KernelEx v4.5 Final released

By , December 30, 2010 01:49

The wait is finally over. KernelEx 4.5 has now gone final, which means this is the new stable release.
Because of the stability fixes it is a recommended update for 4.5 beta and RC users.

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What’s new:

  • Reworked installer (should be more compatible with kernel32 updates)
  • New welcome screen
  • Fixed stability of extended TLS code
  • Fixed hang issues with printers
  • Added Windows Installer compatibility database for MSI files patching

Apps fixed / now working:

  • Fixed: Foxit Reader 3.1 drag-and-drop crash
  • Fixed: Qt 4.6+ hotkey issues
  • Fixed: Opera 11 ‘about:’ pages
  • Fixed: Firefox displaying file save dialog twice
  • Fixed: caret not showing on some configurations (Opera)
  • Now working: Google Earth 5.2 (6.0 beta experimentally)

This release includes new feature to ease installation of MSI format packages that contain a check for Windows NT system.
This feature uses a database which means it won’t magically work for all MSI files at once, it rather needs adding an entry for each and every MSI file.
Currently the database includes entries for Microsoft Word Viewer 2003, Microsoft Excel Viewer 2003, Microsoft Office 2007 File Format Converters, Google Earth 5.1, 5.2 and Adobe Reader 7.0 (all english versions only!).

You can download the new release here.

25 Responses to “KernelEx v4.5 Final released”

  1. Karsten says:

    Sehr gut. Mach weiter so! Ohne dich hätte Windows 98 bei mir nicht so lange überlebt.

    Karsten

  2. esotericmaniac says:

    Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

  3. Zezé says:

    Greetings from Brasil,

    KernelEx is wonderful: allows me to stay using a machine that is enough for my needs instead of running after the latest marketing trends.

    I came accross a problem with 4.5F though. Control Panel | System, items Modem and Multimedia sometimes disappear, just to return when less expected. Sound still working, but rarely used dial-up modem seems dead (just to reappear later).

    Unfortunately I cannot be positive KernelEx is the problem, for I’m always fine tuning my system with new apps. Hope the mere comment may ring you a bell.

    Keep on with the good work

  4. imran says:

    Where is the COMPLETE feature list of KernelEx? so that one can see all the features / addons on a single page.

  5. Zezé says:

    Imran,

    I have no connection at all with the development team. Anyway I wrote down the following text to help me remember some details: hope it can help you. Tme mentioned Anexes were too much for one message, so I left them out.

    KernelEx 4.5 Final 30 dec 2010
    open source, GNU 2 license

    Note: fixed MSIMG32 warning and menu icon transparency issues in Opera 10.62
    fixed stability issues with GDI anti-leaking code

    Introduction

    KernelEx is an open source compatibility layer that allows you to run most
    Windows 2k/ XP applications under Windows 98/ ME: see Annex 3 for some of them.

    This is done patching 80 bytes of the Windows 98 “kernel32.dll” file – while
    keeping its size and internal structure so that resource editing utilities will
    still work. Original “kernel32.dll” file is kept for restoration if required.
    The patching disables the version check of loaded modules, and redirects
    Windows API calls to the KernelEx core – a symbol resolve engine which extends
    base system API with custom API libraries.

    KernelEx features
    . mostly transparent, minimal file patching and resource overhead
    . every EXE/DLL “Properties” menu now has a “Compatibility” tab for fine tuning
    . KernelEx won’t load in safe mode – to garantee the original debug enviroment
    . language neutral
    . Windows Installer compatibility database for MSI files patching

    This release includes new feature to ease installation of MSI format packages
    that contain a check for Windows NT system. This feature uses a database which
    means it won’t magically work for all MSI files at once, it rather needs adding
    an entry for each and every MSI file.

    Installation

    If you’re running Windows ME, you *must* disable SFP (System File Protection)
    first: KernelEx setup will try to warn you if you haven’t done so. You need to
    disable SFP as it would restore tampered system files – as KernelEx does with
    “kernel32.dll”. To disable SFP, type “msconfig” in the Windows “Run” box, go to
    “Startup” tab and clear its “Statemgr” entry checkbox. Click OK and reboot.

    Now for the installation itself:

    1. just in case, uninstall any previous KernelEx version
    2. copy the provided Unicows.dll file update to Windows’ System dir
    3. run “KernelEx-4.5-Final.exe”
    4. set “disable by default KernelEx for all apps” (see Note)
    5. restart Windows when requested
    6. on Windows restart, a message will confirm KernelEx installation
    7. if you’re running Windows ME, re-enable the SFP service as above
    8. manually copy files below to KernelEx home dir:
    KernelEx.txt this file
    XP.reg fake Registry entry as Windows XP
    UnXP.reg return Windows 98/ME Registry entry to original

    Note: On installation time, it is a better idea to set “disable by default
    KernelEx for all apps”, the so called “paranoid” mode. This seems safer because
    malware that requires Windows above 98/ME will fail. Actually this is one of
    the advantages of using an old Windos version.

