Trying to get W98 running on a Phenom II (no, I'm not nuts)

By Mugsy · 21 replies
Mar 14, 2011
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  1. I have some old Travan backup tapes that were made years ago using Seagate's Travan backup software for Windows98. I wish to recover the data on them. The software ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT INSTALL/RUN UNDER WINDOWS XP, EVEN IN COMPATIBILITY MODE, so don't even bother suggesting it. Trust me, I've tried everything to get it to work.

    So I removed the HDD drive from my defunct W98 PC, plugged it into an external USB/IDE enclosure, and tried to boot it on my current PC (AMD Phenom-II processor with 4GB of memory.)

    The first problem was it didn't recognize my RAM. The fix for that was to limit "MaxMemory" to just 768MB through the System.ini file.

    Getting past that produces a "Windows protection error" when trying to load "NTKERN".

    "NTKERN" isn't an independent file. It is internal to another file (VMM.vxd?) that is auto generated when Windows is installed.

    Reformatting and reinstalling W98 from scratch won't work because it won't recognize the new hardware.

    Any ideas? Anyone? This is a puzzler.
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I didn't even think you could boot 98 from an external, its a bit of a chore to get XP to do that...

    Why don't you try it in a virtual machine?
  3. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 436   +29

    Hitting F12 during bootup allows me to boot from any drive (including USB).

    I'm not sure how to setup a VM under XP to run 98.

    Edit: OMG, that was so cool. :)

    I wasn't aware MS distributed *free* VM software for XP. Just installed 98 on a Virtual Machine under XP.

    It is late now, so I'll try installing the tape drive and software tomorrow. I'll let you know what happens.

    Edit 2: Damn. So close!

    The VM doesn't detect my SCSI card (tried installing the w98 driver for it). My tape drive is a SCSI device, so if the VM doesn't detect the card, I can't detect the tape drive.

    Back to square one.

    XP detects the tape backup device, so "maybe" I can map it to a VM drive, but with no source drive letter, I'm not sure if that's even possible.

    Edit 3: I *may* have found a "solution" (fingers crossed):

    Restating the original problem: I need to recover files from an old SCSI tape backup that was created using "Seagate Backup Exec" under Windows 98.

    o XP can't read the backup files. No other software reads "Backup Exec" format files (one old commercial program based upon SBE supposedly could, but I can't find a copy.)
    o "Backup Exec" will not install under XP in W98 compatibility mode.
    o I tried installing Win98 using "MS Virtual PC 2007", but VPC does not support SCSI, so I can't access the tape drive from it.

    After some more searching online, I found someone that had a near identical problem:

    They found that "Backup Exec" will install/run on XP under "Win2K in Compatibility Mode".

    We'll see. I'll try reinstalling in W2K mode and report my findings later. Fingers crossed.

    Nope. Didn't work. Program says, "Software requires Windows 95" when using Win2K Mode.

    So I tried NT4 mode. Got much further, but installation stops halfway through claiming: "not enough disk space on target drive". Target drive has almost 300GB free, but is a SATA RAID-0 drive using NTFS. So I tried a installing to my IDE D: drive (also using NTFS). Same thing. So I tried installing to a FAT32 formatted 1GB Flash drive. Same message: "not enough disk space on target drive". Program is only 2.2MB.

    I'm officially stumped.
  4. superty12

    superty12 TS Enthusiast Posts: 413

    Did you try 95 mode?
  5. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 436   +29

    Same error

    Thanks for the reply.

    Yes, "95 mode" creates the same error as "98/ME mode" or when trying to install the software normally under XP:
    Error trying to create directory: _DIRECTORY_
    The only C-mode that came even close was NT4 mode, which gets halfway though copying the files before reporting "no room on target drive", regardless of free space or format.
  6. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    In your position, I would look for a really old, but working PC which might well have Win98 still installed, or install Win98 and hope it will accept an SCSI board. Anything built up to about 2004 should be fine.

    I assume you do have a Win98se install CD. Where I work, I have access to several Win98 PC's in working order. Try a local advert or similar.
  7. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 436   +29

    I just threw out the PC this Win98 drive came out of. I'm not about to replace it.

    I have another option. I found an ancient copy of Win NT4 that I may try installing to a 1GB partition on this PC. I hesitate only because I question whether it will even install on this new hardware when newer Win98 would not.
  8. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    No, it will not work and you will not get Windows 98 to work either.

