Windows ME Beta 1 on real hardware
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Author:  Schneider616 [ Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Windows ME Beta 1 on real hardware

As the title suggests, I'm trying to run Millennium Beta 1 (build 2380) on a real machine, as a challange in replacing 98SE, to see how it would hold up against it in a retro gaming round.

A few issues I am running into, and would appreciate some help:


As with every 9x build, there has to be a timebomb. I know there is timecrk for 95, vismwa (an Windows based timebomb remover) for 98 (it ONLY runs on 98 builds), but what's a good way to remove the timebomb in early ME builds? The only guides I kind of found here apply to builds starting in the RC0 range (I might be wrong though, feel free to correct me) but I found next to nothing about builds from 2332 up to ~2419. RC0 involves replacing IO.sys with the one from the RTM build, whereas 2332-2419 resemble 98SE going by their cabinet files.

2. GPU drivers

First tried a Geforce 2 Pro 64MB, PC would cut off (without me doing anything) then after boot it says it would never attempt starting it again. With a Voodoo3 3000 said it wouldn't install because of unsigned drivers (although I didn't use 3dfx' official drivers, which might be an clue as to why it gave me the error) so I'm not sure what to do here. For the GF2 I had to use a Quadro2 driver, as I didn't have a Geforce 2 Pro/GTS option in the driver list. Surprisingly, it had MX440SE and MX460 in the list though, so I could try a MX440SE if it works.

3. Networking

Is Networking not working on 2380? Or is it my drivers? I managed to install the NIC drivers, they show up (RTL8139, 10/08/2008) but ping says unknown host for every site I try.

Finally, here are the specs I am running 2380 on, if it helps:

    Intel Pentium 3 650MHz Coppermine (Slot1 variant)
    Acorp 6VIA81P-133 motherboard - VIA 693 chipset
    MSI Geforce 2 Pro 64MB AGP4x
    256MB PC133 RAM
    Hitachi-LG DVDRW
    2x Seagate ST310211A 10GB UDMA66 HDDs (one has a separate Windows 2000 Pro install so I can switch between ME 2380 and 2k at any time)
    400W P&O PSU with a pretty balanced 5V output
    SB16 CT2770 ISA non-PnP Soundcard
    Realtek RTL8139D 10/100 NIC

Author:  Zv45Beta [ Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Windows ME Beta 1 on real hardware

My advice is to try it on hardware that was out there in the Millennium beta phase. For example, you can try finding an older Matrox card (something like a Mystique or a Millennium card, non-AGP is preferable), as the drivers for those cards come bundled with the OS. Regarding the networking, I'd suggest using an older Realtek NIC, like an 8029AS, as the drivers for it are bundled into even Win98. Newer GPUs were always a PITA to set up in betas, at least in my experience (as I've failed to install any kind of ATI card on Whistler 2428; only a Matrox G400 worked perfectly).

Author:  Schneider616 [ Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Windows ME Beta 1 on real hardware

I have a 8029AS, and it didn't detect it. Worked under 98SE though. Matrox cards are about 99% extinct here, so my choices are pretty limited - Voodoo3 3000, the aforementioned Geforce 2 Pro and the oldest in the bunch, a Riva 128ZX.

Anyways, got points 2 and 3 fixed already by using 2394 instead of 2380. Got both the GPU (GF2 Pro and RTL8139 NIC) drivers working. Now just to remove the timebomb, which is something I'm still looking into - I take it that timecrk DOES work on Beta1 ME builds?

Author:  Schneider616 [ Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Windows ME Beta 1 on real hardware

Managed to remove the timebomb! Went down the simplest route possible by just replacing IO.SYS with the one from RTM and then adding a separate LOGO.SYS I made (done using the old XrX Logo Utilities) to mask the RTM logo that resides in IO.SYS.

Thanks for the suggestions!

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