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Thread: reliving the goold old days.... of Windows XP

  1. #1
    Shivering Isles resident diosoth's Avatar
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    reliving the goold old days.... of Windows XP

    One of my recent purchases was an old Dell Optiplex with a clean install of Windows XP Pro 32-bit. Now, I like Windows 7 enough, but it has issues; one of which is spotty support for older games. As I have 64-bit W7 I can't install any game that uses a 16-bit installer even if the game itself is 32-bit. I've also had some odd issues with certain games- controls in Simcity 3000 were too sensitive and unworkable, Shadow Man suffered some strange physics glitches(sliding on sloped surfaces) and some enemies couldn't be killed which made the game unbeatable. I also thought I could use a second Windows PC, given the issues I've had with the Gateway which is why I went with a second PC instead of installing XP onto my Gateway.

    After some searching on eBay for what was available I settled on a refurbished Dell Optiplex 745. 80 GB HDD, 2 GB RAM, 3 GB Pentium D processor. Nothing special, but it does have SATA ports so I can at least replace the DVD-ROM or HDD easier if need be. Wonderful case design though- it's made to sit flat like an old 80s PC so I could put it above the TV, and the top panel pops off easily with a spring-loaded latch, unlike the brute force needed to get the side panel off some cases. I can upgrade if I wish, being older may mean stuff like a PSU or video card could be cheaper and I can boost the RAM for cheap, most likely.

    Right now I'm loading up and playing games I haven't been able to touch in 4 years. Shadow Man is playable without the glitches, I can run Simcity 2000 and 3000. I can install Max Payne 1 and Kiss Psycho Circus along with a pile of other old games. Not sure about a web browser- the current build of Firefox may work(it eats up about 400 MB of RAM on my Gateway PC with plugins using much of that) although I plan to take this online only if necessary.

    My total cost was $65 shipped for the PC with keyboard and mouse, plus the cost of a 3.5mm audio cable and a USB extension cable, so not a great expense- I recall back in 2002, my Compaq PC was around $700 total. I actually would advise people to own at least 2 computers given the chance of malware or hardware failure to make one inoperable- granted, a lot of people now own a PC/Mac, laptop, pad, phone, whatever, but even if you aren't it's still worth looking into something used/refurbished for cheap as a backup. Having an older OS on hand is great for retro gaming seeing as newer Windows won't handle everything and DOSbox isn't 100% reliable for those purposes, and you're likely to hate some features of a newer OS. Most people loved XP, almost everyone hated Vista and 7 was better loved than Vista but nowhere near XP's level of regard. Seems 8 is also not winning people over.

  2. #2
    Master of New Adventures!
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    In all my life, with all of my computers, XP was my most beloved O/S. It never complained, it never gave me a moment of grief, it did exactly what it promised to do and it was a workhorse.

    Quote Originally Posted by diosoth View Post
    One of my recent purchases was an old Dell Optiplex with a clean install of Windows XP Pro 32-bit. Now, I like Windows 7 enough, but it has issues; one of which is spotty support for older games. As I have 64-bit W7 I can't install any game that uses a 16-bit installer even if the game itself is 32-bit. I've also had some odd issues with certain games- controls in Simcity 3000 were too sensitive and unworkable, Shadow Man suffered some strange physics glitches(sliding on sloped surfaces) and some enemies couldn't be killed which made the game unbeatable. I also thought I could use a second Windows PC, given the issues I've had with the Gateway which is why I went with a second PC instead of installing XP onto my Gateway.

    After some searching on eBay for what was available I settled on a refurbished Dell Optiplex 745. 80 GB HDD, 2 GB RAM, 3 GB Pentium D processor. Nothing special, but it does have SATA ports so I can at least replace the DVD-ROM or HDD easier if need be. Wonderful case design though- it's made to sit flat like an old 80s PC so I could put it above the TV, and the top panel pops off easily with a spring-loaded latch, unlike the brute force needed to get the side panel off some cases. I can upgrade if I wish, being older may mean stuff like a PSU or video card could be cheaper and I can boost the RAM for cheap, most likely.

