Author Archives: drew1440

Sony VAIO PCV-L630

Featured on Tech Tangents (Akubuku) Youtube channel, this is a slim form factor PC released in 1999 and was positions as Sony’s premium line of PC’s.


This one was pretty simple since the hard disk contents was extracted and put u for download. To transfer it back to a bootable 86box image required me to created the VHD and initialize it using FAT32 (via the Windows 95 OSR2 boot disk), then to mount the VHD using disk manager on the host system. Lastly the files could be copied back to the drive.

For 86Box, the Tyan Tsunami ATX motherboard was used as it uses the same chipset (Intel i440BX) as the PCV-L630. For the graphics an ATI Mach64 can be substituted for the 3D RAGE somewhat, but you will be missing 3D acceleration (No bundled applications use this currently).

First Boot

Since we are using a different configuration that the OS does not expect, we have to go through the New Hardware messages and prompts. However I did encounter a weird System File Error message that related to a DDEML.dll file that was complaining that was replaced with an older version. Akubuku did mention some files were corrupted, likely due to failing sectors on the hard drive but this turned out to be CAB files that were replaced with one from a Windows 98SE CD.
I wasn’t sure how to fix this or what caused it. It could be when I extracted the file out of the archive. Booting into Safe Mode didn’t do much, since the OS was complaining about the file being in use I figured Safe Mode would be an environment where it could be fixed.

I decided to use the System File Checker, just to make sure everything was intact but its hard to know if these file changes are the result of Windows update

OEM Customization

Four background wallpapers come included which are part of an Active Desktop script that changes the background depending on the time of day. Very similar to how the XMB background on the PlayStation 3 and PSP worked. Different resolutions and colour depth can be selected.

A screen saver (VAIO Tour) is included which appears to show off the different features of the system, built on Macromedia Flash. This can also be opened from the desktop and features as a demonstration/advert of the computers features. It seems more suited to use in a retail environment.

A VAIO Light Blue colour scheme also comes included and selected by default. This comes in a similar colour to the actual desktop unit.

Included Bundled Software

Adobe PhotoDeluxe Home Edition

Adobe PhotoDeluxe was a consumer-oriented image editing software program that was first introduced by Adobe Systems in 1996. It was designed to be an easy-to-use photo editing tool for home users, and it offered a range of basic image editing features, such as cropping, resizing, color correction, and special effects.

PhotoDeluxe was popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s as it was one of the few image editing programs that was accessible and easy to use for non-professional users. However, as more powerful and comprehensive image editing software became available, Adobe discontinued PhotoDeluxe in 2002 and instead focused on its other photo editing programs, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Adobe Premiere 5.1

Adobe Premiere 5.1 is a video editing software program that was released by Adobe Systems in 1998. It was an upgraded version of Adobe Premiere 5.0, which was the first version of the software to offer support for Windows 98. It included several new features and improvements over its predecessor, including enhanced support for real-time video editing, improved performance, and expanded compatibility with a wider range of video and audio file formats.
As this computer shipped with a iLink (Firewire 1394 connector), video capture from a DV camera.


A plugin for Adobe Premiere, The primary function of Sony DVgate was to allow users to capture digital video footage from their Sony cameras and camcorders and then edit that footage on their computer. The software supported a range of video formats, including DV, MPEG-1, and MPEG

Media Bar

A suite of applications for media playback, this included a visualizer, minidisc player, and a DVD player. None of these work on a non-Sony system.


Software by Logitech to take advantage of the mouse that shipped with the PC. This includes a set of custom mouse cursors.


Can only run on Sony hardware, PictureGear is a software program developed by Sony that was pre-installed on some VAIO computers in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The software was primarily designed to help users manage and edit digital photos, including importing, organizing, and enhancing images.

Smart Utilities

This appears to be an office productivity suite developed by Sony, at least licensed by them. It appears to use the VAIO colour scheme if one is set. Programs here include Smart Write (Word Processor), Smart Label (Lets you create birthday labels) and Smart Publisher which let’s you upload files to an FTP server, possibly HTML files for web use.
There is also an image viewer which can be used to create labels that appear on the desktop.

Sonic Foundary Sound Forge XP

Sonic Foundry Sound Forge XP is a digital audio editing software that was developed by Sonic Foundry and released in the early 2000s. The software was designed to provide professional-grade audio editing and processing capabilities to users, with a focus on music and audio production.

Sound Forge XP offered a wide range of features for audio editing and mastering, including tools for editing, processing, and analyzing audio files. Users could use the software to perform tasks like trimming, splitting, and merging audio files, as well as applying various effects, such as reverb, echo, and distortion.

Other Software

Quicken Basic 2000: Quicken Basic 2000 was one of the earlier versions of Quicken and was designed to run on Windows operating systems. It offered basic features and functionality, such as the ability to track income and expenses, create a budget, manage bank accounts and credit cards, and generate basic reports.

Netscape Communicator 4.5: Popular alternative web browser that integrates an email client, Some of the key features of Netscape Communicator 4.5 included the ability to display websites with advanced HTML features, support for JavaScript and CSS, and integration with various internet services like AOL Instant Messenger, Netscape Netcenter, and RealPlayer.

VAIO Action: Appears to be a utility to control the soft keys on the included keyboard and the applications associated with them.

Control Panel

There is a VAIO power scheme which by fault disables the monitor and hard disk standby.

There is an applet for the Aurreal Vortex sound card that was built into the systems motherboard which lets you adjust the sound capabilities of the system. Non functional as 86Box does not emulate this sound card.

UI Design Selector: Lets you change the user interface for many of the VAIO applications, These do not use the standard Windows UI elements with Sony opting to use their own. Included schemes are VAIO Purple, Vintage Gold, Black and Silver and Windows.

