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About Laser98IX

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  1. After my last post on August 19th, 2012, and a six month absence due to re-constructive shoulder surgery, last night I was finally able to read through every post since page 82. It only took me five hours. Yeah ... I'm a slow reader WOW!!! What a roller-coaster ride! First let me offer a big "Thank you!" to PROBLEMCHYLD for maintaining his determination and not walking away from what has to be a supremely monumental effort. Thanks also goes out to so many other people who've kept up a diligent effort and helped to keep this project going. I can't even recall every contributor, there were so many. The latest Service Pack has been downloaded and archived, and in the next few days I'm going to apply it to the same machine I'd built specifically for this purpose before I disappeared. The good news is I've been able to add to my collection of EZ65's, so not only do I have my original 98SE EZ65 machine running that I use every day, but also a completely new O/S install on an exact copy of the first EZ65, plus another clean O/S install "mirror" in another box just in case I need to reinstall something or apply various fixes. (I took someone's post about having a back-up VERY seriously.) Beyond those machines I have a few more in case I need additional test machines doing crazy things, so as soon as I get a job so I can pay for the shipping charges I'll stick one of those machines in a box and ship it to you for testing, PROBLEMCHYLD. (I sure hope you don't live 4000 miles away.) The only caveat is you'll have to supply your own license of Win98SE, unless I can find one lying around in my shop that needs a good home. That's how much I appreciate what you've been doing. The hardware configuration is listed here: As has been stated many, many, many times before, I'm going to document the entire installation process, so if there are any problems I'll be sure to list every action and response. By the look of things it appears nearly every problem has been resolved, or at least a work-around devised, so the install will most likely run smooth and clean. Again ... a special thank you to PROBLEMCHYLD for being patient with lots of folks like me who ask what might seem like idiotic questions. Your efforts will be proved beneficial each time a Win98SE machine gets powered on with your updates. Another update of my installation will be posted in the next few days.
  2. You're welcome. I'm pleased I was able to add something to this project, however slight or "unofficial" my efforts. As I hoped to mention before I'm skilled at and have been trained to do a process analysis of whatever I work on. It's good for things like programming, document creation, and problem analysis, but not so great for interacting with other people. I analyze things to a great level of detail because I immerse myself in process activities, and installing software updates is VERY process oriented. Also, I don't discount what I see or make assumptions about the test results, because I've learned that interpretation during the activity could inadvertently skew the results or bias the test. I try to take things literally, and that often poses a problem with people who are able to read between the lines. This is why I volunteered to help do beta testing. Forget it!!! We all have operational styles, and I'll need to get used to yours so I can improve upon mine. I genuinely appreciate what you're doing, and can easily overlook some obvious frustrations by a very dedicated and over-worked programmer. Wonderful!!! My intent was to convey a level of polite ignorance on the part of many people who don't have as intimate a knowledge of what you're offering as you do. By making the Unofficial Service Packs easy to understand, install, and troubleshoot, more people will be eager to upgrade their running machines, or pull that old computer and license out of the closet or attic and fire it up again so they can take advantage of newer hardware and older software. I know Microsoft won't officially support or re-release '98SE, but that doesn't mean hundreds of thousands, and hopefully millions of users can continue to take advantage of a nice O/S that I genuinely enjoy using, and I continue to use it everyday. My training and experience forces me to see things from the end-user perspective, and oft-times "we" don't have a clue about what's going on or what to do. That doesn't mean we're buffoons or dolts ... just not programmers. If more programs could be written from the end-user's perspective there wouldn't need to be so many user's guides written and printed. I know, I know ... that takes time, isn't easy, and requires lots of dedication, but the end-user can only act on what they see or read, and reading more within the program or installation means less reading [and potential confusion] before, during, and later. There's a diminishing return to that concept, so tne 10/90 and 90/10 rule is accurate here. After it's available I'll download it and conduct the same sort of installation analysis I did during my Win98SE install. Hopefully I won't create so many problems during this attempt by short-cutting my computer configuration or selecting things I don't need to on the options page. Thanks to you, ProblemChyld ... and so many other programmers, coders, and plain old smart people. ps. Since I'm a glutton for punishment, and to prove that I truly am willing to do a little beta testing, I'll install the next SP3.x on a Dell CPi "Latitude" laptop that's running '98SE. I'll wipe the current configuration and installation, follow the same installation routine as per my earlier install for my EZ65, and will then report that status post-install. In that post I'll document the H/W config, installed features [if any], and the benchmarks previously listed. If I can find the space to set it up I'll also do the same for a tower "desk-side" that's screaming for an update. I just have to decide which tower to use. pps. Is a '95-to-'98SE-upgrade install a valid test as well, or has that already been done?