    Right now I'm loading up and playing games I haven't been able to touch in 4 years. Shadow Man is playable without the glitches, I can run Simcity 2000 and 3000. I can install Max Payne 1 and Kiss Psycho Circus along with a pile of other old games. Not sure about a web browser- the current build of Firefox may work(it eats up about 400 MB of RAM on my Gateway PC with plugins using much of that) although I plan to take this online only if necessary.

    My total cost was $65 shipped for the PC with keyboard and mouse, plus the cost of a 3.5mm audio cable and a USB extension cable, so not a great expense- I recall back in 2002, my Compaq PC was around $700 total. I actually would advise people to own at least 2 computers given the chance of malware or hardware failure to make one inoperable- granted, a lot of people now own a PC/Mac, laptop, pad, phone, whatever, but even if you aren't it's still worth looking into something used/refurbished for cheap as a backup. Having an older OS on hand is great for retro gaming seeing as newer Windows won't handle everything and DOSbox isn't 100% reliable for those purposes, and you're likely to hate some features of a newer OS. Most people loved XP, almost everyone hated Vista and 7 was better loved than Vista but nowhere near XP's level of regard. Seems 8 is also not winning people over.

  3. #3
    Master of Yuletide MOTU_Maniac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diosoth View Post
    Most people loved XP, almost everyone hated Vista and 7 was better loved than Vista but nowhere near XP's level of regard. Seems 8 is also not winning people over.
    Quote Originally Posted by Heeeere's Olesker! View Post
    In all my life, with all of my computers, XP was my most beloved O/S. It never complained, it never gave me a moment of grief, it did exactly what it promised to do and it was a workhorse.
    I have previously had Windows XP and Vista, but currently have 7 on my laptop and 8 on my desktop. I can say, HANDS DOWN, that XP was by far my favorite version of windows OS.
    As we express our gratitude,
    we must never forget that
    the highest appreciation
    is not to utter words,
    but to live by them.

    ~John F. Kennedy

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    Heroic Warrior wyldman11's Avatar
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    Which can be attested to the fact as an OS it went years beyond what was to be the expected life of it. And people still groaned when they said they were putting the nail in the coffin, it even outlasted ME and Vista which both came after it and was preferred over both. On average the other versions of Windows last about 2-3 years, NT was 4 or 5, when Windows 2k was released which then combined with the more home released models most people were aware of windows 95, and 98
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    Shivering Isles resident diosoth's Avatar
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    Well, CENSORED. Looks like the 80 GB HDD in this PC is dying, event viewer started noting bad sectors and blocks yesterday and it got worse today when I had some real issues with a BSOD and system restore points not working at all. I'm running HD Tune, it's not done yet but it's already reporting 29.4% damaged blocks. It's also running at 56 degrees C which is high- my W7 PC runs about 33 degrees and HD Tune says all blocks are good on that drive.

    Though as I just got this drive and it takes SATA, I'll probably put in the 500 GB WD drive I bought a few months back as a spare. It'll mean having more files on the PC, but I'll definitely contact the seller and see what they say. I'm not blaming them, SMART and such may have reported fine when they refurbished it since these errors began yesterday but the 80 GB drive is almost toast.

    Now to dig up a copy of XP to install with the fresh drive...

  6. #6
    Heroic Warrior
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    XP FTW.

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    Shivering Isles resident diosoth's Avatar
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    I ordered a Mad Dog brand PCI exhaust fan and rigged it to mount in the back of the case, as well as some new thermal paste for the CPU. Got my replacement drive in, XP installed and dell drivers installed, so this XP machine is back up and running. It seems to be running at a stable 40 degrees Celsius with this new fan in- could be better, but an improvement. I suppose I should set it up for online access and such but for now I'm content transferring files to it with a flash drive. And I think this fresh install is working better than what I was sent since the PC seems able to switch between screen modes easier and doesn't shift my desktop all out of alignment all the time. I think i will buy a few spare parts for it though since these Dells use specific parts- a replacement front intake fan, heatsink/shroud combo, etc.

