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Joystick users for versions 1.4a and earlier: Install this hotfix to get your joystick to work with Windows 95D Lite. An oversight in integrating DirectX 7 caused the joystick driver to not work in these versions. This fix is standard-issue in release 1.5.
Windows 95D Lite is a new unofficial version of Windows 95 that integrates a hefty sum of updates and drivers, allowing you to get your old machine rolling with only a quick and simple installation.
Download the latest release of Windows 95D Lite (Version 1.5a - December 23rd, 2021):
Base CD (93.7 MB)
Full CD (440 MB)
VMware Virtual Machine (version 1.5, 142 MB)
The contents below only provide a little insight into Windows 95D Lite. When you install Windows 95D Lite, remember to check the brand new Help contents from the Start menu.
Reminder: Please do not sell Windows 95D Lite or any other Windows remasters, and do not sell computers bundled with Windows 95D Lite to avoid jeopardizing the 9x remastering community.
Version 1.5a: Some Very Small Tweaks
During the production of a large video, I found a few bugs pertaining to upgrading from a driver-filled Windows 3.1x to Windows 95D Lite. I went ahead and applied a few fixes, but then I figured, hey, with this one new small program I've written, I'm sure I could improve the express install routine! So that's what I did; I polished up my program, gave it a bit of extra functionality, and implemented it in the boot CD's batch script.
I also took this opportunity to cut out a bit of garbage from the distribution; most notably, Internet Explorer 4 is no longer included in the full CD, as I added the option to install Active Desktop in Internet Explorer 5.5's installer. Apart from that, hardly anything is so different in this release. Unless you want more convenience in installing Windows 95D Lite or a slightly cleaner distribution, you shouldn't need to upgrade. The VMX has not been updated to the new version.
Version 1.5: Farewell
It's been close to a year since Windows 95D Lite first began development. I didn't think I would be coming back to it this much for this long, but here I am now. This version mainly addresses some of the issues that have persisted up until now, like joysticks not being usable and IntelliPoint cursors not being optional. Since it's clear that Windows 95D Lite doesn't have much left to add to, this may very well be the final release since I'm a lot more confident in its state now. Any other updates that may be needed in the future will come in the form of separate hotfixes and quiet "step-up" releases to the distribution.
It's crazy to think such a task as menial as figuring out how to optimize Windows 9x Setup for modern timesaving needs would continue to evolve three years after I got started on it. As much as everyone's wanting a new Windows 98 remaster, being Redtoast, I needed Windows 95D Lite in order to develop a lot of these new techniques that would give me a better idea on how to approach a significantly more elaborate operating system. I think now that I've addressed the vast majority of previous oversights and unforseen bugs, it's time to lay the Windows 95 side of things to rest. This should very well be a definitive experience by now.
To commemorate this conclusive release, I've created a new desktop theme which can be found on the full CD. At some point, I plan to make the Windows 95D Lite themes available for download as standalone packages, but I still have many other things to tend to. See you soon...
What is its purpose?
First and foremost, Windows 95D Lite is about low-level convenience. To put it simply, the setup program is partially reworked to provide many practical updates upfront while remaining largely invisible to the user. There is no batch script that needs to be run after Setup completes, no extra interactive installer, no additional reboots, or anything like that; as of now, it's down to just a few very small things in between Setup and you being able to use the GUI normally.
None of the obnoxious updates like Internet Explorer 5.5, Windows Media Player 7, or the slower DirectX 8.0 are included. Windows 95D Lite only opts for what is ideal for systems with hardware ranging from 1995 to 2001 so you can immediately run newer programs that would otherwise require installing cumbersome runtime packages.
For those who have been alienated by the narcissistic branding present in tons of other Windows remasters and bootlegs out there, you'll be glad to know Windows 95D Lite keeps it to a minimum, and does not even announce itself as its full name. If the new banners are still too much, read this to learn how to remove them.
While Windows 95D Lite is mostly run on virtual machines as of now, it is also designed to be a hefty timesaver on real hardware. Whether you're building your own system or using a dusty OEM computer, there's a chance Windows 95D Lite will have some or all of the drivers you need to start rolling from the get go. I'm talking about 3D acceleration, 100BASE-T networking, and premium audio... the difference between having to go through the trouble of installing everything one by one and having all of that done for you is priceless.
The variety of integrations spliced into Windows 95D Lite make it span about twice as many cabinets as Windows 95B. Much of the extra space is taken by drivers which are not bound to be installed on every single system.
The updates which have been implemented below are done stealthily; there may not be an obvious indication by Setup that they are being installed, but they often outright replace the original files from OSR2.
