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Redtoast - what Windows 98 should've been...

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December 12, 2022

06:07 PM - We've just finished creating a new theme for 95D Lite 1.6 that I think you'll really love. With that out of the way, I plan to make my final rounds of testing soon, and hopefully by next week this new version will be ready for release. As for Redtoast, I do not know when I will get started on that again, but I have a better idea for it now.

September 05, 2022

07:52 AM - As it turns out, one cannot simply throw numerous AC'97 implementations at the same VxD from 2001. It's become pretty clear that stretching Windows 95D Lite's driver coverage to the Pentium 4 era is simply not as feasible as I hoped, and Windows 98 or ME are simply much better suited to much newer hardware.

For a few days, I had been struggling to get the ATI Radeon driver integrated into Windows 95, but that went either one of two ways: either adding the INF by itself outright broke the PnP detection process, or taking chunks of the INF and throwing them in MSDISP.INF caused the device to forcefully reset to 640x480 at 16-bit color every reboot - i.e. it wouldn't remember the last display settings you set. These did not occur when installing the driver manually after Setup, but support for OpenGL and AGP features were still unavailable. A disappointing loss for sure, as adding the driver could've covered a LOT more ground.

Oh well. The last bits of potential for Windows 95D Lite have pretty much been squeezed out by now. To offset this, I've added a driver for some later Chips video cards, and a new theme may be coming in to replace two others of low quality. For those experiencing a disappearing CD-ROM drive on early Intel chipsets (430HX, 430VX and the like), I've taken a measure to fix that as well.

After I finish this other project of mine, I expect to run a round of large-scale testing with 95DL 1.6, but once that's out there, it may very well be the true end of the road for this long Windows 95 endeavor.

August 31, 2022

10:54 AM - Hey, so it's been quite a long time since I last touched on this, again. I mainly wanted to bring up here that a new version of Windows 95D Lite is indeed being worked on. Hopefully, this release will be even more accessible for Pentium 4 owners, seeing how ongoing worldwide troubles are pushing prices for plenty of older hardware even higher. I can confirm that the Nvidia FX series already works out of the box on here.

An AC'97 driver also works on my Asus P4B (845-based from 2001), but doesn't seem to work on one tester's laptop, even though the sound chipset is also AC'97 compliant. Is it possible that it just has a different SUBSYS value not listed in the VALCX95.INF file, and the same driver could work with it?

Now, about Redtoast... I can't really say which direction I'd want to take it should I ever return to that project. I'm envisioning that I may redo it yet again, just trying to find some kind of approach to settle on. It could turn out like what the original Windows 95D was going for, or I might consider using Windows ME as a base instead if I can somehow trick it into accepting MS-DOS 7.10 underneath. There's a lot of possibilities.

Of course, a lot of people may very well be fine with Windows 98's webby shell and just want the enhancements. That would very much be doable, it's just that I personally want to have that choice between either shell and not have to worry about breaking anything with the old shell - hence I've heavily favored Windows 95D Lite.

So, will Windows 95D Lite get better support for Pentium 4-era hardware? It depends on how well things go for testing in the days to come. Whether I do get back to work on Redtoast, on the other hand, really depends on the time I'd have for it. In the coming months after 95DL 1.6 is released alongside something else, I'm gonna be HEAVILY occupied with a much more important project, so it's going to be difficult to tend to these other things from here on out.

February 19, 2022

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

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

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

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?

03:55 AM - I think that'll be enough tinkering with the system files for now... just gotta create a better "express install" routine, make sure the setup process doesn't throw any errors when working with a CD-ROM, and Alpha 4 should finally be all set to go! But remember, this long delay is why 95D Lite development was more fun...

03:47 AM - The Microsoft Wallet component has been purged, which should save around 3MB of uncompressed data. It is not wise to conduct online shopping through IE5 in 2021.

03:17 AM - Okay, so the working set I have now IS salvageable... I always knew it was working better before. Well then, no more IE update stunts; if you really want to upgrade to IE6 or some shit, you'll have to do it yourself!

Redtoast pre-alpha 4 startup

03:01 AM - I've gotta do what I can to try salvaging this base before I really consider another reset... just reverted a lot of files to stock IE5 from 98SE and am reverting yet more with each reinstallation, hoping one day the system tray icons will work again.

October 04, 2021

04:25 AM - Well... it seems Redtoast may be at a dead end yet again.

A bunch of control panel items refuse to function, essentially. In between the long delays of working on this project, I've lost track of what was breaking what, and now I'm left wondering where the fuck I'm supposed to go from here. Do I just reset again and only use the stock IE5 files? That might work, but even when I just stripped out IE almost entirely in Redtoast's initial incarnation, the 95 shell was still quite finicky. Some people are still wanting to have Internet Explorer be a part of Redtoast for the sake of supporting newer things or whatever, but at the rate things are going, I'd rather take a different approach...

