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W98SE and SSD (esp.in Multi-Boot)

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#1
ragnargd

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Dear Madam, Sir,

I'm far from being a pro with PCs or W9x, but i have my fair share of W98SE-installations, which i'm doing with SSDs only.
SSDs can be fun, but they have caveats, so not everything, that works well with normal HDDs, works well with SSDs.
This thread shows my experience with those. Perhaps it can motivate, and help you getting started with SSDs with a minimum of hassle.

Limitations of my "advice"
The only configuration i'm interested in is triple-boot, that is, W98SE, XP Pro 32bit and W7 64bit together, to play legacy-games (W9x and XP), and still be able to do something useful in what i consider a safe browsing-environment (W7), as watching HD-videos on YouTube (i connected this box to my widescreen-TV).
Strictly speaking, the W7 installation and my opinion of a safe environment is a matter of personal experience, taste, (and my personal ambition of triple-booting at all :whistle: ), of course, i simply mention the issues i had, as you might like to know about them.
In combination of triple-boot with W7 and SSDs, i have experience with the AM2NF2-VSTA, 775Dual-VSTA, and 4CoreDual-SATA2 R2.0 only, so not everything here may apply to you.
I cannot (and won't) give detailed reason and technological background for each and every advice, except for i give those out of experience with many combinations i tried, which either failed, or were dissatisfactory.
If you find SIMPLE solutions for the problems i mention here, feel free to add to the discussion.

Why to use SSDs at all with W98SE?
Simple reason: New IDE HDDs are so expensive, that IDE-SSDs have become a reasonable choice.
You can use old IDE-HDDs, but they tend to be slow, loud, and unreliable (this is IMHO - but if you don't think so, this thread is not going to give you anything anyway).
On the other side, booting W98SE from an IDE-SSD is fun: It's fast, and silent.

Drawbacks of IDE-SSDs
SATA-SSDs are widely known, well documentated, and well-tried. You cannot say this about IDE-SSDs at all.
Even though i regard IDE-SSDs as something very well suited for W98SE, and recommend them for this type of PC-build, there are many reports on them NOT being suited for XP or W7 - i.e. "hiccups" of up to 10 seconds on XP are well documentated, and i experienced those myselves. Out of this experience, i advise against using IDE-SSDs for anything BUT W98SE.
Another drawback of IDE-SSDs (compared to SATA-SSDs): They have no TRIM-Support, and there is no tool for "performance-recovery".
If there is something like garbage-collection, only Transcend 320 SSDs have a slight chance on having this, although i tend to doubt this, as there is neither documentation on this at Transcend, nor at the usual places on the net (i.e. Toms Hardware).
So, there probably WILL be a performance-degradation over time.
I did not notice any until now (using those for three years now), but I cannot promise you won't notice or benchmark some.
For my part, as everything is so much faster and more silent for me in comparison to normal IDE-HDDs, i would simply accept the performance-degradation, if there were some to come..

Which motherboards are to be taken, if you have the choice?
Preferably use a motherboard that has support for 2 IDE-channels, that is, 4 IDE-devices.
This is why: Especially the older IDE-SSDs tend to be peculiar in master-slave configurations, often resulting in devices to recognized, or the system falling back to the dreaded compatibility mode. If you want to connect a cd-rom or dvd, connect it to the second channel instead, for a minimum of problems.
If you plan to have XP and/or W7 on the system, and can get your hands on one of those rare examples that sport a SATA II controller instead of SATA I controller, you are better off.

Which SSDs to take, if you have the choice? (List will be updated now and then)
I only know of a few meaningful types:
SuperTalent MasterDrive EX2 (i.e. FHM32GW25H) (Seem to be ok)
Transced SSD320 (i.e. TS32GPSD320) (recommended)
KingSpec (i.e. KSD-PA25.1-032MJ) (can't say much about those)
(I have a SuperTalent Masterdrive EX as well, but that one may be hard to get already, and it is slower than the above types)
All others (including the Transcend SSD WITHOUT 320) are too slow, or too expensive, and often both.

Montage
You'll need an IDE 44 Pin 2,5" to IDE 40 Pin 3,5" Adapter (aka Notebook-IDE to Desktop-IDE adapter), and probably something to build it into a 3'5 " bay.
Example: http://www.delock.de...?setLanguage=en
By chance i found a 3.5 Inch Drive Bay Mounting Kit with that adapter combined, which makes for a more stable combo - i can't seem to find it on the www any more, though.

