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Modern-ish OS for Pentium systems...

commodorejohn

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I've got a few GB to spare on the hard disk of the DOS/WfW Pentium/120 system I'm putting together, and I'd kind of like to get something semi-modern-ish (by which I mean: preemptive multitasking, memory protection, and built-in networking support, ideally with a reasonable GUI option as well) going on it. Windows 9x is out, as it seems to not get along with this particular system very well, and while I could probably get NT/2k going without too much trouble, I have other systems for that. I tried BeOS R5, but that apparently doesn't want to recognize the keyboard and mouse. As far as the Freenix world goes, I was able to boot the NetBSD installer, but that also doesn't appear to be listening to keyboard input, or possibly it's just too slow to respond or something. And MINIX sounds interesting to me, but the new version doesn't appear to have any provision for booting off a floppy disk, and my system is too old to boot from CD natively...

Any suggestions on this?
 

Agent Orange

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I've got a few GB to spare on the hard disk of the DOS/WfW Pentium/120 system I'm putting together, and I'd kind of like to get something semi-modern-ish (by which I mean: preemptive multitasking, memory protection, and built-in networking support, ideally with a reasonable GUI option as well) going on it. Windows 9x is out, as it seems to not get along with this particular system very well, and while I could probably get NT/2k going without too much trouble, I have other systems for that. I tried BeOS R5, but that apparently doesn't want to recognize the keyboard and mouse. As far as the Freenix world goes, I was able to boot the NetBSD installer, but that also doesn't appear to be listening to keyboard input, or possibly it's just too slow to respond or something. And MINIX sounds interesting to me, but the new version doesn't appear to have any provision for booting off a floppy disk, and my system is too old to boot from CD natively...

Any suggestions on this?

John,

How about Window 3.1 for Work Groups from 1992 since you Pentium 120 is from about 1995. Or, WIN95 is pretty solid as I run it on my 386/40 very nicely.

Tom
 

commodorejohn

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Well, yeah, I've already got WfW on there. But that's not exactly what I'd count as "modern-ish" (granted, it does provide memory protection and networking capability, but it's not really all that stable or responsive in my experience.)
 

Agent Orange

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Well, yeah, I've already got WfW on there. But that's not exactly what I'd count as "modern-ish" (granted, it does provide memory protection and networking capability, but it's not really all that stable or responsive in my experience.)

How about OS/2? WIN95 is a good system for that era and basically DOS on steroids. I'm willing to bet a nickel to a hole in a donut 95 it would run like a champ on a P 120. In my experience, 95 is not as resource intensive as 98. I think you would struggle to get W2K (semi-modern) up and running on a P 120 as the minimum specs call for a P 133. I Have P III Tualatin running at 1.4 GHz that struggles with XP.
 

commodorejohn

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As already mentioned, 9x unfortunately doesn't seem to want to get along with this particular system - I had to re-run the installer a good dozen times before finally getting it to finish without cacking itself, and twice it actually finished only to then constantly crash while attempting to boot from the newly installed system.

OS/2 is an interesting thought, though...I tried installing that on my 386 box some years ago but never got it to run, it's probably about time I revisited it.
 

KC9UDX

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What version of NetBSD did you try? I haven't run into that issue on similar systems. But the most recent version I've gotten working on anything that old was I think 5.
 

KC9UDX

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Here's 5.1.3 running on Pentium Pro. I've used this same install CD to get a plain Jane Pentium running.

6.1.5 would not run on this machine. I think 6.0 did. But I didn't have a problem with the installation process, it would lock up loading the kernel.
 

GiGaBiTe

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As already mentioned, 9x unfortunately doesn't seem to want to get along with this particular system - I had to re-run the installer a good dozen times before finally getting it to finish without cacking itself, and twice it actually finished only to then constantly crash while attempting to boot from the newly installed system.

