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Monochrome Windows 98

Created on December 24, 2020
Indexed on April 11, 2023 at 12:57 AM

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A quick run of Windows 98's 2 color VGA mode, covering a few programs like Minesweeper, Internet Explorer, and WinQuake.

You may notice that some icons do have 1-bit versions on hand, but others do not. It seems to be a bit of a half-baked implementation, so I'm surprised an effort was even made to support this mode. I wonder what use cases there would be for monochrome Windows 95/98... gas plasma displays maybe? Even monocrhome CRTs will take any level of color depth, as all they do is connect the green VGA pin and display everything as multiple shades of grey, so accounting for 1-bit graphics likely didn't have much of a practical purpose.

When I say Windows 98, I more specifically mean Redtoast Alpha 3a, a prebuilt environment that strips out the IE shell in favor of the one from Windows 95. The latest build is available at the project hub.

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cybertruk - April 24, 2023 at 05:33 AM

Some of the NVIDIA forceware drivers might be able to force Windows 98 into monochrome mode, I believe there's a checkbox you can tick in the NVIDIA control panel that enables some of the hidden video modes in Windows.

re9177 - April 15, 2023 at 01:14 PM

I'm not sure why this was intended to be a fallback mode, they could have utilized VESA 1.x at least to have some kind of universally acceptable video mode as an workaround.. but we are talking about Microsoft here..

Bird - April 11, 2023 at 02:18 AM

Monochrome mode is like art mode. Quake would just need to be a little brighter and play more with lightning effects, then it could stand as a whole new game. A webcam can lead so some interesting, surreal images too. Unfortuneatly 1-bit-mode disappears as an option after installing a grahics card driver.

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