
|Does this work?||One of the pages that killed me was in here.
It wasn't anyone's fault but mine. I tried too many experiments, and pasting tables into tables finished it off. There were otehr problems.
| All right, I am trying that more or less.
We'll get this right yet. As to Windows 98, I'm working on it...
With the release of Windows 98 the USB revolution is upon us. Kind of. Keyboards, mice, adapters for legacy parallel and RS232 devices are available but that is only half the story. What use is migrating our devices if the system insists on continuing to reserve resources for those old ports? It should be possible to disable these items but on most systems they simply wont go away no how much one messes with the BIOS and/or Device Manager.
Until this problem is overcome there will be little advantage to USB. We will still have to carefully weigh the value of every internal addition to our systems. I really enjoy my Creative Labs Encore DVD drive and decoder but it will have to go if Im going to install a SCSI host to handle the drives I want to add. Reviewing any IRQ using product means temporarily removing something else.
What about the folks out there in the real world? Have any of you been successful in creating a USB oriented system with lots of IRQ freedom? Eliminating the keyboard, mouse, parallel, and two serials of a typical system should free up four IRQs assuming the fifth is used by the USB host. Move the PCI sound cards down to IRQ 5 to simplify legacy support without additional resource and a wealth of expansion space is freed up.
What I really want for puritys sake is an otherwise top of the line motherboard that lacks legacy ports and has a BIOS that defaults to USB input devices. Any candidates?
Eric points up a real problem. USB and Firewire are supposed to save us from IRQ depletion, but unless the mother board people allow us to disable some of the devices we no longer need and thus free up the IRQ, it hardly matters.
Thursday, July 2, 1998
Another report from Eric:
Here are a few things Ive learned along the way:
1. Ill do a full review soon (depending on how this diverticulitus progresses) but to put it shortly, get Power Quests Drive Image! The 2.0 release is a major improvement. Take advantage of the incredibly cheap cost per gigabyte we now enjoy and grant yourself the power to screw up without consequence.
2. Dont panic if you get a crash during installation. If you reboot there is a good chance the install will pick up where it left off. Other times you need to start install again but in this instance there is a good chance that it will succeed the second time around. Who knows, perhaps its something akin to a reverse immune response. Numerous items that have been on the market only a few months will try to install obsolete DLLs as part of their drivers. My recommendation is to keep the newer versions since Win98 seems to need them more than the drivers. This seems to be a major cause of crashes that dont reoccur after restarting.
3. You may have to remove devices to simplify the system. Get rid of the most extraneous items first i.e. DVD decoder boards. (For the record, the Creative Labs Encore DVD package works fine under Win98) The two items that must be in place to get started are the drive youre installing to (It would be a real short show otherwise, wouldnt it?) and the video board. Most video cards now require an IRQ and will not permit the system to boot in other than safe mode if that need is not met. Since you cannot manually assign IRQs in safe mode its a much easier route to remove a few nonessentials to get initial installation done and then make a backup with the aforementioned Drive Image. If the remaining device need special coddling it will be much simpler to work out the details if it only takes ten minutes to start over Vs. doing the whole install again.
4. If at possible start clean. If the system youre installing on has been running any version of Win95 for long, chances are its a mess. You can use the various commercial uninstall and cleanup utilities, you can run RegClean until every byte has been scrutinized more than the Zapruder film but nothing beats a clean drive for, well, cleanliness. This would also be an excellent time to make sure you have the latest version of every driver that might be requested. Evil old drivers can bring everything to a screeching halt so its best if the new OS never sees them to begin with.
Thanks. This will probably get moved up to the Install section reasonably soon. My first priority is to get rid of Front Page 98 before it drives me to total insanity. Actually my first priority is to print BURNING CITY and get it off to my agent.
Then I'll build up the Chaos Manor W 98 machine.
Friday, July 3, 1998