If Windows is crashing that much, its likely you have hardware problems. You should run a memory test if you haven't already, and try a different PSU. If the PSU has a dirty output (ie. high ripple or out of spec voltage on the rails) then it can cause all sorts of erratic behavior.

and my system is too old to boot from CD natively...

https://www.plop.at/en/bootmanagers.html
 

liqmat

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Hey John,

I've been following your threads about the board I sent you. I picked that up at a garage sale and it seemed to be in great physical condition, but that said have you run some diag and torture tests on that board? I never did test it myself. I find it very odd you are having so much trouble with Windows 95 installs and I smell a fault somewhere or at least a conflict. Can you at least get into the Win95 device manager to see if it's clean?

Edit: GiGaBiTe beat me to it, ^^^^^ but exactly my thoughts as well.
 
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commodorejohn

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If Windows is crashing that much, its likely you have hardware problems. You should run a memory test if you haven't already, and try a different PSU. If the PSU has a dirty output (ie. high ripple or out of spec voltage on the rails) then it can cause all sorts of erratic behavior.
I suppose I ought to try this anyway, but I think I'm taking a pass on 95 in any case; nothing else I've tried was anywhere near that unstable, even the ones that had issues of their own. And DOS (and various games running under it) runs perfectly stably.

Now this is nifty, though! Thanks for the tip, I'll give it a try.
 

GiGaBiTe

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I've installed Windows 95 on many, many systems over the years. The only times I ever had it predictably crash was due to hardware failure, and the fact that DOS is working fine gives credit to that case.

Some of the capacitor plague machines I've dealt with would run DOS with almost no issues, but would roll over and die if you attempted to load any more advanced OS like Windows or Linux. A similar situation can be said about bad memory, I've had machines with very bad RAM able to boot DOS and work fine since it rarely ever touched the bad memory locations. Windows can also deal with bad memory (and even bad memory controllers in some cases), but Linux will kernel panic in the boot process if even a few duff bits are present.

I had a Dell PE2550 a number of years ago which had a bad memory controller. No matter how much memory was installed, the last 8 MB of the memory map always had failures, which caused Linux to fail booting. Windows ran fine and dandy, I could just mask off the upper 8 MB of memory in the boot options, but Linux wasn't so forgiving.
 

Mr. Horse

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To me there are 2 OS that sand out as being more modern and will work on a Pentium system. Windows 2k and DSLlinux.
 

cwathen

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Definitely hardware problems. 95/98 on a clean install with nothing else added is generally as solid as a rock. Instability is introduced to the system through bad drivers or software. If you've got troubles even installing it, that's a hardware fault.

I had a similar problem myself earlier in the year with a K6-2 machine. It needed recapping to make it run, and I ended up having to slightly underclock the CPU to make it stable (although with these changes it now runs perfectly).
 
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Mr. Horse

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I seen many systems that do not play well with 9x and had no HW problems. 9x can be flaky with cretin setups, but that's more often then not a problem with newer system on 9x.
Id still check for hardware problems.
 

Agent Orange

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I seen many systems that do not play well with 9x and had no HW problems. 9x can be flaky with cretin setups, but that's more often then not a problem with newer system on 9x.
Id still check for hardware problems.

I'm with CWATHEN on this one. I've installed W95/98 more times than I care to count. a large share of the install glitches are caused by marginal hardware and their flaky drivers. Most, if not all, of the major system retailers and their so called clones, touted 95 & 98 as a key selling point. It usually boils down to a misplaced jumper, IRQ, or a memory issue.
 

Mr. Horse

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Drivers and IRQs can be a big problem with 9x systems.

Memory issue is a big one for trying to use 9x on a newer system. I seen time and time again when one trys to max out ram on a 9x system. Go over 256mb and it may work with a few glitches. go over 512mb, good luck. getting close to a GB? Oh lord no.


I would not rule out hardware. But Don't be amazed if its not hardware.
 

glitch

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The keyboard issue with NetBSD would also make me think something is not 100% right.

OpenBSD should run on the system as well, though newer versions with the per-boot library reordering will take *forever* to start up. Slackware 14.2 will run on it as well, but you probably don't have enough RAM to do the actual install on the Pentium system.
 
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