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.
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.
An existing Windows 3.1 installation is required to launch setup, and this release can be considered an upgrade of sorts. However very little gets transferred over, likening it to a fresh install
Results of the hardware detection, our SoundBlaster 16 is not detected, and neither is our network card.
A crash towards the end of the setup, this left the VM unbootable and we had to reboot into MS-DOS to launch the Chicago installer again. Providing you told setup to install in a different folder (Chicago instead of WINDOWS) then you can easily boot back in Windows 3.x
Installing again fixed it, no hardware change was done. Could just be a random bug in the install?
Upon first boot, Windows ‘explorer’ will convert your program manager groups to the ones that Chicago will use.
You will see that what we know as Windows Explorer will be known as File Cabinet.
The File Cabinet looks a lot like My Computer from the final builds of Windows 95.
The Main program group, it seems there are still elements of the old Program Manager present.
Windows Metrics, also known as just Metrics lets you adjust various user interface components, and lets you save and apply certain themes. There are currently no themes included by default.
Disk drive information for both floppy drives and hard disk drives, looks a lot better and more detailed than the final release.
System Information, shows build version and the amount of memory installed. Resourceses refers to the Windows GDI.
What looks to be device manager, a lot of things here are incomplete and show up as blank dialog boxes.
A heavily dithered graphic.
Right-clicking and bringing up the properties pane.
The full file browser, known as the file cabinet. An issue I found was this build does not show more than five drives, which is possible if you attach multiple SCSI drives. Since the floppy drives are useless in this build you might as well get rid of them.
Viewing and modifying the screensaver. All of these came from Windows 3.1
Modifying the desktop background
A list of games, and a look at Minesweeper game that comes included
The task pane, also you can customise the size of the taskbar. This seems like a docking area where icons can pinned for quick access, instead of displaying the active windows like Windows does today. Instead the tasks window serves this purpose.
Seems to be a very mixed bag in terms of what works and what fails to run. The full Win32 API has not been implemented so 32bit applications will not work and existing Windows applications seem to have a mixed compatability with some programs refusing to run or crashing.
Installs but does not run. Instead a Dr Watson error comes up
Microsoft Office 4.3 installs and runs without issues
This is odd, it installed but then claims not to find the exe file when we try to open?
Opera browser, installs fine (in another language for some reason, despite English being selected)
Internet Explorer 3 had a 16bit release for Windows 3.1 which should work on Chicago build 58 but it’s unable to run
Simpsons Cartoon Studio
The application tried to run in full screen, but the task bar on the bottom remains visible. Alos the Office toolbar (From the Office 4.3 install) remains visible. Another thing to note was the game failed to start using the shortcut provided by the installer, and only worked instead by navigating to the CD-ROM drive and launching the CD-ROM executable from there.
Installs and works fine, but it looks like a few graphics are missing from the installer and are replaced instead by a white box. This could be a driver or emulation issue with the Cirrus Logic video card used.
An on-the-rails arcade shooting game, here you only have to worry about aiming and shooting and all the movement is done automatically. There is still a challenge though and fast reflexes are essential to get a good score in Virtua Cop. If you’ve played Time Crisis you will be familiar with the concept, but Sega have implemented different mechanics.
By default you start off with the revolver, which is a standard pistol. Over the course of the game other weapons can be picked up like the shotgun or an automatic, which holds more ammunition and can fire more rounds without being reloaded, but can only be used through one ammo clip. You will lose the additional weapon if you get shot by an enemy or if you hit a civilian, when this happens you will revert back to the standard revolver.
The whole objective of the game is to shoot the bad guys, whilst avoiding the civilians. Shooting a civilian will cause you to lose a life whilst shooting and disarming an enemy gives you a justice shot bonus. You can use the environment to help you, by shooting the red barrels you can create explosions that can take out several enemies. Occasionally enemies will pop up on the screen and will throw an axe, you will need to shot them before their axe makes contact otherwise you will lose a life. These can take you by surprise, but remain consistent through multiple playthroughs, so over time you can memorise the enemy sequences. Some enemies will also throw a grenade, you must shoot the grenade before it lands.
There are three stages in total, at the end of each stage is a boss fight where you will need to shoot both the boss enemy and their projectiles.
Stage 1: Arms Black Market, Starts off on a shipping yard, where this is suspected criminal activity going on with the illegal import of weapons. The end boss is Kong, who uses a rocket launcher.
Stage 2: Underground Weapon Storage, Takes place on a construction site. Here the enemies start to become more frequent, with many popping up on screen, and environmental hazards involving vehicles now talking place. End boss here is called King (No, not the one from Tekken), and uses a flame flower that shoots balls of fire.
Stage 3: Gang Headquarters, We’re here in the EVL corporation headquarters. You fight shoot your way through the Skyscraper, through the various offices (equipped with Apple Macintosh Quadra 900s, guess we know what computers Sega was using back then). Here the enemies are a lot more quicker to react compared to the previous stages. At the end there are two gang bosses, Boss and Fang. Boss desk transforms into a mecha-suit that fires missiles, whilst Fang is an attack helicopter.
Virtua Cop debuted on the original Model 2 arcade board and was a light gun based game. The player uses the gun to aim at targets to fire and shoot enemies. Reloading is done through aiming the gun away from the screen and shooting. In total there are 3 stages, and can be played in any order. By default you have 5 lives, which can be amended in the games test mode. After all your lives have been lost, you need to insert credit in order to continue, but the game does allow you to pick up where you left off instead of starting from the first level again.
