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Torchizard

OS Compatibility

64 posts in this topic

I'm wanting to build a 'vintage' PC to experience some older OSes. I'd like to install MS-DOS (with Windows 3.11), 98SE and XP on a triple boot on multiple HDDs with the following hardware:

ECS P4M800PRO-M V2.0 Motherboard

Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 (2.8GHz)

2x 1GB Corsair DDR2 sticks

4GB Segate Medalist (HDD for DOS)
80GB WD HDD (for Windows 98)

320GB WD HDD (for XP)
2x CD drives and a floppy

PCI IDE\SATA card in case I ever need more HDDs

Can anyone see any potential problems that I can encounter with this setup? (I am aware of 98’s compatibility problem with 512+ MB of ram and problems with 137+ Gb HDDs)

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I see a couple but I'll let the Win9x experts take over.

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I'm wanting to build a 'vintage' PC to experience some older OSes. I'd like to install MS-DOS (with Windows 3.11), 98SE and XP on a triple boot on multiple HDDs with the following hardware:

ECS P4M800PRO-M V2.0 Motherboard

Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 (2.8GHz)

2x 1GB Corsair DDR2 sticks

4GB Segate Medalist (HDD for DOS)

80GB WD HDD (for Windows 98)

320GB WD HDD (for XP)

2x CD drives and a floppy

PCI IDE\SATA card in case I ever need more HDDs

It is not necessary to use separate Hard Drives for each OS. There are various Multi-Boot options.

Can anyone see any potential problems that I can encounter with this setup? (I am aware of 98s compatibility problem with 512+ MB of ram and problems with 137+ Gb HDDs)

I have solved these.
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It is not necessary to use separate Hard Drives for each OS. There are various Multi-Boot options.

I'm using separate Hard Drives because they're rather old so if one of them were to fail, it would just take down one OS instead of all three.

But if I were to use multiple HDDs, would the default bootloader that comes with XP be able to recognize and boot from the other hard drives containing DOS and 98?

Edited by Torchizard
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What about the CPU and the RAM? Will those be a problem for Windows 98?

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This motherboard seems to be perfectly "at the end of 9x support range." If there are 9x drivers for the Chipset, Audio, and LAN on the board, then there shouldn't be any problems whatsoever. Even without those, it should be possible to use it, but it would require the use of addon cards that do have 9x drivers to replace the Audio and LAN. (Note that this may require searching for these drivers in places other than the manufacturer's website if they are not provided there. First search similar boards at ECS, if you can't find suitable ones there, then search similar boards elsewhere.)

It appears to have been originally a P4 board that had its capability extended to support later processors, and it uses an AGP slot and has IDE connectors. All of this indicates that it should be usable.

If one doesn't mind purchasing RLoew's RAM patch, then there is the added benefit of being able to use more than 512MB of RAM, particularly useful in a multiboot setup with XP.

Edited by LoneCrusader
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There are posts here that solve the ram issue.( rloew) And the CPU depends I dont think it would be an issue though cause my computer was built for XP and runs 98 like a charm. :)

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If one doesn't mind purchasing RLoew's RAM patch, then there is the added benefit of being able to use more than 512MB of RAM, particularly useful in a multiboot setup with XP.

Would alternate RAM patches such as http://tinyurl.com/o5um7qm have the same effect as PLoew's patch?

And also to all the people that have been talking about CPU support, according to my research, only 98FE had a GHz limit, and also since 98 only supports one core, the second would probably just remain unused without any stability problems.

Edit: Also I forgot to add that the PC will include a ATi Radeon 9800 XT card which appears to have 98 and XP drivers.

Edited by Torchizard
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Would alternate RAM patches such as How to install Windows 98 in modern motherboards using more than 1 GB have the same effect as PLoew's patch?

No. All of the various "tweaks" floating around for using more than 512MB of RAM under 9x are only good up to ~1.5GB of RAM, IF they even work on your system at all. None of those tweaks ever worked for me at all. Anything over 512MB resulted in a crash, without fail, until I purchased RLoew's patch.

And also to all the people that have been talking about CPU support, according to my research, only 98FE had a GHz limit, and also since 98 only supports one core, the second would probably just remain unused without any stability problems.

Windows 95 suffered from CPU Speed bugs at 350MHz and 2.1GHz. Windows 98FE only suffered from the 2.1GHz bug. (For the record, both errors actually affect Intel/AMD CPUs at slightly different speeds.) However both of these errors can be fixed and are therefore irrelevant. Q312108 for 98FE, FIX95CPU for Windows 95. Windows 98SE and ME are not affected.

HyperThreading and/or multiple CPU cores are simply ignored by Windows 9x.

Edit: Also I forgot to add that the PC will include a ATi Radeon 9800 XT card which appears to have 98 and XP drivers.