Links Image

OEM Customization files – Includes the wallpapers, OEM Information text, colour scheme registry key and screensavers

eMachines eTower 466ix

The eMachines eTower 466ix was a budget desktop computer released in 1999 by eMachines. The system was made available with an Intel Celeron clocked at 466MHz, 64MB of RAM, 4.3GB of storage (which varies based on the model) and integrate Intel graphics. Windows 98 Second Edition is the operating system used here.

Recovery Install Process

Recovery is started by booting from the CD. As with other eMachines recovery software we need to have a pre partition disk (does not need to be formatted but must be initalized using the FDISK utility) before we can begin the install.

Had to switch motherboards after the recovery was complete as I got hammered with IOS errors upon bootup, changing to the ABIT LX6 worked much better. Plus it had the advantage of having a similar if not the same chipset as the original motherboard, albeit with no onboard ATI video.
The eTower also had a Crystal sound chip onboard along with the software but we can sort of substitute it with the Crystal 4236B ISA soundcard that is supported in 86box.
Windows 98 does not seem to come with a driver, so a third party driver must be installed.

Desktop First Boot

Windows 98 boot screen, with the Microsoft logo on the top right.

Looks very similar to the eMachines eMonster that was also a Windows 98SE based install, but we see a lot less software bundled and installed.

The eMachines website, or whats left of it

OEM Customisation

We get a few emachines desktop backgrounds for us to use:
E – Windows 98 dark blue background with the emachines logo centred
Emachine – the emachine logo in 800×600
Ewall – same as Emachine but zoomed out slightly, also 800×600
Ewalls – low resolution of Ewall, at 640×480

The Musica sound scheme is set as the default with no customer schemes included or set.

Included software


The eWare bar come bundled and appears at the bottom, but on top of the Windows taskbar. This will show shortcuts to popular internet website in addition to a few adverts right on your desktop. There are dedicated buttons for shopping and search engine sites.

Most of these are custom affiliate links which haven’t been archived by the OldNet, so we just get an error page.

There is also an option to take a survey. There is also some sort of search function that similar to Sherlock that’s included on MacOS 9 that can pull search results from Yahoo, Lycos and AltaVista.

Voyeta AudioStation

An audio/MIDI playback application which functions only on Crystal soundcards, at least for the one bundled here. This means it wont function on say a Creative Soundblaster but if we use the Crystal 4236B ISA soundcard in 86Box and install the appropriate drivers (they’re not bundled in Windows 98) we are able to use the application. Again it gives the appearance of a mid 90s home HiFi.

ATI Video Player

A simple video player that makes use of the video acceleration that some of ATI’s RAGE chipsets had supported. 86Box does not exactly emulate a RAGE based chipset but we do have the ATI Mach graphics cards to use instead.
It does work somewhat, I can playback AVI files with the exampling being one pulled from Microsoft Garden Home software. The video can be scaled in size and mentions support for MPEG video.

Other Software

Microsoft Works: A basic office Suite, Works 2000 Version 5.0 is installed here.
Netscape Communicator: A shortcut exists on the desktop but it not completely installed opening it will launch the 4.6 installer. This will also install RealPlayer G2.
AOL 5.0: Also has to be installed from the desktop
Adobe Reader 3.01: It’s a bit old as its copyright is dated from 1997 and Reader 4.0 was released in April 1999
Microsoft Money: Finance management software


Archived discussion of motherboard specifications

Restore CD –

Compaq Presario 5000 series

A basic internet orientated desktop PC install that features Windows ME. Very similar to the HP Pavilion and the eMachines system that were looked at previously. Compaq was a major OEM of Wintel machines, with the Presario line being orientated for the home consumer market. Systems like these typically come quipped with a Celeron, Intel or S3 onboard graphics an ‘Internet’ keyboard that features dedicated web browser nd email keys and Windows ME or 98. The will commonly have bundled software or ISP offers to entice you to join.

Compaq Presaio internet PC

You can kind of see Compaq trying to stylise their computers, as a response to the funky looking iMac and the eMachines eOne, rather than having them appear as a typical beige box.

Recovery Process

This appears to not be the actual recovery program, as the original would have been restricted to function on that actual machine. However using this bootable utility we can restore the hard disk image back to the system. This fruitions even if the hard disk isn’t initialised or formatted, as the utility can do this for us.
This recovery image is password protected,

Boot Up

16 colours my old friend

Starting Windows ME for the first time. After the splash screen it lingered on this screen for a while with the mouse cursor flickering between the pointer and the hourglass, indicating it was working in background.
What’s actually happening is Windows ME is detecting and installing the new hardware and unlike Windows 98, it does not spam you with a dialog box indicating as to what’s going on.
At least for system devices, since it did pop up for the video card, along with the PS/2 keyboard and mouse.
Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, since the hardware detection stage is done during the OS install, but since the recovery program transferred an existing install to the disk which was designed to be used on different hardware, it has to go through the detection process again.
After around 10 minutes we are presented with out desktop.

A utility pops up soon after logging in. This appears to be an. The Compaq engineer would install any additional software or hardware drivers if the customer had requested it, and would then click on the ShutDown button in this utility. Then when the end customer would boot up their system, they would be greeted with the registration wizard, along with the tutorial. This would mean the end user would already have their additional software installed and ready to use,
In my case, this was an excellent opportunity to get the video and sound drivers up and running, as Windows ME did not have a driver for the video card I had chosen (S3 Trio3D)

Windows ME had a infamous reputation for stability which was undeserved im my opinion, as I’ve found 98SE to be more unreliable. Part of the issue was ME dropped some DOS support which upset the luddite’s that wanted to use their own ancient hardware when the rest of the world was trying to move on, and OEMs slapping together botched installs with tons of adware as they race to the bottom of their profit margins.
The truth is, Windows ME is a perfectly fine OS, so long as you get the drivers right which can be said for any OS really. The 9x series of operating systems were not known for the reliability and were more of a botch that just about managed to work. Frankly I can understand why Microsoft wanted to jump straight into NT with Windows XP.

