Installing Windows Media Player 9.0 Under Windows 98 First Edition

I have been using this one for forever and a day, yet I have never seen or heard od anyone else using it. I only thought of doucmenting it while I was completing the Windows Media Player 7.1 on Windows NT 4.0 article. This exemplifies the point of Microsoft introducing seemingly artificial limitations into its software.

Attempt to install Windows Media Player 9 under Windows 98 First Edition, and you will receive the following error message:

Windows Media 9 on 98 FE Error

The installer is actually looking for a SubVersion registry key (and a little more) under:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

You could substitute this string with ” A ” if you wanted to, however there is an even easier way to bypass it, simply skip the installer inflators OS check.

Pull up the location of MPSetup.exe into a command window:

  1. Click Start, chose Run
  2. Type CMD and click OK
  3. CD into the location where WMP can be found:
    e.g. cd Desktop
  4. Type:
    mpsetup.exe /t:c:\wmp9\
  5. Inflate the files wherever you would like them (desktop isn’t a great idea because there are a lot of them)
  6. manually run:
    setup_wm.exe
  7. Enjoy

WMP9 Setup

WMP9 a la Winows 98 FE

Simple as that!

Installing Windows Media Player 7.1 Under Windows NT 4.0 SP6a

It’s hypocrisy gone mad! Yes, I know. As the self professed leader of the Say No To 7 campaign, here I am about to show you how to install it onto something it was never meant for!
Well, one does like to fiddle.

 

Windows Media Player 7.1

The interesting thing about Microsoft, is their uncanny self-imposed need to artificially limiting their software products to conform to whatever marketing initiative they’re currently undertaking. This isn’t necessarily always a bad thing – it does force some level of forward progress. However, I do wonder how much end user adoption they have inhibited, and how large a slice of the security exploits pie such a policy has helped to create.

The the official system requirements for Windows Media Player 7.1 are as follows (Source):

Minimum

  • Microsoft Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows 2000, or Windows Millennium Edition
  • Pentium 166 megahertz (MHz) processor
  • 32 MB RAM
  • 28.8-kilobits per second (Kbps) modem
  • 16-bit sound card
  • 256-color video card

Recommended

  • Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows 2000, or Windows Millennium Edition
  • Pentium or AMD Athlon K6 266 MHz processor or faster
  • 64 MB RAM
  • 56-Kbps modem
  • 24-bit true colour video card

If you’re someone who takes such information as sacrosanct, then this might surprise you:

Windows Media Player 7.1 under Windows NT 4.0 SP6a

I would like to stress that the image is not a fake, it is a genuine Windows NT 4.0 Workstation screenshot. Neither is the process some sort of hack which would be seen as a breach of EULA terms by rewriting, hex-editing, decompiling or resource editing even a single binary digit of Microsoft code.

Though it was exceptionally time consuming to initially setup, the program runs on the Windows NT 4.0 kernel with no modifications, no special DLL’s ripped from any other version of Windows, and relies upon nothing more than the Windows Media Player 7.1 installer binary, and a fully patched Windows NT 4.0 installation.

You are probably wondering at this point why I’m fiddling with Windows Media Player 7.1, when there is a version 9 release out there just waiting to be converted down. Truth be told, I did try it. However, it loads with a Kernel related error and attempting to fix it goes too far plus, when all is said and done, I wasn’t going to spend that much time on this project.

 

NOTE: This has only been tested under Windows NT 4.0 Workstation SP6a on a Virtual PC Image, and has not been thoroughly tested in features or performance. It should however work with NT 4.0 Server and Advanced Server (it may not Terminal Server). Use at your own risk.

 

Installing

I have created a redistributable of the Windows Media Player 7.1, which will enable you to get it working in a few very short steps. If you are so inclined, you can inflate the installer yourself.

The binary download includes:

  • Windows Media Player 7.1
  • Adaptec CD Burning Plug-in (untested)
  • Windows Media Device Manager (untested)
  • All other installed components
  • Windows Media Player 7 Patches:
    1. Q308567 ASF Processor Contains Unchecked Buffer
    2. Q320920 Windows Media Player Rollup
    3. Q808226 Windows Media Player Script Commands Update
    4. Q817787 Flaw in Windows Media Player Skins Code Execution
    5. Q828026 Windows Media Player URL Script Command Update
  • Windows Media 7 ActiveX Control for Internet Explorer

 

Patch It Up

Step one in this plan is for you to fully patch NT 4.0. I recommend that you follow my guide, and get yourself the Internet Explorer 6.0 SP1 (with the shell update) from HPC:Factor or anyone else you care to source it from.

When I say patch it, I mean it. In full. If you don’t want to install Microsoft Internet Explorer, stop reading now and go and download WinAmp.

View: Windows NT 4.0 Installation, Patches & Updates Guide (HPC:Factor)

 

Download

The installation binary for Windows Media Player 7.1 for Windows NT is nothing fancy, just a zip file which you will need to drag into your own file system, and a bat file that you need to run yourself. There is no formal uninstaller, though it’s pretty easy to reverse engineer the bat file to clear out your system.

Download: (11.8 MB) wmp71-nt4.zip

 

Installation Procedure

Please be sure to read the following carefully!