How to configure the system optimally for the installation?
1 IDE-SSD with one primary Partition, formatted with FAT32, on the first channel
1 IDE-DVD on the second channel., or as slave (oly if you must).
If you know how to, DO partition and format the disk first, copy the content to a folder (i.e. INSTALL.W98), and start the setup from there, and not from ODD.
Of course, this way you'll have no problems, if the optical drive is not recognized during installation - this is common knowledge.
For our special build with IDE-SSD, you'll greatly benefit from the speed of the SSD. Believe me, this is where the fun starts! :yes:
Do NOT attach SATA-SSDs before your installation of the W98SE is done: This will prevent the system going into compatibility-mode with some SSDs.
This seems to be common knowledge on MSFN: If you copied the installation-data to the SSD beforehand, you might even disconnect the optical drive. This means to copy drivers and such to the SSD as well beforehand. Do that, if the system is forced into compat.-mode by the optical drive. Check for DMA-settings once the installation is far enough. Thereafter, Install the optical drive, if not done already.
Before installing SATA-Drives to install other OSs (like XP or W7), DISABLE the SATA controllers in W98SE system panel - you need not access these partitions from W98SE most probably anyway. Again, this prevents compatibility mode.

Things NOT to do, to avoid problems, and improve the duration of your SSD:
Do not build multiple partitions on any SSD. This is basic advice given to me from the Support of SuperTalent. It makes life easier from my experience.
Don't fill any SSD with more that 85% - this will enhance the lifetime of your SSD, as remaining sectors are not overwritten again and again, eventually weaing them out.
Don't defragment (well: Once after installation of any OS and major software is probably ok, if you insist) - this only wears the SSD off, without helping with performance.
Repeat: Do NOT install XP or W7 to this (or any) IDE-SSD: Quite some of them will cause annoying lockups while running XP or W7. This also helps against hassle when preparing multi-boot environments (KISS - keep it simple, stupid). W98SE does not seem to suffer from this phenomenon. To state my very personal opinion: W98SE-builds are the ONLY ones where IDE-SSDs seem to make sense at all. B)
My recommendation: Don't install W98SE to SATA-SSDs, unless you have good experience with your drivers. Again, because KISS... ;) It can work, though.
Order of installation should be W98SE, then XP, then W7, from my experience.
Don't be surprised, that W7, contrary to XP, may see itself located on drive C:, and W98SE (and perhaps XP) are shifted to another letter, while you are logged in to W7. This is to be expected, and does not affect your XP or W98SE-installation.

My simple way of solving a problem starting W98SE from the boot-menu after the installation of first XP, and W7 thereafter (problem not related to SSDs)
If you only install W98SE, and XP thereafter, everything will be fine at first.
But after installation of W7, W98SE may show up in the W7 boot menu, but may not be startable directly (an irritating error-message may show up if you try).
I was able to start it, by first choosing the XP-entry, and then again choosing W98SE from the XP-bootmenu, but found that annoying.
This seems to be a problem of this peculiar triple-boot combo, where W7 copies the boot entry from the XP boot menu, but does not locate the W98SE-bootblock correctly on its own.
After unsuccesfully trying some things out, i took advice from the www, installed EasyBCD (the free Version, V2.2.) on W7 (not on XP, though), and this enabled W98SE to boot directly from the W7 menu as well.
Take note, that this produces some new files and folders on C: you are not used to from simple Dual-Boot configs. Never delete these.
This is a working solution, but probably not the most elegant one. If you have more knowledge of building a working boot-menu than me, you may come up with a better solution, without using EasyBCD. (hi, jaclaz :hello: )

What about XP and W7?
I installed XP and W7 on SATA-SSDs - each OS on its own disk, one partition only. This is what i.e. the SuperTalent support recommends, to keep partitions as big as possible, thereby guarantieeing a better wear-levelling, which is better for the life-expectancy. And i found triple-booting difficult enough, and having three partitions was enough for me. I prefer simplicity.
While W98SE may be happy with 32GB for a gaming machine, i recommed 64GB for XP and 127GB for W7 as a minimum. Take care about keeping the partitions large enough to have "breathing space".
If you are to use SATA-6GB/s SSDs, check beforehand, if they can be manually set to SATA I or II mode, and if in doubt, choose SATA II SSDs, not SATA III. This is, because i experienced SATA II-SSDs completely not working on SATA I-ports (unfortunately not having jumpers to set to SATA I), and i suspect that may happen with SATA III-SSDs as well.
There are only a very few W98SE-capable boards that have SATA II controllers at all. Still, a new board with an SATA I controller may be better than a used motherboard with a SATA II controller.
As a filesystem, I use NTFS for XP and W7, for a bit better performance (you may not notice, though) and (definitely) better security.
One reason for using NTFS is NTFS-file compression, as this gives me 12-15% more space on my precious SATA-SSDs, and is said to enhance the lifetime of SSDs, as less data is written.
This decision can be helped by choosing the correct SATA-SSD-controller (NOT sandforce, that is), and this works better with a bit more powerful CPUs (esp. Quad-Core CPUs).

