Tag Archives: VMWare

eMachines eMonster 800

Another eMachines system, let’s have a look at what comes bundled…

Install is as simple as always, simply boot and the recovery software will automatically partition the disk and action the recovery. Norton Ghost is the utility used to image the recovery media.

After installing the VM rebooted into the Windows ME and began detecting the new hardware. There are a lot of PCI bridges that will be picked up as part of the VM (If you are installing on Vmware Workstation) you can simply hold the enter key whilst Windows detects and notify new hardware was detected.


Eventually, it will start detecting the Network, Sound, and Video adaptors however whilst the sound and network work out of the box, video is a tad more complicated. Simply use the stock VGA driver for now.

The next part is a bit messy, we are tasked with completing the OOBE (Out Of Box Experience) by filling out a few registration details as proof of purchase. We are stuck at a low screen resolution(640×480) with no ability to change and this causes some of the text to overlap. With a bit of luck we can fill in the required fields (Use 90210 for the ZIP code) and then proceed. At some point the system will try to dial out to eMachines to complete registration, you can simply click on skip to move on.

Also that wizard from the XP OOBE (And Office) appears with a robotic voice.

Eventually, we are presented with the desktop, but we are not done yet. We need to install the VMWare VGA drivers but the OS is so old we cannot use the latest VMWARE tools, instead we can download an old version of the VMWare tools and install that. These files are iso files and can be mounded into the VM using one of the virtual drives (I recommend adding two IDE CD-ROM drives for convenience, although more can be added using SCSI which Windows ME supports)

VMWare tools old version

This one worked best, but even that generated an error, thankfully we can manually install the VMware VGA and mouse drivers through device manager. A quick reboot and we have some acceleration enabled.

Though we still have issues with the USB controller and some other PCI devices.

Alternatively, we can use 86Box to provide more accurate emulation, however im not sure which system is the best match for the eMachines monster.

Some branding on the boot screen

Desktop

It’s a bit cluttered and there’s quite a bit already preinstalled. You will notice another bar on top of the Windows taskbar. There are a few icons and an advertisement banner on the right. Yup that space was intended for adverts direct to your desktop
Clicking on the search button opens up a search box, where you can search on multiple search engines, It’s sort of like Apple Sherlock.

Nothing seems to work, and the error box reports the program as iSearch. My guess is the server is offline.
Search engines supported are yahoo, AltaVista, InfoSeek, Excite and Lycos. No Google, thank fuck for that.
The other buttons on the toolbar are shortcuts to various web pages online, many of which are defunct or return dead links:
Accuweather
Barnes&Nobile
Shoppinglist.com
Flooz
cnet
ourhouse.com
Fool.com
You can add your own website shortcut and assign your own icon, for which there’s a large collection to choose from.

Clicking on Shop on the right of the bar opens up the eWare menu, with a bunch of categories to choose from like travel, Entertainment, Fitness, etc. these contain links to further websites, acting as a directory of online shopping sites.
The Surf button is nearly the same as Shop but contains no e-commerce sites and has various categories for entertainment, knowledge and utilities.

It’s actually not a bad idea since these PCs would be intended for first-time internet users who may not be knowledgeable on what websites to access. It’s a shame about the banner adverts.

Software

Easy CD Creator

This system came configured with a CD Burner, and I don’t think Windows had native support for CD burning, at least not integrated into Windows Explorer so additional software was required to fulfill this task. Here you can burn audio and data CDs so you can copy your Napster MP3s and convert/burn them for your CD Player or some PSX isos.
The Easy CD Creator comes will a full-blown interface, and even has Office assistance-like features that will help you use the program. Images created here to use the CIF CD Image File format, another format that nothing else uses, Alternatively ISO can be used instead.

HiWire

A radio streaming program that lets you stream internet radio over your dial-up or LAN connection, Has a unique interface that stands out from the rest of the Windows applications. You can browse a directory of preset radio stations, of which you can double click to listen to. The chat button open a link to the palace, which was an external virtual chat application.
None of the radio stations will work, and will just result in a connection error.

Deltathree

A phone dialing application is used to make phone calls with your PC, although it requires a login to the server. Possibly some sort of VoIP application.