Yes, that's a good choice. The drivers are still available for download. I have a stockpile of those built up for the future. :angel

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No. All of the various "tweaks" floating around for using more than 512MB of RAM under 9x are only good up to ~1.5GB of RAM, IF they even work on your system at all. None of those tweaks ever worked for me at all. Anything over 512MB resulted in a crash, without fail, until I purchased RLoew's patch.

Is RLoew's patch supposed to be applied after installation? So will I need to also get a 512MB stick aside from the 2x 1GB ones to install 98 on?

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No. You can install RLoew's RAM Limitation Patch with just one or both 1GB sticks inserted. Download the demo and read the manual.

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Does DOS have similar issues if it's installed with large amounts of RAM?

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Does DOS have similar issues if it's installed with large amounts of RAM?

Only Programs that use Extended Memory might have a problem.

DOS itself mainly uses the low 640KB memory space. With HIMEM and EMM386, it can access more of the 1.06MiB Real Mode addressable space so it doesn't see a lot of RAM.

Programs can page in and out all of 32-Bit RAM using HIMEM.

Without adding an option to the HIMEM.SYS Command in CONFIG.SYS, you may have problems above 2.5GiB.

It is also possible that a Program itself may have a bug when more memory is present than it was designed to handle.

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Without adding an option to the HIMEM.SYS Command in CONFIG.SYS, you may have problems above 2.5GiB.

So since I will only be using 2GB, would that mean that it should mostly work except for, as you said, these apps that have bugs with large amounts of RAM?

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Right!

With 2 GiB DOS, particularly MS-DOS 7.x (the one that comes with win 9x), should work with no hiccups.

From the working DOS you can then install Win 9x using Usher method (limited to seeing/using 1 GiB RAM) or RLoew's patch (accessing all the RAM).

Take a look at the machine list (post #2) in my > 1 GiB RAM thread, and muse over it for a while, taking into account what has been said in this thread.

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Without adding an option to the HIMEM.SYS Command in CONFIG.SYS, you may have problems above 2.5GiB.

So since I will only be using 2GB, would that mean that it should mostly work except for, as you said, these apps that have bugs with large amounts of RAM?
I vaguely remember a DOS Extended Memory Application that choked over 2GiB because it used signed arithmetic.

With 2 GiB of RAM this shouldn't be an issue as slightly less than 2GiB will actually be available.

Edited by rloew
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With 2 GiB DOS, particularly MS-DOS 7.x (the one that comes with win 9x), should work with no hiccups.

From the working DOS you can then install Win 9x using Usher method (limited to seeing/using 1 GiB RAM) or RLoew's patch (accessing all the RAM).

Take a look at the machine list (post #2) in my > 1 GiB RAM thread, and muse over it for a while, taking into account what has been said in this thread.

I was originally planning to install DOS 6.22 but since you brought up 7.x, can it be installed alongside 98, (eg. different partitions) and what are the benefits\added features over 6.22?

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Main advantage: FAT-32 and long filenames (LFN).

Yes, it's installed by default with 9x. I recommend 98Se.

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Yes, it's installed by default with 9x. I recommend 98Se.

I know that it is installed by default in 9x. I was asking if it can be installed on a separate partition alongside 98SE with its own version. So can you have this sort of setup:

Disk 1: DOS 7.x

Disk 2: Windows 98SE (which includes its own 7.x)

Disk 3: Windows XP

Edited by Torchizard
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Yes, it's installed by default with 9x. I recommend 98Se.

I know that it is installed by default in 9x. I was asking if it can be installed on a separate partition (multiboot with 9x). So can you have this sort of setup:

Disk 1: DOS 7.x

Disk 2: Windows 98SE (which includes 7.x)

Disk 3: Windows XP

DOS needs to start from First Active Primary partition of First disk.

You need to change disk order in BIOS (or use a tool like grub4dos and change disk order with it).

But to run *only* DOS, if you plan to use grub4dos anyway, having it in an image makes a lot of sense.

jaclaz

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Yes, it's installed by default with 9x. I recommend 98Se.

I know that it is installed by default in 9x. I was asking if it can be installed on a separate partition (multiboot with 9x). So can you have this sort of setup:

Disk 1: DOS 7.x

Disk 2: Windows 98SE (which includes 7.x)

Disk 3: Windows XP

DOS needs to start from First Active Primary partition of First disk.

You need to change disk order in BIOS (or use a tool like grub4dos and change disk order with it).

But to run *only* DOS, if you plan to use grub4dos anyway, having it in an image makes a lot of sense.

I'm not wanting to install only DOS, I am wanting to create a multiboot system with each OS on a separate HDD. This brings up another question. Would the default XP bootloader work or do I have to install a 3rd party one such as GRUB?

