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Which Windows OS is better for retro computing?


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Which OS?  

34 members have voted

  1. 1. Which OS?

    • Windows 3
      2
    • Windows 95
      0
    • Windows 98 or 98SE
      22
    • Windows ME
      0
    • Windows 2000
      2
    • Windows XP
      8


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ME is actually quite a bit snappier than 98 on a machine that it works well with, but its a pain in the ass all thanks to its change in drivers. For instance my ME machine at the time was a AMDK62/500 on a VIA chipset, with a NVIDIA riva TNT, soundblaster live, new for the time USB network adapter and a external 56k modemblaster, ran like a champ.

 

but toss in a old card, printer,scanner whatever with windows 95 or 98 only drivers and the thing would bluescreen when a gnat farted.

 

you dont want to deal with that today as hard as it is just to find hardware with windows 9x support and unless you spend a ton of time finding hardware that fit that niche fragment of time, the milliseconds of speed difference when only dealing with the windows interface just is not worth it

 

edit

 

2000 and XP would be pointless on a retro machine unless your playing only windows games, which at some point just use a modern machine, I can still run the windows 3x version of battle chess on windows 7... Star Trek 25th Anniversary for example is a DOS game that wouldnt play along even in windows 9x and is a total asshat to get running correctly in dosbox

 

nothing wrong with 95, realistically all you miss is some network support you wont use, better USB integration (95 OSR2 supports usb, just not as much out of the box) and some newer outdated browsers

Edited by Osgeld
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I had better luck running DOS games on my Win 95 laptop then on either of my Win 98 machines. Though that is most likely because the hardware on that old Compaq was really close to what the DOS games were needing. That was a great machine. I ran it until the hard drive just died.

 

If I were to build a retro gamer now though, it'd probably be for Win 98. DOSBox runs all my older stuff fine but there's a few Windows games floating around from 98-2002 or so that just act funny on newer systems

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Yeah, I'd say ME, 2000, and XP are out, since "retro" kind of requires DOS and ISA.

 

I have a lot of nostalgia for 95, but time has caused me to forget what an awful pain in the neck it can be to work with. 98 was a lot more stable, and you can patch it to look/act more like 95, but then you're leaning more towards a computer that's going to have some trouble playing a lot of 80s games.

 

No nostalgia at all for 3. For what it is, it's not bad once you get past how user-friendly it is. Windows 8 fans might feel right at home, but it takes some getting used to not having an X button on windows. I think the UI itself is pretty cute though, and there are a few early Windows games like Dare 2 Dream, where on newer OSes, the task bar will cover up part of the screen.

Edited by Asaki
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It depends on whether you want to play DOS games from real DOS. Real DOS will require a FAT partition, and Windows XP and beyond default to NTFS. However, if you only want to play Windows 95/98 era games, they generally play just fine on XP and even better in many cases (faster frame rates). I like Windows 98SE because the USB support is fairly mature, and I can always launch DOS games from Windows or use a boot disk for real DOS.

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It depends on whether you want to play DOS games from real DOS. Real DOS will require a FAT partition, and Windows XP and beyond default to NTFS. However, if you only want to play Windows 95/98 era games, they generally play just fine on XP and even better in many cases (faster frame rates). I like Windows 98SE because the USB support is fairly mature, and I can always launch DOS games from Windows or use a boot disk for real DOS.

 

 

I agree on this, but I think it also goes further. It very much depends on what kind of retro games you want to play.

 

Anything prior to say... 1992, they pretty much work best in a DOS 5.0 type of environment.

 

Anything after 1992 to around 2001, will work best in a Windows 98 SE environment, that being... you can play the DOS games with BootGUI=0 in startup, or you can play the Windows 95-98SE games in Windows.

 

Windows 2000 though is exactly like XP (same kernel), so it also has an NT file system.

 

There are very few games that DEMAND Windows 2000 and simply will not run under Windows XP. Only one I've ever found is Pool of Radiance (the newer one that came on CD)

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This survey is inherently flawed since OP didn't make even the slightest attempt to define "retro computing" (instead just belching out "Title"). What exactly does he mean by retro, and what exactly does he mean by computing? Does he mean gaming, or running old versions of Visicalc and WordPerfect? Does he mean running DOS software, 16-bit Win 3.1, or Win32?

