Windows 98 – episodul cu mouse-ul

May 13, 2020

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If we install an older operating system on very new hardware, we can hit the following paradox: we have a perfectly working mouse in DOS, in Windows 1.x, 2.x, 3.x, Windows 95 but not in Windows 98SE which is also the newest operating system of all, it even has native support for USB mice. The problem manifests itself in the following way: we move the mouse to the right, it goes somewhere else and even selects the icons on the screen, possibly moving them and causing chaos on the Desktop.

Why did the mouse go crazy in Windows 98?

16-bit systems such as DOS or Windows 3.x rely on the BIOS to work with the mouse. That is, they work at the lowest level. Simply, the BIOS reports to the operating system that it has a PS/2 mouse connected and everything proceeds as normal. On the other hand, the more advanced driver in Windows 98 (it also recognizes the wheel) tries to deal with the mouse itself – resulting in erratic movements and a virtually unusable mouse if we have a USB mouse and a newer implementation of the USB standard.

What to do?

We could install a PS/2 mouse – even the latest generation PCs are still equipped with this port. In most cases the presence of the PS/2 port is related to backward compatibility, but not always. In the business environment, for security reasons, the USB ports can be disabled in the BIOS and the user is left with classic PS/2 ports – which do not represent a security breach.

Also, let’s not forget the classic serial port that predates the PS/2 and is still offered on most motherboards. This was the solution I chose – a Microsoft Cordless Wheel mouse on the PS/2 port but which can also work on the serial port – with the help of a PS/2 – serial adapter. Well, this mouse works great in all Windows variants including Windows 11.

If we don’t find the serial port in the ports section, along with USB and the rest, then we need a serial “header” that connects directly to the motherboard.

And yet, we probably don’t want to give up our USB mouse. The next step is to solve the USB drivers part . Since Windows 98 recognizes the mouse as a USB device, it will behave absolutely normally. In the hybrid state where the BIOS reports it as a PS/2 mouse and Windows 98 doesn’t recognize the USB ports, we have a major problem: a mouse gone mad!

A third solution, it is also the most convenient and costs nothing. We don’t need a PS2 mouse, we don’t need the USB expansion card, we just go back to the Windows 3.11 driver. This driver can be installed in Windows 98 by simply copying it to the Windows\System folder . The file in question is called LMOUSE.DRV – from Logitech Mouse – and dates from 03/15/1994 and will overwrite the LMOUSE.DRV that comes with Windows 98.

Caution: Do not directly copy the LMOUSE.DR_ file from disk #2 of the Windows 3.1x installation kit because it is compressed on the diskette and is no good. It must be copied from the Windows folder (after installation) or unzipped from DOS with the expand command:

EXPAND [d:][path]filename [[d:][path]filename[ . . .]]

In fact, it’s much easier to download the file right from the link below:

Mouse driver Windows 3.x

USB mouse?

Of course in Windows 98 we can also use a USB mouse. The problem is that with very new motherboards – we can’t use the built-in USB ports because there are no drivers for them. There are some UNOFFICIAL patches that correct this problem in Windows 98, but compatibility varies. I was able to use the USB ports on a motherboard equipped with an i7-3770K. On the other hand, things become extremely simple if we have a classic PCI slot available where we can mount a PCI-USB card that comes with drivers for Windows 98 and we don’t have any more hassle with the USBs, they will work normally. I even managed to find a PCI-Express card that uses the VIA 6212 chipset perfectly compatible with Windows 98. (this card uses a PCI-E to PCI bridge chip)

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