Eudora

This was a popular email client application used as an alternative to Microsoft Outlook. However it requires registration and payment, otherwise, adverts will be shown, similar to Opera.

Incanta Video

Not sure what this is as it only shows a login box. A look on their archive website, it appears to be some sort of video music service, like VEVO?

Microsoft Works

An OEM favorite, basic office suite with a bundled word processor, spreadsheet software and a calendar application.

Microsoft Money

Money 2000 comes included here and plays a short tutoral upon the first startup.

RealPlayer

Version 6.0.8.122 is bundled here, RealPlayer was used to stream audio and video over the internet.

RealJukebox

Serves as a media music player for playing local MP3 files that you obtained from Napster

Netscape Browser

Not installed by default but can be done by clicking on the install icon on the desktop, this will install Netscape Navigator and will set it as the default browser

Trellix Web

Website building application and the first I’ve seen on an OEM system. You can generate a website built from a template and publish it online, although the bundle host has long since gone defunct.

Further Info

Archive link – CD Image

Press Release

Compaq Presario 700 (VMWare)

An early Windows XP era laptop released around 2002, not to be confused with the Presario C700 which was HP branded. Windows XP Home Edition was the operating system bundled with the restore CD

Restore Process

This one used a slightly different way of restoring the default image, and I believe this is due to the copy being modified so that it will restore on any machine, instead of being tied to a specific model.
Here you must manually select the recovery image (located on the CD drive) and then proceed with the installation. If the hard disk is blank (Which it will be if we have just created the drive) the software can automatically initialize and format the disk and will create the correct partitions.
Once this has been set up, the recovery process will begin and the system will notify once it has been completed.

Hello blueness my old friend

After the first reboot, we will most likely run into a BSOD, since we had installed it in a virtual machine instead of actual hardware, it’s expecting a motherboard that’s completely different. At this points It’s Hirens time

Hirens Boot CD

Same as the eMachines system, we just need to reset the hard disk controller to clear the error. After a reboot we are onto the OOBE.

OOBE

Once we cleared the BSOD boss fight we move on to the OOBE (Out-Of-Box-Experience) where we set up the system for the first time. You will notice the Compaq branding and will be informed of the Compaq Advisor, which is some sort of assistant. At this point you can also register your system, although I doubt there is much point,, Microsoft probably discontinued the registrations servers and Compaq has since been absorbed into HP.

Desktop

After that, we are presented with our new desktop, along with a funky wallpaper. There are several of these OEM wallpapers that are available in different colours. I’m not sure if these are reflective of the laptop itself or Compaq just whacked a few different colours for the user’s preference. It kinda reminds me of the original iMac with its various colours and shades.
Of course, you also have the regular Windows XP wallpapers if you prefer.

Interestingly it will try to install a driver for a Compaq Easy Access Internet Keyboard. This has little to no effect on the VMWare keyboard. On the desktop, there are a few internet shortcuts to various affiliate links like ABC, Disney,

VMWare

As this is pre-Service Pack 1 we are limited to how we can install the VMWare add-ons, the later tools require service pack 3 and will fail to install on an old Windows XP install. We can however download and mount an old version of VMWare Tools
Be careful with this, as these tools were intended for the version of VMWare they were released with. I got a BSOD when trying to display one of the 3D screensavers, and had to upgrade to a later version to fix the issue.

Software

There isn’t much included, there is Netscape 6 and RealPlayer 8 bundled, and Microsoft Works and Money 2001

Compaq Advisor

Seems to be some sort of help/assistant program, sort of similar to the Windows Help & Support but more tailored to the Compaq-related stuff. The actual Windows Help & Support has a few customizations made to it, mainly with some Compaq stuff added.

Microsoft Money 2001

There isn’t much included, there Netscape 6 and RealPlayer 8 bundled, and Microsoft Works and Money 2001

Microsoft Works

Version 6 of Microsoft Works comes bundled here, which serves as a basic productivity suite. It contains a word processor and spreadsheet software, along with a variety of templates to choose from.