Sega ported the game to the Saturn in 1995 and was one of the fist games to be developed using the Saturn Graphics Library, which was intended to make it easier to develop games for the Saturn. Like other Model 2 to Saturn ports, the graphics quality has been reduced in order to adapt to the Saturn’s graphics hardware. The Saturn does make use of pre rendered FMV for some of the opening sequences, however the arcade opening sequences is rendered in engine, although modified to account for the Saturn’s design. The Saturn compensates for this with the addition of a couple of features like the training mode which helps you get used to the shooting mechanics by shooting a set amount of targets under a time limit. There is also a two player mode that can be access through the training menu.
The Saturn version also makes use of the Virtua Gun which is a light gun that functions only on CRT TV’s or the Saturn mouse.
Sega also ported the game to Windows in 1996 and makes use of DirectX X Like the Saturn version it also features a couple of features. However it still lacks the visuals of the arcade, even though some high end systems of the time were capable of Model 2 like graphics. It’s likely Sega assumed most players would be using software rending as opposed to a dedicated 3D card, and designed the game as such rather than targeting high end hardware.
Settings screen in glorious Comic Sans, and when 640×480 was considered high res
The PC port does suffer from a few issue’s in regards to how it is controlled. Navigating the menus is a pain, as you have to use the keyboard arrow keys and the enter key to select, the mouse cannot be used at all. Seems like the game was designed to be used mostly with the gamepad. The mouse can be used to aim and shoot, with reloading being done by double clicking the right mouse button quickly.
In terms of support the game was meant to be used for Windows 95, but will also work with Windows 98. No support for NT (Not tested yet). The game makes use of DirectX 2 for its 3D API. There is also support for the Nvidia NV1 accelerator, which Sega’s early 3D PC titles had support for, this also makes use of a special executable that runs on that graphics card only. No modern API wrapper for that card exists, and many emulators (PCem/86Box/QEMU) have no support for this unique card.
As with all CD-ROM based games from this era, this makes use of CD Audio for the games background music. In order for this to play back you must have the game in a BIN/CUE format since this preserves the audio subchannel data. PCem and 86Box do support this form of audio when mounting those images directly into the emulator, providing the correct image format is used. On an actual system an IDE hard drive with the CD Audio header must be connected to the CD Audio port on the soundcard, otherwise the music will not play, modern SATA drives and onboard soundcards will likely lack this interface.
Microsoft continued to upgrade the Windows 95 codebase in response to new technologies emerging from OEMs. OSR2 introduces FAT32 support, 1394 (But not USB) support and better support for MMX and P6 based processors.
Like previous releases this was only distributed to prebuilt OEM systems and was never sold at retail
The Windows desktop, slightly modified post instillation. The release notes is place on the desktop by default and gives an update on what has changed in this build. On a fresh build it pretty much resembles stock Windows 95 with its teal background, but you can change it to any background you prefer.
System information window
After using a few SoundBlaster and Windows sound system cards I’d thought id try the Gravis Ultrasound for a change, since this is emulated in PCem
This isn’t specific to this build of Windows 95 but I thought I’d cover it anyway but there were a few issues getting the driver installed
Even after a seemly successful install there are still errors that crop up upon boot. In the end I had to supplement the sound card with a SoundBlaster 2.0 for MIDI output.
Internet Explorer 3, this one comes with an italic background style, which was dropped in Internet Explorer 4. The icon on the desktop appears as ‘The Internet’ rather than Internet Explorer with the logo we all know.
Internet Mail and News
Internet Mail: Very similar to Outlook Express, a basic email client for use with an email service typically provided by an internet service provider
Internet News: Used to access newsgroups which were common back then. Sadly I wasn’t successful in getting it to connect to a modern newsgroup.
An upgrade from the previous version of DriveSpace, which is a disk compression program that compacts files on your hard drive to save disk space, at the expense of processing power.
Once compression has completed, the system will reboot back into Windows. A new drive letter will be created, with C being the compressed mounted volume, and H being the actual drive itself.
The Windows 95 Plus pack can be installed without any issues and grants full support of themes along with the additional utilities. Some of which are redundant as updated versions are provided in OSR2.
Opera – Whilst the browser wars were raging on between Netscape and Internet Explorer, Opera was busy doing its own thing albeit being a shareware/trialware browser
Ability Office – An alternative Office suite for Windows which has full compatibility with the Microsoft Office file formats
Adobe Reader – utility to view PDF format files, typically bundled with software that has its documentation in PDF format. I always liked the art style Adobe using in the splash and help screens, something nice to look at whilst the program loaded.
WinZip – Windows 95 explorer had no ability to open or create ZIP files from explorer itself, so a third party utility is required. The 16bit version is shown here, a 32bit version exists for Windows 95.
Macromedia Flash: Create and distribute flash animations and includes a web browser plugin for Netscape.
