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Where can I find the help I need ? Can you help ?

Discussion in 'Soundcards' started by penang, Jun 2, 2007.

  1. penang

    penang Guest

    Hello, all !

    I started a "computer recycling project" in my church. What we do is
    to collect all the old computers that people donated, open them up,
    remove all the dust and grimes inside, check the parts, and then try
    our best to make "new" (aka reconditioned, restored, etc.) computers
    out of the still-usable parts. Then we pass those working computers to
    people/organizations that can put them to good use.

    The project itself is fun and very fulfilling, but there's one thing
    that bug me the most - many times we have computer parts (pci cards,
    mobos, etc) that are totally usable but we can't find suitable drivers
    for them !

    There are times we have pci cards that don't have any label. By
    reading the chips, and the ports, we can guess what type of cards they
    are, but we are never sure.

    Essentially what I am looking for is a utility that can "scan" all the
    pci cards, be it soundcard, video card, or whatever, and give me their
    make and/or model number. That way, at least I'd know which driver I

    Is there such a utility around that we can use?

    Another thing is that the computers we got are all ANCIENT computers,
    and sometimes so ancient that the manufacturers no longer exist. Where
    can I find drivers for such devices ?

    Please accept my sincerest thanks in advance, for any suggestions that
    you can offer. Thanks again, and God Bless !
    penang, Jun 2, 2007
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  2. penang

    98 Guy Guest

    Note that I cut 2 of the original 5 newsgroups from this reply.
    Hopefully the OP will be reading one of the remaining 3 groups.

    The only versions of Windows you should be installing on those system
    will either be Windows-98se, or Windows XP-SP2. Windows 98-se is a
    more logical choice in your case, since you most likely are dealing
    with systems with slow/old CPU's and meager amounts of RAM, not to
    mention that you would need to obtain a licence for XP (but you can
    install Windows-98se with complete impunity regardless of what others
    here think of that).

    That said, Windows 98 should be relatively complete as far as having
    drivers for motherboards and hardware that was available back in 1998
    and probably as far back as 1995. Anything more recent than 1998
    should be available on the net (motherboard, video, network cards,
    modems, etc).

    I wouldn't waste my time in your case trying to find drivers for sound
    cards, SCSI or other "non-standard" storage devices, or video cards
    made before 1998. Most likely the recipients of your computers will
    not make use of devices like those.

    You, and the recipients of the systems you are building, will probably
    not be satisfied with the use of such old hardware, say anything with
    less than a Pentium-II CPU. The computing experience will be
    troublesome and frustrating and not worth the effort. You shouldn't
    have a problem finding tons of relatively recent hardware - unless
    there are other larger recyclers in your area that are obtaining more
    modern surplus hardware to either build into systems - or to ship
    overseas and melt them down for their base metals.
    98 Guy, Jun 2, 2007
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  3. In your church? :)

    Nice project, however....
    Well, it depends how old the stuff is and which OS you would like to
    If you are not good learned in PC Hardware, I would try to install a
    Windows system and see what happens. In the Control Manager of any
    Windows since Windows95, are the devices shown, also that one which
    have no driver, yet installed from you. Better said, which is not
    supported by the Windows setup-CD.

    Older Hardware, e.g. 486, may not have drivers for XP or Win2000, but
    there should be drivers for Win9x. NT4 drivers, or even NT3.51 are the
    better chance to find, for something older stuff, ...if you would like
    to use a NT-System like XP is or 2000 (NT5.1 and NT5).

    XP needs about 3-500MHz to run somehow. NT4 can be quiet happy with a
    486/DX2-66 and 64MB RAM. 32MB RAM and less, is more for Win9x... (8-16

    By the way, win95 is always the better choice than Windows 3.1 (or
    WfW3.11). Faster etc. Even on the 386, which runs well and fast enough
    with a win9x. Also faster than the descendants, namely Win98, Win98SE
    and WinME. But a bit tricky to configure!!! Win98/ME is much easier and
    more bloated and runs newest Software better, due to the newer 32bit
    kernel. But if your choice of soft runs perfectly on Win95, I would
    always take that... (good for ancient 386 and 486, which can do newset
    software of 2007, indeed!)
    Look at the chip itself and type that number in a search server ;-)

    Or go to the support site of the Manufacturer...

