Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Reflections of

A couple weeks back now, I saw a cardboard box on the side of the road (by somebody’s driveway) upon which someone had scrawled F R E E, in black marker, which had what could only be a keyboard protruding out of it.

Since I was in no real hurry, I decided to pull over, stop, and take a quick look, and see what else was in the box.
(One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure – they say.)

Sure enough: it was a keyboard I’d seen; and the box was full of old computer stuff — a couple more keyboards, a joystick, some floppy discs (still in the cellophane), several mice, and other parts and pieces and doodads. A look at the connecting plugs (and the floppies) told me this stuff dated to the first generation of personal computers — and should have been recycled long ago. Absolutely useless.

I was just about to walk away when I noticed that a bit behind the box was a stack of jewel cases. These jewel cases contained CD’s. The CD’s were install discs for —

  • Star Wars X-Wing Alliance
  • B-17
  • Heroes of Might and Magic III
  • F-22 Lightning 2
  • Comanche 3
  • Operation Flashpoint
  • Homeworld
  • and several other games from that era..

Brings back some memories, doesn’t it? (Well, for some of you, anyway.) These games also date from the first generation — and were written in DOS, if you can believe that.
In spite of the fact that these games are too old to play properly on modern machines, I took some of them. Maybe I could get them to work..

There are methods for getting old games to play on modern machines. My How To for that is here, Windows 7 – Old Games Won’t Play.. Help! (Updated), which sometimes work.

But for several of these titles (um.. most of these titles) they did not, and if I wanted to proceed in my efforts I would have had to start using virtual environments. But instead, I did what I have not done in ages – I went into the T4E Museum Of Computers and pulled down a 1st Generation computer, and “fired it up”.

This bad boy is a Celeron 333 MHz, that has a whopping 64 Megabytes of RAM, a massive 4 Gigabyte hard drive, and runs the smooth and stable Windows 98 Second Edition. (It even has – hold on to your hats, USB ports!)

Ahhh.. the days of AUTOEXEC.BAT. I had almost forgotten..

[a brief aside: Now.. if you have read this far, I feel I have to be a little clearer, and more precise — the actual “first generation of PC’s” — the Pentium 286, 386, and 486 era, did not have “graphical” user interfaces, nor “video games” as we think of them. No “icons”. Instead, you typed in things like “cd c:\programs\lotus\”. What I meant by “1st Gen” was when people started actually buying PC’s to have in their home..]

I had – also – almost forgotten how slow, and incapable these machines, and Windows 98 were/are. And how many hurdles you had to jump through to get a graphics adapter to work. Can you believe there are people out there advocating going back and running Windows 98.. because Microsoft OSes “have become too ‘bloated’, slow, and unresponsive”? And I still see people who take pains to set their machines to have the “classic” look (spartan) shown above.

Sorry.. I am long-winded today. Back to the story. So installed some of these old games (or, tried to) and went through multiple (slow) reboots, a couple of BSOD‘s, etc., and I came away from it all with one word at the forefront of my mind –> LAME.

I hurried back to my 64-bit Win machine, used my wireless mouse to double-click the icon for Call of Duty Black Ops, and chuckled as I realized my machine has twice as much RAM as the the old PC has hard drive. And my game looks like this..

So there you have it: LAME vs less-lame. The old and the new. Night and day.

I really had forgotten Windows 98. I remembered it being better.. somehow. And the games too. I thought they were “cool”… and I suppose they were. In their day. Now? LAME. (I could only stand to play Heroes for a few minutes.. It was a bit like watching Pong.)

Related reading:

* It is time to face facts and finally dump Windows XP.

* A trip back to the land of Mega

Sorry if I angered anyone. That was not my intent. The above is just my “humble opinion”. My point is, we have evolved and advanced — and the past is, frequently, nostalgia at best. (Again, MHO.)

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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June 16, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, Gaming, how to, Microsoft, PC, tech | , , , , , | 12 Comments

Windows 7 – Old Games Won’t Play.. Help!

Attention: I have posted an updated and more complete version of this article, here: Windows 7 – Old Games Won’t Play.. Help! (Updated)

Reader Asks For Help After Installing Windows 7

Q: I had Windows XP and Windows 7 was recently installed. I hate Windows 7. My kids can’t play their games. Something about hardware acceleration driver. I want to know if I can switch to my XP. I do have the 7 recovery CDs that I made when I got the computer. Is there an easy way of switching? I’m not a tech person. I do not know alot about computers, but I do love and miss my XP. Can you help me?

A: Dear Reader,
Unless the person who upgraded you to Win 7 made a full backup of the XP (such as a “disk image”) before they installed, then no — there is no “easy way” back to XP. You would have to format your hard drive, install XP, install all your programs, and then copy back all your data. (Maybe.. that’s what you mean by “7 recovery CD’s”? Did you run Norton Ghost? Or, Acronis True Image?)
But XP is obsolete, not for sale any more*, not terribly secure, and no longer fully supported by Microsoft (and soon to be unsupported totally). It really isn’t the thing to do to “go back”…

Why don’t we focus on getting the issue resolved so that your kids can play their games? There are several approaches.
1) The “hardware acceleration” is referring to the “video card”, or more accurately, the graphics driver. Most graphics drivers allow you to turn off the hardware acceleration (which should resolve your issue).
Click Start in the lower left corner of Windows.
Click Control Panel, click Appearance and Personalization, click Personalization, click Display Settings, and then click Advanced Settings.
Click the Troubleshoot tab, and then click Change Settings. [Note: Change Settings will be disabled if the graphics card drivers do not support disabling hardware acceleration.]
Move the Hardware Acceleration slider until it is one notch to the right of None. This is the basic acceleration setting.
Click OK twice, and then close the window.
Restart the computer.

[you can also get there via the graphic adapter’s Properties in Device Manager]

The path in your address bar is: Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Display > Change Display Settings > Advanced settings.

Graph_Acc

2) You may need set the troublesome games to launch in “Compatibility Mode”, and tell them to run under Windows XP SP2. This article, https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/compatibility-tricks-for-old-programs-new-machines/ shows you how. The Compat Mode section is about half way down the page.

3) You may also – if the game is old enough – need to turn off a CPU core (or, now, cores), called “setting the affinity”. Also see, Compatibility Tricks for Old Programs, New Machines.

*see Comments

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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January 6, 2010 Posted by | advice, Compatibility Mode, computers, device drivers, how to, PC, performance, software, tech, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , | 24 Comments