Anything else?
This is my very personal opinion, and this may make your PC even more expensive, but: Passively cooled CPUs and GPUs fit an SSD build particularily well, combined with two silent 12 or 14" case-coolers.

Well, this is it. Discuss! I will add meaningful ideas to this first entry. If i did say anthing dumb, correct me.
Besides, there are old games, which my children can oly play on this build. They love it. This makes me happy. This is only possible because of the support of the MSFN-community, so: THANK YOU! :thumbup

Ragnar G.D.

Edited by ragnargd, 18 October 2012 - 04:21 PM.



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#2
loblo

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If i did say anthing dumb, correct me.


You said Win7 is needed nowadays for doing usefull stuff such as browsing the web. :yes: :lol:

Good post and interesting/useful topic apart from that. ;)

:hello:

#3
dencorso

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  • Win7 (either x86 or x64) is not actually needed at all.
  • XP can be installed normally and run without any issues on FAT-32.
That said, I agree with loblo:

Good post and interesting/useful topic apart from that. ;)



#4
jaclaz

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You'll need an IDE to IDE Adapter, and probably something to build it into a 3'5 " bay.

It must be a very sophisticated piece of electronics.... :whistle:

Do not build multiple partitions on any SSD (NEVER partition in multi-boot)

WHY? [1]

Don't fill any SSD with more that 80%

WHY? [2]

This:

Don't be surprised, that W7, contrary to XP, may see itself located on drive C:, and W98SE (and perhaps XP) are shifted to another letter, while you are logged in to W7. This is to be expected, and does not affect your XP or W98SE-installation.

Advice for solving a problem starting W98SE after the installation of first XP, and W7 thereafter (problem not related to SSDs)
If you only install W98SE, and XP thereafter, everything will be fine.
But after installation of W7, W98SE may show up in the W7 boot menu, but may not be startable directly (an irritating error-message may show up).
You CAN still start it, by first choosing the XP-entry, and then again choosing W98SE from the XP-bootmenu, but that is annoying.
I installed EasyBCD (the free Version, V2.2.) on W7 (not on XP, though), and this enabled W98SE to boot directly from the W7 menu as well. Take note, that this produces some new files and folders on C: you are not used to from simple Dual-Boot configs. Never delete these.

(with all due respect :)) sounds to me a lot like:
I have not even the faintest idea on how to properly setup a multiboot system with Windows98, XP and Windows 7, by pure chance I found an app that *somehow* does what I needed, thus I recoomend everyone to use this method.


This simply makes no sense :(:

While W98SE may be happy with 32GB, i recommed 64GB or 127GB with XP and W7 each.

WHY?[3]

You shall not use FAT32 for XP or W7.

WHY? [4]

Mind you, you have all the rights in the world (and even one more) to have your opinions and report your experiences, but when you "recommend" or say "don't do this" or :w00t: "You shall not" , there should be some (possibly "sound") reasons behind these statements.

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz, 13 October 2012 - 07:08 AM.


#5
ragnargd

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If i did say anthing dumb, correct me.

You said Win7 is needed nowadays for doing usefull stuff such as browsing the web. :yes: :lol:

My son visited a site with drive-by malware (the famous DNS-changer).
As his OS was W7 64bit, with restricted user-rights, the malware was able to bend his DNS-settings, but wasn't able to install a trojan, nor to spread that s***.
XP would have been infected right away.
So, W7 64, with restricted user-rights, Firefox with No-Script and Adblock, Antivir, plus Threatfire, that's what i built as a safe browsing environment for them.
My children and my wife know, using the XP or W98SE for browsing is not allowed (not a good idea, regarding my wife ;), and as i showed them what the malware tried, they accept that happily.
If it were only for me, I'd rather use a specialized VM with some Linux-flavour in it, but that would mean investing even more time for my home-network, which i do not have.

Good post and interesting/useful topic apart from that. ;)

:hello:

Thank you! :blushing:

#6
ragnargd

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  • Win7 (either x86 or x64) is not actually needed at all.
  • XP can be installed normally and run without any issues on FAT-32.

I'll try to add reason to my essay. Thank you for the feedback!