Norton AntiVirus 2.0.1: Version 2 was adapted for Windows 95 and contains a virus checker, virus definitions database with a list of all virus the program can detect along with information. LiveUpdate allows virus definitions to be updated over the internet using a modem or a LAN connection. A version also exists for Windows NT
mIRC – A popular IRC client (Internet Relay Chat, Discord without the bloat), sadly no longer connects on modern servers
Doom95 – Microsoft’s port of the popular Doom game for the Windows 95, making use of DirectX and being a full Win32 application rather than being DOS based, developed with Gabe Newell who was working for Microsoft at the time
Fury3 – Flight simulation game developed by Terminal Reality and published by Microsoft as part of their Microsoft Home series of titles
Motherboard: Packard Bell PB410A
Memory: 64MB – the maximum this motherboard can address
Another machine that’s supported by 86box and has a recovery CD available online
A desktop PC with a Pentium 166Mhz (No MMX), 32MB of RAM (Although we will be giving it 128MB, the max amount), an 8X CD-ROM, floppy drive, and a 2.1GB HDD. The PCV-90 was a higher-end machine and featured the Pentium at 200Mhz and a 2.5GB HDD. Both systems use the ATI RAGE 3D graphics card with 2MB VRAM.
86box does not support all of the hardware that the PCV70 shipped with, the ATI RAGE graphics accelerator is missing and currently un-emulated so we had to substitute another graphics card instead.
A copy was posted onto the Internet Archive which was the full backup disc that shipped with the computer, which was intended to restore the PC back to factory shipped state. This is where we encountered issues, the recovery utility rightly detected that the hard drive was unformatted since this was a new machine VHD, and instructed me to exit the interface and run a command, which would have initialized the disc. But these commands fail to run, they appear to be batch files that would have run FDISK with a specific argument to create the disc. There are two of these, one for each model since both models had different hard disk sizes.
When the CD-ROM boots, it mounts a virtual floppy drive to drive A: and the actual floppy drive is moved to B: This image is located as an IMG file and can be extracted and mounted in modern Windows. For some reason when this IMG file is booted, it loads some sort of customized boot disk but fails to load the CD-ROM drive despite it being detected by the Windows 95 or 98 bootdisks. As a result, the recovery utility cannot see the CD-ROM drive since that is running off the virtual floppy drive mentioned earlier. The reconvey utility is non-functional due to the lack of CD drive detected by the emulated boot disk, likely Sony is using a custom boot disk that came with its own set of drivers. When the driver loads you can quickly see an error message informing no CD drivers were found.
So in order to make these CD’s work with 86Box we are going to have to work around them
The easiest way was to install Windows 95 RTM, then boot into the recovery program and have it overwrite the files and replace the install, this also involved initializing the disk. To save time I would opt for a minimal install and use the RTM version instead of the later OSR releases as that’s the version Sony used (They actually used the plus pack version, which is integrated into the recovery image and gets installed regardless)
Once Windows 95 is installed and fully bootable, I had to trick the recovery utility to load files from the G: CD-ROM drive, but the regular Microsoft boot discs will place the CD-ROM drive as D: which the Sony utility will refuse to see. Multiple ways to do this was: Both methods work best when you have a basic Windows 95 install, this is because the recovery software has issues writing to the bootsector.
Method 1: Bruteforce SCSI
Add a supported SCSI adaptor to the 86box machine, and add a load of both IDE and SCSI CD-ROM drives with the hope one of them would become the G: drive.
I would then use the Windows 98 recovery disc, which has the SCSI drivers to detect the drives and load the recovery program. Once the boot disk environment had loaded, verify the C drive was accessible (If not FDISK it using FAT16). You have to type ‘lock C:’ to enable full access to the C: (See the Note below) Then I mounted the extracted OSBOOT file as a floppy disk in 86box. This was done by extracting the OSBOOT file from the iso and mounting it after the Windows 98 boot disk had loaded, once mounted I ran the recover.exe file and mounted the actual iso image under the G drive.
Once the recovery utility loads, select restore system without format, and it should begin the restore process, where it will copy the files onto the C drive, once completed you can reboot the system and it will go through the initial setup procedure. Remember to eject any floppy discs
Note: The version of DOS that the Windows 98 bootdisk shipped with disables direct writing to the C: drive by default unless the lock C: command was used before the recovery software was loaded. Even then the software had issues writing to the boot sector, so even after transferring and unpacking the files we were still left with an unbootable system. This is why I advised installing an RTM version of 95 then using the recovery utility to overwrite it with the Sony image.
Once the OS is installed you can remove the SCSI drive if you prefer.
Method 2: Modify the 95 bootdisk (Recommended)
Here we modify the existing Windows 95 boot disk to set the CD-ROM drive to be G: instead of D: The easiest way to do this was to mount 9Make a backup first) the bootdisk in a working Windows install or use a third-party utility, and edit the AUTOEXEC.BAT file on the root of the boot disc and change the line:
LH A:\MSCDEX.EXE /D:mscd001 /l:d
See the /l:d We want to change that to /l:g instead Then save This tells the DOS driver to start allocating CD-ROM or ATAPI drives from G: onwards
Now we mount and open the OSBOOT.IMG that was extracted from the Recovery CD, and pinch some files off it, namely the recover.exe, recover.ini, profile.ini and sony.exe All four of the files total 236KB and we want to copy them to the Windows 95 boot disk, If you run out of space there are a few utilities like regedit that can be deleted off the boot disk. Save and then mount the modified boot disc and boot the machine into it. If prompted on the startup disc, load the NEC IDE CROM driver. If everything is correct it should show
Drive G = Driver MSCD001 unit 0
At the prompt, type recover then hit enter (Should be on the A: drive) The recovery environment will then load Select Complete Restore Select Restore Original Software w/o Format You may get a few error messages that it was unable to copy certain system files, I believe this is related to the boot sector files I indicated earlier, as long as your original Windows 95 install was bootable then the recovery should work regardless.