This list may be incomplete, but it should give you an idea of what you can expect.
While most hardware can operate without chipset drivers, such drivers are necessary to make full use of USB and AGP.
Drivers for Intel chipsets ranging from the 430TX to the 850/845 are included, but integrating them is literally a matter of copying and pasting lines of plain text. Some VIA chipsets from the Super Socket 7 and Slot A eras are also supported, as well as ALi's onboard IDE controller.
Frequently Asked Questions
"Lite" contrasts against the earlier Windows 95D by its tactics, not by what it includes. When Windows 95D Lite was pitched to the Razorback community in June, its original goal was straightforward - do away with the mismashing of system files from Memphis and Windows 98/ME (meaning a big goodbye to gradient title bars) while keeping all the updates that work just fine, such as the Plus! tab. It turned out to be much more than that, both in its scope and effort required.
Starting with meddling in the idea of rebuilding the Setup cabinets from scratch rather than placing uncompressed files into the setup directory as is, Windows 95D Lite's objective became more something like "how can I make the installation of updates as seamless as possible, and not a bloated multi-boot process?" And so began the exhaustive process of dissecting each and every update down to its files and registry entries, either through the INFs they use or through guesswork, no matter their size.
The end result is a nearly invisible installation process. As of the latest release, all extra RunOnce\Setup entries have been successfully eliminated. What this means is that on the first boot, the dialog "Windows is now setting up the following items" looks exactly the same as it did before in the original Windows 95 releases. As of version 1.2, the DUN 1.4 file copying dialogs are no longer displayed, either, cutting down the time of the first logon even further.
Can I use a USB keyboard and/or mouse with this?
No, at least not natively. No HID drivers were released for Windows 95, so the only way you could get a USB input device to work would be to turn on legacy USB emulation in your computer's BIOS settings, and even that is not necessarily guaranteed to work. Support for HID-compatible devices didn't show up until Windows 98, and a work-in-progress remaster of that operating system called Redtoast aims to bring the classic Windows 95 shell together with the hardware-related benefits of Windows 98.
Why can't I use the mouse, or why were my drivers not loaded?
Windows 95D Lite from Delta to the 25th anniversary release have a major bug in a few of the Intel chispet INFs that cause no devices to be detected under certain conditions. The September 19th release fixes this.
For the affected releases, you can remove all the devices which have errors, reboot, and allow Windows to redetect them.
Those banners are an eyesore, can I remove them???
Yes. You can run PURIFY.EXE to restore the original dialogs.
As of the October 8th release, the banners are no longer included by default. You can run BRANDISH.EXE to add them.
Can I just get the updates for my existing Windows 95 OSR2 installation?
At this time I am not offering my own update package to effectively provide exclusively the updates from Windows 95D Lite to Windows 95B or Windows 95C. You can conduct an in-place upgrade of Windows 95 RTM/A/B/C to 95D Lite to get the new benefits, but this has not been tested extensively.
How do I install the desktop themes?
Open Add/Remove Programs from the Control Panel, and move to the Windows Setup tab. Click Have Disk at the bottom right corner, and point to D:\FUNSTUFF\PLUS\THEMES (D being the letter of your CD-ROM drive). Select the themes you want to install and click OK. If you're prompted for a missing file, just keep pressing OK until copying completes; I could never work out how to avoid this prompt having to do with shared screen saver resources, but they will still install all fine.
Excess "file not found" dialogs should not show up in release 1.4a, because I ended up duplicating the reusable screensaver executable multiple times in the cabinets so the minor annoyance would go away, even if at the cost of extra space.
Will you add my driver if this gets updated again?
It depends on the size of the driver. I don't want to end up making the cabinet set even larger than Windows 98's. In fact, it might be desirable to strip down a few drivers to the bare essentials, such as that of the ATI Rage series and the Aureal Vortex AU8810.
What is the prebuilt virtual machine loaded with?
Just an express installation of Windows 95D Lite with all the essentials ready to go - TCP/IP networking, audio, VMware Tools, and all the other discrete benefits of a normal Windows 95D Lite installation. You will be prompted to confirm your time zone on the first boot.
The virtual machine should work with VMware Workstation/Player 5.0 and onward, even on Ryzen hosts thanks to the standard-issue FIX95CPU patch. To install other perks like 3D Pinball, desktop themes, or Internet Explorer, load the Windows 95D Lite ISO into the virtual machine.
Old releases of Windows 95D Lite can be obtained here
Effective May 1st, 2021, all old releases of Windows 95D Lite will only contain the base \WIN95 directory. Only the latest version includes extra materials on the CD-ROM.