Tag Archives: PCem

Windows 98 SE Beta

98Se was an updated released of Windows 98 operating system, similar to how Windows 95 received updated builds that introduced support for new technologies. (98SE extends it support for Plug and Play, especially with USB devices and shipped with a lot more USB drivers, allowing for these devices to be detected.

Other changes was an updated version of Internet Explorer, DirectX, NetMeeting and Windows Media Player.

For this build (and many others) First issue was actually getting the installer to start, as the DOS bootdisk was unable to see the win98 directory. Attempting to change directory would result in a directory not found error message

The solution was to modify the iso image and amend the win98 folder to WIN98 instead. Easiest way to do this was to use 7ip to extract the contents of the iso image, and then use Imgburn to recreate the iso file.

Windows 98SE desktop

Software

UltraHLE: An early Nintendo 64 emulator that was capable of high level emulation. This allowed for acceptable framerates of Nintendo 64 games. Whilst it starts up, it will crash the entire emulator when you try to start a game.

QuickTime: Apple’s video and internet streaming application, for streaming video over a network. Also used on multimedia software and is installed automatically with that software

Netscape Communicator: A popular web browser that ultimately lost the first browser war to Internet Explorer

RealPlayer 7: Works but the title bar is glitched out, might be more to do with the PCem emulator or its graphics card (3DFX Voodoo Banshee)

AOL Instant Messenger: Popular in the US, but did not take off in the UK as MSN messenger was more popular here, sadly both died in favor of Whatsapp and Facebook messenger

Musicmatch, Background theme is from 98 Plus! expansion pack

Winamp: Null soft’s legendary music player capable of playing MP3 files

McAfee: An anti-virus security software, typically found preinstalled on Dell computers and uninstalled after 30 days

Adobe Acrobat Reader: For viewing PDF documents, commonly distributed with other CD-ROM software. I really like the splash screen art from this era of Adobe software.

Nero Burning ROM: A Very popular CD-ROM burning application, sadly PCem does not emulate a CD-R drive.

WinZip 7.0: Popular compression software, its like WinRAR with its user interface but also offers a wizard like interface

Pun on Hans-Solo?

Simcity 3000: Works well on this build on Windows, this was the original release that has a different opening movie compared to the later release (Unlimited), the background music has also been revised

Windows For Workgroups 3.11 Beta (Build 70)

Install

MS-DOS (6.0) must be installed first before Windows 3.11 can be installed. At this point Windows was still reliant on MS-DOS, but were regarded as two separate products.

After install and some graphics drivers. By default Windows will use VGA mode which restricts you to 640×480 and 16 colours. Windows Sound System is not included in this build but can be installed and was required to use the Windows Sound System Soundcard.

Applications

  • Microsoft Anti-Virus: They had their own Anti-Virus application, before Windows security essentials, Defender or Windows Live OneCare. Different drivers can be scanned manually on request.
  • Smartdrive: Disk caching application
  • Undelete: As the concept of the recycle bin did not exist until Windows 95, Microsoft Undelete was offered instead which could restore files deleted by the user that had not been overwritten

Accessories

  • Write: Predecessor to Wordpad, for when you don’t have Microsoft Office installed
  • Paintbrush: Paint
  • Notepad: Text editing application
  • Recorder: Used to record keyboard and mouse commands, useful for automation.
  • Calculator: On screen calculator
  • Clock: Displays the time in both analogue (Face) and digital format
  • Character Map: Insert and remap any characters that are not supported by the users keyboard
  • Media Player: Plays WAV and MIDI sound files supported by the users soundcard
  • Sound Recorder: Records sound from the line input to a WAV file

Control Panel

Control Panel remains unchanged from Windows For Workgroups 3.1

Drivers

Some drivers that may be useful to users of PCem, depending on the machines they are emulating

AVGA2 Driver

The Commodore PC I was using used a Acumos graphics accelerator onboard and integrated to its motherboard, which was based on a Cirrus Logic CL-GD5402. Installing a driver lets you access further resolutions and colour modes that the graphics chip supports.

AVGA2 Driver – Vetusware

Windows Sound System

This build of Windows did not ship with Windows sound system drivers but can be installed.

WinWorldPC – WSS and SoundBlaster drivers

Windows 95 Chicago (Beta 3: Build 347)

Compiled and made available in March 1995, this was to be the Final beta build of Windows 95, with the release candidates coming soon after.

Installation

Windows 95’s setup procedure which looks the same as the final release. Towards the end of the install procedure, there is an option to use the program manager as opposed to the 95 interface, in practice this retains the default Windows 95 interface, just opens the program manager window.

Stage 2

The second stage of the install boots into the kernel, and prompts the user to enter information. Also, in Windows 95 you were able to select a time zone by clicking on a location in the map, a feature that was removed in the later versions.

