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Windows Me install - hw detection slows down to a halt
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Author:  johnye_pt [ Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Windows Me install - hw detection slows down to a halt

I'm trying to install 4 OSes to try some old stuff with an old Acer Aspire 1680 with a Pentium M 2.0Ghz, 2GB RAM and 320GB IDE hdd. I've split the hdd in 4 partitions with Windows 7's diskpart:
- 2046MB FAT16 (C:) for DOS 6.22
- 10240MB FAT32 (D:) for Windows Me
- 30720MB FAT32 (E:) for Windows XP
- the rest in NTFS (F:) for Windows 7

All OSes install fine except for Windows Me. For some reason, it slows down to a halt during the hardware detection step with 14 minutes remaining.
- tried adding MaxPhysPage=18000 (384MB) and MaxFileCache=393216 (384MB) to the [386Ehn] section of system.ini after the first reboot, same result.
- tried leaving it running overnight and it got down to 10 minutes until it froze.
- tried installing from CD and from D:\WINME, same result.
- tried rebooting after it gets stuck (as per M$ recommendation) but then it freezes even sooner: right after the WinMe splash screen followed by the black screen with a blinking cursor! If I wait long enough, it starts drawing the blue background from the setup screen very very slowly, in squares...

Could it be detecting/installing hardware that makes the system very slow? Sure seems that way when I force it to reboot.
Is there a way to skip some (or all) hardware detection, and leave it to later, possibly after Windows is installed? Maybe there I could see what the problem is, as Windows shows what is detecting/installing.

Author:  MCpillager12 [ Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Windows Me install - hw detection slows down to a halt

Windows 9x is not optimized for 1GB+ RAM.
If you really want to run it, then use a patch.

Author:  johnye_pt [ Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Windows Me install - hw detection slows down to a halt

MCpillager12 wrote:
Windows 9x is not optimized for 1GB+ RAM.
If you really want to run it, then use a patch.

I'm using MaxPhysPage and MaxFileCache for that exact purpose. I did notice however that MaxFileCache should be in the [VCache] section and not the [386Ehn] section. Let's hope that's the problem otherwise I'm clueless to what's going on. If it doesn't work, I'll try with a 256MB ram stick and report back the results.

Author:  johnye_pt [ Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Windows Me install - hw detection slows down to a halt

Well, now this is weird: I used "SETUP.EXE /p g=3" for a more verbose hardware detection, and the computer slowed down after showing ACPI (PNP0C08\0000) as the last hardware detected. Then I tried "SETUP.EXE /p i" to force NO ACPI and it installed fine. What is weird about it is that yesterday I clearly remember installing MSDOS, WinME (no switches) and WinXP, but decided to restart from scratch because I forgot to backup WinME boot sector to make the triple boot, and all installations of WinME I tried since then froze. At least I learned how to include the MaxPhysPage and MaxFileCache into MSBATCH.INF so I don't need to manually edit system.ini, making the installation truly unattended.

Add to [Install] section:
UpdateInis=Edit.Files

Add to the end of MSBATCH.INF:
[Edit.Files]
%10%\system.ini,386Enh,,"MaxPhysPage=40000"
%10%\system.ini,vcache,,"MaxFileCache=524288"

And I'll also add 3 options to my boot floppy image: "normal install" (SETUP.EXE /nm /im /p g=3), "FORCE ACPI install" (SETUP.EXE /nm /im /p g=3;j) and "FORCE NO ACPI install" (SETUP.EXE /nm /im /p g=3;i)

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