Shrinking Windows 9x

Last Updated on April 14, 2017 by Dave Farquhar

There seems to be a competition to see how small one can make Windows 9x and have it still boot into a GUI. The latest salvo in this war reduces Win98SE to under 5 megs.
People brag about how fast Windows runs when you do this. Well, yeah! Look at the file listing and the most crowded directory is 28 entries. I’ve seen 1,000+ files in C:\Windows at times. Since FAT is very efficient when dealing with small numbers of files (MS themselves said in the DOS 5 manual to never put more than 100 files in a directory) but inefficient when not, it’s no wonder to me that Windows, cut down this much, can boot in seconds. A computer’s disk is its biggest bottleneck, and the FAT filesystem doesn’t help.

The only problem is, as far as I can tell, Windows cut this small has no networking capabilities or anything else interesting besides a GUI. Which raises the question: Whatcha gonna do with it now? These days, an OS without Internet connectivity and some means to print isn’t very useful to anyone. I know that eliminates two of the three reasons I wanted a computer in the first place.

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2 thoughts on “Shrinking Windows 9x

  • August 14, 2003 at 6:41 pm

    Where i work, we get demo machines for customer demonstrations.

    They are intel P4, and come with 98se for some reason (lowest common demoninator?) and they re-start windows in about 8 seconds, it is soooo sweet.

    Still, I have an old 486 (640k) laptop running dos (great for old games) and it re-starts in about 8 seconds.

    not sure what this means, probably the hardware guys are smarter thant he software people..


  • August 19, 2003 at 10:01 pm

    OT, but Win related:
    Did you hear about the anti-blaster worm, that eradicates blaster in infected computers, installs the windows patch, and sends itself on? Is that for real, or a geek joke? Wonder what else it does.

    I’ve got my objections to even a helpful worm, and do Windows upgrades manually rather that turn Microsoft loose to auto-install updates at their convenience. But I realize there’s lots of users out there who don’t have the foggiest…

    And we’ve exchanged a couple notes before–note my new address.

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