  3. The original installation DID include all of the H/W and S/W drivers. My problems might be because of which options I selected during the initial SP3.4 install, or possibly some fluke related to my H/W and S/W configuration, and the fact that I changed some options in the "StartUp" tab of "SysInfo" in "Tools" so not all of the S/W was loaded for the H/W I installed. Not knowing which SP3.4 options doesn't help right now, and the fact that I changed a few things before install. Easily fixed. I haven't changed any options this time, and the "Resources Available" in the attached file is an indicator of that Based on what Drugwash stated -- -- I decided not to install the LAN drivers, since I "may" not use the LAN anyway. As I said in this post -- -- I'd already concluded the LAN installation might not be necessary.However, if there's more stuff going on besides just loading the H/W drivers, then I'll have to load them anyway and remove that device after. An interesting test will be after I remove the LAN device from the machine in the Device Manager and how it will affect the boot time. Since I've got an AGP card I made an assumption (bad decision on my part) not to install the VGA driver. The problem now is that the AGP card takes precedence for video, and I'll have to uninstall it, install the VGA drivers, and then re-install the AGP card + drivers. Easily fixed. My decision to not install the USB drivers was yet another bad assumption. Easily fixed. Another installation step will be for me to do a "DIR /S /OG-D /V >DirList.txt" of the C:\WINDOWS directory in a Windows DOS box before AND after installation, and then I'll use a text compare utility to see what files change. I'll be doing a test later on my pre-install test machine to see how much information is there and if I have specified the options correctly. Are there other directories besides C:\WINDOWS (and sub-directories) that would be a good idea to log? Thanks for all your efforts this week, ProblemChyld.
  4. The following is the short version of a complete Win98SE install with more details in the attached file. (It might prove useful if anyone wants to see specific details such as driver versions, etc) Formatted drive with no errors Did Win98SE install with no errors Added the following drivers with no errors - Chipset - AGP video card -Audio Did not add the following drivers - LAN - VGA (AGP card installed) - USB Mirrored drive Setup second machine in same configuration Ready for SP3.5 Next? Win98SE_Installation.txt
  5. I have found the problem. New version somtime this week. Excellent. Then something positive has come from my attempt so far. I'll wait to install the SP3.4 until after I see the update. I've got work to do before that anyway. @Problemchyld, a question: Is there a resource on this site, or others, that details what each of the selection check-boxes are for or will include in the SP3.4 install? Because of the significance of the changes, and the depth with which the O/S is altered and improved, someone with a lot less experience than most of the experts here who's doing the install needs to have a clearer understanding of why they're choosing each of the options on that single screen. I know providing reader help files is no trivial activity, because I've written or audited my fair share of them. If there is something I can do to make that process easier I'm willing to help by taking technical jargon and turning it into plain English for non-programmers like me. That puts me in the hot-seat for making something really great a little better. As I've eluded to before, I've spent the better part of ten years interfacing between hardware and software designers, engineers, programmers, manufacturing technicians, and those who buy and use what those talented people have created. However, if I need to just hunker down and do a lot of reading on my own, or just select different things and take my chances, then I'll do that. As I said I have some time, but I don't think it's wise for me to re-learn everything that everyone else here has just to take advantage of your mental wizardry. No, I'm not lazy, but I'm not a programmer, and sometimes reading through forum after forum trying to glean everything I can, and the most pertinent points, makes my head spin. I assume most of the people on this site, or those who've taken the time to do the install, are probably more familiar with programming or software than I am. That leaves me at a significant disadvantage. Still, many of the "experts" here have helped other novices before, so ......... I'm at the point where I've got two complete test machines, plus the original completely installed full-use machine, set aside with a basic installation of Win98SE. Some of the drivers are already loaded, I've tried to change very little, if anything, so they're neutral and "plain" configurations, and both of those test machines boot fine in about 44 seconds without the network card or drivers loaded, or the USB drivers installed. I won't attempt to install the SP3.4 until I've gotten comfortable with the selection check-boxes during the initial install screen. That might take a while, because I'm a slow reader. I plan to continue reading after I take a snapshot of the selection screen options so I can search through the MSFN fora for answers to all of my questions. Thanks for all your work, instructions, and help. It really is appreciated. Win98SE is better because of it.