    Always use orig. manufacturer driver, if possible.
    www.driverguide.org have links to that and also drivers itself.

    SiSoftware Sandra. Siw. Everest. (e.g. all freeware, beside siw which
    is freeware only)
    Manitou with you.

    Best regards,

    Daniel Mandic
    Daniel Mandic, Jun 2, 2007
  4. penang

    Alfred Guest

    try putting a linux operating system on them.
    Alfred, Jun 2, 2007

  5. Nothing against Linux, but the best fodder for the clunky PC is
    Mirkosoft stuff.

    I guess too, that 386 and 486 is only supported by NetBSD, as Linux
    wasn't really available at that time and newer kernels may not support
    older CPU's. Beside that, a modern Linux on a 486 is masochistic. Win95
    is the best choice for such low-power CPU's and ISA stuff and so...

    Or NT4, which is also faster and more versatile than Linux.

    Unix is surely powerful but slow on IBM-PC's, indeed.

    Not to mention drivers... Why should he use Generic drivers when he can
    have kernel drivers (e.g. NT3.x, 4.0), faster than Unix drivers for the
    IBM-PC and compatible.

    Newer machines (<=1GHz...) are surely the better choice for Linux.

    Best regards,

    Daniel Mandic
    Daniel Mandic, Jun 2, 2007
  6. penang

    glee Guest

    Another quite similar utility, that I have used for some time, is "Unknown Devices
    1.2", available here:

    Win98SE does not require activation the way XP and newer do, but installing multiple
    systems with one license *is* a violation of the licensing agreement. True, no one
    at MS is going to send out the "cyber-police" at this point in time.....indeed, MS
    has no way to even tell if 98 has been installed on multiple machines with one
    license. Being a church-related project, the OP may want to consider the legal
    aspect. Nuff said on that.....
    I would think a working sound card from any era would be an item the endusers would
    glee, Jun 2, 2007
  7. penang

    98 Guy Guest

    He actually has no choice.

    He can't buy 98 from MS, and he can't really buy XP anymore either -
    not retail anyways. Given the vintage of his hardware, Vista is not
    an option either.

    We can argue the legality, or the morals, or the practicality of
    installing system after system after system with the same win-98
    license key until the cows come home, but it's Micro$haft that has
    made it impossible for people like the OP to obtain a "legit"
    solution, so I say screw MS - they deserve it.
    I don't know exactly what device the OP is getting his hands on where
    he can't find a driver, but soundcards are a likely guess. I don't
    know how long I'd putz with a system where I could get everything else
    working except the sound card - but not long.
    98 Guy, Jun 3, 2007
  8. penang

    mark Guest

    Or you can buy a volume licensing key from MS for i think about $150.
    From the sounds of it, you are a non-profit organization? Use it for a
    tax write-off. You might be able to get the church to back you on it
    and get the funding through the church. Buy one single volume license
    and run with it.
    mark, Jun 3, 2007
  9. penang

    penang Guest

    I tried that, but the same old driver missing problem that I have on
    Windows only worse on Linux side. That's why I switch back to Win98.
    penang, Jun 9, 2007
  10. penang

    penang Guest

    What I am doing does not even qualify as a "non-profit organization",
    for it's a one-man show. Besides the OS, all other software that I
    installed are open-sourced and/or freewares, such as Open Office,
    Scribus, Photo Filtre and so on.

    I've tried to install Linux on the machines, but the missing driver
    problem got only worse. There are times I can find windows drivers for
    the cards, but there's nothing on the LInux side (perhaps I just don't
    know where to look).

