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Comment Re:because in windows broken security is a feature (Score 1) 127

This is a tough balance to find, and one you often see Slashdotters (such as the post below this currently) erring on the wrong side because we like verbose error messages that tell us exactly how to fix things. Whether we like it or not, computers are used by far more Joe Users than geeks, and being told to check system information because they may need x86 or x64 is only going to lead to the "Computers are hard, I'll never figure them out" thought. I've seen a lot of discussion on oldnewthing and similar about whether an operating system should have an "advanced mode" that includes more detailed errors and such, but in general the risk of someone who shouldn't be in there getting it turned on is deemed a risk.

I don't claim to be a UI designer, so I don't really have a solution. My attempts at little webapps and things for work have mostly been middlin' at best, interface wise :)

Comment Re:because in windows broken security is a feature (Score 1) 127

Lotus 1-2-3 2.x is a DOS application. There're no DLLs, manifests, etc except for NTVDM, which as we already know doesn't exist in the 64-bit Windows world and as far as I know no one has hacked in. It'll need to be run either in a VM (whether a "light" one like dosbos or a full one like VirtualBox or VPC) or on a 32-bit version of Windows, where it'll run just fine as-is.

Comment Re:Taking remote control of the keyboard (Score 2) 127

Windows safe mode gives you the same login options as a regular boot, just with minimal stuff loaded. On some versions (XP at least; I don't feel like rebooting my WIn7 box to check it) you'll also have the normally-hidden Administrator account visible. This can be a problem for computers on domains - if you boot in pure safe mode and have a domain admin, getting logged in can be problematic. This is where Safe Mode with Network Support comes in handy.

Comment Re:I really feel sorry (Score 1) 127

Windows 95 made a point of supporting virtually all existing 16-bit Windows 3.1 drivers. This would occasionally cripple the 32-bit enhancements to things like file access and hard drives, but they'd work. In fact, this was the biggest reason Microsoft stuck with the "significantly enhanced Windows 3.x" kernel instead of just going to Windows NT-based at the time. Silliest thing I did was manually install the EGA driver from Win3.1 on Windows 95 (or 98? Can't remember) and run it with an EGA card. I also had a parallel port CD-ROM that worked fine in Windows 95 with the DOS driver loaded, though I'd get some warnings about performance being impacted by using 16-bit real mode drivers. Still, it worked.

32-bit to 64-bit has been a much bigger problem. I've had little trouble using 32-bit XP drivers in Vista/7 and even 32-bit 10, but 64-bit does require all new drivers. So for older hardware you're often SOL. This is one of those things that Microsoft just can't win. Either they get slammed for old code that has old vulnerabilities, or they get slammed for making people replace old hardware by dropping backward compatibility.

Comment Re: because in windows broken security is a featur (Score 3, Interesting) 127

The main use I've found for it are for games that came out in that time between Direct3D and Windows 2000 that assume that Windows NT == No Direct3D and pop up a "This program doesn't support Windows NT" error. Setting them to Win95/98 compatibility mode make them work just fine. I can think of Viper Racing for one, and it helps Grand Prix Legends' graphics work better. On the other hand, Homeworld works better in NT 4.0 mode because it disables the slightly buggy-on-new-Windows DirectX and forces it into OpenGL mode, which works great.

In more recent times I've had it help with a couple utilities and tweaks like Mute on Lock that break with Windows 7's (and Vista's?) updated audio engine.

I can't think of too many things I've tried it on that haven't worked, really. Most of the complaints I've seen about it are people trying to run DOS or 16-bit Windows apps on 64-bit Windows, which isn't going to work no matter how many compatibility modes you try.

Comment Re:because in windows broken security is a feature (Score 4, Interesting) 127

I'm going to stay away from ad hominem, because it's not useful, but you pretty clearly haven't done even a little bit of research into the problem. If you get that error running a DOS program, you're likely trying to run it on a 64-bit version of the OS. This is a well-known issue (if you even want to call it an issue, because it's advertised as such) and the compatibility modes are only for 32-bit Windows programs. If the rest of your 50 programs are also DOS, I'd expect as much.

If you need to run a DOS application, and a VM isn't an option, use a 32-bit version of Windows 10. For funsies I found a copy of Lotus 1-2-3 (2.2, as it happens, because that was what I had handy. I don't expect 2.3 to run differently) and tried it on my 32-bit Windows 10 laptop and it ran fine. Even ran in a window.

Drop me a line and I'll be happy to claim my bounty ;)

Comment Loved the original, can't wait to try this. (Score 1) 33

Talk about mindblowing. The original Star Raiders has been one of my favorite games for a very long time. This is a crazy thing to find after so long. my only concern is it looks like the framerate gets a bit choppy. I haven't had a chance to play it yet but I'm looking very forward to it.

