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108 votes

Why didn't Windows 98 need the "Starting Windows 98..." screen?

The message hasn’t gone anywhere. What actually changed is something else. The text message first appeared in MS-DOS 6.0 and said ‘Starting MS-DOS...’. It served two purposes: first, it confirmed that ...
user3840170's user avatar
  • 23.1k
94 votes

Why weren't bootable game disks ever common on the IBM PC?

Bootable game disks do exist for the IBM PC. Conflict in Vietnam is an example of such a game. As can be seen on page 8 of the manual, the game boots directly without loading DOS first. The main ...
user's user avatar
  • 15.2k
94 votes
Accepted

Why do PCs boot in 720x400 resolution?

This is historically not uncommon at all. Before starting an Operating System and initializing a graphics mode, your PC operates in the simplest display mode available, 80×25 text mode. The original ...
StarCat's user avatar
  • 1,465
63 votes
Accepted

Why does DOS ask for the current date and time upon booting?

Because it used to be necessary. While a battery-powered real-time clock is standard today, this wasn’t always the case. The very first IBM 5150 did not include an RTC chip; the system clock was ...
user3840170's user avatar
  • 23.1k
63 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to know which lines in the Gameboy Color cartridge connection is missing by looking at the glitched Nintendo logo?

Yes, it is possible to determine the problem from the bit pattern. Sometimes it is bit 5 and sometimes it is bit 4. It seems that the problem never happens if both bits are equal, and the problem ...
Justme's user avatar
  • 32.9k
59 votes
Accepted

How to put a delay in AUTOEXEC.BAT

Since you are using MS-DOS 6.22 you can abuse the CHOICE command to introduce a set timed delay by piping the output of a REM statement to the choice command, leaving it with no way to complete other ...
mnem's user avatar
  • 4,545
50 votes
Accepted

What makes a floppy disk bootable?

The notion of a bootable-vs-non-bootable floppy is a little odd. It's worth noting that almost all floppies you're likely to have are actually bootable: it's just that they boot a program that isn't ...
Jules's user avatar
  • 13k
50 votes

Why did the Nintendo GameBoy Color make the name of any game to have a specific checksum?

The GameBoy Color has predefined colour palettes for a number of black-and-white GameBoy games. The title checksum is used to see if the current game is one of those, and if so, select the right ...
Michael Graf's user avatar
  • 10.1k
41 votes
Accepted

Why did the Nintendo GameBoy Color make the name of any game to have a specific checksum?

What is the purpose the checksum feature? To provide limited colorization to a selection of legacy, Nintendo-published games, as well as show the Nintendo logo for two specific games, explained later. ...
nitro2k01's user avatar
  • 706
35 votes
Accepted

Why do old computers (PCs) perform a long memory test on every boot?

Why are they doing that? The most important reason is that IBM introduced that check as part of the BIOS startup code, so everyone copied it to be compatible. The PC did differ from many other ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 224k
34 votes

What's the deal with Commodore's RESTORE key?

TL;DR: There is no fundamental difference just because a different interrupt is used. For all practical purpose the Restore-key works like the Apple II's Reset-key or the PC's Ctrl-Alt-Del key ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 224k
32 votes
Accepted

How did an IBM 5150 with 16KB RAM work?

What Boot Code? With 16 KiB it was pitched against the Apple II or the Commodore/Tandy/Atari with BASIC, nothing else. Remember that the PC (!) had a the cassette port? That's the intended mass ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 224k
31 votes

Algorithm for Apple IIe and Apple IIgs boot/start beep

What is algorithms use for boot/start sound (when turn on computer) Algorithm? Well, yes, technically everything is an algorithm. In this case it's simply executing the beep subroutine during reset, ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 224k
30 votes
Accepted

What init system was used in early Linux distributions?

Early Linux distributions, including MCC and TAMU, used Miquel van Smoorenburg’s sysvinit package (which was originally written for Minix in February 1992 and ported to Linux in July 1992; it is now ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
29 votes

What actions, besides a hard power-off, did a blank screen with a blinking cursor allow?