The introduction and setup wizard, complete with a speaking wizard, Merlin who sounds like a chronic smoker. Once you have accepted the licence agreement you are presented with your new desktop.


Compaq included a few wallpapers that are selectable and are pretty much the same pattern but with a different colours (Ruby, Sapphire, Amethyst, Amber, Emerald, Jade and Grey. This kind of reminds me of the iMac G3 colours.

There is also a custom colour scheme set by Compaq but it has no pre-set name. So if you choose another colour scheme then its lost.

Theres even a custom Internet Explorer throbber that appears

A screensaver that is included called BackWeb. This appears too be some sort of bulletin board what pulls information online and displays it in a news ticker format (like in SimCity 3000) With no server connectivity it just appears to refresh itself repeatedly.
This isn’t a bad idea of a screensaver, being very similar to the Active Desktop Channel screensaver or the Wii News Channel.

The utility that manages content going into the Backweb screensaver

Included Software

Compaq Remote Support: A utility where a customer representative can remotely control you PC, useful for support purposes if the end user requires support or is experiencing technical issues. Typically this would be sold as part of a support package and is aimed for novice issues who are not experience in diagnosing issues or perhaps installing software. Still im not sure how well this would have functioned over a dial up connection.
Windows would later included a utility into the operating system itself with Windows XP.

Netscape Communicator – A popular alternative web browser, for those that do not wish to use Internet Explorer, Netscape also included an email client. Version 4.7 is included here ad features the Compaq throbber.

Microsoft Money – Finance and accounting software, version 2000 is used here

Compaq Help – A customised version of the Windows Help & Support with additional links to Compaq programs and utilities

Compaq.Net – Opens the Compaq branded internet connection wizard

There are also some premade web shortcuts located on the desktop like Compaq Treasures and another for online backup.

A weird omission is Microsoft Works, or any office applications which allows for basic word processing or spreadsheet use. Possibly this would be bundled with a specific SKU of the system that would have been installed by the engineer before shipment.

Control Panel Items

Compaq Connection Helper: Lets you change the default internet browser and the internet connection to use.

Digital Helper: Lets you customise the digital dashboard, which is the LED light that are present on the keyboard. In addition to the standard Caps/Num/Scroll lock indicators there’s a message/alerts and a power/sleep indicator.
There is also a internet time sync feature that allows the system to be synchronised the time & date with a server, as Windows ME lacked this feature. Microsoft would introduce this with Windows XP.
The email notification light can also be configured here, which requires you to manually setup the email server connection settings and would light up if there’s an unread email in your inbox. It does not appear to detect email from applications like Outlook or Eudora.

Easy Access Buttons: The keyboard that was shipped with these machines featured a dedicated easy access buttons that could be assigned a function for customized look.

Intel Graphics Technology: As this computer would have featured integrated Intel graphics, this utility would let you adjust advenced graphics settings.

HP Pavilion 6630

An early 2000s desktop PC running Windows 98SE, designed as a basic desktop PC for simple web browsing as evidenced with its included software which is geared to the casual home user.

The Pavilion is HP’s brand of conventional desktop PCs tailored to the home market, similar to IBM’s Aptiva and the Dell Dimension line.

According to an archive CNET page, it has a Celeron 500MHz processor with 64MB of memory and a 10.2GB hard drive. For 86Box I used a smaller 4GB hard drive and a slower processor to ease on the emulation. Variations of this model exist with different optical drives, hard drives and processor combinations with some coming with AMD K6 processors and CD-R drives.


Starting the recovery process, which just inflates the OS files from a previous install. There is no instillation wizard, HP just took an install and made a restore image out of it. This does mean a lot of New Hardware dialog boxes will appear due to this, and I had originally intended to use it on a HP Brio motherboard in 86Box, but had great difficulty with resource conflicts and BSoD’s. The Virtual PC profile/motherboard worked much better instead.

With the old VM it even thought the floppy drive controller was a tape drive.

Post Restore

We are booted into a wizard that asks us to confirm the licence agreement, set the keyboard layout, confirm our region and our OEM product key. After a reboot, another wizard starts:

Before we get to the desktop, we are invited to complete the registration wizard where we enter our name, address and our product key which would have been provided in a separate booklet.

And then after that we are given a tour of the operating system, as some users may have been upgrading from a Windows 95 system, or might even be their first PC. This goes around the basic elements of Windows 98 and gives an animated demonstration of navigating Windows Explorer. This also complement’s the built in Windows tutorials for Microsoft.


The Windows desktop with some of HP’s customisations. You will notice the HP Internet Manager, which provides easy access to various internet sites and are sorted by categories affirming that this computer was designed for the consumer that wants to browse the internet.

Clicking on any of the links (Such as Shopping) will open Internet Explorer with a customised link to that page. It sort of works in a similar manor to the internet channels included with Windows 98 and is HP’s replacement for the channel bar. Also, when you click on a link, large green text appears to the bottom left of the screen showing which button you clicked. I think this is supposed to replicate the OSD of many TV’s of the 90s where volume would be displayed in that style of display.

Sadly most of these links are long since dead, and the wayback machine does not hold any archived copies, possibly because they were not designed to be indexed. All of them lead to a domain.

Whilst we have Internet Explorer open, we can see the Yahoo! Toolbar that was preinstalled. Yahoo was popular at the time and was the common homepage for many users, similar services were AOL, Lycos and AOL. As for Internet Explorer, version 5.00.2614.3500 is installed.

HP have also bundled a few favourites (Bookmarks) of their own with links to their corporate and dedicated Pavilion homepage.