    Using a virtual machine was a really clever suggestion, but I'm not aware of any virtual machine software that can support the SCSI passthrough (probably) necessary for your tape drive.

    You may have some luck with a USB SCSI adapter since virtual machine software can do USB support (ie. VirtualBox and Vmware. Not sure about newer iterations of VirtualPC). USB can be tempermental too.

    This is a common problem with older programs installing on an NTFS partition. However, you also tried this on your FAT32 USB drive and got the same error, which probably means something else is going on. It's a shame you got so close...

    Microsoft's backup utility was called "NT Backup Executive"... Sound familiar?

    This is just a hunch, but Seagate actually created the same backup format that Microsoft used later on for system backups with Windows NT, 2000, 2003 etc... Perhaps the NT Backup utility can extract the contents of your tape backup?

    Windows XP Pro includes NT Backup but I don't think Windows XP Home does. If you DO have it installed, it will be under Start > Program Files > Accessories > System Tools. You can also run it from Start > Run > ntbackup.exe

    If you don't have it, you can install it from the XP CD (even Home edition). You'll find on the CD under: ValueAdd\Msft\Ntbackup\ntbackup.msi

    NT Backup associates itself with .bkf files automatically. Even though your backup might have a different file type extension, it may indeed be using the same format internally. Open up the NT Backup program and attempt to restore... See what happens. Best of luck.
  9. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 436   +29

    Thanks for the reply.

    MS Backup utility was the first thing I tried. But that was years ago, and I forgot exactly what the problem was. IIRC, it reported an incompatible format.

    I'm reaching a point where I think finding a way to get XP to read the backup is going to be my only solution. :(
  10. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Aww, that's a shame. It was at least worth trying though.

    *marks another option off the chalkboard*

    Let's troubleshoot your problems getting it installed then, since that seems like the only possible course from here.

    I know that Windows "compatibility mode" doesn't do much more than change the OS version, so I was thinking this might be a problem with how the program calculates disk space. It appears that issues like "not enough disk space" can still occur because of outdated API calls by your old software. I tried looking up some more information about this and found this:
    If that's the case, then maybe using a flash drive or partition smaller than 2GB will let you complete the install.

    If you don't have anything less than 2GB -- unfortunately -- XP's compatibility mode does not include a "correct disk space" option. The article above is about apcompat.exe... a long forgotten (at least for me) compatibility application designed for Windows 2000. It was supposedly bundled on the XP CD but not included in the installation. Windows XP does have its own adaptation though (as you have tried to emulate Windows NT) for as long as I can remember, but it doesn't give you as much control. There's an article on how to activate it here:

    The reason I'm sharing this article with you is that perhaps you can use apcompat instead of XP's compatiblity apparatus to get the "Correct disk space" option. I have a feeling it won't work properly on SP2+ though.... However, with that in mind, maybe you can find out a little bit about how "Correct disk space" works.. Maybe it is just a registry value you can change in which case you can avoid having to apcompat. I don't have any experience with this, unfortunately. Just an idea.
  11. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 436   +29

    Argh, A few more attempts. A few more failures.

    First, I tried accessing the tape again using MS Backup. It does detect a backup file dated 9/9/2001, but seems unable to catalog it. Attempting to Catalog the tape results in the tape winding/unwinding forever. I eventually end up having to switch off the drive and do a three-finger salute to close the program. I would just let it go if the tape wasn't getting so hot I fear it might get damaged.

    So I tried going back to the old software. Believe it or not, I actually got the old Seagate Backup Exec software to install! (This is my ONLY success to report.)

    When attempting to install the software using Win98 Compatibility Mode, if gives me three errors each saying it can not create "_DIRECTORY_". When I close those warning messages, the installation continues and reports "install failure" at the end. But I ran the "installed" program anyway (setting Compatibility to W98), and it actually appears to run just fine. Huh.

    So I ran the Restore Wizard and it reports "No Devices Found" (yes, the drive appears just fine in the XP Device Manager), preventing me from doing anything else. (the software only works with tapes, so it doesn't detect any drive letters either.)

    Unless there is a way to get the program to detect the tape drive, I'm stuck. It just can't be done with XP and the current software.

    So close. Crap.
  12. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Quoted for truth...