#7
tomasz86

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My son visited a site with drive-by malware (the famous DNS-changer).
As his OS was W7 64bit, with restricted user-rights, the malware was able to bend his DNS-settings, but wasn't able to install a trojan, nor to spread that s***.
XP would have been infected right away.

Any decent software firewall will be enough to protect from this...

post-47483-1123010975.png


#8
submix8c

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With all due respect, I have to agree with everyone else in that I view this topic as a "mixed bag". That being said, it appears to be more of a log of your experiences.

Now to disagreement on the "security" subject...

XP is perfectly capable of running FF and NoScript as well as a good AV. Even better is to install a "better" firewall, IOW, bi-directional, not just "in" as is with XP and is very much the same as a Router. It also can have a "restricted rights" User. From an Admin account, you can even block accesses to files/folders entirely.

I myself have the above set up on my PC's, the exception being a Restricted User since I'm the only one. However, I did set up my daughter's PC for her children with all of the above.

Conclusion - Win7x64 is no better in respect to WinXPx32 for the purposes of "security". Not to say Win7x64 is not better as far as security, just saying security can be accomplished with nearly any OS.

And if you had a DSNChanger on it then you did get "caught" with the Trojan no matter how you word it. DCWG DSNChanger info just so you'll know the facts and fixes.

Someday the tyrants will be unthroned... Jason "Jay" Chasteen; RIP, bro!

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#9
ragnargd

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My son visited a site with drive-by malware (the famous DNS-changer).
As his OS was W7 64bit, with restricted user-rights, the malware was able to bend his DNS-settings, but wasn't able to install a trojan, nor to spread that s***.
XP would have been infected right away.

Any decent software firewall will be enough to protect from this...


That's right. This was only to show that W7 is inherently more safe than XP out of the box. Because of my family, I tend to set up more lines of defense, so it is neither this OR that here, but usually both.

#10
ragnargd

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W7 and XP Security is an important discussion - some of us being parents, and such - but to stay on topic, i'll try to retreat from discussing this. Of course, it was me starting this, my apologies...... :angel

#11
ragnargd

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With all due respect, I have to agree with everyone else in that I view this topic as a "mixed bag". That being said, it appears to be more of a log of your experiences.

I'll try to be more explicit on this fact right at the start.

#12
ragnargd

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(with all due respect :)) sounds to me a lot like:
I have not even the faintest idea on how to properly setup a multiboot system with Windows98, XP and Windows 7, by pure chance I found an app that *somehow* does what I needed, thus I recoomend everyone to use this method.

No offence taken. I don't claim any deep knowledge on boot-menu, so it may be as you say.

Mind you, you have all the rights in the world (and even one more) to have your opinions and report your experiences, but when you "recommend" or say "don't do this" or :w00t: "You shall not" , there should be some (possibly "sound") reasons behind these statements.

jaclaz

I did not answer your extensive advice in detail in this mail, but i tried to improve my thread a bit on the subjects you mentioned. And I removed "you shall (not)" whereever applicable... :blushing:
By the way: Do you have any advice on solving this problem without BCD? I'd happily throw BCD out, if there is a better way...

Ragnar G.D.

Edited by ragnargd, 13 October 2012 - 11:54 AM.


#13
dencorso

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W7 and XP Security is an important discussion - some of us being parents, and such - but to stay on topic, i'll try to retreat from discussing this. Of course, it was me starting this, my apologies...... :angel

While I do think you're right and security should be the subject of another thread, I'd like to say two things about it, before moving on:
  • A good hardware router, nowadays normally part of a wireless&wired router, usually comes with a firewall, which should be carefully set-up, because it is the first line-of-defense, just as the internet signal reaches your home. It's quite useful and it shouldn't be either neglected or omited.
  • Probably the most secure machines among all those owned by MSFN's are those owned by herbalist, who uses Win 98SE in a default-deny security setup. So, in what regards security, perhaps Win 7 may be the most secure out-of-the-box. But here, too, YMMV.