    One thing I like his how fast XP boots and shuts down. 7 has so much bloatware crap in it, along with whatever setup Gateway did with this machine(and no, I don't have a W7 disc- I have Gateway's system discs which are W7 for this specific PC).

  8. #8
    Master of New Adventures!
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    Vista was, bar none, the single worst operating system I ever had. Going from my beloved XP to that piece of junk was a nightmare. It didn't support my scriptwriting program, it took forever to boot and then would shut down at any given moment. (As an aside, I have an ex-wife that had those last two problems as well. )

    I never felt a comfort with Vista. I was always waiting for and anticipating a problem -- and I usually didn't have to wait long. Didn't they test drive that bad boy around the block a few times before they put it on the lot? It seems to me such a simple thing to do -- send a new o/s out to a couple thousand people and see what they think before you foist it on a trusting public.

    My bigger question -- and remember that I'm a low tech guy -- is why did they change XP in the first place? I get that the world of technology evolves, but couldn't they have just stayed with the same system and sold upgrades? I also get that they make money by selling a new o/s, but you'd think they could make bucks from selling upgrades and wouldn't have to deal with the wrath of millions of disgruntled consumers. I guess this is why I'm not CEO of a computer company.

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    Shivering Isles resident diosoth's Avatar
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    For the same reason stores change their shelving layout once you get used to things, or why any product takes a good idea and wrecks it for a new idea, or why companies change logos now(remember when companies had the same logo for decades? Now they seem to change them every 5-10 years).

    The sad part is, it seems we now need to own 2 or 3 PCs anymore- hard drives aren't the most sturdy things and it seems they almost design them not to last more than 5 years. SSD is still too new a technology with too low storage space and perhaps not a long enough lifetime to make them a full replacement for platter drives. People use them for the OS with a standard drive for their other data, not as a full PC drive, if you have one device fail you need another PC on hand and right now I have 3- a W7 PC, an XP computer and a Raspberry Pi to run Linux.

  10. #10
    Angast's #1 fan Bonehead's Avatar
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    I still use XP on my desktop to this day.


    In fact I'm using it right now to type this.


    I have W8 on my labtop and honest can't stand it. It's horrible. I wish I could get W7 for it.

  11. #11
    Drinking Innocence TheDeviot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heeeere's Olesker! View Post

    My bigger question -- and remember that I'm a low tech guy -- is why did they change XP in the first place? I get that the world of technology evolves, but couldn't they have just stayed with the same system and sold upgrades? I also get that they make money by selling a new o/s, but you'd think they could make bucks from selling upgrades and wouldn't have to deal with the wrath of millions of disgruntled consumers. I guess this is why I'm not CEO of a computer company.
    A couple of reasons. 1.) and the biggest: Memory. Windows XP can only read up to 3, and a fraction GB of RAM. Programs get more involved, and require more all of the time. Many of today's programs require a MINIMUM of 4GB.
    2.) The move to 64 bit processing. The CPUs started going to 64bit multicore processors, and while MS did make a 64bit version of XP it wasn't supported well enough by a whole bunch of different parties. 32bit Windows
    was just getting too long in the tooth for the people making applications especially video editing, photo editing, and game titles.
    3.) Business. Eventually with any product you'll sell it to everybody who would have paid for it, and customers stop seeing a need for it. Unless your product is Water, Food, or Land there comes a point where too few
    people would buy it to make it worthwhile. This is why MS has a lifecycle for it's software. XP actually outlasted it. This is also why stuff changes. Make it too close to XP the average person doesn't see value in it.
    Make it too wildly different a segment will kick, and scream about learning something new. Vista was rushed out the door to appease investors, and as such it had backward compatibility problems, high RAM usage, and
    3rd party support was slow. Windows 7 took the Vista OS, and scaled it down taking out the processes that jacked up memory usage (Ran faster), turned off the annoying settings people didn't like, and streamlined it.
    It was almost a flashback to Windows 98 which everyone hated, but then 98 Second Edition came out, and people ate it up. With Windows 8 They went a wildly different interface because they were smart enough to see
    they missed the boat on smartphones, and tablets. Honestly use 8 on a tablet, phone, or touchscreen. It's seamless, works great, and you'll wonder what the beef is. Use it on a non touch screen computer, and you may
    feel you have to spend an hour or two getting used to it. 8 just takes 7, fine tunes the under the hood stuff you don't see, then puts a tablet interface over it. That's why you have the right top corner>magnifying lens>Oh there are all
    of my .exe files. In lieu of the classic start button where you would have pressed Start>All Programs>Dropdown list of all of my .exe files. How good or bad of a change is debatable, but the reasoning behind it is understandable
    when most users not running intensive games, or creating content are buying up tablets, or all in one desktop systems.