Also another look at the green OSD, it appears when you adjust the volume too. You can actually customise this in the HP keyboard utility. Changes that can be made include the duration of the message, colour and font size.

Themes and Customisation

We can see HP have included a customised desktop wallpaper, in fact there are four of them provided in different colours (Purple, Green & Blue) and HPStndrd which is a lighter version of blue.

HP also added three custom colour schemes that can be selected in the appearance tab, again the choices being Blue/Green and Purple

Also a shot of the system properties box, with the OEM logo and support information.

Bundled Applications & Utilities

Microsoft Encarta 2000 – Preinstalled but requires the Encarta 2000 disc in order to do anything.

Microsoft Money – Finance management software, the 2000 edition is used here.

Microsoft Works – basic productivity suite that includes a word processor, organiser and a spreadsheet application.

Trellix – Some sort of website builder that included a few templates that allowed for users to create and build their own website. I wonder if they will work with WordPress?

Quicken – Basic 2000 comes preinstalled and is a personal finance management utility, similar to Microsoft Money which was also included. I guess here you’re supposed to populate this with you bank statements and recent purchase’s, so you can get a rough idea of your balance history.

There’s a few online services included within the Online Services folder – AOL, AT&T WorldNET, Disney’s Club Blast, EarthLink, GTE Easy Sign Up, MindSpring, Prodigy internet and Compuserve.

Also, a Games and Entertainment category in the Start menu. Here you can find links to RealPlayer G2 and MusicMatch JukeBox which was a popular MP3 music player, along with a link to There are also shortcuts to Windows games like Solitaire.

There is a My Yahoo program in the Start Menu, clicking on that takes you to an internet connection wizard that is HP branded. Since we are connecting via LAN, we can breeze past this. Dialup internet was a very common way of accessing the internet and would have been the de facto way of getting online, but was also around the era where cable and DSL broadband internet was starting to become mainstream.

HP Help: Help and support centre for novice users. This can give information about your HP system and comes with a link to the user manual. This does require a separate CD that has this contained, it is not saved on the hard disk.

FAX (QuickLink III) Fax application, if you cannot use the built in Windows fax utility.

Lastly we also have McAfee security suite which can be found in the system tools folder. This includes the anti-virus and the V-Shield that acts as a firewall. A necessity as Windows did not come with any virus protection at all, that was left up to the end user or the system builder and may would bundle either McAfee or Norton Security.

The typical Windows 98 experience

Additional Links

Recovery Image – – This version is cracked which allows for it to be installed on any PC or virtual environment and is an alternative to a regular install. There are two versions with the November 1999 being linked, an August 1999 version exists but has not been tested, perhaps that’s regular Windows 98FE?

Acer Extensa 700

A first look of a typical Acer OEM install

The Acer Extensa 700 was a high end business class laptop released in 1998, and came with a Pentium II processor running between 233 – 300Mhz, offered 32 or 64MB RAM and came with an integrated 56K dial up modem. Optional docking accessories were made available supporting DMI 2.0

Although 86Box has a few Acer branded motherboards, there are a few issues in getting them to run due to the erratic keyboard controller they implement. For these its recommended to use the VirtualPC BIOS which can be found in the miscellaneous section of the motherboard list.

The Restore utility

Originally these restore images were designed to be used on the system they had shipped with, as often they will contain software that is either licenced to that particular machine / model, or uses specific drivers that the hardware requires.

That said, I used a modified recovery image that can be found on the Internet Archive. From the looks if it, it appears a few files on the boot floppy image have been modified to allow instillation on non Acer machines.

Recovery Image –

A Windows 95 version also exists, I guess this system was released between the two OS’s.

Boot up was pretty straightforward since this is a bootable CD, we are booted directly into the recovery utility where the system immediately begins its restore. This does require us to have initialized the disk in FDISK prior.

Initially the recovery seemed to be going well, and it immediately quit and dumped us to an A:\ prompt. This was a little odd, as normally recovery software informs the user the recovery process has completed and that they can restart their system. Still I rebooted, only to find it was stuck on an missing operating system error.
I decided to run the recovery again, thinking maybe it has crashed the first time but to no avail. IT would exit to the a:\ prompt after reaching 100% completion and upon reboot there would be no bootable OS.
I fired it up with the Windows 95 boot disk and check to see the status. Running a dir command on C:\ shows no results, and running FDISK showed no partitions, despite me creating and formatting to FAT32 prior to running the software.

It was defiantly writing files to the disk, as I could see the status icons in 86box light up for the hard drive, and the VHD file has grown to around 550MB meaning that files had defiantly been written to the hard disk (VHD image files can be set to dynamically expand as they are used).

This was bizarre and I wasn’t sure what was going on, was the recovery program nuking the partition table? Or maybe the virtual HDD wasn’t big enough and it was overwriting data.
Unlikely since I had created 4GB image, and FDISK defiantly detected the full amount, along with the BIOS.

The Solution

I decided to try an alternative method, there is a way to manually invoke the recovery program which might let us see whats going on.

To manually start the recovery process, point your command line to the TOOLS folder, then run GHOSTRO.EXE

To do this you must be in a command prompt that has been booted into the recovery image, this is located in the [BOOT] folder and is the Boot-1.44M.img file

You will need to manually locate the image file, this can be located in the IMAGES\PRELOAD.HDD location on the CD. Its worth noting the CD drive gets mounted to a different drive letter for the recovery only, it follows the standard Windows conventions after restore has completed.

The image field is password protected, the password being ACERMSU in block capitals. This was found in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file, located in the floppy image file on the CD 9 located in the [BOOT] folder and is the Boot-1.44M.img file)

You are then given the option to select which drive or partition you wish to recover to

Recovery started again, looking similar to the original process, but this time we are told to press Ctrl+Alt+Del to reboot the system

Look! An OEM customized boot screen for Windows 98. It wasn’t uncommon to see these on Dell, Compaq or TIME PCs of the era.