I should note that despite testing both methods, both methods result in missing applications like Netscape Navigator. This wasn’t so much of an issue since I could reinstall them alter, and the recovery CD has dedicated options for reinstalling both browsers anyway, along with Microsoft Works and Money.
Update: It seems I had to do another reinstall, and on that one it did install both Netscape and Internet Explore, not sure what I did differently?
We had to substitute a few device drivers in order for us to have a working system
The ATI RAGE card is unemulated in 86box, instead, I used an ATI MAch64VT2 instead. Do note this card lacks MPEG decoding support so some video sequences will be corrupted and will just display a pink color screen
There is a shedload of software bundled with this VAIO PC, with many titles requiring an additional CD-ROM to be inserted in order to run, which would have been bundled with the system.
This was the default launcher that came with the system and would run in place of the Windows desktop, similar to the Packard Bell navigator and RM Window Box, oh and don’t forget Microsoft BOB. VAIO Space tries to take full advantage of the hardware that Sony offered and many parts of the launcher make use of MPEG video (which isn’t functional in 86box since no graphics card can accelerate MPEG video, so your left with pink squares instead.
There are a few different areas of the VAIO Space that contains links to dedicated applications: Home: Features links to My Space, a Welcome demo, the setting page. The Windows button takes you back to the 95 desktop My Space: Add shortcuts to your favorite applications. Windows: Take you to the Windows 95 desktop Help: Gives you a short description on how to use the VAIO Space utility
Net Space Accessible by clicking towards the top of the screen, this takes you ‘up’ and gives you a selection of internet applications like AOL, Netscape and Internet Explorer which were not installed on my system. There’s also links to Sony’s online website and an SOS button which opens up a phone dialler to dial 911
Screen 2 Click left from the home screen takes you to this screen, here you see four different categories: Work Center: features productivity software like Microsoft Works, Microsoft Money and Paint Reference Library: Links to reference stuff like Encarta, Family Doctor and Compton’s interactive encyclopedia. As the internet wasn’t very widespread it made sense to bundle this software/ Game Arcade: Links to various games like Wipeout and Mechwarrior 2, also featuring the entertainment pack games and the bundled windows games. Kids Land: Child-friendly software like 3D movie maker
Screen 3 Multimedia applications like the CdPlayer and WAV/MIDI player. These do not open the standalone windows applications, rather Sony’s own that they have bundled. The More A/V button shows the Window standard programs.
Judging from the software bundled, this was designed to be a family PC with various bits of software to suit everyone.
Overall its defiantly a unique experience and was designed to make it easier for novice users to use the system. Not sure how Microsoft felt about it though, image developing a new user interface only for some OEM to replace it with their own.
VoiceView: Seems to be a gateway to various online services, has an online game but this crashes when you try to open it
Billboard Music Guide: Needs CD-ROM
Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia: Needs CD-ROM
AOL: Desktop client for AOL, an internet service provider
Compuserve: Another Internet service provider client
Microsoft 3D Movie Maker: Popular movie maker application that was part of the Microsoft Home bundle
CyberPassage: Needs CD-ROM
DeltaPoint: Needs CD-ROM
Cartopedia: Needs CD-ROM
The Family Doctor: CD-ROM needed
Investor Insight: Another financial application
LAUNCH: Unknown, does not even open without the CD inserted
Microsoft Money: Accounting management software, the 96 edition is included here
Microsoft Phone: Looks like a phone dialer, to make calls through your PC
Microsoft Works: Microsoft’s basic productivity suite, version 4
Microsoft Reference: Works like an offline Wikipedia, needs a CD to run
Quicken SE Gateway: Looks to be a finance application and has a lot of links to various banks, requires a CD to fully run and appears to be trialware – limited to 10 launches.
Sidekick 95: Some sort of personal information manager, like Outlook that would store user contacts email address and phone numbers
Reader Rabbit: Needs a CD in order to run
American Heritage Talking Dictionary: Mainly functions as a dictionary, but has a few extras including an anagram generator and a thesaurus
Telephone Directory PC411: A phonebook application
Wipeout: A 32bit version of the popular PlayStation game, running using the ATI CIF graphics engine. Sadly 86box cannot emulate this and using a 3DFX or the S3 ViRGE won’t work because it’s designed exclusively for the ATI CIF API, which I hope to cover later on as there are quite a few titles that use this technology.
Also to note, WipEout was one of the launch games for the PlayStation
MechWarrior 2: Retail game that I’ll cover separately at some point in the future, again it needs its own CD-ROM
Microsoft Entertainment Pack: Included games like Chip’s Challange, Dr Black jack, and Jezzball to name a few
Hover: That game that came on the Windows 95 CD
This was one of the first home desktops to ship with onboard USB, two years before the iMac which was said to have popularised the standard. However, the version of Windows 95 that Sony shipped with the computer had no USB support. The intention was to ship USB support in an update once Microsoft had released the upgrade for Windows 95, which would be introduced in a supplement update to OSR2 which was released in August 1997, nearly a year after Sony had released the PCV-70/90.
Early Windows 95 USB was a bit of a disaster and didn’t have much support, in fact, it wasn’t until Windows 98SE that USB support was to the standard that we accept today, with the earlier versions lacking many USB drivers.