The screen you're seeing is presented asynchronously and autonomously by the graphics hardware in your PC. It doesn't mean anything in itself, other than the graphics hardware is powered, it's ...
knol's user avatar
  • 12.1k
27 votes
Accepted

Windows 98 with 2GB of RAM

I might have found a stable way to limit Windows 98 to use only 1 GiB of RAM with HimemX: Install Windows 98 with 1 GiB of RAM or less; Download himemxfrom https://sourceforge.net/projects/himemx/; ...
Informancien's user avatar
  • 2,657
26 votes

Windows 98 with 2GB of RAM

The Windows 98 memory manager only supports a maximum of 1GB. This amount of memory was considered beyond huge for the time, and by the time people commonly had that much or more memory, Microsoft ...
Dranon's user avatar
  • 1,008
26 votes

Why weren't bootable game disks ever common on the IBM PC?

Well there were some PC booter titles (MobyGames lists 249), but most of these were quite early games, even before hard drives, XMS or EMS even existed. These were almost always self contained single ...
Justme's user avatar
  • 32.9k
22 votes

Why weren't bootable game disks ever common on the IBM PC?

The IBM PC was NOT a Game Machine Plenty of people played plenty of games on IBM & compatible computers. But the IBM PC was designed as a business machine, not a game machine. This is most obvious ...
manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact's user avatar
22 votes
Accepted

Can a stock/original Atari ST boot from a hard drive?

All models of the Atari ST1 had code in ROM to attempt to read and run a boot sector from the first sector an ACSI2-attached drive. The bootloader3 contained in that sector would4 load the hard disk ...
Alex Hajnal's user avatar
  • 9,350
19 votes

How did an IBM 5150 with 16KB RAM work?

The minimal version of IBM PC, also known as cassette version, was shipped with 40KB ROM and 16KB RAM as outlined in IBM 5150 Technical Reference (SECTION I. HARDWARE OVERVIEW in the reference): ...
roolebo's user avatar
  • 291
19 votes
Accepted

What did the cassette bootloader in 8 Bit Ataris do?

De Re Atari describes the cassette boot protocol, which helps understand why bootloaders were (nearly) always used. In cassette boot mode, the operating system reads a record from the tape recorder ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
18 votes

What is the best way to set up multiple operating systems on a retro PC?

I would use partitions on a large hard drive, with something like Ranish Partition Manager to choose an operating system while booting. This supports quite a few different partitions, with the ability ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

What was the distinctive rapid clicking sound in late 1990s desktops?

Its hard to tell exactly from just that brief description, but I think you're probably referring to the sound of the hard drive head seek (repositioning to different areas of the disk) as data is read ...
mnem's user avatar
  • 4,545
16 votes
Accepted

Why weren't bootable game disks ever common on the IBM PC?

There were three primary reasons: Space - PC games were at an awkward juncture in time where both the OS and the games had grown but floppy disks had not, so there was often too little space on the ...
Synetech's user avatar
  • 292
15 votes
Accepted

I made a sector image of a Windows 95 partition, but it won’t boot. Why?

When you used dd, did you capture it from the first physical sector? Or did you merely grab the volume of interest? If you did it on \\.\Volume{$$$$$$$$-$$$$-....}, then you only got C:, not the ...
John Burger's user avatar
  • 1,335
15 votes
Accepted

How Amiga A590 autoboot ROM and bootable floppy disk works?

In order to autoboot any Amiga hard disk, 3 things are needed. A version of Kickstart that supports boot from HD. This means >= Kickstart 1.3. A device driver that knows how to speak to the HD ...
Brian H's user avatar
  • 60.8k
15 votes

Why would installing a 486DX2 make the system freeze for minutes on boot?

There might be a timing loop calibration in the BIOS which is responsible for working with different speed CPUs to have similar delays. Or the BIOS tries to determine the CPU type with the CPUID ...
Justme's user avatar
  • 32.9k

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