    I thought it was the habit of everyone to keep an old, space wasting, aircraft noise producing, dented, damaged and otherwise smashed to pieces Win 98 tower in their garage/shed/office corner/etc. :haha:

    I'd imagine you might find some if you look online. You need one already running Win98... For the sake of £20 it saves you considerable bother.
  13. superty12

    superty12 TS Enthusiast Posts: 413

    Perhaps you can get an XP era drive. Or just install the 98 driver. If XP doesn't recognize the drive, neither does the Seagate software. By the way, how is the 98 tower hard drive.
  14. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 436   +29

    Murphy's Law

    I *just* tossed mine out. My apartment had to be fumigated and I ended up getting rid of everything "I didn't need" because I didn't have a place to put it all.

    Before taking the PC to the recycling center, I removed the whopping 7GB harddrive with Win98 on it, figuring I might just be able to get it to run on my current PC. I had kept the old 350MHz K6 PC as a backup for those rare times when XP "crashed" due to a bad spyware or adware infection. But I've been dual-booting with Linux (and now Win7) for years, rendering the backup PC "unnecessary"... or so I thought. I was just never in the mood to open up my current PC, move the PCI scsi card back into the old box, make room on my desk & hook up my current monitor to the old PC, just to recover those files. I put it off & put it off until eventually I just forgot about it.

    ...until this week when I removed the drive and thought about connecting it to the computer that already has the scsi card in it.

    And so, here I am, cursing "Murphy's Law". :)
  15. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 436   +29

    Another try, another failure (but still clever).

    I considered the possibility that even though SBE appeared to install despite all the errors, maybe a crucial portion needed to detect the tape drive didn't get installed.

    So I got clever. I installed the program under my "Virtual PC" running W98, then dragged the resulting folder inside "Program Files" to the XP desktop, then simply overwrote the XP installation. (I wish I had thought of that sooner. Would of saved me a lot of trouble.)

    Unfortunately, it still does not detect any backup devices. :(
  16. superty12

    superty12 TS Enthusiast Posts: 413

    Can the backup software detect backup files on hard drives? If so, move the the backup files onto the XP hard drive, then restore the files.
  17. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 436   +29

    If I could access the file on the tape, we wouldn't be having this discussion. :)
  18. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 436   +29

    Minor update:

    After Googling "Backup Exec", I found it has its own Wiki page that reports the history of the software. The Seagate software, which I finally got to run on XP only to discover it doesn't detect my tape drive, was re-released commercially by Veritas, first as v7.3, then upgraded to v8.x after XP came out. Symantec bought them out in 2005, and the current version is "2010 R2" (aka "v13.0").

    I downloaded the 3GB 60-day demo of "Symantec Backup Exec 2010 R2" only to discover it no longer supports tape drives (and only runs on Servers). Damn.

    So right now I am search for an ancient copy of "Veritas Backup Exec 8.0". :)
  19. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 436   +29

    On second thought...

    You got me wondering...

    Tape drives aren't assigned driver letters (some ancient commercial software supposedly did this, but good luck finding it), but I started thinking about finding a program that could simply read the tape and save the backup to disk.

    After much searching, I found some old tape recovery shareware that does this ("Tape Dump"), and am copying the tape to a disk as we speak.

    On the downside, the program is SLOWWWWWWWW, taking 2 hours to copy 150MB. It's a 4GB tape (uncompressed), and the first in a series of four. It will be 2am before I know if the program even supports "spanned" backups across multiple tapes... and if so, it will take 4 days non-stop to recover the complete set (and THEN I must find a program that can read the backup.)
  20. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 436   +29


    MS's VM doesn't support SCSI at all (and only runs on Windows machines).

    Oracle's "VirtualBox" supports SCSI, but only discs with drive letters.

    After a bit more searching online, I learned VMware's "VMware Player" (awful name. I didn't realize it was another free Virtual Machine, so I never investigated it) not only supports SCSI hdd's, but devices like tape drives.

    Not as easy to setup as MS's VM, but far easier than VirtualBox. Plus can emulate a screen larger than 640x480. And best of all, the config allows me to "point to" my SCSI tape drive (you must know the scsi-id).

    I installed a Win98 virtual machine, checked the Device Manger, and it showed both my SCSI card AND my Tape Drive!

    I then installed the old Seagate Backup Exec and it also detected the drive. I am reading the tapes as I type this. Huzzah! :)

    Now, let's just hope that the ten year old tapes aren't too old to read.
  21. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Congrads, and thanks for the follow-up.
  22. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    10 out of 10 for sheer bloody-minded persistence. I thought nobody could be as bad as I am, but maybe you are :D

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