  6. Very well. I will accede to your extended experience with Win98SE, the USP3.4, and many other facets of programming. Rather than push a mirror of an existing (and working) install of '98SE from an exact duplicate of the hardware (except for the hard drive) onto my test drive I'll format it, do a cold and clean install from the '98SE CD, and then follow your remaining instructions. However, since I don't know which of the options in the SP3.4 install are truly beneficial to me and my configuration I'll have to do yet more reading to confirm what each line item is for and if it's needed in my installation. I hope to have all this done by either late Saturday 08/11/2012 or Sunday the 12th. I'll report which options I've selected, will follow your instructions, and report back after all this is done. That should give you guys a few days of peace and quiet.
  7. Understood. Essentially not related to a real "problem" so they will be ignored. I'll delete the attachment in the previous post. I will engage the BOOTLOG during the SP3.4 install when the machine attempts to reboot. Again, thanks.
  8. After I read through the suggestions in that first link (great stuff, by the way) up to Step Thirteen I remembered the BOOTLOG function. I did a reboot as suggested, saved the BOOTLOG.TXT file, and found two "Failed" entries. They are: [0001CEB4] Loading Vxd = ndis2sup.vxd [0001CEB3] LoadFailed = ndis2sup.vxd [0001D4CC] INITCOMPLETE = SDVXD [0001D4CD] INITCOMPLETEFAILED = SDVXD I'm not sure if these are significant, but I wanted to make sure I provided everything I could before going through the drive-wipe procedure. Any other suggestions before I wipe/reload/re-install would be eagerly accepted. I'm definitely saving all those recommendations to my own archive. I'll also read through and check off everything that is mentioned, but it's kinda late, so maybe I'll do that during the day on Friday or Saturday. Thanks, Drugwash. Edit: Bootlog.txt deleted -- not needed.
  9. Okay -- here are the test results -------- The short version is the hard drive and memory both check out with no errors, as I suspected. I'll wait a little while to hear what the best recommendations are for my next action, but I think I already know what it will be. (I'm using the "Code" style to display everything in straight tabular format to make it easier to read.) First part of test page = HDAT2 V4.91b Second part of test page = Memtest86+ v4.20 (24+ hour run) (as of 08/10/2012 @ 07:00 GMT) ========================================================== First part of test page ========================================================== HDAT2 V4.91b Drive = ST32140A Detect with read: pass 1 = 100% [2.11 GB] Number of sectors: Tested = 4127760 Elapsed time: 00:16:24.026 Command Errors: 1. Read = 0 blocks 0 sectors ----------------------------- Detect with verify: pass 1 = 100% [2.11 GB] Number of sectors: Tested = 4127760 Elapsed time: 00:08:46.051 Command Errors: 1. Verify = 0 blocks 0 sectors ----------------------------- Detect with read/read/compare: pass 1 = 100% [2.11 GB] Number of sectors: Tested = 4127760 Elapsed time: 00:16:24.038 Command Errors: 1. Read = 0 blocks 0 sectors 2. Read = 0 blocks 0 sectors 3. Compare = 0 blocks 0 sectors ========================================================== Second part of test page ========================================================== Memtest86+ v4.20 Celeron (0.13) 2394 MHz L1 Cache: 8K 17348 MB/s L2 Cache: 128K 15152 MB/s L3 Cache: None Memory : 1022M 1694 MB/s Chipset : Intel i848/i865 (ECC : Disabled) - FSB : 99 Mhz - Pat : Enabled Settings: RAM : 133 MHz (DDR266) / CAS : 2-2-2-6 / Dual Channel (128 bits) WallTime Cached RsvdMem MemMap Cache ECC Test Pass Errors ECC Errs -------- ------ ------- -------- ----- --- ---- ---- ------ -------- 24:01:40 1022M 12K e820 on off Std 42 0 Now, on to the quality of my installation, and the possibility that I selected options I shouldn't have. I suspect I'll have to wipe the drive, push the original data back onto it, and make sure everything runs as before. Then I'll try to find a means to establish a "basis" for that configuration using a tool such as Sisoft Sandra, based on a recommendation from a friend of mine. He also mentioned "Winternals", which I haven't looked up yet, to attempt a logging of activities during the SP3.4 install. I have some reading to do. After that I'll start the SP3.4 installation process noting which options I've selected. I'll need to preview what those selections are, because I'm not sure if I need everything there, the "core" IE files notwithstanding since I'm not running a "slim" version of '98SE (98Lite). I'll document the options I believe I need to select, but I'm weary of choosing things unless I know what effect they'll have or what benefit, if any, I'll see afterward. During the install process I'll note any messages that come up, but things are moving fairly quickly, so I may not be able to write things down as quickly as they flash by. Any error messages will be noted before I click on any "OK" buttons. After that ??? Problemchyld, if you need a Beta-tester for future updates after all this is done and working, then I'll gladly toss my hat into the ring. Ultimately I'd like for the installation process to be so smooth even someone dumber than me -- and that's saying a lot -- can click on "Install" and be confident everything will do what they expect without having to know all the bits and bytes -- like you experts do. Thanks for your help, Guys. Again, Problemchyld, thanks for all your hard work. I'm not kidding when I say I appreciate it.
  10. Thanks, Drugwash. I've located the HDAT2 ISO files. I'm going to create the CD in a few minutes and then run the tests. Very well. I'll have to live with the warm boot problem if it comes up again. I knew the network card slows the boot down considerably, and I'm seriously thinking about removing the drivers and device from my installation unless the longer boot time is understood and resolved. I may just forget using the LAN altogether and rely upon my USB sticks and external USB drive to move files back and forth. That would reduce the boot time somewhat. This is where I think it might be wise for me to consider a completely new reinstallation with all the options identified and documented and then any errors carefully noted. I've got a mirror of the drive just before I did the SP3.4 update, so barring any hand-waving and people jumping up and down I might just wipe the drive after I test it and start all over again. That won't happen until either later tomorrow or Friday. It wasn't until about an hour after I made this post that I thought of more questions. -- Is it possible for me or others to check the installation on my machine to see if or how much of the original SP3.4 update was successful? -- If the machine is thrashing around trying to search for missing file(s) or gather information over and over again, then isn't there a map to determine just how many files got installed, or which ones didn't? It's always better to have a solid basis to establish repeatable results, and I should have written all this down anyway. Bad decision on my part, and I should have been more careful when I clicked on the "Run" dialog box "OK" button. Thanks, Problemchyld. The more I think about this, the more certain I am I should punt, huddle up, and then start a whole new set of downs after I get the ball back. For now here's the plan: -- test the drive for errors and let HDAT2 fix them if found -- report results of the test New questions asked (above) after reconsidering Drugwash's comments. Will delay the following until absolutely required to eliminate uncertainty. -- wipe the drive (if okay) -- push the original 4.10.2222 files back onto the drive -- install SP3.4 with lots of note-taking -- report results and errors, if any
