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Mr Bill
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Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:25 pm

So, I have a couple instruments that MUST run on Win95 or possibly Win98 and require an ISA slot. System right now is a Pentium II 350 MMX. I happen to have a SuperMicro P6DGE with dual P3 700/256/100 cpus in a server box a friend gave to me. I've found at least one website that says Win98 can go on a dual pentium III system, here. Am I going to need any special drivers to put Win98 on this server board? I suppose that under XP Pro I'd see both CPU's and under Win98 I would only see one of them. Still its got to be a quicker system than the Pentium II.

Its got two sticks of 168 pin Dimms in it. Not sure of capacity
I can put a Matrox G400
I doubt I need a sound card but I have a TBSC if needed
I have a 32GB SSD with an IDE to SATA adapter that I've been using for the Pentium II Win956 box
I have a SATA DVD with IDE to SATA adapter that has been working fine in the Pentium II Win95 box
I have the working 100baseT NIC from the Pentium II Box.
and I have an ISA HP 82355 GPIB card that runs the instrument.
I don't have a power supply but I think I could loot one from one of my old super 7 systems.

Edit: Old system not a Pentium Pro, its a slotted Pentium II 350 MMX with a passive heatsink.

Edit2: Dimms not DDR
Last edited by Mr Bill on Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Egg
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Tue Jul 30, 2019 4:46 pm

Win9x doesn't support multiple processors. The OS should run alright, it just won't use the 2nd CPU. Also fairly certain your RAM is not DDR, just regular SDRAM (running at 100mhz).

Given enough RAM, you could probably even get Windows 7 going on there. It won't be fully updated though, as support for processors without SSE2 was dropped from Win7 about a year ago.
 
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:40 pm

Which do you think might be more stable W95 or W98? I have not that much experience with W98.
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:42 pm

W98 by a long shot, especially W98SE.
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:38 pm

I have two possible sources ofl Win98. One is the Win98 upgrade. I have a drive already set up with Win95 but not installed on this system. The other is Win98 Starts Here and the license booklet says "Second Edition". I'd like to upgrade to avoid having to reinstall all the software. Can I then use the second edition CD to buff that up to second edition?

I guess its pretty obvious I should just install win98 eh?
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:41 pm

I found even WinME was perfectly stable when you used the original Win95 shell on it. That effectively disabled the active desktop crap from iE4/Win98 on that crashed all the time.

Even if there are no drivers, it will run fine in MS-DOS 16-bit compatibility mode. But your board has the same PIIX4e UDMA-33 controller as a 440BX so there are drivers, even built-in ones for ME. That's probably the world's most compatible chipset, as it was even emulated in VMware and Virtual PC virtual machines for so many years.

Keep in mind that Win9x has no HLT so all CPUs will run at full blast all of the time, unless you run a vintage utility such as CPUidle, Rain, Waterfall, etc. Not sure if those can affect the CPU that cannot be seen, but back in those days you needed a CPU terminator card to pull out a spare CPU.

Win 9x has issues above 512MB RAM. If you want to run above that there are patched VCACHE.VXD that allow it without crashing but it still won't be used very effectively compared to NT.

The Win98 upgrade should clean install if you have the install media for an older version of Windows to prove you are upgrading. I remember having to insert random Win 3.11 floppies for this during the installation so your Win95 CD should serve the same purpose.
 
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:29 am

WinME had a lot of issues that stemmed from bad drivers developed for Win98, as ME removed certain types of drivers, and enforced the use of WDM (afaik - I never had any problems with ME at all, never a single blue screen).

However, Win98SE is probably the best choice as all the drivers were aimed at 98 rather than ME, will probably be the best bet all things considered.
 
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:06 am

I'd personally aim for Win2000 or WinXP (Pro), in order to make use of that 2nd processor. Also allows you to use NTFS and USB2.0 (I don't know if 98SE did 2.0 or just 1.1). Now that I look, Lubuntu actually claims to run on a Pentium II with 256MB, so you could technically get a fully modern OS running on there. 512MB is highly recommended though.

Nevermind, somehow I failed to read the very first sentence of his original post. You're 100% certain the instruments won't work with Win2000 though? Pretty much the same era.
 
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:26 am

The Egg wrote:
I'd personally aim for Win2000 or WinXP (Pro), in order to make use of that 2nd processor. Also allows you to use NTFS and USB2.0 (I don't know if 98SE did 2.0 or just 1.1). Now that I look, Lubuntu actually claims to run on a Pentium II with 256MB, so you could technically get a fully modern OS running on there. 512MB is highly recommended though.

Nevermind, somehow I failed to read the very first sentence of his original post. You're 100% certain the instruments won't work with Win2000 though? Pretty much the same era.

If the equipment is old enough that it is ISA bus, there's a pretty good chance there weren't Win2K drivers for it.
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:09 am

Windows 2000 was a different beast than 95/98/ME. Server 2000 was based on NT and the rest are DOS based.
 
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:23 pm

DragonDaddyBear wrote:
Windows 2000 was a different beast than 95/98/ME. Server 2000 was based on NT and the rest are DOS based.

Hence the lack of WinNT/2K drivers for some older hardware which was designed for DOS/Win9x/ME...
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:48 pm

just brew it! wrote:
DragonDaddyBear wrote:
Windows 2000 was a different beast than 95/98/ME. Server 2000 was based on NT and the rest are DOS based.

Hence the lack of WinNT/2K drivers for some older hardware which was designed for DOS/Win9x/ME...