86Box does not allow for USB devices to be connected, so there isn’t much point in upgrading to this version anyway. Regardless i did try to upgrader it to a USB supported build, which ended up bricking the OS completely. Apparently you have to upgrade in steps first, to OSR1, then OSR2, then install the USB supplement, whilst I tried to install the USB supplement update only, which resulted in a VxD error upon bootup. Not even safe mode could rescue me here, I had to reinstall from scratch.
You would think the Microsoft installer would check first and tell me to upgrade to a supported version of 95, instead it just happily installed
Another OEM system, but this seems to be a motherboard that was used in multiple Gateway systems from around 1997.
Motherboard appears to be based on an Intel design, might be a clone of an Intel board but with a Gateway customized BIOS. This was possibly used in various different models used throughout the late Pentium era. I actually had a Gateway system that was in a similar time frame, but we had it second hand and the original owner had wiped it in favor of a fresh Windows 98 install.
Supports up to 128MB RAM Supports CD-ROM booting No sign of USB, 86Box cannot interface with USB currently
You will get the option to format as FAT32 or FAt16, whichever one you choose will depend on what build of Windows 95 you have, this restore Cd does not feature a Windows 95 install, instead it contains a set of drivers and utilities that are installed in conjunction to Windows 95, but you must use your own Windows install disk instead. FAT32 is supported on OSR2.1 onwards, whilst earlier builds use FAt16, if in doubt choose FAT16. I believe you can ‘Upgrade’ to FAT32 once you update the OS.
One potential issue here was the IDE CD-ROM driver, the restore CD gives you the option to choose, possibly because some systems might have used a propriety CD-ROM interface, or might be using the IDE interface on the soundcard instead. This could potentially cause issues if you choose the wrong option. For this I chose the Generic IDE-ROM driver, which can be found all the way at the bottom.
Once you begin the restore process you are requested to insert the Windows 95 install Cd and reboot, of which the system will begin to copy the Windows 95 files.
From here setup runs like a typical Windows 95 retail install, however on mine I encountered an error with the OEM serial number, and had to manually enter another one. I’m not sure of eyes are specific to the OEM version they were bundled with, or if each manufacture uses a slightly different algorithm, or maybe something failed to validate in the background.
Reboot, then Gateway software proceeds to install
Installs keyboard multimedia utility, then install utility freezes. I had to force a reboot at this point
A quick reboot and it then installs McAfee Anti-Virus
Installs DirectX 5, reboots again. Kind of redundant since OSR2 already included DirectX 5
Installs Microsoft Intellipoint, Gateway possibly bundled the Microsoft mouse with their systems
Lastly the sound card software install, Windows had already detected the SoundBlaster on install, but here it inclused the Creative sound software.
Appears to be a modem and address book software to manage internet connections and user contact information.
A MIDI and CD player with a Hi-Fi like interface, something similar was also installed on the Sony VAIO PCV-90
Adding a second drive
The motherboard has two IDE channels for a total of four IDE drive, with the SoundBlaster 16 PnP card we can also add an extra two for a total of six IDE devices.
Adding the second IDE drive, I encountered a problem since after adding it as IDE slave (0:1), Windows 95 would freeze upon bootup. The way to fix it was to use the Windows 95 bootdisk, use the FDISK /FPRMT command to initialize the salve drive, format as FAT32 (Or FAT16 if you are using an earlier version of Windows 95), then reboot and format within the boot disk. After then would Windows 95 boot up and mount the drive.
This was a bit dry, I presume Gateway didn’t bundle much with their systems or this is typically stored on another disk. From browsing the CD-ROM it’s a generic recovery disk with a range of drivers that covered the hardware that gateway would have shipped in their desktops. Any additional bundled software would have been shipped on a separate disk.
Even the OEM branding was scarce, I expected there to be a cow-skin themed wallpaper like the cardboard boxes used
Adding additional devices
PCI: Video Card (S3 Trio64) PCI: 3D Accelerator (3DFX Voodoo) PCI: For future use PCI: For future use ISA: Ethernet (AMD PCnet-ISA) ISA: For future use ISA: Soundcard (SoundBlaster 16 PnP)
PCI slots are based on the amount found on the Vogons wiki, there are four PCI slots in total but there may be many more as this board could optionally come with onboard video (This could be AGP?) Or sound. Some versions of the board came with an onboard S3 Trio64, the Phoenix in 86box was the closest match and as a bonus was automatically detected and installed during instillation.
86box has been able to emulate a large amount of motherboards, and has recently added a few OEM desktop systems to its roster. These are mostly faithful to the original hardware to the extent that you can access their bios. Quite a few OEM recovery discs have popped up on Archive.org which will only run on those actual systems they were intended for, since they often include an OEM copy of Windows.
Whilst this emulates the motherboard and the BIOS firmware that was shipped, certain pieces of hardware are left unemulated like the graphics adapter or the soundcard. Fortunately you are able to substitute alternative components, but you might run into issues upon first boot up since Windows may not have drivers preinstalled. The machine here I’m trying to emulate is a Compaq Presario 4500, of which the specifications can be found here: http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/bpb12296.pdf
Compaq QuickRestore Utility
This ran straight off the CD-ROM which was bootable from the BIOS and performed a few tests before initialising the hard drive, which had been newly created and had no partitions. After copying was done, the system rebooted and Windows 95 started up. This utility did require me to enter the serial number of the system, which I was able to find online.