Since we are running this on completely different hardware, we need to go through the hardware detection process which will take a while and will require a few reboots. Window s98 should have the drivers on the hard disk in CAB form so it should not prompt for the install CD-ROM.
It’s a good idea at this point to keep the 86box hardware as simple as possible, don’t install any sound/network cards or SCSI controller just yet.

Never seen this before, appears Windows 98 has to reconfigure itself. I guess this cleans up the old hardware that is no longer used.

Once we have the graphics card drivers installed, we can explore the install fully, An S3 ViRGE or Trio32 is recommended as 98 has built in drivers and support for hardware acceleration, plus you get basic 3D capability though for some serious gaming you will want to give it a Voodoo.

The included background wallpaper, which is an active desktop wallpaper.

The system properties box, showing the OEM logo and support information.

Despite the VM not having IrDA support, we still see the icons for it in the system tray and the My Computer.

A utility to change the modem region, but the system cannot find the included modem.

A full guide to the notebook computer, presented in HTML form. This acts as an user manual of sorts. It seems Acer neglected to update this for Windows 98 as much of the documentation refers to Windows 95 or NT.

A look at the notebook manager which is the program that interacts with the laptop BIOS, Which does not function on this VM sadly, we only have the screenshots from the manual to go by.


Seems to be a PIM (personal Information Manager) management tool which makes sense as this would have been marketed as a business computer. Developed by Pumatech

After loading we have this small window that lingers on the desktop

We first need to create a sync relationship, possibly with an external PDA or drive

The file transfer utility

The support screen, which just gives you the opportunity to register the software and view the readme

Lastly the synchronize tool to connect with another drive. I’m not sure if this is for a specific device that Acer might have bundled with this laptop or if its using a standard protocol to exchange data. This could be intended to sync files with a remote server, like a workplace domain for when the user needs to take their system home for the day. They can then later upload their files back to the server when they come in the next day
This was way before the days of cloud sync service like Dropbox or OneDrive
You could also use this to backup files to another hard drive, or an external Zip or Magneto optical disk (which 86Box supports)

Trying to backup the entire PC to a 100MB ZIP disk, I assumed it would only backup the documents folder.


Some soft of MIDI/CD player and mixer that makes use of the soundcard built into the machine. Probably not much use with the SoundBlaster we have instead.
The DAT section has me curious, can this play digital audio tapes if one is connected?

MIDI files can be played, but you need to add them as part of a playlist first.

SafeOFF – some sort of utility that refuses to run, possibly an ACPI power standby utility.

And that’s it, very little bundled software with notable exceptions like Microsoft Works or Quicken which seems weird for a business laptop, perhaps they expected the user might already have access to Microsoft Office from their business or workplace?

There isn’t much included in the way of these or colour scheme, overall it’s a nice install of Windows 98 and not bloated like the Sony VAIO was.

Acer Extensa 700 Archive product page

IBM Aptiva 1996

A 1995 OEM install that was deployed on their Aptiva line of systems which are IBM’s consumer line of home computers. Not sure of the specific model, but it could be a generic restore image used for the Aptiva systems of the era.

86Box has a limited amount of supported Pentium IBM machines, with the closets models being PS/ValuePoint P60 – an early Pentium PC. Since a system of this era would have shipped with Windows 95, this appear s to be the closest match

Once rebooting we are presented with a lot of hardware installation dialogue messages as this was intended to be used on a different machine. Windows 95 does support a lot of this hardware out of the box but we need to run the New Hardware Wizard for it to be detected and installed. For this I recommend only having the base hardware setup in 86box, don’t add any network, sound or SCSI controllers just yet.

86Box Configuration

Machine: IBM PS/ValuePoint P60
Processor: Pentium 60MHz
Memory: 32MB – 128MB Max
Graphics: Tseng Labs ET4000/w32 – 2MB
Sound: SoundBlaster AWE32 PnP (Has an additional IDE channel)
Network: Realtek RTL8019AS

After install we are treated to a tutorial application that goes through the basics of using a mouse. Next we are given the opportunity to register our PC, either via mail or modem.

Windows 95 B, released a few months later and adds few improvements compared to the original release.


A few bits of bundled software

Netscape 3: The internet browser that comes with the system, this must have been before Microsoft mandated that OEM bundle Internet Explorer into their systems. Speaking of which, Internet Explorer 3 also comes with the OS. I always liked this version of IE due to the background italics on the explorer bar.

IBM Lotus SmartSuite
Instead of Microsoft Office IBM opted to include their Lotus SmartSuite software which was a competitor suite of applications that bundled a word processor, spreadsheet and organiser software into one package

One of the premade templates, memo.

And Lotus 1-2-3 that was once the industry standard spreadsheet software. Possibly still being used

And lastly the organiser, this incorporates an early form of skemorphism with it representing a real diary book.

And the actual devil itself which looks like a Windows 3.x program. The big Push here button kinda makes it look like a pop up window scam.
Updates are delivered through floppy disk although you could probably download them from the IBM website. The program simply asks you for the file path of where the updates are located.

In the Accessories, Games folder there are a few options that relate to MS-DOS such as EMS boot and XMS. These would relates to certain types of memory that DOS had used and was needed to use certain games. Selecting these options will reboot the computer into that specific DOS mode. Honestly I’m not sure which games require a specific mode, but I remember my old TIME PC having a similar set of options in its bootup menu.


In the Accessories, Games folder there are a few options that relate to MS-DOS such as EMS boot and XMS. These would relate to certain types of memory that DOS had used and was needed to use certain games. Selecting these options will reboot the computer into that specific DOS mode. Honestly I’m not sure which games require a specific mode, but I remember my old TIME PC having a similar set of options in its bootup menu.