Windows 95 Beta boot

Boot screen, which was altered in the final release. The bottom segment is animated to indicate the system is actively loading. The final release replaces it with colour cycling bar

Desktop

When Windows 95 first boots, a welcome screen is displayed which shows useful tips

When a new plug and play device is detected, Windows will prompt for driver instillation. The Windows 95 CD has a moderate library of drivers on the disc, but this is mostly applicable to hardware from 1991-95

Adding additional features in Windows, some features don’t have their own icons and use the default Windows icon

Build Information

Microsoft Network

Microsoft bundled their own internet service platform, similar to AOL, Apple @World or Compuserve designed to get users online

The presence of this and the lack of a web browser being bundled with this release of the operating system signals that Microsoft intended for MSN to the primary way for users to access the internet, rather than using the http protocol that we all use today. Also TCP/IP not installed by default but can be added using the Windows components, you will be prompted to supply the Windows 95 CD to install it.

Accessories

Party Line

Not sure what this was intended for, some sort of multiplayer game like Microsoft Hearts? It seems to just open a blank window and sits there unresponsive.

Volume Control

The volume control, of which it’s appearance will vary depending on the soundcard and the driver installed

Microsoft Fax

Registration Wizard

You have the option to register your copy of Windows 95, which would send a description of your PC hardware to Microsoft, possibly for them to gauge which is the popular configuration of hardware (surely they can get that from the OEM sales?)

Disk Defragmenter

CD Player

Windows Explorer

The main Windows Explorer interface which gives a tree view on the left sidebar. This replaces the Windows 3.1 File Manager

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer wasn’t included in this build, but was in development from around that time. To install I had to use the installer from oldversion.com, the WinWorldPC version failed to install.

This one failed

But this one worked instead, not entirely sure of the difference between the two installers but it could be due to this OS being a pre-release build.

Once installed a few changes need to be made before you can ‘browse’ the world wide web. Windows 95 did not include TCP/IP by default but could be enabled by installing it thorough the Network applet via the Control Panel.

The first version of Internet Explorer was based on NCSA Mosaic and incorporates various technologies that originated from Mosaic. Attempting to use these browsers on the modern web results in a bunch of garbled html, assuming the browser will even connect to a server. Most times you will gets an unsupported protocol since these browsers do not speak https. Here’s where theoldnet comes in

Trying to install Office 95 on Windows 95, which failed since it checks the OS build number

PCem Specifications

Motherboard: AMI WinBios 486

Processor: AMD Am5x86/P75

Video: Trident TGUI9440

Audio: SoundBlaster 16

Network: NE2000

Mouse: Serial Mouse

Windows Memphis Beta 3 (Build 1619)

One of the Beta 3 builds, closer to the final release build.

Despite being a beta 3 build, the boot screen used is from Beta 2.1

Install

Initial installation, looks very similar to the released product. The welcome program comes with an extra item dedicated to the beta guide which details whats been added in this beta phase.

Desktop

Booting for the first time

This build seems to have issues booting up in normal mode due to a botched device driver instillation when the OS was installed for the first time. To rectify this you will need to boot into safe mode and uninstall the corrupt device, in this case this was the network adaptor which was missing its hardware title. I’m not sure if this is an issue specific with this build or if its due to the hardware PCem is emulating (Could be with the emulator itself)

Tutorial

When Windows 98 boots for the first time, a welcome screen is shown giving the user an option to start a tutorial on showcasing the new features of Windows 98, and a section for users who are new to Windows itself. This is stored on the Windows 98 CD and is required to be inserted to run the tutorial. In this build there are some differences with the images and layout used from the final build.

WebTV Windows

Microsoft acquired WebTV and was intended to be used as an early precursor to the media centre applications as seen in Windows XP Media Centre edition. WebTV for Windows was to bring the WebTV guide interface to the desktop using the computers TV tuner. A TV Guide would be offered which delivers TV listings over the internet, whilst using analogue TV (Digital TV wasn’t widespread yet, US wouldn’t launch its digital terrestrial works from late 1998 onwards and cable slightly later)

Wavetop was a protocol to receive data from terrestrial broadcasts and was an early form of interactive TV. Web pages would be transmitted between the VBI of the analogue signal and would be related to the program being broadcast. A competing system was Intel’s Intercast

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer 4 is bundled with the operating system and was integrated into the explorer shell.

Active Desktop

Active desktop was a feature that allowed a webpage to be set as a desktop background, with clickable hyperlinks.

If explorer crashed whilst active desktop was enabled, an active desktop recovery page was displayed instead which gave the user the option to re-enable the active desktop, this was to prevent explorer from crashing repeatedly should the webpage be the source of crashing.

Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer was updated to be remodeled giving folders a web like view which was meant to be more visually appealing to the end user. In practice this made the explorer shell more sluggish and buggy, taking longer for the computer to rendered the explorer page. This could be toned down to a basic interface view, but the explorer shell would still be rendered in Internet Explore.

Internet Channels

Channels could be opened within a web browser such as Internet Explorer. These acted as an earlier method of RSS where website updates are pushed to the user, rather than having the user checking the website manually

Using theoldnet.com, we can try to pull these websites as they appeared in 1998, which this browse should have no issues rendering. Unfortunately these links seem to be special active desktop links that load an exclusive page which the internet archive has not had a chance to index.