    As for the OT poster, have you tried DOSBox with any of those games? Win 95/98/98se/ME are all built off of DOS, and had DOS
    in them. I've found most of my really old games like that run great under that emulation. Even GoG uses it for most of those when
    they get the rights to sell them under re release.
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    Shivering Isles resident diosoth's Avatar
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    DOSbox is ultimately a hit or miss program. I find it's okay with 80s games, but stuff from the 90s, especially Build engine FPS games, can be prone to frequent crashing. It's not an issue with Doom, Duke 3D, Shadow Warrior, Quake or any other game that got the source code released and various source ports made, but pure DOS stuff with no source ports like Blood and Redneck Rampage are not easy to run. XP was a more stable OS for older programs with or without DOSbox.

    A 64-bit OS also can not handle 16-bit stuff, and there are a lot of games that used 16-bit installers even fi the game itself is 32-bit. Yes, MS could make 64-bit compatible but since it's only useful for old programs they won't do it. A lot of the games I can't install on 7 are because of that installer issue.

    Simcity 2000 Windows doesn't work under 7. It'll install and run but the second you try to save a city the game crashes.

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    grumpy old dragon scott metzger's Avatar
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    Let me state right off, the last version of Windows that wasn't more trouble than it's worth was '98. No big problems, no big holes that needed patching, no 5000 functions only 10 people on the planet earth would ever use. Just a very usable operating system.

    As far as the more recent versions, yes, XP was about the best. Vista was very problematic (when I took my machine in to address some problems, some of them were met with the response, "That's Vista"). My newest computer has Win 7 on it, and I quickly fell out of love with the system trying to get it to do simple things like adding a printer that required an update for the listed drivers. Three hours later, I finally convinced the system that the printer wasn't just a data storage device. I at least have some knowledge about computers from working in a computerized learning lab for the past 20 years, so I really feel sorry for those who have only directions and Microsoft's idea of help to go by (has "help" on any Microsoft product ever actually helped anyone?).

    I really can't understand why there isn't a basic Windows operating system that does the minimum required for basic functions and programs, and then a deluxe version with the 5000 things those 10 people want.

    Bigger and more complex is not necessarily better. I've still got third or fourth generation copy of Photodeluxe 2.0 for windows 98 (I stepped on the original CD many years ago) that I can nurse along onto the modern systems, and I can still manip things with it as well as some folks using the latest memory hogging programs. Sometimes there is great beauty in simplicity, something Mr. Gates seems to have forgotten long ago...
    "I will use this power for all the good that can be done, to work for peace, to encourage virtue, and above all, to preserve life in all its forms..." Superman

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    Shivering Isles resident diosoth's Avatar
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    I still use an image viewer program that was on my old Windows 95 PC- though I think the version I grabbed is for 98. It works without any installing on XP or 7.

    I won't argue that the 7 version of MS Paint is far better than past versions- my preferred viewer can't handle PNG files but Paint can. This XP copy has issues with transparency and such in certain files while those same images view fine on my Gateway PC, possibly due to thinks like processor power and RAM. 7 can also natively handle certain compressed files- WinRAR is still a necessary program but 7 at least makes Winzip obsolete.