Tutorials for Windows are also featured here, which follows basic Windows concepts such as the taskbar, expanding and minimizing windows to the taskbar and using the Start menu.

Thee are also links to the bundled software applications, meaning this acts as a software launcher.

Lastly a look at the systems BIOS of an IBM ValuePoint, with a clean looking setup utility. The hard drive is limited to around 520MB and it cannot address any further. Larger hard disks might be possible with a SCSI controller, plus it would let you add up to around 7 different drives.

The BIOS is straightforward to navigate, with the arrow keys being used to select and change settings. The Pg Up and Pg Dn keys can be used to cycle through the different screens.

Archive of recovery image

PCem or 86Box are your only means of running this, as virtual machine will run into the general protection error upon bootup.

Lindows 5

The next release of the popular Linux distro. The Lindows name flew too close for Microsoft’s likening, and after a couple of legal BS, Lindows was rebranded as Inspire. Should have renamed it to Linsta instead as Windows Vista was due for release next year.


The OS has also received a slight makeover also, bringing it closer to Windows XP Luna style of interface.

We are also treated to a redesigned installer which aims to make it even more user-friendly. Here it explains the different elements of Inspire

After a reboot, we are presented with a new splash screen.

Another EULA with a few more options to configure like the time zone.

After the installation has been completed a tutorial is then shown which guides the user on how to use various elements of the OS.


The Linspire 5 desktop. The Launch button to the bottom left acts as a Start menu of sorts and shows applications that are currently installed on the system, with recently used programs being displayed at the top section of the menu.

As with the previous versions there are dedicated buttons for the help center, file manager & internet applications.

Right-clicking on the desktop, the create new menu lets you create a new document from here. But this seems limited and does not include links to office applications that you would expect. Still, you can create shortcuts to applications.

The icon set for Lindows, also includes some Microsoft-inspired logos with the MSN logo.

The Mozilla-based browser

Sometimes we run into this error, the only fix is to reboot the virtual machine. 

Password prompt when a screensaver is currently running, by default the user account is root.

The mini calendar that appears when you click on the clock is located in the taskbar. This predates the Windows 7 calendar by around 4 years.

KDE Control Center

This serves as the Control Panel of sorts, various settings in relation to the user experience can be changed here but anything advanced will require the use of the terminal.

As in the previous versions, you select an option from the left panel which will open up its page.

A look at some of the included screensavers

Changing your user icon, they seem styled by the ‘smiles’ design that was popular of the era, they also seem to vary in size compared to the Windows XP account pictures.

You can change the appearance of the splash screen that appears upon boot.

Also here’s what happens when a program crashes or quits.

Installed Software

OpenOffice 1.1 – The default Office productivity suite, designed as a replacement to Microsoft Office and is compatible with most of its file formats.

LSongs – Music and media player that looks a lot like iTunes

LTorrent – A Bittorrent client

Lassist – A collection of organizer-like applications that include a calendar, reminders and an address book. Not sure if pronounced as L’assist or L-Assist

Lphoto – Organise and view photos imported from a digital camera

Trying to play a DVD video using the built-in media player turned out to be near impossible out of the box. Additional software will most likely be required since DVD is a protected format (MPEG2 was still patented). VirtualBox seemed to have a problem accessing the disc, as the Vm would frequently freeze and become unresponsive. Since DVD was in its prime when this operating system was released, not having native support was a serious setback for many casual users.

Additional Software

Additional software can be installed, but it’s difficult to locate them once installed as they do not appear in the Launch menu. I don’t know if there’s a launcher that I’m missing or if they are being installed in a separate location but whichever software I install cannot be opened using the Launch menu. The only thing I can do is locate it through the file manager and create a shortcut to it.

So after messing around in the launcher settings, there is a program group that exists in the Launch menu, known as the KDE menu. This is hidden by default but you can drag this to the Run programs menu which will allow you to run older applications or applications that don’t conform to Linspire’s menu structure.

Maybe this was to push users to use their CNR store/packages?

Firefox 1 can be installed and works fine but the install sets the location by default to the desktop?

SimCity 3000 failed to install which gave an error. Chances are the libraries used in this distro version are too new and we need to apply the fix that was done in Ubuntu 4.04. The text installer only seemed to work instead of the GUI install that came up in Mandrake.

Alpha Centurai was installed and worked fine but had no sound. Postal was also installed and worked fine, but still no sound. I guess the sound libraries had changed in this version, breaking compatibility,

Windows Chicago Milestone 5 (Build 73g)

Install was started in a similar fashion to the earlier build from DOS.
Setup looks similar to the earlier build, only we are prompted to agree to a few NDA’s, there are four in total that we have to accept.

Once there aps that we are prompted if we wish to install plus pack components, which consist of additional utilities. These would later come was the Windows 95 Plus! Expansion which added utilities like DriveSpace and high colour icons, kind of like a n expansion pack for Windows.

We are given an opportunity to add additional components, or amend the system configuration if we have any specific hardware that setup needs to know about. The Network Options is redundant as a message box is displayed informing us we can only configure network options later in the setup process.

The Chicago directory is used by default instead of the Windows directory, possibly to enable dual booting or too leave the previous install intact. This would be renamed to just the Windows directory once development had been finalised.

Additional component that can be added.

Machine configuration, we can see the setup utility detected the InPort mouse that 86box supports. VGA card wasn’t detected however, but our Tseng ET4000 can be selected s and used with the driver that comes with the install.

A weird message that came up, clicking cancel is recommended here since I started setup from the Windows 95 bootdisk. I think setup requires you to start it from a currently running MS-DOS session from the hard drive instead of a floppy boot disk which is why this happened.

Network configuration where you can setup the network card, the Novell NE2000 was used, though I had to amend the IRX to 10 instead of the default settings, 3.

