Saturday, January 27, 2007

Alvis loves her Daddy!

So last night I had temporarily taken a software issue on the chin: How an Algebra failure helped repair a Windows bug

This morning I woke up fresh of mind and determined to get to the bottom of the installation failures.

My suspicions were that Alvis's Multimedia Algebra software from Cosmi Corporation not willing to install on our XP Home systems were related to the suspicious version phrase "XP compatible" found on the back of the software package.

Building a Test Bed

I fired up Virtual PC 2007 (Beta) and quickly built a new virtual machine for a Windows 98 install. I figured 256M memory setting would be fine. It was, and I probably could have sufficed with just 128M.

I dusted off my old Windows 98 Setup disk and key and applied it to the virtual machine I had just created.

Once I got Win98 up and base installed, I put on the Virtual Machine enhancements.

Then I used IE4 (YES! IE 4! Woot!) to try to update the critical Windows Updates. Only it wouldn't work (no surprise).

So I downloaded IE6SP1 on my main machine and dropped the installer on the virtual desktop and ran it. It installed quickly and I was now able to load the Windows Update page.

It found 24 Critical updates and service packs and 43 additional items. I took a pass on except of two of those as most were language updates. Just DirectX9 and a browsing fix. I forgot just how the older Windows Update (v4) interface was. Clicking 'dem big "Add" block buttons to select each update.

Once I got all the updates on, I slapped on AVG Free (even virtual pc's need protection!), but passed on a firewall since it is still behind my hardware router/firewall. I successfully installed InstallWatchPro, that had been giving me grief going back on the XP system. Looks like the installer didn't like the XP system...

I fired it up and did a baseline scan on my trim Win98 machine.

Puzzling out that pesky Algebra problem

Then I ran the Multimedia Algebra installation disk. It went on lickity-split with no issues.

Well, no issues besides the honking-big NetZero connection programs that got installed along with it (grrrr). No options to not install those under the custom. I don't like seeing that!

After deleting the NetZero components, I launched the application and it works great.

I tried coping the Program folder for it back over to XP, but it still refuses to run. Says I don't have 3MB of free virtual memory. Go figure....

So Alvis is now being taught how to launch the new Windows 98 Virtual PC image and use her program.

So what's a parent who picks up Cosmi's Multimedia Algebra to do?

Take it back to the store, or load Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 (free) on your XP system, then dig out your copy of WIndow98 and install it as a virtual pc image. Then patch it, protect it and configure it. Finally install your application on it and teach the little kiddo's how to use Virtual PC!

It's a tough world out there....might as well teach them now.

Oh, and about InstallWatchPro...."fixed" that too

I was able to successfully copy its program folder to my XP system as well.

Running it seems to work fine. Looks like the installer just isn't compatible with XP either.

Nice to know my WIndows98 CD and key still have a bit of use still left in them!



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Claus. -

Regarding your Algebra installation. You could have done the same thing on your windows XP system using Windows Application Compatibility Manager. Just create a db to support the installation file. That way you wouldn't have to install and run Win98 in a virtual machine.

Also the 3MB virtual memory error message is caused by your virtual memory file settings.

I'll bet the application was built with Macromedia Director. it's an old version bug. If you change your Virtual memory settings on Windows XP to be between 384MB and 1536MB the application should work without giving you the 3MB virtuall memory error.

Just figured I'd pass along the info.

Luis Neves