Setting Up Windows 95
After the first reboot Windows seemed to have problems finding the graphics driver and reverted to using the failsafe VGA driver instead, which limited us to 16 colours. At this point we were prompted to register our system and to fill out the registration form. I somehow doubt Compaq (Or HP as its now known) have the registration servers active. After manually installing the graphics drivers for the S3 ViRGE that I had selected for the system, Windows went to the desktop and we are presented with the default Compaq desktop theme.
Bundled Applications & Utilities
Compaq Quick Access: Runs in the background and provides functionality for shortcuts to be used on the keyboard that would have shipped with the system. Here you can reconfigure the different ‘Easy Access Button’ to perform different function. By default they are used for the calculator and to open in the internet browser. This utility also manages the on screen display, which appears when the volume keys are pressed or if one of the media control keys (Play, Fast Forward, Rewind) are used. I’m not sure if 86box is capable of passing these commands through since it only emulates a regular PC keyboard.
Compaq Diagnostics: Displays information about your computer system and the Windows OS. You can view the specifications here
SPRYNET Connection Manager: Manages internet connections for the dial up analogue modem, replaces the standard Windows utility.
The Palce: A third party application that was bundled with the system, it seems to be some sort of online chat room server, similar to IRC but uses animated avatars and colour backgrounds to give the illusion of environment. Users could join different room dedicated to certain subjects. This Compaq system would have come with a free trial allowance to entice the customer to subscribe, beck before social media mould datamine the hell out of you. Sadly the servers are long gone.
SimCity 2000: Not sure what this is doing here, its just the network client and not the full game, maybe it was bundled with the Palace as a game that could be played using it? The full game is not bundled here.
Microsoft Works: The OG Oxymoron, this was a basic version of Microsoft Office bundled with OEM systems to give them basic Office functionality. It is considered productivity software suite which combines a word processor, spreadsheet and a basic database system. As it was a lot cheaper than Microsoft Office, it was commonly bundled with OEM systems to increase their value, although it was also available separately.
Money 97: Software to help manage your bills and bank accounts, before internet banking was widespread. I like the interface design and art used here, you defiantly wouldn’t expect to come across design like this in accounting software
AOL: Also bundled with the system and serves as the recommended ISP
The S3 ViRGE is supported on 86Box, albeit a slightly different variant that the Packard bell had used, possibly an OEM exclusive model. The SoundCard differs, using the Aztech 2316R, whilst 86Box is able to emulate the Aztech SoundGalaxy Washington instead, being the closest match.
A floppy disk was required to initiate the installation, since the CD was not bootable, despite the motherboard BIOS supporting CD-ROM booting. Once started, a recovery version of Windows 95 started up, and we were presented with the Packard Bell recovery screen where we were given a list of a few options: Restore the original boot files Re-Install the Packard bell software Re-Install the Windows 95 operating system
The only option that worked was the Windows 95 recovery since our virtual machine had currently lacked a formatted drive. When starting the OS recovery process, we were prompted to enter the system serial number to identify the system that we were running on. Since we did not have this to hand, we were able to bypass this by entering a series of random numbers. A warning message popped up regarding the number not being recognized but offered to install anyway. The recovery process then started, with a Windows 3.11 looking dialog box appearing to transfer various files to the hard drive.
After the file had finished copying over, the computer rebooted and started the Windows 95 setup utility, which looked the same as a generic install. You will be prompted to enter an OEM serial key, so be sure to have one when installing. Once again the system reboots and performs the device detection process.
USB Support? The motherboard BIOS has references to USB support, but this seems to randomly appear and disappear when entering setup, possibly an issue with the emulation? I’m not sure if the actual system even had onboard USB ports or if they were even functional, this was early 1996 when the motherboard was designed.
This serves as a replacement shell for Windows and as a way for novice users to navigate their system. From here you can open various applications that were bundled with the system itself, and add future applications that have yet to be installed. Some of these programs require their own CD-ROM to be inserted, as only the minimal install files have been installed, and many were intended to be run off the CD-ROM to conserve disk space.
Navigator (Packard Bell, Not Netscape) uses a house metaphor to present the interface to the user, which was intended for novice users and was exclusive to Packard Bell computers of the era. Some other OEMs also provided their own interface such as Sony with the VAIO Space, which offered a 3D-like user navigation interface for advanced users.
You can see there are a few custom icons for launching the applications, with the facility to install more. Packard Bell presumably sold additional software packages that were navigator friendly and included icon art that suited the navigator interface, and would automatically add themselves to the software room
Also to note was Navigator only runs in 640×480 resolution, when running the desktop at 800×600, Navigator retains its default resolution, personally I prefer it like that since it lets you quickly jump back to the desktop, although it does break the immersion of the Navigator interface.
The example start menu items, organized by Packard Bell
Microsoft Works & Money
These two were very commonly bundled with OEM system bundles and serves as basic productivity suites for Office and accounting respectively.
Some sort of finance application that helps you keep control of your accounts. Bills and monthly payments, it’s a bit redundant considering Microsoft Money is installed, based on what I’ve seen so far.