Boot up screen with the windows logo dotting about.

The logon screen, from here you can enter a name and a password if you wish and Windows will create it for you. Pressing the cancel button will log you in regardless.

After the initial login we are prompted to setup a printer.

Setting up the VGA driver, at this point I realized the IDE CD-ROM drives were missing, leaving only the floppy, hard drive. I did try to used the MSCDEX driver to get them to appear but this did not seem to work.
The only workaround to get CD drives to appear was to use the SCSI CD ROM drive, which required be to repeat the install process. The Adaptec seems to be recognised and installed during setup.

Post Install

The Desktop, this build still has the separate start menu buttons, with the others being find and help.

The find button kind of mirrors Windows 10 in a way, that you can search directly from the taskbar. Chicago M5 just simply opens a menu to launch the find feature but does make it more accessible, later Windows versions would move this to the Start Menu itself.

Copying a file using the explorer interface. In this build this was still referred to as the File Cabinet

Disk drive properties window, this gives access to the capacity and used space of the drives present in the system.

Colour scheme settings, many of the Windows 3.x schemes are still present and can be applied, though some of the windows and buttons remain grey.

Advanced System, an early version of the Windows Device Manager which shows the current devices present in your system. The Properties button opens a separate window that lists the Manufacturer, Model, Device ID and Plug/Play capabilities. There is also a Resources tab for IRQ, DMA Channels and Address spaces. Many of the information strings are non functional and do not yet yield any information.

Microsoft changed the way printers are now configured, moving them to a separate folder in the Main program group.

Some applications in the Accessories group have change, and are now in 32bit flavour. The existing versions are still included.

The size of the taskbar can be changed by clicking and dragging the edge of the bar,. at a certain height the clock will shift to the left of the taskbar, likely to make room for further tasks and applications, something that later Windows versions do not do.


32bit software will be hit or miss, as the API has not been fully implemented, if at all. Windows 3.11 era software should work but anything multimedia-rich appears to have issues.

Microsoft Works: Installs and works fine, this was a lightweight office suite intended for home users.

Microsoft Encarta 1993: Installs fine but complains about the soundcard not being detected towards the end of the install. Runs fine.

Internet Explorer 3: This was the Windows 3.1 version of Internet Explorer 3, Installs but fails to run, revealing the error message ‘Call to Undefined Dynalink’ Rebooting after install revels a weird error message to press Ctrl+Alt+Del to reboot your mac?

Acrobat Reader 2.0: Installs and runs fine

Netscape 1: The setup installers complains about a dialog box that it cannot display? Also fails to launch after install.

Microsoft Entertainment Pack (Best of): Works just fine

Pressing Ctrl + Alt & Delete will show this message, this is replaced by the End Task dialog box in later builds.

Shutting down Windows

Lindows 4

Lindows 4, the next installment in the line of Windows-inspired operating systems and is an easy-to-use Linux operating system, designed to appeal to your typical Windows user of the era. 

This time I will be using VirtualBox 5, as the OS is a bit heavy for 86Box to handle. We should have some luck with the emulated hardware that VirtualBox uses and supports. Host machine uses an Intel Core i5 2500.

Install is pretty much the same as previous versions, simply choose the hard disk you wish to install and away you go. No need to optionally configure packages, though power users might prefer this to optimize their installation and remove stuff they do not see.

After installation we are greeted with a first run box that reminds us to set the time zone of our computer, along with the option to set an administrator password if one wasn’t set using the install. The screen resolution can also be set here, by default it’s 1024×768.

After this we are treated to a tutorial that explain the basics of navigating the operating system. This reminds me of the tutorial that would launch when you first started Windows 98, along with a slideshow list of features included in the operating system. For first-time Linux user this is a welcome addition and lets them feel comfortable using their new operating system.

The user can mouse over the different desktop icons and taskbar items to find more information on their purpose and how they are typically used.

Exiting the tutorial prodded to be problematic, despite clicking on the ‘Go to the Real Desktop’ link, the application froze. I waited a couple minutes but nothing happened, the OS become unresponsive.

A quick reboot brought the OS back to life, through the damned tutorial started again. I even saw a browser window showing a SWF file, proving the tutorial was made in Adobe (Macromedia) Flash, Luckily I was able to exit it this time.

For whatever reason Lindows Internet Suite decided to load, this serves as the default email client of the OS, along with the browser. From the looks, it’s just a rebranded version of Netscape Navigator. I believe this was the era when Netscape was purchased by AOL and began reimagining their web browser before making it open source, though the about box mentions Mozilla so maybe that already happened.

The Windows-like user interface

Click-N-Run is still at the forefront of the OS and was the preferred way of installing software rather than using a package manager. This was aimed at making easy-to-install software by mimicking the Windows way of installing via the use of a setup wizard.

The file manager of the OS, you can see a lot of inspiration from the Windows XP silver Luna theme via the button bar and the style of the icons which mimic Windows Explorer, yet the taskbar still has the Windows 2000 feel to it.

Two MP3 files come bundled with the OS, showcasing the multimedia capabilities. One is a typical pop song of the era, and the other is an audio voice thanking you for choosing Lindows. Kind of similar to how Windows ME included that Beck song, or that David Grey song in Windows XP

XMMS still looks like an OS X Aqua program with version 1.2.7 is used here. Also, our sound drivers are working! (AC97)

Images can be previewed within the file manager itself

Right-clicking can bring up a context menu that lists the different actions available

File properties window

It’s also possible to split view the file manager, like an earlier version of Windows snap though this gives it a total commander feel to it.

Clicking on the icon that looks like a lifeboat jacket brings a menu with a list of tutorials, and link for further help online. Like the earlier tutorial, it’s all drivers in Macromedia Flash 6.