  11. No worries. People think I'm a pompous, know-it-all, arrogant jerk most of the time, but they're just being nice. Hardware Specs: Aopen XCcube EZ65 "shoebox" computer -- looks like my sig-pic -- I have 5 @ Motherboard ID: 10/15/2003-Springdale-G-6A79AAB9C-00 Motherboard Name UX4SG-1394 (EZ65) Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG EZ65 R1.1 Oct.15.2003 AOpen Inc. Max System Bus = 800Mhz (according to manual) Max FSB Clock = 200Mhz (according to manual) Max CPU Core Freq = 3200Mhz (according to manual) -- Intel Pentium-4 478-pin CPU slot -- Celeron 2.4Ghz installed -- Intel P-4 3.4 Ghz, 800 SB, 512 cache, SL793 CPU on shelf -- for future use after testing is complete Intel 865 Chipset + ICH5 2Gb DDR266/333/400 max -- 2 slots total -- 2 @ 512Mb 400 Mhz FSB RAM installed AGP 8X slot -- Asus V7100Pro64 add-on AGP video card installed -- nVidia NV11 GeForce2 MX-400 drivers installed 1 @ PCI slot 3.5" floppy capable (installed) 2 @ PATA (ATA33/66/100) -- 1 @ ST32140A drive installed (for testing) 2 @ SATA -- 0 drives installed 1 @ Integrated SVGA -- not used PS/2 keyboard & mouse -- both used rather than USB devices Parallel printer port (DB25) Serial port (DB9) Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit LAN (RJ-45) 10/100/1000 3 @ IEEE 1394 (Firewire) Interface ports (2 Front, 1 Rear) RCA coax port S/PDIF (fibre optic TOSLINK connectors) IN (Rear) OUT (Front) AC'97 Codec & H/W supports 5.1 channel sound output Did a complete, successful, fresh, and easy install of Win98SE 4.10.2222-A without errors. Then I loaded each of the device drivers in this order: Chipset VGA Audio USB LAN All Win98SE drivers from AOpen site loaded fine. AGP card installed next, then nVidia drivers. All okay, and runs very smoothly -- and fast!!!
  12. Problemchyld, before I continue I want to be sure to express my thanks for all of your hard work to date. Nobody could be happier than I am to see someone like you, and others, working so diligently to keep this O/S alive. I truly appreciate what you've done, and what you potentially may do. The problems are NOT catastrophic. They are anomalies, and could very well be specific to the motherboard, chipset, drivers, and hard drive I have installed. I am NOT laying blame on the SP3.4 update -- all I'm doing is [hopefully] providing feedback and observations. If I come off as pushy or arrogant, then please accept my most humble apologies. I want only to make use of your (and other's) hard work to keep my O/S's and machines running. If there is something I can do to aid in an analysis of why things are happening I'm perfectly willing to do the work. As you said, " ... If myself or others can't reproduce the problems then its on you," so I understand I'm just an end-user out in virtual land. Unless someone has an A-Open XCcube EZ65 to test with, then all I can do is offer what I see and report what I find. If eventually I learn that I'm completely alone in these problems, then it wouldn't be the first time I've marched down the street without a crowd around me. Again -- thank you for all your hard work, the SP3.4 update, and any recommendations you, and others, can make. With respect --------
  13. The thrashing sounds only began after SP3.4 was installed, and the boot process "appears" to have somehow affected this. Of course, I could be mistaken. I'm only going on what I can see and hear, since I don't have any specific O/S tools to see what's going on under the covers during IPL (boot). The specific sounds aren't just the drive accessing the files, but what sounds like a repetitive search for about ten or fifteen seconds after the first minute has elapsed. It's definitely unusual. For the record the boot (just completed for testing a minute ago) took 2:07 in time (min:sec) until the "Welcome to Windows 98" screen appears. It used to take about 0:48. Am I mistaken in believing the boot process should be quicker after SP3.4? As I posted over a week ago I'm still willing to do an extensive analysis of the SP3.4 install process, including benchmarks before and after, but I need direction and guidance from experienced and intelligent Win98SE experts. I have a working "original" Win98SE (4.10.2222) install that works just fine on a machine that is fast, and I've also got a few more machines exactly like that to use for testing. I've got the machines, drives, licenses, time, and willingness to help make this an even better product than it already is, but I need help. I may sound like an eager beaver, but I truly love using '98SE, and I want to see it continue to be used as a friendly and more "trimmed" O/S than others. As was reported in other threads or sites, there are millions of '98SE licenses and machines out there around the world. If I can help, in some small way, to keep them alive and make their owners even happier, then I'm willing to invest some effort.