  1. Inflate the zip file into a temporary folder
  2. Exit Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer and ideally all programs / tray applications
  3. Copy the Program Files over program files on your system drive. It’s safe to allow all overwrites*
  4. Copy the WinNT folder over your file system. READ all dialogue boxes. Do NOT overwrite new files with older ones
    e.g. If the file you already have is 23/03/2002 and the one you are copying is 02/04/1999 do not overwrite it
    If you say Yes to overwrite a system file and Windows tells you that it cannot perform the replacement action, ignore it
  5. If you wish to install ‘My Music’, copy the My Music folder into the My Documents (Personal) default profile, and then in turn into your user(s) profile(s)
  6. Run the Register.bat file
  7. Copy the Windows Media Player shortcut into your Start Menu, desktop, quick launch (as desired)
  8. Installation is now complete

 

* Back up your system registry before running this update

Windows Vista under Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 SP1 – Installing using the ISO as the installation media

System Requirements:

  • Virtual PC 2004, SP1
  • Windows Vista DVD-ROM ISO

The Problem:

It’s very nice of Microsoft to make the ISO available to so many people for testing, and I hate to think how many downloads and DVD burns that will equate to – though I shant dwell on the fact it took 3 download attempts to actually get the thing, the first keeling over at a robust 89% before the Akamai server decided it didn’t want to resume and reset the file stream to 0%, and the second a hearty 71% before I was graced with the same announcement.

What if you either don’t have access to a DVD Burner, the test PC you plan to install on has a DVD drive that doesn’t accept the burn media from the DVD-Writer (like me) or you just don’t like wasting Disc’s on one hit wonders (like me).

In amazing thoughtful form, the Virtual PC ISO mount driver cannot seem to address ISO’s over a couple of GB, handy when a Vista ISO weighs in at 3.12GB. So here’s a nice 100% Microsoft way to get aroung the problem.

The Fix:

When I was working on Windows 2000 SP4, SP4 URP and on the short lived Windows Security CD beta’s, Microsoft introduced a nice MFC utility to the beta core to instill a sense of environmetntal responsibility in us – after all we were getting weekly builds.
The Virtual CD Control Panel Driver application is a ISO mounter in a stand-alone form running at the driver layer (VCdRom.sys), with no resident applicaiton layer (aside from the service start/stop/mount MFC application). Unlike its counterpart in Virtual PC, it isn’t restricted to the size of the volume it can mount – at least any ISO I have ever tried.

The driver identifies itself to Windows as a de facto Optical drive, complete with drive letter. The short answer to the problem is that the Virtual PC Physical drive mounter doesn’t actually care what it is mounting so long as it is identified as an optical drive. By piggy-backing the ISO through the VCdRom driver, you can get around the limitation’s of Virtual PC.

The Virtal CD Control Panel runs under any NT 5 based OS, is completely free and is a Microsoft application – be it an unpolished one.

Download: Virtual CD Control Panel 1.21

The VCdRom driver is naturally a software based solution, as a result there is bound to be a nominal impact on performance, however in the greater scheme of VPC2004 performance hits, it is indistinguishable from a pre-Additions installation of any OS.

When mounting one of the formal beta ISO images, you will encounter an error message stating that the mount failed with the driver. Under these conditions, the most likely culprit is the literal name of the ISO. As an Exmaple the Public Beta 2 release ISO is catchily named:
vista_5384.4.060518-1455_winmain_beta2_x86fre_client-LB2CFRE_EN_DVD.iso

A 67 character file name, or a nice round 536-bit ASCII string with a couple of periods thrown in for good measure. The simple fix: Shorten it and drop all but the suffix identifier period. Vista.iso will do nicely in the event you cannot think of anything creative.

Using IEAK 5.x under Windows XP or Internet Explorer 6 / 7

System Requirements:

  • IEAK 5.0
  • IEAK 5.01
  • IEAK 5.5

The Problem:

If you need to build an IEAK 5.0, 5.01 or 5.5 internal distribution for your organisation, or you are just playing with the older IEAK versions, then you will encounter a significant problem if you happen to be using Windows XP, or have upgraded your web browser to Internet Explorer 6.0 or 7.0.

IEAK configurations are designed to operate exclusively under the Internet Explorer release they are generating redistributable’s for, and will bluntly refuse to work if you attempt to fob it off with a greater IE version.

The Fix:

Pretty simple really. Like most of Microsoft’s application dependencies, it’s nothing more than observable madness, built in for some strange reason (presumably to force Internet Explorer 3/4 users to migrate to 5.x. Quite why it wasn’t deemed sensible to program IEAK…

if MSIE version <=4.01 SP2 then
Terminate
else
Proceed
End if

… is beyond me. Anyway. The fix is so extremely simple, you will wonder why you were reaching for a Windows install CD.

  1. Open up Regedit and navigate to:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer
  2. Find the string value called Version and edit the Major and Minor version to match the version of IEAK that you are attempting to install. For Example:
    Change 6.0.2900.2180 into
    5.5.2900.2180 for IEAK 5.5 or
    5.0.2900.2180
    for IEAK5.0x.

I don’t recommend that you fiddle with the build number, as you’ll probably forget it when you go to switch it back again. As soon as you have run IEAK for the first time, you can safely switch it back to whatever you had before.

It wont bother you again after that.