    Anyway, thanks to you and to all for your suggestions/ideas. Thanks
    again and God Bless !
    penang, Jun 9, 2007
  11. penang

    penang Guest

    Thank you for your reply, and also your pointer. I'm located in a 3rd
    (4th??) world country, where about half of the peole don't earn enough
    money to buy new computers for their kids, and another half of the
    populace are so rich that they literary throw away Pentium 3/4
    machines just because they recently purchase their new Core 2 Duo

    The church that I go to don't have lots of super-rich people, but they
    do upgrade their computers from time to time. That's why I get their
    P1, P2 machines and try to make something out of them.

    The people that I send the re-conditioned machines to are urban-poors,
    most from broken families, and stay in drug/crime infested area. Most
    of the children there are really keen in learning new things, it's
    just that they live in areas where they don't get much help from

    Even the re-conditioned P1 / P2 machines did make a difference to
    some. At least they can try to learn the English language, learn some
    programming stuffs (I do install some programming tools in some of the
    machine), and so on.

    That's why I say that the task is huge but the payback is really
    fulfilling. Whenever I see the faces of those children, turning from
    gloom to one fills with hope and joy, no money in the world can buy
    that, I tell ya !

    This is a one man show, for now. I use my free time to fix up the
    computers, use my beat-up old car to deliver them, but it's worth it.

    Anyway, thanks again for everything, and God Bless !
    penang, Jun 9, 2007
  12. penang

    penang Guest

    I am certainly aware of the issue you've pointed out, but in my case,
    I tried Linux, but the missing driver problem got only worse. It's not
    that I want to violate Microsoft's right, but the reality in this
    world is that if you got a card that has no label on it, and if you
    want it to work, chances is that there is a windows driver somewhere
    that can make it comes alive.

    Other than violating the OS copyright, I take good care to not violate
    any other copyrights. All other software that I installed in the
    machines are either Open Sourced, or Freewares.

    Please do not misunderstand me, I'm not trying to wriggle myself out
    of my guilt. I do acknowledge my guilt. My only hope is that Microsoft
    may decide to drop their copyrights on OS that they no longer sell,
    and no longer support, such as Windows 98.

    Thanks again for your message, God Bless !
    penang, Jun 9, 2007
  13. penang

    penang Guest

    Many thanks for your support. I'm not saying that I'm guilt free, is
    that other than Win98, there's no many choice, do they ?

    Sound card, net card, video card, you name it. Many don't even have
    any label. Sometimes I can only guess what they are, and then test
    them out.

    Anyway, thanks again and God Bless !
    penang, Jun 9, 2007
  14. penang

    penang Guest

    Many thanks for your support. I'm not saying that I'm guilt free, is
    that other than Win98, there's no many choice, do they ?

    Sound card, net card, video card, you name it. Many don't even have
    any label. Sometimes I can only guess what they are, and then test
    them out.

    Anyway, thanks again and God Bless !
    penang, Jun 9, 2007
  15. penang

    mark Guest

    i had one more idea. do a search on google for the make and model of
    the system and see if you can find some information about what MIGHT be
    on that system. It's a bit of a long shot and time consuming, which
    stinks, but it might get you to the ultimate goal.
    mark, Jun 9, 2007
  16. High to Very High, if you talk about 'IBM-PC and compatibles' :).

    course, Windows (3.1, 95, 98, 98SE, ME, NT3.x, NT4, NT5, NT5.1, NT6

    Everything from 1992 should have Linux support, as I have informed
    myself now.
    First Pentiums should run ok on linux, with maybe not too old Hardware
    (e.g. ISA-Card Pentiums....). PCI Hardware should do well with Linux.
    Ol' ISA stuff, even with 386 CPU's, is a blaze with Win95. IMO (some
    RAM, 16MB...)!

    Although, I would step down to a PCI i486/DX4-100 with NT and 128MB
    RAM, 16MB GfX, SCSI and so, for the least, indeed ;-).
    Why argueing?
    I am sure you can find feet-height large staples of ol' Win95-, or even
    Win98 CD's around. Cheap. Cheaper...

    Best regards,

    Daniel Mandic
    Daniel Mandic, Jun 10, 2007
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