Comment Re:Me too. (Score 1) 418

I used Thunderbird pretty much from the first beta public releases until a couple years ago. I started having more and more problems with large IMAP folders. Very slow performance, 5-10 seconds to switch folders (even to folders without that much in them), etc. At one point I was also trying to copy some folders from an old POP account in local folders to the imap server and kept getting just "An unknown error has occurred." A bit later after I'd switched to eM Client and tried again, and got an error "Invalid character in imap folder name." Oh, ok. That explains that. Fixed that and it was fine. Would have been nice to know that.

Anyway, just lots of little annoyances in Thunderbird added up. I'm still sort of shopping around but haven't really found one that I really like. At least with imap migrating around to different clients isn't too big a problem.

Comment Re:Me too. (Score 1) 418

I've had decent luck with The Bat! and eM Client. Neither is quite free and both have some annoying quirks, but so far they've worked a little better than Thunderbird for me. The Bat! looks a bit outdated and has bit of old-school Eudora going on, but it works well enough. eM Client is going more for the modern flat look and more modern design, but has some annoyances with their "free license" and multiple devices.

Comment Re:Politically incorrect fact (Score 1) 175

That's mostly up to you. I didn't upgrade to Windows 7 until I needed DirectX 10. The main advantages of Windows 10 is going to be DirectX 12 and things like Windows Store apps, which may not interest you. I suspect your box probably wouldn't be running much DirectX 12 anyway. It's not impossible to roll back if you don't like it, but might be kind of a pain. As far as a video card upgrade, just about anything discrete is going to be a big upgrade. I'm partial to nvidia myself. Mostly comes down to whether you want to put money into that box or put it towards a new system.

Incidentally, if you're the tepples I suspect you are, you should know that I just about have robotfindskitten finished in NES 6502 Assembly. Been a lot more fun than the C version I wrote. It's fully playable but the winning animation isn't done yet. Maybe I'll work on the variable-width font version next :) I'm terrible with web forums and forgot to get back and check on how things went, and now the threads are over a year old. Small world.

Comment Re:Politically incorrect fact (Score 1) 175

Video drivers are a bit of a special case since Windows uses graphics for the desktop so much more now. Windows 10 wants WDDM 2.0 graphics drivers where possible. I suspect it'd work fine, but you might lose some of the animations and eye candy. I've installed Windows 10 on a number of old computers and haven't had too much trouble with drivers, but I rarely try to use them for things like gaming or other graphically-intensive things. It's supposed to work with WDDM 1.3 as well, but all that gets complicated.

Comment Re:Politically incorrect fact (Score 1) 175

I recently picked up an old Thinkpad Z61t at a thrift store for a fiver. Perfect condition. Original Core Duo, 2gb of RAM. Tossed another Gig of RAM at it, and had no trouble getting the Windows 7 it came with upgraded to 10. No driver problems except for a little fiddliness with the bluetooth. But then I've had nightmares with bluetooth on Windows all the way back to XP. It's only marginally useful for video (SD Youtube works ok) but general use it's more than adequate*. Granted multimedia is sort of a requirement these days but if I were stuck using one for work or similar it'd be just fine. With the relatively big jump in hardware requirements between 7 and 8-10 (NX bit support primarily) just about anything capable of running Windows 10 should run it decently.

That said, I did order a $3 Core 2 Duo off eBay to drop in it because why not? I'll also likely go Linux on it soon, depending on a couple applications.

* I accept that my definition of adequate probably varies a bit from the average. I use it as a side-computer for IRC, looking up game wikis, etc if I'm doing something on my mainbox that doesn't do windowed mode well. And yes, I realize even Core Duos are a generation or two ahead of Pentium M.

Comment Re:Charity donations (Score 1) 70

For Android, you could do something like boot into Recovery, completely format all the partitions (except recovery), and reflash the ROM. If you wanted to be especially paranoid you could adb into it and dd if=/dev/zero the whole thing a time or two and then reflash it. Hell of a lot of work though, and typically would require some kind of rooting or alternative recovery for some of the options.

iOS devices you'd pretty much have to jailbreak to do something like that directly. I have no idea how thorough a restore in iTunes is forensically speaking. Might be good enough.

I'd be somewhat hesitant to resell/donate a mobile device. I tend to keep them around and use them until they're thoroughly used up anyway, so I don't typically have anything left worth selling/donating.

I too have bought a few random computers at thrift stores over the years, and have found enough personal data to make several peoples' lives miserable. Not really my style though; I typically wipe them as a first step. Although I did unexpectedly find an older laptop with a legit activated Windows 8 license on it that I just nuked the previous user account on and kept using, since upgraded to 10. It's still impressive to me the kind of things people leave on computers they're donating. I keep seeing the words "common sense" thrown around in this article, but I'm still surprised more people don't have it.

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