    I hear you on old install discs. Some of my old game discs are in such bad shape I have to no disc crack some games just because the scratches and dirt strain the optical drive. Simcity 3000 has been resurfaced so many times I don't think it'd survive another grinding.

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    Shivering Isles resident diosoth's Avatar
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    ------------------------


    Here's been my adventures with this-

    Got it on June 6th, unpacked it and hooked it up to my Gateway monitor, it tested fine.

    On the 10th, when I got an HDMI-DVI cable for my Gateway PC, I swapped the VGA cable out and used it to hook the Dell up to my TV.

    It died on the 12th, showing 30% bad sectors. I'd used it maybe 3 hours total, mostly setting up programs and games. It was also showing a 56 Celsius CPU temp.

    After determining what I could fit into the case for cooling, I ordered thermal paste for the CPU, and a PCI slot exhaust fan which I had to rig to fit into the rear grating of the case. This case uses mini PCI slots which aren't common, and for the air flow a slot blower worked better than a fan. After getting those in on the 21st I swapped in a fresh western Digital hard drive and installed XP plus drivers.

    No real issues setting things up after that, though I only got it online a few days ago after picking up another Ethernet cable for the switch. Got MSE installed and ran Windows updated. It's played most of the games I installed okay- Blood 2 is glitchy but it seems to dislike XP or any dual core processor.

    My only major hassle was setting up a GBA emulator. VBA gave me sound static glitches with every version. I had to install VBA-m and manual install a missing DX DLL file to get it to run.

    So far most of the files I've loaded have been downloaded onto my Gateway and transferred by flash drive. This is a bit of a slow process.

  16. #16
    Drinking Innocence TheDeviot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott metzger View Post
    Let me state right off, the last version of Windows that wasn't more trouble than it's worth was '98. No big problems, no big holes that needed patching, no 5000 functions only 10 people on the planet earth would ever use. Just a very usable operating system.

    As far as the more recent versions, yes, XP was about the best. Vista was very problematic (when I took my machine in to address some problems, some of them were met with the response, "That's Vista"). My newest computer has Win 7 on it, and I quickly fell out of love with the system trying to get it to do simple things like adding a printer that required an update for the listed drivers. Three hours later, I finally convinced the system that the printer wasn't just a data storage device. I at least have some knowledge about computers from working in a computerized learning lab for the past 20 years, so I really feel sorry for those who have only directions and Microsoft's idea of help to go by (has "help" on any Microsoft product ever actually helped anyone?).

    I really can't understand why there isn't a basic Windows operating system that does the minimum required for basic functions and programs, and then a deluxe version with the 5000 things those 10 people want.

    Bigger and more complex is not necessarily better. I've still got third or fourth generation copy of Photodeluxe 2.0 for windows 98 (I stepped on the original CD many years ago) that I can nurse along onto the modern systems, and I can still manip things with it as well as some folks using the latest memory hogging programs. Sometimes there is great beauty in simplicity, something Mr. Gates seems to have forgotten long ago...
    I kind of answered this two posts or so up. Businesswise you can't keep the same thing knocking around forever. Once you sell to everyone who would buy it you need to sell something new.
    If you don't make it bigger, and clogged with new features you don't give your customers incentive to buy a new version. Like it or not, Gaming, and media creation push tech. That's why computers
    are slowly going to become more, geared for that purpose, and a lot of people hell bent on the "I don't need I don't need" philosophy are buying tablets/entry level notebooks.
    But even if that wasn't the case, it's just how business works. Also even proprietary industry biz apps are getting to the point where they need 4GB RAM, 64 bit processing, and a 64 bit OS.
    That's not to say MS is always shiny happy wonderful (Just look at the Xbox One backpedalling as a recent example of that) but it's just as much the fault of Adobe, Electronic Arts, Intuit, Activision
    as well as the end user for wanting everything bigger better faster. But even if nobody did, they would still need to make newer OS versions with noticeable differences to stay in biz. Now whether or not
    the updates they put in are compelling is a completely different argument. Failure to succeed on making them compelling simply gives competitors an opportunity to capitalize. But even if one day Google, Apple, or some other
    up, and comer dethrone MS in the OS biz, they too will have to give people new, improved versions of Android, OS, etc. every few years or risk stagnation.
    The Deviot
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  17. #17
    Shivering Isles resident diosoth's Avatar
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    XP is not perfect. It has problems with desktop icons which sometimes cause them to lose the icon or disappear completely. It's limited to total RAM- which isn't a major issue unless you need the RAM(I was advised by a local PC shop that the 2 GB in this Dell should suffice and upgrading would be pointless)- Photoshop and Minecraft can really consume RAM though. The 64-bit version was really just a bad hack job and eventually 64-bit will be the standard. It also lacks a lot of useful stuff that's common such as desktop gadgets that can monitor CPU and RAM usage, network traffic monitors and all that. W7 doe shave a few useful things which XP hadn't come up with yet.