Printers control panel, which uses the KDE Control Module. Here print jobs can be managed and canceled for physical and virtual document printers.

There are a few printers supported, but I don’t own any of them to test. It does give a few options for the type of printers, including SMB network-connected printers. USB is also supported, with the list corresponding to the amount of USB ports the machine has?

Quite a few options here, I guess the user has to trial and error them to see what works best? There are further options remaining for setting the borders of the page, the option to share the printer on the network and setting a page limit quota.

The Control Panel has had a slight redesign, let’s see what’s changed.

A few themes are included, with some mimicking your favorite OS. The default Lindows theme has been altered compared to previous versions.

I’m sure this was the wallpaper used on some Sony DVD players when they were idle (Powered on without a disc inserted)

A few of the included screensavers, the Virtual Machine one made me think the OS was self-aware in how was being run

One of the benefits of Linux is every element can be customized, and that trickled down into KDE and Lindows itself. Different aspects of the UI can be tweaked to your benefit. This won’t apply to most users who would rather pick from a default theme or style and use them, but is a nice option for power users.

Not much change has been made to the bundled applications, in-fact the only notable addition is the Wifi utility which is based on KWifiManager. I guess this only supports 802.11b networks using WEP, anything beyond that is unsupported.

A readme file written and left for us by Jack Donaldson explains some of the elements of their start menu and the file directories. Thanks Jack! 

I wonder if he’s still involved with Linux?

An extended look at the control panel, here we can find information about our system like the memory usage, I gave the OS 512MB which seems to be plenty. Information about the installed hardware can also be viewed in a similar manner to the Windows Device Manager

Shutting down Lindows

The Sims Superstar

Sims get their 15 minutes…

The sixth expansion pack where sims can get famous by following specific careers such as Acting, becoming a Model or a musician (Even though careers for these existed in the base game, and sims in those existing careers already do not gain any fame) It also introduced a new studio town community lot and a set of new objects.

Studio Town and Fame

Studio Town has a very 1950s Hollywood theme to it, since this was considered the golden era of Hollywood on which Studio Town is based on. Many lots consist of shopping sections, but will also cater to various different types of fame, with some being geared towards music, acting or fashion/modelling. Even if your sim is not part of the fame career, regular sims can still visit lots as guests and can interact with most of the objects.

To get to Studio Town, your sim will need to call for transportation, which will take them to Studio Town, from the lot select screen, you can highlight lots that cater to either fashion, acting, music, shopping or spa locations. Like other commercial lots, studio town can he customized by the player by entering a lot directly from the neighborhood view. Objects are grouped by the type and function of studio town lots (Food, Shops, Studio and Spa)

Also if you’ve played The Sims Bustin Out, some of the buy mode music will sound familiar 😉

Fame is measured through a level represented by stars, with sims staring out at level 0. Higher levels let your sim have access to further opportunities and will change the vehicle used to transport you to Studio Town, eventually being transported in a custom limousine.

At 0 stars you will only have access to karaoke or open mics which makes sense for the musician or acting paths, but not for modeling. As you level up you will have access to photo shoots and print adverts.
Getting 1 star lets you record Jingles at a recording studio, and 1.5 stars let’s you record a TV commercial. As you progress, more fame objects will become available for your sim to use. You will also notice your sims name in the Who’s Hot section of the Superstar leaflet.

The maximum is 5 stars, which will give you access to all fame objects and opportunities on the Studio Town lots.


DSTS Satellite Dish – Adds a few extra channels to all televisions on the lot, increasing the fun rating depending on your Sims personality and interests. Its appearance is similar to the old BUD C-band dishes that were huge (around 3m in diameter) that was common in the 80s, compared to the smaller satellite dishes that can fit on your house.

Ponce de Leon Tub – Increases your sims hygiene and comfort but is very time-consuming to use. It takes nearly a sim hour for them to get out, with is bad to use it before they go to work.

Whisper Steam Personal Steamer – A steamer for your sim, increases hygiene and comfort.

Flatscreen TV – a television that can be wall mounted to save space, and gives the same motive increase as the plasma screen does.

Uncle Roger’s Culinary Offerings – A buffet table similar to what was included in House Party or On Holiday, your sim just needs to set it for a fee and sims can grab a variety of meals from it.

The Face of Shakespeare – A high end bookcase that has an additional option to practice soliloquy which increases the charisma skill

Scuba Tank – Sims can enter this tank, although it takes some time for them to enter it. Increases their fun score.

Galileo’s Free-For-All – A mini skydiving simulator

Energize! Oxygen Bar – A bar that sims can sit down on, increases comfort and fun, and social if multiple sims use it

Movie Posters – These can be purchased in Studio Town and then can be decorated into your sims home when they return. Your sim will place them on the nearest surface, which you can then placed in build mode.


Butler – Alternative to the maid, although he does much more (gardening, greeting and preparing meals) and stays for a lot longer.

Obsessed Fan – Appears after your sim gains two or more stars, these will follow your sim around studio town and will appear randomly on your lot. They may also rummage through your sims trash and leave black roses on their lot. Having a butler helps shoo them away.

Lana -A helper NPC that your sim can use to find out different aspects of Superstar like the fame system, fans awards and name dropping to boost social.

Celebrities – A few real life celebrities appear int he game like Marylin Monroe, Avril Lavigne and . Additional celebrity NPCs could also be downloaded from The Sims website and have been archived. Andy Warhol also appears as one of the fashion set managers.


Studio town was a nice addition to The Sims but was lacking in several places, especially with the residential lots. Where are the mansions, studio apartments and condo’s for the sims to live in? The fame careers could have been integrated better as the base game already features a musician and actor career paths, neither of these have any effect in studio town.

The Sims 3 Late night is considered the spiritual successor for The Sims 3, the closest for Sims 2 would be Nightlife, but that’s more geared with Hot Date.