Hypothetically speaking, there is a possibility Windows 98 could be installed as if it was Windows 95; some interchanging of the Windows 95/98 setup programs has been done before during Windows 95D's development. Ideally, I'd want something that works as if it was Windows 95 while gaining the kernel-level benefits of Windows 98, and anything of the IE shell would have to be installed separately just as it was when installing IE4 on Windows 95. So, how would this be done, would I take Windows 95B and implant much of the core Windows 98 system files on top of that? Or, am I to take a stock Windows 98SE installation and implant much of Windows 95's non-kernel files on there? It's so hard to say, especially when you factor in how some of Windows 98's more integral "shell" files like the Power control panel are very kernel-dependent.

All I do know is that none of this can happen this month when I'm also trying to juggle finishing the last two video. To think that Microsoft is pulling the same bullshit with Windows 11 that I'm facing here with Windows 98... so many more users are bound to suffer tomorrow. Dammit, Gates, Nadella... WHY?!

October 03, 2021

09:49 AM - Haven't resolved those control panel issues yet, but I'm starting to add back the rest of those updates Alpha 3a had, including DirectX 7 and the 3GB memory patch. USB 2.0 support does already seem to work again, so ideally I'd just need to do more extensive testing and tweaking over the next couple of days.

09:00 AM - It worked! ...but the ACPI driver is still being stubborn, and a little background process called "Power Meter" is unresponsive when I try to restart the computer. I also find myself unable to update my network settings here. Lot of work ahead of me, I suppose...

08:14 AM - Offshot it a bit, seems Windows 98 only starts off copying the BASE cabinets (and NET if applicable), not the DRIVER ones. No matter, just gotta create a separate directory for my "new" network drivers and rearrange the disk layout.

07:48 AM - Okay, this time I'm actually trying to finish up Redtoast Alpha 4. This totally does not have any coincidence with the video I'm working on.

After many troubles with a hard drive just a tad too large for the 128GB limit for MS-DOS 7.1, I'm focusing on getting Redtoast back up to par with the last version. One thing I've found in regards to how Windows 98 detects drivers during Setup is that it temporarily copies all the cabinets before WIN98 to a directory in SYSTEM. Newer drivers I've been adding suffered from the files being unavailable until I just now figured this out, and expanded on PREDRV.INF. So, let's see if it works!

August 16, 2021

07:24 PM - So, this project slipped out of my mind yet again. As you might know, I recently moved to Linux full time, so I've had to rewrite the ISO building script to work in this new environment. I've confirmed that it works now, but it may still be yet longer before I can get Redtoast back up to speed. At this point I'm really not concerned with trying to get stubborn Microsoft programs working correctly under here, only USB 2.0 and other more practical updates. See you whenever...

July 01, 2021

06:53 AM - Hey, at least Visual Studio 6.0 seems to work all fine in Redtoast, minus the Java VM installation failure... but who needs that!!!

03:24 AM - Turns out some leftover Redtoast installation in VMware actually worked with Office 2000... don't know if it's a registry setting I changed or just the fact that I installed from a CD-ROM instead of over the network, but it's not crashing now; it's just failing to load the Office Assistant... not like it was ever needed. Either way, Microsoft's Windows 98 programs are way too stubborn. So much trouble just to get a newer usable operating system with a faster shell!

02:29 AM - The installation of Office 2000 on near-vanilla Windows 98SE with the 95 shell in place is a success... sort of. The shortcuts do not work, and Explorer crashes every time I open a program. At this rate I can only suggest you use Office 95 or 97 instead. Just why did this operating system have to not be normal, and require programs to be non-normal?

12:43 AM - It's been quite a long time since I last touched on this... yet again. This thing really isn't all that compelling to work on as I'd like it to be. Yes, it is mainly because that Office 2000 installer has me stumped. The best thing I could try now is take a stock 98SE installation and plop the 95 shell in there WITHOUT updating Internet Explorer, and see how that goes. Really, if Windows ME hadn't tried to gimp DOS/VxD support, I would've used that as a base for Redtoast instead.

Still, one development outside of this project may prove to be of use here. I recently rewrote Infsect, a command line INF editor, to be better suited to the limited PSP in MS-DOS and more stable all around. Since Windows 9x Setup is driven by INF files, the new program could really come in handy so as to give Redtoast an "express setup" routine that outclasses that of Windows 95D Lite. It'll just need a few extra functions, particularly one that would be suited to letting the user select a time zone from a list. By the time Alpha 4 is finally ready to drop, Infsect should be in a state where it can be very useful for batch scripts!

June 15, 2021

02:10 PM - confidential leaked new windows ?!!??!!!! Click On The Button !

