Project Index

2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2015 Quick Links
Redtoast - what Windows 98 should've been...
Redtoast Alpha 3 desktop, System Properties, copying files

Redtoast is the correct way to use Windows 98. No bloated IE shell, no 100MB of extra useless components, just the meat and bones of the improved kernel and expanded Win32 API powered by yesterday's Windows 95 shell.

While Redtoast is generally usable, it is basically a one-man project that is developed on and off, and as such you may run into issues in certain places. You can see the list of known issues with Redtoast here.

Floppy disk Download the latest release of Redtoast (Alpha 4) (via FTP) (110 MB)

Reminder: Please do not sell Redtoast or any other Windows remasters, and do not sell computers bundled with Redtoast to avoid jeopardizing the 9x remastering community.

What's new for Alpha 4?

Redtoast development was reset due to a number of things, including the Internet Explorer implementation being very rocky. It still is, given the Internet Explorer icon goes missing if you use the classic shell; that has yet to be worked out. While Alpha 4 tries to get back up to par with Alpha 3a, it is technically based on a blank slate, and the enhancements from Alpha 3a were just quickly spliced in there.

View full changelog

Latest Developments

(Subscribe via RSS) Click the button to subscribe to the miniblog via RSS.

February 19, 2022 at 05:32 AM - In all seriousness, remastering Windows 9x is not as fun as it used to be. In the case of 95D Lite, the end result was great, since I could now load the best version of Windows on a lot more computers with greater ease, but the journey there was horrific. Absolutely horrific. It felt like it took some monstrous wizardry just to force Windows 95 Setup to not break itself when detecting a network card or something, and even then, it still does that anyway for one of my PRO/100 cards.

Windows 98 looks like it's better at handling so many preloaded drivers, given the way the setup routine was restructured there, but it's not exactly something I'd consider desirable to use given its stubborn insistence on the use of an IE shell. On the surface, getting the old shell back in there is simple enough, but it's as if Windows 98 actively punishes you for trying to pull such a stunt.

Icons not changing as they should, or drivers not loading... even after all the time I've spent reinstalling Windows 9x over and over again trying to make sure things work on multiple platforms, something always manages to go wrong on someone's end. They ask me to fix it, but I didn't program Windows 95. I merely cut it open, stuffed some extras in there, and sealed it back up.

Now that I'm starting to learn to write original programs better, Redtoast is hardly something I'd consider working on again if Windows 98 is going to hate the 95 shell that much. Is there a better way to do things, like give Windows 95 the "kernel extensions" treatment so it can support USB HIDs, SSE instructions, and support for much newer programs? Or is everyone just gonna pretend that the IE shell is perfectly fine... at this rate, I don't care enough to find out. At some point in the distant future I oughta just put up a complete guide on remastering Windows 9x and leave this whole thing behind.

October 26, 2021 at 01:52 AM - I found a rather strange bug in Windows 95's SETUPX.DLL... it turns out that if you specify multiple layout files for an optional component INF like MMOPT.INF, the component menu reports it as taking up zero megabytes. Files will still install nonetheless, and Windows 98 is not affected by this bug. Mouse cursors are pretty small in size, so if you see that the component doesn't report a size, that's why.

October 22, 2021 at 11:50 PM - Don't forget... I very much intend to implement an express setup routine for the Redtoast boot CD when I get back to that.

11:47 PM - As it turns out, there will be another release of Windows 95D Lite coming up soon enough. It's not major, of course, just a little something to polish up some other corners of the operating system. I'm expecting that this version will be slightly better at handling upgrades from Windows 3.1x, as it will deactivate some relics of the DOS-based PnP Sound Blaster driver that conflict with Windows 95's own.

Express setup has also been revised to reduce the amount of interruptions, incorporating Infsect to prompt you for essential information like the registered name upfront. You probably don't need the new version if you already have 1.5 installed, but this one's definitely tidier.

October 05, 2021 at 05:18 AM - Once more, please remember to report any bugs you encounter with the new Redtoast build. I currently do not have all the time on my hands to fix them promptly, but of course, unlike Microsoft, I won't ever fully commit to calling Redtoast truly released until it is as free of bugs as I can possibly make it. If Setup locks up, try running it with the /pi switch to forcefully disable ACPI. Either way, surely I can do a cooler Windows launch than Nadella, right?

Check out the development miniblog to see more of the latest advancements in Redtoast's development, and feast on the screenshots to really get an idea of what's coming up next!

What's Next?

While Redtoast is very much usable, it is far from complete. Here is a list of some things that it'll need in the future:

Newer Drivers

Windows 98 comes with a decent set of newer drivers for later hardware by default, but it's still not going to be enough for a lot of builds. You're probably going to be installing a 3dfx Voodoo3, GeForce 256, or something to that degree, and it would be great to be able to have those installed immediately alongside Redtoast. Windows 95D Lite already does this, so it's really a matter of catching up to it.

More Updates

Redtoast has a number of updates integrated already, but may still have yet more to go. Some new optional components are also desirable, including Windows Messaging from Windows 95, Remote Desktop Connection, and maybe KernelEx. There might be more, this is just all I can think of right now.

Help Documentation

As of now, most of the Help documents are gone. They were removed because they rely on the Internet Explorer help engine, so what I want to do much later on is create replacement Help documents in the legacy WinHelp format. This could be a very daunting task and I'm not willing to take it on alone, so I encourage you to experiment with the Microsoft Help Compiler I've mirrored on my site, as well as a decompiler written by several authors over the years. Contact me if you wish to make any contributions.

Internet Explorer?!

Now, this sounds like it would just compromise the whole point of Redtoast, but here's the thing: if you try to install Internet Explorer yourself on here, the components will be available, but you can't actually use the program. Unlike with installing Internet Explorer on Windows 95, the installer assumes certain things that allow it to skip certain parts of file copying that would otherwise be necessary on a Windows 95 installation without Internet Explorer... because Windows 98 ALWAYS has Internet Explorer, right?

As of Alpha 3a, the essential web browsing functions of Internet Explorer 5.5 and the new shell are available. In later builds I plan to add new versions of the other internet components back in, such as NetMeeting and Windows Media Player. Other things forcibly installed by Windows 98 before will also be componentized, such as the Task Scheduler that never really gets used these days.

Download old releases of Redtoast here