It’s like Microsoft PowerPoint where you can create and showcase sideshows, although it has no compatibility with PPT files. There are a few premade templates available to choose from. Files are saved in either the Act format or (Player) ACP or (Stationery) STA. There is an option to export the presentation to an external VCR, this would involve connecting the VGA output, or composite if the graphics card supported it to the VCR to record from. This is known as Print To Video.
Microsoft Word Viewer
For viewing Microsoft Word DOC document format, you would think Microsoft Works would be able to handle this format (It does, but I’m not sure if its fully compatible with certain features/formatting)
Microsoft Entertainment Pack
A few selections of games are included from the Best Of Entertainment pack, this is fairly common to be included in Packard Bell’s prebuilt systems. Skifree, Rodent Revenge and JigSawed are common games included here.
Looks to be some sort of modem/phone line dialer to make phone calls through your PC. Could also be used to contact Packard Bell support.
Stick Ups Lite
It’s the MacOS sticky notes but for Windows, you can create various sticky notes to help remind you of upcoming tasks and reminders. You can customize the colour of the note itself and the font/style of writing. This is kind of a good addition as its rather useful, and Microsoft wouldn’t bundle something like this in Windows until Windows Vista as one of the widgets gadgets, although a few third-party applications included similar functionality
Packard Bell was one of the few hardware OEM systems builders to make their systems unique from both a hardware and software perspective, despite the restrictions Microsoft had enforced following the use of alternative shells post Windows 95, however, Packard Bells’ bundled applications help give off a certain personality with the system being aimed for family and novice users.
The next installment of the popular SimCity series of games, where the goal is to build and maintain your own city. All aspects of city-building have to be managed, from the power stations to building roads and zoning for different houses/buildings, all whilst being prepared for any disaster that might strike.
Residential: Where sims will live, the density relates to how large the buildings are, with low density being used for small houses, and higher density for apartments.
Commercial: Shops and businesses, where sims go to work and spend their money
Industrial: Another place where sims can work, but also where materials are manufactured and produced, and also helps with jobs for your sims. Farms are one of the types of industry available, but they are difficult to actually have them be built. Every time I zone for farmland, it does start to build a farm but eventually, it will lose out to dirty industry with farm lots being replaced with a bunch of smog-o-matics. I can’t see why they would not just give farms their own industry zone? Supposedly the key is to not give them any water, just power and roads. But then the news ticker will keep bugging about sims being too far from any water.
Versions / Ports
SimCity was ported to most of the popular PC platforms, even a port for Linux operating systems. Sadly a port for OS/2 was not released, as IBM had phased the operating system out by then.
SimCity 3000 was not released on any consoles of the era.
Windows (Original Release)
The Windows release only supports Windows 95 or 98 onwards, it does not support NT 4 unless service pack 3 or higher is installed. DirectX does not seem to be used, running solely through the Win32 API.
Released a year later and features a few changes compared to the original release.
The user interface was changed slightly, with the query button being moved to a more prominent place on the UI
The music was changed with some tracks being added and others being removed
This version of the game is available on gog.com and will run effortlessly on modern Windows versions.
New city templates have been added which are based off real-world locations, like Liverpool, London, Berlin, Madrid, etc
Some existing cities have been renamed, Metropolis has become Europolis but remains the same
Some existing cities have been removed in favor of the new cities: Littleburg, Big Mountain City, Sim Isle
New scenarios mode has been added, which are small cities that have objectives to complete
Outside of the game, new tools have been made like the scenario creator tool which uses the Microsoft Access engine to create and customize customs scenarios
Simcity 3000 was released for the PowerPC Mac OS platform and was targeted for the classic Mac OS. The Mac platform only had a port of the original Windows version, it did not receive the updated unlimited edition that was released for Windows and Linux.
Compared to the Windows version, there are a few differences, the opening FMV seems to have less compression compared to the Windows version and appears to be of higher quality, the animations on the menu buttons are much more fluid on the mac (Is this due to the graphics card?), lastly the close button on the menu box is on the left side for the mac, and on the right side for the PC.
Playing this on modern Macs is a challenge as modern MacOS does not have native support for PowerPC or applications using the older mac libraries. You must use emulation software like QEMU (screenshots above) or Sheepsaver. The last version of OS X to support PowerPC applications was OS X Leopard (10.5)
The installer worked, but the game would not run.
A Linux port of the game was released by Loki games in 2000, and is a port of the Windows PC version. It’s mostly accurate to the Windows version but is more difficult to install and get working, depending on the distro and the libraries/packages installed. I’ve tested it on a few distros of the era, and some more modern distros.
Installing and running the game on Ubuntu
Install the game as normal, remember to note the install directory – you will need it later
Run the patch installer, preferably as root. Easy way is to open a root terminal session (Should be an option in your Linux application launcher) Easy way is to copy the patch file to your home directory/folder, open the terminal and run the command: sudo sh sc3u-2.0a-x86.run -keep (Why you can’t just double-click to run the installer in Linux I do not know)
Once this is finished, you should see a success message
Now you need to run the game in a specific way, in the terminal you have to run the below command: LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.4.26 /usr/local/bin/sc3u
Hopefully, it should now start the game and you should see the intro movie play. This worked well on Ubuntu 4.04 running inside a VirtualBox VM, although there were a few issues. The sound was rather high-pitched and played too fast, and would stutter at high resolutions or when having a busy/large city map. Also running in a windowed mode wasn’t perfect, since it would display in the upper left part of the screen whilst the Ubuntu desktop remained in the background. The fullscreen mode works fine though. This could be due to the lack of drivers in my Ubuntu VM, it’s likely using stock/fail-safe drivers which provide little to no acceleration.
