Cutting the bloat out of Windows 95

I’ve been messing around with Windows 95 on a 486 PC. When people think of non-optional bloat and windows 95 or 98, they usually think of Internet Explorer. But there were two non-removable components in the original Windows 95, when internet explorer was an afterthought in the plus pack, that date from Microsoft’s ambition to supplant Lotus Notes and AOL. Let’s talk about how to remove the inbox and MSN, and reduce the minimum requirements to 17 MB.

Why would you want to do this? Disk space isn’t a problem anymore, but the bloat does slow down Windows 95’s FAT file system. There’s no software you want or need to use today on a retro Windows 95 build that needs these components, so they are just wasting space and slowing down your disk. Even if you’re using a solid state solution. I covered this back in 1999 in my book, but it doesn’t seem like the information is easy to get anymore, so I want to revisit it here.

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Another vintage computer enthusiast was showing me some interesting items when the topic of expansion slot buses came up. If you think PCI is confusing, wait until you hear about the things that came before PCI. Let’s dive into the slow and confusing world of ISA vs EISA vs VLB.

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486DX-50 versus DX2

The Intel 486DX-50 is a chip that puzzles many people when they encounter it. Intel released the chip at the end of June 1991, as its top of the line CPU. It wasn’t one of their success stories. Within 6 months, the DX2 chips came out. Those chips are extremely common today, because they were extremely successful. So let’s look at the 486DX-50 versus DX2, and why the DX50 failed.

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IBM 486SLC2 CPU: When a clone isn’t a clone

The 486 SLC2 is an oddball 486 chip made by IBM. It isn’t something anyone seems to talk about much, maybe because I’m the only one who finds its story ironic. It’s the story of a proprietary upgrade that found second life on clone motherboards. Except the clone motherboards were made by IBM themselves. If IBM made it, is it still a clone?

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