Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Installing Windows98, again

As the SoundBlaster Live! didn't want to work in DirectSound (dxdiag displayed no sound card found) I am now trying a complete reinstall of Windows98 on the Athlon 800 in the hope it helps. On my last try I did install a lot of crap before I found the right driver, so I might have screwed up a thing or two in the process. With all the notes and downloads from the last try this one should hopefully run a little faster. Some general gaming notes:
  • Syndicate Wars: Works with SbLive!, doesn't work with on-board sound, the game runs a little to fast
  • Fallout, Planscape: Tourment: don't work with on-board sound, sound plays at twice the speed
  • F22:TAW: works with on-board sound
  • Outcast: doesn't work with the TFT, it shows up ok, but the TFT displays a fat "i don't like this resolution" warning that can't be canceled (maybe its time to setup a CRT...)
Now to some Windows reinstalling again:
  • The first status bar of the Windows98 install stays for over a minute at 100%, looks like a crash, but actually works fine if you wait long enough
  • Windows98 installation takes around 10min till the first reboot
  • then around 4min till the second reboot
  • then another 4min till the third reboot
  • after around 20min Windows98 is freshly installed
  • Samba network works out of the box, makes driver copying easy
  • installing Matrox driver then rebooting
  • now trying to install SoundblasterLive! (that stuff comes with a ton of crap extra software)
  • rebooting fifth time at the 25min mark
  • sound works - for the first time I could hear the EAX logo sound, which was silent on the old install, maybe a good sign for DirectSound
  • upgrading to InternetExplorer6, the webinstaller takes a while to download
  • reboot number 6, now at around 32min into the reinstall
  • Windows Update goes to a non existing page when no internet connection is available
  • so back to the confusing Internet connection setup: easy enough this time around, I cancel the MSN advertisment dialog and use the IE menu Tools/InternetOptions/Connection to set it up manually instead
  • with Internet connection up and running Windows Update stops missbehaving
  • downloading some 18MB of security updates
  • reboot 7 at the 43min mark
  • installing Opera, 7zip and Flash
  • dxdiag, using DirectX6, detects the SBLive! and plays sound
  • now trying to upgrade to DirectX9c via Windows Update
  • reboot 8 at the 54min mark
  • sound is still working, even with DirectX9c
  • now trying to install Via4in1 and doing reboot 9
  • onboard audio is disabled, so I ignoring the Via Vinyl audio driver
  • installing Sidewinder Precision 2 driver and rebooting for the tenth time
  • Sidewinder driver is causing a bit of trouble, it comes with two setup.exe, one top level and one in a subdirectory, you have to start the top-level one, as the subdirectory one will give you an incomplete and broken installation
  • now at the 1 hour mark and all the core parts seem to be installed and working fine, time to install some games and restore Grub
  • some days later...
  • since F22:TAW has a tiny few graphical glitches and slowdowns (very minor stuff really), I decided to replace the Matrox G450 DH with a Geforce5fx that I had floating around
  • installing the Nvidia Geforce5fx was straight forward as far as drivers go (Nvidia's webpage is pretty well organized), but there is a little problem: all I get is a black screen after the login screen
  • ripped the Nvidia out and put the Matrox back in, Nvidia worked fine in Linux, but the black-screen problem didn't provide a clue on how to fix it
  • installed a USB2.0 PCI card, seems to work fine in Linux, in Win98 it gets an exclamation mark in the device manager, however it seems to work there too
  • USB storage doesn't work with Win98, might need special driver
  • installed an USB mass storage driver for Win98, worked smoothly
  • replaced old 10Mbit network card with a "new" RTL-8139 100Mbit network card, Windows98 didn't have a driver for that and with no network to download it from, I had to use an USB stick to transfer the driver, after installing a wrong driver first, a crash on reboot, and cleanup of the incorrect driver, it seems to work fine now
  • the RTL-8139 is giving problems in Linux, it doesn't detect a link even so the cable is plugged in, after a complete cold reboot it works now (suspicion: the Win98 driver kills the card for Linux, two reboots later, the theory still holds)
  • installed a 200GB drive, the BIOS detects it has 30-something GB drive and Grub can only access its first few gigabytes, but under Linux it seems to fully work
  • Linux has some annoying frameskips every 2 seconds on DVD playback, Windows98 with Mplayer Classic doesn't have them and feels much more response with DVD playback
Now to the games:
  • F22:TAW installs fine and has sound, but music is again causing trouble, still doesn't sound pretty and more importantly it causes the game to crashe, which it hasn't done before. Luckily the music can be disabled in when installing, after which is seems to run fine. There is a patch for the game available here, which improves the game, but doesn't fix the music issue. The game seems a lot crashier with the SBLive! then it did with the onboard sound, pretty annoying.
  • Fallout: seems to work fine with the SBLive!
  • Syndicate Wars: Still works with SBLive!
  • STTNG: A Final Unity: Works after disabling Windows detection in the properties, but runs a little to fast in the battle scenes. The graphic mode causes some trouble, the TFT displays a black screen, but after some Alt-Enter'ing it ended up showing the picture, not sure whats up with that.
PS: The old Athlon is running a 40GB and a 45GB IBM Deskstar, hope I don't murder those drives with all that reinstalling, after all they don't have the best health record...

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