June 05, 2021

07:18 AM - Rather than trying to keep knocking at the Office 2000 thing, I'm just gonna try to get this distribution back up to par with Alpha 3a (and more resilient at that). There's still something else I need to work on, so Alpha 4 may come in July. Maybe sooner, maybe later, I don't know. This whole thing is really frustrating to deal with.

07:13 AM - I think the main problem with getting Office 2000 installed on here may just be solely rooted in it attempting to install Internet Explorer for whatever reason, even though it is already on here. Not sure it's even worth bothering with covering that front now.

05:14 AM - ...aaaaand Office 2000 installer is stuck on a rock again. Might be ideal to focus more on getting the Outlook Express component properly optionalized first.

05:05 AM - As I wait for the Office 2000 setup files to copy over to the local hard drive (trying to install it differently), I've been knocking down some compiled HTML help files and replacing them with the ones from Windows 95. Hope they work as expected.

04:31 AM - New PRO/100 driver is in, and confirmed working! Doesn't have any of the extra perks it seems, but that's not so important right now.

02:25 AM - While the integration of the new PRO/100 driver should ensure many, many more adapters are supported, I have concerns that certain old 82557-based adapters from IBM, NEC, and Compaq may not work in Redtoast. If this ends up being the case for you, let me know.

12:26 AM - Now that Windows 95D Lite 1.5 is out of the way, I'm free to work on a little bit more Redtoast stuff, but there are a few other things I've gotta take care of as well. At the moment, my main point of focus is fixing the Office 2000 installation bugs and integrating a new Intel PRO/100 network driver.

June 01, 2021

03:58 AM - I've converted the MSCONFIG HTML help file to the WinHelp format... all by hand, yet again. This new help file will find its way into Windows 95D Lite 1.5, but to say the least, this is an incredibly tedious process. I've stated that I intend to have all of Windows 98's help documentation adapted to WinHelp, and in order to do that, I'm definitely gonna have to write a program to convert HTML to RTF the way I want it whenever I get the chance.

May 30, 2021

01:47 AM - (95D Lite) Haha! Now feast your eyes on THIS theme!

May 29, 2021

08:26 PM - (95D Lite) Graphics for the new theme are ready, now I wonder if I can make some original sounds with an old keyboard...

04:45 PM - (95D Lite) Gonna work on a new theme now. It's not specific to 95D Lite, so Redtoast will eventually get it, too!

04:22 PM - (95D Lite) Added the driver for the Microsoft SideWinder 3D Pro for 95DL 1.5... it's a controller from 1995, and it only requires a 10KB VxD, so why not?

02:22 PM - (95D Lite) Quick View component is still a waste of space as ever, so I've opted to remove it for version 1.5. Hope nobody is using it.

05:17 AM - (95D Lite) Those old NE2000 drivers made no difference, the system still locks up in PCem! Got a couple of real NE2000 cards I could try instead, I think...

04:14 AM - The previous post was for 95D Lite, by the way. Should denote applicable posts with that...

02:53 AM - The new NE2000 driver does seem to be working in PCem... although it appears to habitually lock up, which gets me thinking I oughta just revert it.

12:12 AM - When it comes time to return to Redtoast development, the first thing I expect to do is transplant a lot more IE 5.5 files from Windows ME into Windows 98, rather than source things from a normal browser package. That may be the key to getting Office 2000 to work here.

12:10 AM - Having put out that hotfix for 95D Lite, I've found myself working on that some more... just gathering some DOS-based network drivers now. I'm trying to improve support for Realtek cards as well, using the NE2000 driver provided by the RTL8029 package in place of the original. Hopefully that'll work out all fine.

May 26, 2021

06:09 PM - I figure that whenever I do get back around to Windows remastering work, I still want to update Windows 95D Lite again for what I'm hoping will be the last time for real.

The main objectives of 95D Lite 1.5 will be to add real mode DOS drivers for some network adapters to complement the existing ones for Windows 95 so as to let users switch from protected mode to real mode drivers in case it is of use, attempt to fix a joystick-related issue, and create one new theme for the CD. Of course it will be yet more time before that happens, but whenever it does, Redtoast will get moving again. Do know that Redtoast could not realize its full potential without Windows 95D Lite.

May 22, 2021

11:02 PM - After all that trouble I went through setting up the miniblog suddenly I don't feel like working on this right now. Gotta pursue another secret project, so I'll get back with you later.

09:13 PM - Trying to turn Internet Explorer and its shell into an optional component again. Turns out I'm gonna have to do the same with Outlook Express if I am to have any hope of not making it cause so many errors in late Setup...

03:09 PM - Gave installing Office 2000 on Redtoast another spin today WITH the IE shell in place... still appears to stall at 80%! Now, I can only deduct this as an issue with how IE 5.5 was integrated rather than a side effect of the 95 shell being loaded.