DVD Player

This build features a standalone DVD player application, however this requires a dedicated MPEG2 hardware decoder since CPUs of the time could not decode in real-time. Some video cards also featured partial MPEG2 acceleration and would feature their own DVD player software such as Cyberlink PowerDVD

No hardware MPEG2 decoder detected

Pressing F1 bring up the Windows help, which provides an HTML based help interface. Third party programs can also use this help system.

My Computer, with the channel sidebar enabled.

When Windows explorer crashes whilst active desktop is enabled, the recovery screen is enabled in the event of the web page being the source of the issues. The user can then manually restore the active desktop.

PCem Specs

Motherboard: Intel Advanced/ZP

Processor: Intel OverDrive MMX 200Mhz

Video: ATI Video Xpression (Mach64 VT2)

3D Accelerator: 3DFX Voodoo Graphics 3D Accelerator

Sound: Aztech Sound Galaxy Pro 16 AB

Mouse: Intellimouse PS/2 (Allows scroll wheel to be used)

Network: Realtek RTL8029AS

Windows 2000 (Build 1671)

NT 5 was to be known as Windows 2000, the successor and replacement for Windows NT4. Designed to be an enterprise focused operating system with the consumer counterpart being Windows 98, and later Windows ME. Both of which use an updated Windows Explorer shell with a webpage like interface.

Install

The first stage of the install is where you select the volume to install NT5 on, and you are given a choice of which peripherals your computer will use. The install disk is bootable so providing your BIOS supports CD booting, you don’t need a boot floppy disk

Second Stage Install

The second stage of the install details with personalization and uses a graphical interface which appears different in the final release. Windows will ask for both the User and the company/organization name. From here you can specify any additional components that need to be installed.

The login screen, very similar to NT4

Windows NT5 BSOD

BSOD already and we haven’t got to the desktop yet. This is typically a bad sign and searching online didn’t yield much. Still we can boot in safe VGA mode without any issues.

Windows NT5 Desktop

I first tried to remedy this by removing any additional devices from PCem, the sound and network card was removed, along with the 3DFX Voodoo card. This still resulted in a BSOD

Epox P55-VA BIOS

Eventually I found somewhat of a resolution, which was to disable the motherboards onboard USB controller, which isn’t much use within PCem. Early motherboard that came with USB onboard were very primitive, and sometimes completely buggy. This combined with a beta operating system can spell trouble so its best to disable this. Funnily enough there is support for USB and 1394 devices in this build.

Windows NT 5 Desktop

The actual desktop which enabled active desktop by default. Everything has a webpage like interface with folders and buttons being links, by default you only need to click a folder one to select it.

This build did pickup and install a few device drivers by itself, but did not pickup the soundcard since I had disabled it on the account of the BSOD earlier.

This is an early form of device manager that is used to display a list of hardware devices that interact with your computer. There are a few quirks in this build, with some random error dialog boxes popping up that seems to relate to the management console.

Windows NT5 My Computer

The My Computer window, with an early sidebar design. Also note the navigation bar design and spacing

Installing the drivers

3DFX

This isn’t part of the operating system, but I figured I could show part of the 3DFX interface since I had intended to try running glide games on an old NT based operating system. Despite running the 3DFX install utility, games would refuse to detect the accelerator card, and looking in device manager indicated it had a problem loading the driver for the device.

Hardware Instillation

Trying to add a soundcard, and failing. A new wizard like user interface is supposed to make device hardware instillation more easier but it seems to be buggy in this build.

Disk Management

Trying to format and mount a zip disk. At first I couldn’t get Windows to mount the disk image I already had until I released these old builds of NT lack FAT32 support of which the drive was formatted as.

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer 4 is bundled with the operating system and is a major component providing the functionality of Windows Explorer. Like Windows 98 it has support for active desktop and channels.

Windows NT5 Outlook Express

Outlook Express 4 that is bundled with the operating system

Private Character Editor

Not sure what this is supposed to be, some sort of character map editor? Seems to crash a lot.

Printers

Windows NT5 Printers

The printer interface has been slightly altered, using the updated Windows Explorer engine

Power Management

Windows NT5 Crash

The result of trying to change the background wallpaper when you have active desktop enabled, Windows explorer crashed

Add Program Wizard

Looks like Microsoft had also intended to simplify the program install process, like the hardware wizard this takes you through a set of questions to install new software.

Removable Devices

Windows NT5 Device Removal

Windows features a device removal option that would allow you to stop a device, ready for it to be removed. That was probably intended for USB devices

Conclusion

Whilst I had intended to do more with this operating system, I found it too be too unstable and unfinished for general use and with lack of the ability to install 3D graphics and sound drivers limited what would be installed.

PCem Specifications

Motherboard: Epox P55-VA

Processor: IDT Winchip 2A/300

Video: Phoenix S3 Trio64

Sound: SoundBlaster AWE32

Network: NE2000

3D Accelerator: 3DFX Voodoo2