OEMLink (Presario Info Center)

Another system I’ve found to make use of the OEM link feature of Windows XP. This acts like a help center that shows the different capabilities of the PC, along with recommended software, some of which might be preinstalled with the system. Some of these are not present here so there might be another disc that includes this.

SynthCore

Also, this appeared in the start menu, it’s some sort of MIDI file samples that came bundled with the soundcard. These play normally on the emulated SoundBlaster but do not sound the same as they would on an actual system.

Control Panel

  • Easy Access Buttons: This lets you reassign the easy access buttons on the keyboard to open different functions
  • Compaq Advisor: Change settings in relation to the Compaq Advisor, appears to have been developed by Neoplanet Inc
  • Automatic Compaq Updates: Enables updates
  • SoundMAX: Opens the soundcard utility, does nothing in this VM since were using a different soundcard

Other

Archive Link

Windows Longhorn (Milestone 7 – Build 7074)

It’s no secret that Microsoft’s Windows Vista went through a troubled development cycle. Much of the features introduced in Vista were a reaction to Mac OS X Panther and Tiger. This is similar to what Apple went through when it developed the Copland operating system where feature creep took priority over stability and many new features would be added but were then left unrefined as the development team continued to implement more features.

Build 7074 pictured here is considered to be one of the more stable build prior to the reset, yet suffers from occasional explorer memory leaks that can impact the overall performance.

The setup utility looks very different compared to the XP and final Vista interface.

All Done

Now for the ritual of installing the drivers. I did run into an issue with the virtual box drivers initially not installing, this was fixed by running the VM addons setup applications in compatibility mode for Windows XP.

After a quick reboot and we have full graphics acceleration. The first thing you will notice is the side bar to the right, which houses the gadgets, clock, quick launch and the tray icons. These were previously on the task bar itself, freeing it for the running applications.

The start menu meanwhile remains unchanged from Windows XP aside from a new colour scheme

Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del yields a new Windows Security Prompt screen, from here Task Manager can be invoked.

One of the many glitches that can happen in thus build, a quick reboot fixes it.

Windows Explorer has undergone a significant face lift, building on the change introduced in Windows XP, more information is shown in relation to the drive status, earlier access to common document shortcuts. While the new appearance is a welcome change, the waste in screen real estate is not, especially the blue area near the top of the screen. Storage favourites lets you bookmark folders in Windows explorer, similar to how bookmarks function in a web browser.

The new games area

I wonder if there are any updates for this build?

One of the main attractions of Longhorn was a redefined search facility, however in this build it still functions the same as how the XP search facility operated. Indexed search would not appear until after the Longhorn reset. Also no search assistant :/

Two Properties? One is for the start menu older properties and the other for the task bar settings.

Longhorn comes with several visual styles, Slate (currently set) and Jade

Jade version of the Start menu

Outlook Express has had a redesign

A new feature added was the hardware and Devices sections that lists all devices installed in the system, a more graphical version of device manager.

System Properties

Internet Explorer in action, I’m surprised the Windows Update page still works, although this seems to be for the final Windows Vista version

You can change how the operating system delivers notifications, presumably form the tray icons

Installing The Sims…

Whilst it works OK most of the time, running it in windowed mode and panning the camera can yield some interesting graphics glitches, thankfully they go away when you release the right mouse button.

Nice feature, you can change the starup programs without having to use MSCONFIG

Not sure I like the file details being in an explorer window, certainly not an efficient use of space

Sample of a crashed program in Windows Longhorn

Sadly GTA3 refused to install on this build, despite using compatibility mode.

Not sure what fast items are, the replacement for quick launch?

Also the side bar can be resized,

Shutting down Longhorn

Overall this is considered to be the last stable built of Longhorn pre-reset, as the next few builds would become incredibility bug ridden. The sidebar is also an unusual concept that may be seen as a distraction. Thankfully it can be set to auto hide. However a common theme is that a lot of windows have a lot of vacant space (see the top blue area of My Computer) which take up a lot of screen estate, and the UI buttons (search) in explorer are also quite large with no option to resize them. This becomes an issue when running this build on systems with a low resolution display, since it is easy for the screen to become cluttered, especially since low end laptops, ultra mobile PC’s and netbooks started to become popular towards the end of the XP era.