I don't know if that necessarily means anything. A workstation with professional lab equipment/instruments of that era could have very well been running WFW3.11 or NT. Being ISA (but having Win9x drivers), I'd guesstimate the card being made somewhere in the 1991-1996 range. I don't know how well NT4 drivers carryover to Win2K, but it's certainly feasible.

In any case, a bit of googling on the card model turns up very little, so if he doesn't physically have the drivers on-hand, it's almost a moot point.
 
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:13 pm

Having seen systems similar to OP's system I can say that they very much needed DOS because the newer OS'es add latency and abstraction to the raw hardware. Even in the case I saw Real-Time OS'es were still insufficient for the application.
 
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:20 pm

Yeah, I think you are right about needing DOS that underlies Win95 and Win98. The ISA slot HP 82355 GPIB card that runs the instrument; talks to the OS via interrupts (e.g. IRQ 5, IRQ 3, etc...) via GPIB address (e.g. 1 through 16) and all the PCI designs get rid of interrupts which this device needs. I'm pretty sure NT and Win2K might not support allocating IRQ's. On the other hand, Its a dual CPU server and its got ISA slots, so maybe?

I found the SuperMicro P6DGE User's Manual. The manual says that it supports PnP or ISA/EISA so it does allow reservation of IRQ's for legacy ISA adapter card. It says that it originally came with CD utilities for WIndow NT and Windows 95/98 (optiional).
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:44 pm

Another thought, outside of the OS issue.

Before migrating the HP board to a new box, run a whole bunch of test runs of whatever it is you're testing, making sure the test runs cover the gamut of your measurement spectra. Keep the samples. Once in the new box, rerun all the tests and compare results.
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Wed Jul 31, 2019 5:02 pm

Mr Bill wrote:
Yeah, I think you are right about needing DOS that underlies Win95 and Win98. The ISA slot HP 82355 GPIB card that runs the instrument; talks to the OS via interrupts (e.g. IRQ 5, IRQ 3, etc...) via GPIB address (e.g. 1 through 16) and all the PCI designs get rid of interrupts which this device needs. I'm pretty sure NT and Win2K might not support allocating IRQ's. On the other hand, Its a dual CPU server and its got ISA slots, so maybe?


My understanding is that it didn't really get rid of interrupts, but just found a way to multiplex them so that the mapping of interrupts to physical address lines was no longer one to one. Whether or not the driver for your device needs to be aware of that I'm not sure. It's probably safer to guess that it does, but in any case, if you do attempt an upgrade, then you should definitely follow Ned's advice and do some baseline tests before making the switch. I'd want to be very sure there weren't any weird timing bugs lurking in hard to find places that might not be immediately apparent.
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Wed Jul 31, 2019 5:28 pm

Mr Bill wrote:
Yeah, I think you are right about needing DOS that underlies Win95 and Win98. The ISA slot HP 82355 GPIB card that runs the instrument; talks to the OS via interrupts (e.g. IRQ 5, IRQ 3, etc...) via GPIB address (e.g. 1 through 16) and all the PCI designs get rid of interrupts which this device needs. I'm pretty sure NT and Win2K might not support allocating IRQ's. On the other hand, Its a dual CPU server and its got ISA slots, so maybe?

I found the SuperMicro P6DGE User's Manual. The manual says that it supports PnP or ISA/EISA so it does allow reservation of IRQ's for legacy ISA adapter card. It says that it originally came with CD utilities for WIndow NT and Windows 95/98 (optiional).

Interesting. I suppose I should ask: What's your reason for wanting to upgrade? If it's truly running in DOS, I've got to wonder if the workstation CPU is even a limitation for what you're doing.
 
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:55 pm

Ah, as to reason, I was frustrated with the win95 penchant for running out of that tiny bit of memory it uses to run the interface; due to the printer driver memory leak. Although it also happens when I do reports without printing. So having just rebuilt the mass spec source and having to reboot the darned PC after every attempt at tuning. I was in the mood to make changes because things are slow right now. When I am in troubleshooting mode, I have to get in and out of systems that normally sit for months and even years running stable. As a my electronic repair friend likes to say of this process 'I tend to fix things till they break and then fix that'.

The smart and prudent solution will be for me to just install win98 on this current system. But when one is casting around for solutions, the other hardware set aside as possible replacements gives a siren call.

Anyway after a day of looking at the alternatives; I'll just do the prudent thing. I'll back it up and then install Win98 on a spare system disk and see how that rolls.
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:23 am

Sounds doubtful that it's doing a full exit-to-DOS (followed by a reboot), but rather, running a virtual DOS machine in a window. "Fake DOS" as I used to call it as a kid, because my games ran like crap compared to the real thing. Seems to work well enough for whatever you're doing though.

Anyhow, Win98SE should be better with regards to stability and memory leaks. Maybe waste a couple minutes googling updated printer drivers; occasionally you get pleasantly surprised.
 
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Re: Can I? Win95/98 on a dual P3 SuperMicro P6DGE

Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:59 am

The Egg wrote:
Sounds doubtful that it's doing a full exit-to-DOS (followed by a reboot), but rather, running a virtual DOS machine in a window. "Fake DOS" as I used to call it as a kid, because my games ran like crap compared to the real thing. Seems to work well enough for whatever you're doing though.

Anyhow, Win98SE should be better with regards to stability and memory leaks. Maybe waste a couple minutes googling updated printer drivers; occasionally you get pleasantly surprised.
Its not running in DOS per say. Its a Windows 95 App that some say will run in Win3.11 and Win98. It just needs an OS that gives Win95/98 style ISA slot servicing so that data aquisition and instrument control both work. I'm going to give Win98 a try. I've looked through my stable of old PC's and I have a couple of ISA slotted K6-2 and K6-3 systems.
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