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This survey is inherently flawed since OP didn't make even the slightest attempt to define "retro computing" (instead just belching out "Title"). What exactly does he mean by retro, and what exactly does he mean by computing? Does he mean gaming, or running old versions of Visicalc and WordPerfect? Does he mean running DOS software, 16-bit Win 3.1, or Win32?

 

 

Yeah... that's kind of what I was thinking about too. I see games as two different generations of "retro." But then in reality, there's probably 3 or more. My idea are the games of the mid to late 80s... to include games up to 92-93. And then I think of games from 93-2000. But clearly, there's another generation after that, and with Steam now... we're in a whole other generation of games. And... I'm totally ignoring all the games ~pre-1984... which includes a lot of the Zork games.

 

 

 

When discussing retro gaming on Windows machines, it's helpful to differentiate by DirectX version. Then you have a discrete era and can have an idea of the hardware that will need to power your OS.

 

Oh man... huge groan. It's been a long time, but I've really forgotten how much of a pain in the butt it was dealing with the different Direct-X versions. Every once in a while, a game required you to have an older version, and a newer version wouldn't work... :(

 

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Oh man... huge groan. It's been a long time, but I've really forgotten how much of a pain in the butt it was dealing with the different Direct-X versions. Every once in a while, a game required you to have an older version, and a newer version wouldn't work... :(

 

I've had pretty good luck going with DX8 in 98SE. DX9 games don't really seem "retro" to me. It's kind of nice just saying that you want to play games only up to the DX7 or DX8 era. Doing so helps to narrow down the range of video cards. With 98SE, you can go all the way up to a Geforce 6800 Ultra with official drivers, but you don't necessarily want to because support for certain effects starts to disappear after a while. The Geforce 4 Ti4600 is a classic DX8 card that still retains compatibility with effects from earlier DX versions. And then there's the search for the "perfect" set of drivers for your needs.

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For retro computing with Windows based games, Windows 95 is the best all around solution. All the Dos games are fully playable (as long as you tweak that autoexec.bat sometimes) and all the Windows 95 games work right off the CD.

 

In Windows 98 and above, some of those windows 95 installers won't work because 98 was based off Windows NT. Games after 2001 probably won't run on 95 but if your talking 1997 and before, Windows 95 is the way to go. Of course DosBox will work great for anything Dos based but I'm considering if you want to run Windows based games after the Dos era

Edited by deckardbr
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For retro computing with Windows based games, Windows 95 is the best all around solution. All the Dos games are fully playable (as long as you tweak that autoexec.bat sometimes) and all the Windows 95 games work right off the CD.

 

In Windows 98 and above, some of those windows 95 installers won't work because 98 was based off Windows NT. Games after 2001 probably won't run on 95 but if your talking 1997 and before, Windows 95 is the way to go. Of course DosBox will work great for anything Dos based but I'm considering if you want to run Windows based games after the Dos era

 

Windows 98 was not based off NT. Windows 2000 and XP were based off NT.

 

98SE is generally regarded as the most stable of the DOS based Windows, which is why I recommended it.

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Windows 98 was not based off NT. Windows 2000 and XP were based off NT.

 

98SE is generally regarded as the most stable of the DOS based Windows, which is why I recommended it.

 

Nope, the device drivers in 98 were based off NT. From the Windows 98 Wiki "Device driver access in WDM is actually implemented through a VxD device driver, NTKERN.VXD which implements several Windows NT-specific kernel support functions. NTKERN creates IRPs and sends them to WDM drivers." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_98

 

The question was also not about stability. It was asking about retro computing for windows games. Dos games are easily played using Dosbox but Windows games made during 1994-98 get abit tricky. The best way to play those is on the original Windows 95 platform. Otherwise you have to hunt down install patches to make the games work correctly. If you want an out of the box (or out of the CD) install and play experience, a retro computer running Windows 95 will play everything from that era.

Edited by deckardbr
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