#14
loblo

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Just a word also about online security. A 98/ME box never running IE or outlook is more secure online than any NT based OS up to 8 IMHO. ;)

#15
TmEE

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Kingspec IDE SSDs are garbage, mainly because there is NO wear levelling and you will wear out the drive quite quick (a year or two) to the point of uselessness.
SATA to IDE adapter and a SATA SSD is the best combination, those IDE SSDs have such stuff in them already anyway (at least Kingspecs do).
Posted Image Mida sa loed ? Nagunii aru ei saa ;)

#16
jaclaz

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@ragnargd
I presume this originally inspired you:
http://thpc.info/dualboot.html

EasyBCD (which BTW by now is not anymore free) uses (senselessly) .Net, but much worse than that, uses grub4dos, "renaming" it as "neogrub" (and pointing to the help/references of GRUB legacy). :w00t: :ph34r:

There are several ways to make a triple boot 7/XP/9x system, the mentioned guide is suitable (though using unneededly and only in order to make it "easy" the EasyBCD tool) for a multi-partitioned single disk.
Since you are using several devices (it is not clear to me whether you are using 2 or 3 SSD's, one is for 9x and there are other 2 for 7 and xp or just another one for xp/7 "together" ) there are simpler/better ways (and several different options).
Only the triple booting alone would need a separate (longish) thread as well as having 9x running on a modern hardware (and with more than 1 Gb RAM) - as a matter of fact such of these long topics already exist.

Very loosely the situation is the following, you have:
  • an (oldish) OS that uses NOT a bootloader and NOT a bootmanager (9x)
  • a OS (XP) that uses a bootloader that can double as (limited) bootmanager (NTLDR)
  • a OS (7) that uses a bootloader that can double as (limited) bootmanager (BOOTMGR)
  • optionally a (good) bootmanager that does not double as bootloader (grub4dos - or the "renamed" neogrub)
  • optionally other sets of tools (MBR loaders, redirecting bootsectors and what not)
There are more possible combinations of them than you can possibly want to know, out of all the possible ones you made your choice ("right" or "wrong" doesn't really matter :)) which is OK :thumbup (as long as it works for you) the point beiing simply that other people may want/need (and can have) a different approach that is more "suited" for them.


jaclaz

#17
ragnargd

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@ragnargd
I presume this originally inspired you:
http://thpc.info/dualboot.html

Right you are. There goes another Sherlock Holmes... :hello:

If i could, I'd rather get away from EasyBCD, and, but that's just me, if possible, just by configuring the system without external software.
WIthin another month i'll build another Triple-Boot system, for multiplayer legacy-games. I hope i can ask you these questions again, and will open a new thread on this when i'm at that stage again. Meanwhile, i'm fighting with the virtualisation of my WHS in Hyper-V 2008, which has more prio atm, to be able to set up my own Ryzom Core server on an Ubuntu VM on thax box as well.

Thank you very much!

Ragnar G.D.

#18
jaclaz

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Right you are. There goes another Sherlock Holmes... :hello:

Guess why exactly your "title" is "Newbie" whilst mine is "The Finder" :whistle: ;)

If i could, I'd rather get away from EasyBCD, and, but that's just me, if possible, just by configuring the system without external software.
WIthin another month i'll build another Triple-Boot system, for multiplayer legacy-games. I hope i can ask you these questions again, and will open a new thread on this when i'm at that stage again.

Sure we can talk of it :).

jaclaz

#19
ragnargd

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Kingspec IDE SSDs are garbage, mainly because there is NO wear levelling and you will wear out the drive quite quick (a year or two) to the point of uselessness.

Good to know, i'd like to add your experience to my list. Do you have a source for this information? Own experience?

SATA to IDE adapter and a SATA SSD is the best combination, those IDE SSDs have such stuff in them already anyway (at least Kingspecs do).

Out of experience, i'd rather not. During the beginning of SATA, i used SATA <-> IDE adapters, and i have some laying around here. I used these, to get rid of one or another controller, to improve boot times. Unfortunately, even with simple devices as (empty!) DVD-Roms, i had lockups, which only disappeared, when i reconnected the devices to their original controller. I can't put my finger on reasons, though, it may just be bad luck.

Edited by ragnargd, 18 October 2012 - 04:38 PM.


#20
TmEE

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I have the info from my own experience and by looking into the components datasheets (which may be rather hard to find).

There are a lot of SATA bridge chips, some work better than others. Marvell makes some good chips, new WD PATA drives use thsoe for example.
Posted Image Mida sa loed ? Nagunii aru ei saa ;)

#21
tomasz86

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Out of experience, i'd rather not. During the beginning of SATA, i used SATA <-> IDE adapters, and i have some laying around here. I used these, to get rid of one or another controller, to improve boot times. Unfortunately, even with simple devices as (empty!) DVD-Roms, i had lockups, which only disappeared, when i reconnected the devices to their original controller. I can't put my finger on reasons, though, it may just be bad luck.

Because there are many different adapters and the most popular (=cheap) ones are usually a piece of junk.

Check this topic: http://www.msfn.org/...s-whichwhatwhy/

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