    That said... I think it's worth owning an older PC to run XP on. You can get a good refurbished one for $60-$100, but make sure it takes SATA drives so you can swap in a new drive if necessary. W7 is not too compatible with older stuff and for all of 7's features, XP does seem a bit faster because it lacks the bloatware and isn't messing with Aero. That Dell boots up about 4X faster than my Gateway.

    One problem I had was the game Shadow Man. In W7 it had some nasty issues with the physics engine, causing me to slide on any sloped surface. I also had a bad problem where some enemies could not be killed, rendering the game unplayable after so long. Why these bugs pop up on a w7 PC when the game plays fine is XP, I have no idea. I know the game is on N64 but the PC version is probably the best version.


    I don't think Apple will dethrone MS unless they embrace gaming. But seeing as it's 2013 and they still have not done so, they never will. Windows largely trounced Apple by being a gaming platform(and generally costing less didn't hurt) and latching onto the success of games like Doom.

  18. #18
    Drinking Innocence TheDeviot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diosoth View Post
    XP is not perfect. It has problems with desktop icons which sometimes cause them to lose the icon or disappear completely. It's limited to total RAM- which isn't a major issue unless you need the RAM(I was advised by a local PC shop that the 2 GB in this Dell should suffice and upgrading would be pointless)- Photoshop and Minecraft can really consume RAM though. The 64-bit version was really just a bad hack job and eventually 64-bit will be the standard. It also lacks a lot of useful stuff that's common such as desktop gadgets that can monitor CPU and RAM usage, network traffic monitors and all that. W7 doe shave a few useful things which XP hadn't come up with yet.

    That said... I think it's worth owning an older PC to run XP on. You can get a good refurbished one for $60-$100, but make sure it takes SATA drives so you can swap in a new drive if necessary. W7 is not too compatible with older stuff and for all of 7's features, XP does seem a bit faster because it lacks the bloatware and isn't messing with Aero. That Dell boots up about 4X faster than my Gateway.

    One problem I had was the game Shadow Man. In W7 it had some nasty issues with the physics engine, causing me to slide on any sloped surface. I also had a bad problem where some enemies could not be killed, rendering the game unplayable after so long. Why these bugs pop up on a w7 PC when the game plays fine is XP, I have no idea. I know the game is on N64 but the PC version is probably the best version.


    I don't think Apple will dethrone MS unless they embrace gaming. But seeing as it's 2013 and they still have not done so, they never will. Windows largely trounced Apple by being a gaming platform(and generally costing less didn't hurt) and latching onto the success of games like Doom.
    http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/...%3DKN0K58EfJSg

    I remember that. Came out when I was getting out of high school, and all of the tech mags at the time were
    really skeptical of Windows replacing DOS as the PC gaming OS of choice.
    The Deviot
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    "No matter how hot you think they are, Someone. Somewhere. Is tired of their crap."

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