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I'm not wanting to install only DOS, I am wanting to create a multiboot system with each OS on a separate HDD. This brings up another question. Would the default XP bootloader work or do I have to install a 3rd party one such as GRUB?

Yes and no.

Again, DOS NEEDS to start from active primary partition on first disk.

If you have three disks of which two contain DOS you need to change the disk order.

This can be done by a third party tool or by entering the BIOS and changing disk order (that may or may not be an option in your specific BIOS, and in any case, it is a nuisance).

The NTLDR is mainly a OS loader with very little capabilities as bootmanager and cannot exchange disks.

You can have DOS 6.22 and DOS 7.x+Win9x on the SAME disk and partition (as this is one of the intended uses of NTLDR and DOS 7.x/Windows 9x has a "special" provision for it) but not on different disks.

Among the third party tools, grub4dos (which is NOT GRUB and NOT GRUB2) has some dedicated features aimed to the "DOS/Windows world" among them the possibility to be chainloaded from NTLDR without needing any "install" and it is strongly suggested.

But, again, grub4dos has also the possibility to load and run a DOS from a disk image, the suggestion was to have (since you are going over a multi-disk approach):

  • a disk dedicated to DOS 7.x+Windows 9x (containing also the NTLDR+BOOT.INI+NTDETECT.COM)
  • a disk dedicated to Windows XP
  • any number of disk images residing on either of the two other disks (or on a third one) with each image dedicated to a given version of DOS

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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I'm not wanting to install only DOS, I am wanting to create a multiboot system with each OS on a separate HDD. This brings up another question. Would the default XP bootloader work or do I have to install a 3rd party one such as GRUB?

Yes and no.

Again, DOS NEEDS to start from active primary partition on first disk.

If you have three disks of which two contain DOS you need to change the disk order.

This can be done by a third party tool or by entering the BIOS and changing disk order (that may or may not be an option in your specific BIOS, and in any case, it is a nuisance).

The NTLDR is mainly a OS loader with very little capabilities as bootmanager and cannot exchange disks.

You can have DOS 6.22 and DOS 7.x+Win9x on the SAME disk and partition (as this is one of the intended uses of NTLDR and DOS 7.x/Windows 9x has a "special" provision for it) but not on different disks.

Among the third party tools, grub4dos (which is NOT GRUB and NOT GRUB2) has some dedicated features aimed to the "DOS/Windows world" among them the possibility to be chainloaded from NTLDR without needing any "install" and it is strongly suggested.

But, again, grub4dos has also the possibility to load and run a DOS from a disk image, the suggestion was to have (since you are going over a multi-disk approach):

  • a disk dedicated to DOS 7.x+Windows 9x (containing also the NTLDR+BOOT.INI+NTDETECT.COM)
  • a disk dedicated to Windows XP
  • any number of disk images residing on either of the two other disks (or on a third one) with each image dedicated to a given version of DOS

jaclaz

So what would be the advantages of using disk images instead of having the data 'raw'? And would these images be accessible to different OSes?

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So what would be the advantages of using disk images instead of having the data 'raw'?

Not needing to change disk order and only use the third party bootmanager for those.

Better using the available devices.

A full install of DOS 6.x or earlier, including any DOS program of some utility ever written :w00t: and a considerable amount of data created with those programs would top at - say - 300 Mb.

If you are really clever and manage to actually have *all* programs EVER written for DOS :ph34r:, this will top at around 600/700 Mb.

Quick reality check, when DOS 6.22 came out it was year 1994 AD:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_DOS_operating_systems

At the time the size of a common hard disk was within first CHS barrier, i.e below around 528 Mb:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/127105/article.html

http://www.dewassoc.com/kbase/hard_drives/1024_cylinder_528_limit.htm

likely below 250 or 300 Mb.

And would these images be accessible to different OSes?

Of course such images can be mounted on other OS, namely on DOS 7.x and on XP though there may be issues from Windows 9x.

jaclaz

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So what would be the advantages of using disk images instead of having the data 'raw'?

Not needing to change disk order and only use the third party bootmanager for those.

Better using the available devices.

A full install of DOS 6.x or earlier, including any DOS program of some utility ever written :w00t: and a considerable amount of data created with those programs would top at - say - 300 Mb.

If you are really clever and manage to actually have *all* programs EVER written for DOS :ph34r:, this will top at around 600/700 Mb.

Quick reality check, when DOS 6.22 came out it was year 1994 AD:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_DOS_operating_systems

At the time the size of a common hard disk was within first CHS barrier, i.e below around 528 Mb:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/127105/article.html

http://www.dewassoc.com/kbase/hard_drives/1024_cylinder_528_limit.htm

likely below 250 or 300 Mb.

So when you said that DOS needs to be on a active primary partition on the first disk, did you mean an active primary partition on a HDD that is a Master on IDE Channel 1?

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