Posts tagged: microsoft

Windows 98, 14 years later

By , 2012-01-28 01:49

I had an old ThinkPad lying around that is in perfect working condition, but all but useless running any modern Linux, and a little sluggish running Windows XP. This is strange, since it’s a Pentium 4 M 2GHz with 256MB of RAM and 16MB ATI AGP4x graphics, which should be enough for XP or Linux.

Anyway, I went over to the Lenovo/IBM support site looking to see if perchance there were any driver updates, when I noticed that this particular model (R32 2658) seemed to have full hardware driver support for Windows 98. Had a few hours to spare, so I decided to try and get some retro computing going.

First step was to get installation media. I’m not sure where I stashed my old Win98 CD, but fortunately I made ISO images of all my Windows OS discs and saved the product keys in a handy text file. So I burned a fresh copy of Windows 98, booted it up on the laptop, and I was off to the races. (Flash back to 10+ years ago, this would have been slightly more complex, without fast CD writers and proper BIOS CD-ROM boot support on older machines.) I went through the first stages of the installer, taking great pleasure in selecting EVERY installable option because I could fit it all and more on my massive 10GB partition on the laptop’s ridiculously immense 30GB hard drive.

Once that was done, I was greeted with a beautiful 16-colour, 640×480 display, no audio and no network connectivity. Awesome. No problem though, just hop on another computer, download the drivers to a USB drive, then install them on the laptop. Wrong! Good ol’ 98 has no USB mass storage support so that’s not possible. Thinking back to the turn of the century (yes, TURN OF THE CENTURY. we can say that.) the logical step would have been to bring out the ever-useful-but-hated 3.5″ floppy disk. Oh but wait, our dear late Steven P. Jobs helped start the “Legacy-free PC” trend, which means that none of my computers has a floppy drive. I could burn all the drivers on a CD, but that would be a waste of blank media. Staring at my coffee table in search of inspiration, I noticed a D-Link driver CD-ROM I had been using as a coaster. It was the driver for a Cardbus 10/100 Ethernet card. Perfect. Just connect the Cardbus NIC, install drivers from the CD, then download everything else directly via wired network.

Anyway, I’m too lazy to write the rest of the install process up, and nobody would read it anyway, so here are some links to useful tools and info for running Windows 98  today.


Note: Yes, I know, not technically 14 years later, seeing as it’s Win98SE.

Remove the Open File Security Warning in XP | vNate

By , 2012-01-06 15:58

Remove the Open File Security Warning in XP | vNate.

A concise tutorial on how to disable the annoying “Open File – Security Warning” popup and associated time delay/latency in Windows XP SP2 and higher.

Windows 7 RTM

By , 2009-07-24 09:23

Rumours circulating around the Internet seem to indicate that build 7600.16385 of Windows 7 is the RTM release. Naturally I was curious and went to fetch said build (7600.16385.090713-1255_x86fre_client_en-us_Retail_Ultimate-GRMCULFRER_EN_DVD.iso) from one of the usual spots. I installed the RTM from a USB drive onto a spare laptop to test it out. There weren’t too many changes, the most noticeable ones being the removal of the Evaluation watermark from the bottom right corner of the screen and a “new” wallpaper.

Windows 7 RTM "Harmony" wallpaper

Windows 7 RTM "Harmony" wallpaper

Windows 7 RTM

File associations in Windows 7 (and Vista/2008)

By , 2009-07-22 20:04

I’ve been using Windows 7 on my laptop since the 6801 build was first leaked in December ’08. However I only recently noticed that there is NO built-in tool for properly editing file type associations anymore. This is quite an annoyance, as I like to be able to assign custom icons and actions to my file types, such as adding an “Edit with Dreamweaver” to html files or “Open with Photoshop” to images. Having never used Vista, and since most of my time is spent on Linux and Mac OS now, I never noticed this annoyance before… ah Microsoft… I was happy with Windows 7 until now and this had me seriously considering going back to my XP/Leo/Ubuntu triple-boot.

Anyway enough rambling. Fortunately for my Windows 7 install, Google has answers for everything. A few minutes of googling revealed this page, which links to a handy little open-source(!) utility called Types that provides all the functionality of the built-in tool from Windows XP/2003 and older.

Types: a remedy for Microsofts silliness.

Types: a remedy for Microsoft's silliness.

Thank goodness for Sourceforge. And to the folks in Redmond… What is the deal with REMOVING functionality from your products? OK, you can provide a simple interface, but don’t make that simple interface slower and confusing for old users with old habits… or at least provide a way to revert to the classic behaviour! Which reminds me of another useless invention, the “Network and Sharing Center”…. but that’s another story.

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