May 20, 2021

02:39 AM - Took many grueling hours much like with Redtoast development itself, but the entire chatlog has been ported over here. All future updates will be posted here only. Hah, fuck Discord! Can't wait to get off of that whenever I can.

May 19, 2021

10:13 AM - Then it is settled, the Redtoast name is left intact. I'll get the mini blog created whenever I manage to finish writing this other program I've been struggling with... gee, segmentation faults in C are cryptic as hell... all because of strings.

Poll results: Redtoast wins with 73 of the 189 votes

May 17, 2021

05:32 AM - Hey, who's using proxies to get multiple votes in? That's cheating!

04:35 AM - Haven't made time to work on Redtoast more over the last week, but I'll bring this up.

I figured out that providing read-only real-time production logs on a Discord server is a stupid idea, thanks in part to their recent FLATTER branding they put in place. While I've still yet to make time to try an alternative that may be a viable replacement for Discord, one thing's for sure: this should've been put on Razorback's website from the very beginning. Before I resume working on Redtoast again, I am going to implement a mini-blog on the project hub which uses the same blip/gallery functions. From there, everything posted in this channel will be moved over to the website, and nothing will be posted here anymore. Finally, everyone will get to see Redtoast's latest developments as they happen without the need to sign up for an account.

The poll for Redtoast's new name is nearing its completion. If you haven't voted yet, you have just two days to do so. Thank your for your feedback and support for this ongoing project!

May 10, 2021

06:54 PM - Well, shit! It turns out that when I have Windows 95's SHELL32.DLL and COMDLG32.DLL copied as is without the evasive .W95 extensions, that somehow causes Setup to not be able to copy a significant number of files. Does the program suddenly rely on these files in order to get anywhere even before the first boot? A more elaborate workaround will have to be put in place...

07:24 AM - Likewise...

Notepad linked to missing export

05:45 AM - Oh 95 shell, how I missed you so...

Of course, right off the bat there's a number of things which need to be sorted out still. Internet Explorer needs a certain registry value set in order to run, a shortcut needs to be added for the browser when using the old shell, the double welcome dialogs shouldn't need to be there, and, well... I guess icons don't change when selecting a new theme still.

Office 2000 proved to be highly problematic with the last build of Redtoast, and I'm wondering if it's all the same registry-related issues I ran into with trying to start IE. Complete registry dumps of Windows 98SE with and without the IE shell will have to be compared, but I can't help but think there has to be another way to pull all of this off. Office 2000 and Internet Explorer 5.5 happily work in the classic Explorer in Windows 95, so why not here? I guess they want to assume certain things with Windows 98, which could have been a stubbornly underhanded attempt to break 98lite.

Windows 95 Explorer in Windows 98

05:26 AM - ...and now Setup is complaining that a bunch of files are missing, even though they are in the cabinets! I made sure that every INF was pointing to every layout file available, so it's not that... this is pretty dumb, I can't figure out what happened.

03:39 AM - The component is a placebo as it requires another directory from the Windows 98 CD anyway, so yeah, it's a waste of 7 files.

03:36 AM - Gonna be testing the new SHELL32 and COMDLG32 positions with an Office 2000 installation soon. One other thing I think I'll strip out is the Personal Web Server component, since I find myself doubtful that anyone would use it these days. It could be useful as a makeshift file server, but there's just plenty of better ways to go about it.

02:30 AM - And all the OOBE files...

02:28 AM - By the way, I also cut off the CD sampler and tour again, guess I may as well do the same for the Welcome dialog.

02:16 AM - Scratch that, it's irrelevant and I might be getting all of this backwards. Anyway, I'm trying to install Office 2000 as of now, and I can't say I'm impressed with how it's turning out. The progress bar is still stuck.

I decided to cut Setup short, and now I'm left thinking I may need to try something else here. The whole time I've done Redtoast, I set up the Windows 95 system files exactly the opposite of 98lite - instead of Windows 98's COMDLG32.DLL and SHELL32.DLL being renamed to use .W98 extensions, the Windows 95 files use .W95 extensions. This may be throwing off certain Microsoft programs in such a way where they assume Windows 98 is being used as opposed to 95, where they would otherwise work normally. I'm considering flipping the positions of the system files around, but that may end up reducing application compatibility without some new thing place to redirect to a file like SHELL32.W98, assuming a custom program is responsible for the job. I've never really used 98lite beyond a quick test, so I wouldn't know.

12:17 AM - One registry value that may be of interest is set in MSBASE.INF, as follows.


The IE shell removes this value when the login has completed, but the 95 shell doesn't do this. This doesn't appear to be consequential, but I figure I should at least have it be deleted in a late part of Setup somewhere...

May 09, 2021

11:51 PM - As I previously found, the registry value needed to get Internet Explorer to load in Windows 98 with the old shell is as follows.


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