  14. The SP3.4 update was installed on my test machine with no installation problems. There was a single red "error" screen that was displayed at the end of the install having to do with "INF Tool Failure", but the exact message escapes me at the moment. The message contents weren't written down, but the remaining process seemed to work fine. For a novice lots of the options during the initial selection process were a mystery. More explanations and pop-up notes would be helpful. The instructions were followed, and as far as functionality it appears the machine is working fine. The first thing I tested was the ability for the machine to recognize and then install the drivers for a number of USB memory sticks. Every one I tried worked, and all of them were correctly identified during the install process. I have USB drives from 128Mb to 16Gb in size. As I said before, all of them were recognized and installed to a drive letter just fine. Hooray!!! The only glitch I had was during the attempt to install an external 1.5Tb USB drive. The system recognized the drive name, type, and model, and attempted to install the correct driver, but Windows Explorer (file manager) did not display any additional drive letters nor the files on that drive. The USB icon came up on the lower right command bar, and I was able to "see" a USB device there, but no drive letter was associated with it when I clicked to do a "safe remove" of that drive. The drive letter field name actually came up blank, but otherwise allowed me to safely disconnect the USB device. It wasn't until I tried a second external drive (same size) that I realized the problem might be because at least one of them was partitioned NTFS, so I booted my WinXP laptop and connected to the drives. Sure enough ... both drives were originally partitioned NTFS, so Win98SE will never see them. Funny that the USB icon recognized the drive, though, and allowed me to safely remove something that hadn't been assigned a drive letter. Observations: The boot time is now quite a bit longer than before the SP3.4 install. I was under the impression the boot time would be less, because all of the old registry sections dealing with streaming tape drives and other not-installed functions and features wouldn't be called. The boot process also makes my hard drive sound like it's thrashing around a LOT more than it did before. There have been a few times when I thought the machine was going to either hang or explode because of so much thrashing around of the head mechanism. The machine did hang once during a reboot with a message on a black screen that read, "Windows is rebooting." The only way around this, and after ten minutes of absolutely no activity, was to do a cold boot and then boot into safe mode so the machine could get its head straight again. After that the machine seems to really be struggling to boot, and it takes quite a bit longer than before. I ran defrag using the existing Win98SE utility, and for the longest time it sounded like I'd brought my washing machine into the room. There was a constant ka-CHUNK, ka-CHUNK, ka-CHUNK for quite a while until well past 15%. I recognized the first part of the process was going to relocate lots of O/S specific files toward the lower end of the drive, so it had to do the bits in smaller pieces, and I wasn't disappointed. Larger and larger chunks of data were shifted around until eventually it looked and sounded more typical. I ran the process a second time, just to be sure everything worked fine, and rather than just whip through the defrag it stopped somewhere around 25% and began to relocate some smaller files akin to the low-end O/S files. Eventually even that was overcome, and the process performed as I remembered prior to SP3.4 installation. Until I understand why it's taking so much longer to boot, and has such a hard time during the IPL process, I'll be reluctant to install the update on any of my many other machines. There are benefits to using larger USB devices without having to break up data onto smaller devices, but with all the noise the drive is making during boot, and the extended boot time, I'll wait a little bit longer. I know I don't understand what's going on under the covers. To be honest that's a tremendous understatement. But it almost seems as if the original and updated files are now at opposite ends of the drive, and the machine is struggling to go back and forth to load the original then the new files to accomplish the kernel install. I'll probably look for or start a thread related to just what's going on during the boot process, file-by-file, so I can get a grip on why the drive is trying so hard to seek from the inner to outer cylinders so much and so fast. Any input would be appreciated there. I hope these observations are helpful, and I'd sure love to see all the benefits without the slower boot and hard drive thrashing. For the record I used to do manufacturing installation, field service, and documentation evaluation testing at a corporate facility many years ago. I'm quite familiar with how to test an install routine, and I was responsible for helping engineers and manufacturing technicians improve their processes. Just thought that might be helpful.
  15. Even though I have yet to install Problemchyld's U98SESP3.4 I would like to extend my thanks to him and all of the people who've worked with him on this effort. I'm literally trembling with anticipation to see how much of an improvement I'll see after SP3.4 is installed. Happy Birthday, Problemchyld. May you see many more celebrations in the years to come.