You could just use the Windows version running through Wine, although where is the fun in that? Plus it’s nice to play a native Linux game and in early 2000 there was a push for certain developers to embrace Linux as an alternative to Windows, That said, I can see why this didn’t take off…
Worked but had issues but these could be due to the emulation in 86box. The game installs and runs mostly Ok but some of the colors are messed up, the game also runs very slowly. Interestingly this uses a graphical installer which is missing when running in either Ubuntu or Corel Linux.
Set in Japan (But from the title you would assume Brooklyn, new York) the game features actual real life locations set in Japan. It was the first Sega fighting game to use motion capture footage giving the character detailed and accurate move sets compared to Virtua Fighter.
The fights typically take place in the evening or night, and most of the stages have a dark urban tone to them in contract to Virtual Fighter 2 where most stages take place in the daytime since its meant to be based on a worldwide tournament, Last Bronx has a more underground fight club like feel to it.
All characters have their own stage, but when you select their characters their personal stage is skipped until the end, where you will face Red Eye on that characters stage
Cross Street: which is complete with advertising billboards and may be based off the Tokyo/Shibuya crossing. This is the first stage for all characters, unless you choose Tommy then Tears Bridge will be the first
Tears Bridge: is set near a warehouse / cargo park near a large bridge, hence the name. At this point the game is set in the evening, and most stages thereafter have a night time ambiance to them.
Dark Rooftop: reminds me a lot of Lei Wulong’s stage in Tekken 2, as its set on top of a skyscraper helicopter pad, with many building in the background. From the sky it looks like its set in the evening sunset, but Tears bridge gives the impression it is already night time, assuming the game is intended to simulate nightfall.
Moonlight Garden: A nice stage which is a departure from the industrial urban settings, this appears to be set on a garden or a large park and is a nice departure form the other stages
Lust Subway: Which is your typical Japanese underground subway, complete with display monitors. Thankfully this isn’t set at rush hour. This will be Yoko’s stage
Nightmare Island: Set on a construction or a building site, despite the name insisting its an island, you will fight Zaimoku on this stage.
Naked Airport: Set on an airport runway and reminds me of the Shooting Hoops track from Ridge Racer Type 4 This is Yusaku’s stage
Radical Parking Lot: Kurosawa’s stage, not much to say here except its set on a moderately used parking lot.
Brilliant Room: Hidden and only available if you beat Red Eye with the lowest time
Arcade: The main game mode, you choose a character and progress through 8 stages, with a bonus 9th stage if you complete the game with a new time record.
Saturn/PC mode: Similar to arcade player but features a story mode complete with cut scenes, and opponents are chosen at random
Team Battle: Pick multiple fighters who will battle
Survival Mode: You only have one life, and the health bar carries over to the next round. Objective here is to last the longest
Training Mode: A basic training mode that show the different fighting moves across the roster
Network Play: On the PC version, allows two players to play over a LAN
There is also an extra mode in the Saturn/PC version that allows you to view unlocked FMVs
The game was released on the Sega Model 2 arcade board, and was designed to be an upgrade for Virtua Fighter 2. This version has the best graphics, and it makes full use of the Model 2 graphics hardware which was more powerful than the Sega Saturn or common Windows PC’s of the time, in terms of 3D performance. However this version lacks FMV endings. It should be noted that the AI in this version is difficult to beat, since it was intended for the player to use multiple credits within a single play-through, you’d be surprised at how hard it is to beat on a single credit, despite using the easy settings in the games config.
This version of the game is fully playable in the Nebula Model 2 emulator, but is still unplayable in MAME as of 2021.
Most of the other screenshots captured are from the arcade version, except where noted.
Introduced a Saturn Mode which is similar to arcade mode but the opponents are randomized. This has a few changes compared to the arcade version, with the 3D background options being exchanged for sprite based background which are handled flawlessly by the Saturn’s VDP2. You will mostly notice the effect when the charicters move to an extent where the camera has to pan to follow the player. FMV videos are also present in the Saturn mode. Although they are in Japaneese, English subtitles are provided.
Most Saturn emulators will play this game, being a 3D titles it will play slowly on less powerful hardware. The Nvidia Shield struggles to play at full speed using the Yaba SanShiro emulator, and the FMV videos pixilate whilst playing. Mednafen Saturn will work the best
A Windows PC port was released in 1998 and is very similar to the Sega Saturn version, and makes use of DirectX. Saturn game mode is renamed to PC Mode but remains the same with random opponents. The PC version supports higher resolutions then the Saturn version, and retains most graphical effects but lacks the texture quality and geometry of the arcade version.
Like most PC titles that were released in the 90s, the game is reliant on using analogue CD audio, which can cause problems on modern systems that use SATA or IDE CD drives without the CD audio line being connected. The reason is that from Windows 2000/ME on wards, Microsoft introduced digital audio for CD decoding, where audio is sent via the IDE cable itself rather then than the CD audio line. There’s no easy workaround unless you play the game in Pcem or 86box, otherwise the game will play but with no background audio or music.
I’ve not tested the game on modern Windows NT based release, but can confirm the game to be playablle using PCem or 86Box using any Windows 9x based operating system with a 3DFX or S3 based accellerator.