    Note: The original, unpatched “kernel32.dll” file is no longer stored as
    “kernel32.bak” in KernelEx directory, as previous versions did. Instead it’s
    now stored under C:\WINDOWS\SYSBCKUP\KERNEL32.DLL so it won’t be accidentally
    deleted by cleanup tools or user. It is ***strongly*** you make a copy of this
    file, named as kernel32.dlk, to |win\KernelEx dir, just to make sure you have
    an extra copy of the original, unpatched file, at hand.

    To uninstall, use Windows’ Control panel Add/Remove software procedure and,
    when requested, allow the system to restart.

    Usually a complete uninstall is done but, if the reboot sequence is somehow
    disturbed, some Registry entries are left behind: search and delete the string
    of its installation home dir name, plus any “KernelEx”, “MPRServices”,
    “2338519D-676A-4ff8-99B9-924252B43710″, and
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\windows nt\currentversion\AppCompatFlags
    strings.

    See “Annex 1: Emergency uninstall” if automated uninstall somehow goes wrong.

    Usage

    . If an application refuses to run under KernelEx,
    1. right-click the exe/dll file (or its shortcut)
    2. on the displayed standard menu, go to “Properties”
    3. select the new, KernelEx-added, “Compatibility” tab
    There you can command KernelEx to make the application “think” it is running
    under a specified OS – or even disable KernelEx for an old Windows 98/ME app
    that somehow wouldn’t work anymore. These are KernelEx only user-configurable
    settings.

    . If an application setup complains about wrong system version – even after you
    have faked the Windows version in the “Compatibility” tab as above – it may
    be checking directly the Registry for current Windows version. Try
    1. double-click file “Xp.reg” before setup (fakes Windows XP Registry entry)
    2. do the installation
    3. after install double-click file “UnXP.reg” to restore the Registry.

    Known problems

    . On installing KernelEx on Windows ME, sometimes after installation, at
    reboot, you get this message:
    “Windows could not upgrade the file %1 from %2 %1:%2″
    This is not a problem. You can safely ignore this message.

    . In Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 6.0.70.6 Upd 14, to ensure the Java applets
    work, go to Control Panel, Java, Advanced, Java Plug-in, and *uncheck* item
    “Enable the next-generation Java Plug-in (requires browser restart)”.

    . When installing some apps that rely on Microsoft Installer (MSI), the MSI
    file may download but then nothing happens. You may complete the installation
    running the MSI file that can be found at Windows Temp folder.

    . Dependency Walker shows unresolved imports even if program works correctly.
    This behaviour is expected by design. Don’t depend on Dependency Walker.

    . Sometimes OpenOffice.org 3.0 may crash when closed, spawning Crashrep.exe
    process which will write crash report endlessly. To avoid this, disable the
    crash reporting tool, renaming that file on OpenOffice’s “Program” subdir to
    to something as Crashrep.bak. If you’re running Windows 98, you will also
    need to copy the provided file Msimg32.dll to the same OpenOffice “Program”
    subdir.

    Author!

    Xeno86 and Tihiy
    web: http://sourceforge.net/projects/kernelex/ - latest downloads

    MSFN (Microsoft Software Forum Network) Forum
    web: http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/130936-kernelex-45-final/page__st__1100

    MSFN, Windows 98 Member Projects
    web: http://www.msfn.org/board/forum/91-windows-9x-member-projects/

    • Xeno says:

      Just to clarify – OpenOffice issues have been completely phased out in KernelEx v4.5 RC 5.
      You also don’t have to disable SFP under Windows ME.
      If you have found a bug in the uninstaller then feel free to fill a bug report on the SF.net project site.

  6. Tony says:

    I am using w98se. With either Opera 10.62 or Firefox the Flash player hangs my system. I can control alt delete Opera or Firefox to regain control of Windows. I have the latest 10.1 Flash installed. I downgraded back to Kernelex RC5 and Flash player runs fine again.

  7. RP says:

    FYI, on issues with Opera (compat. Win2KSP4) and KernelEx 4.5 final (v4.5.101)

    Opera 11.00
    - could not set homepage to a file.

    I downgraded to 10.63 because of this.

    Opera 11.01
    - allows setting homepage to a file.
    - does not preserve Preferences/Advanced/Browsing “Show scroll marker” option.
    - does not preserve Preferences/Advanced/Content “Enable sound in webpages” option.
    - does not preserve Preferences/Advanced/Downloads “Hide file types opened with Opera” option.
    - does not preserve Preferences/Advanced/Programs/Details “File types handled by Opera” settings. 10.63 did.
    - does not preserve Preferences/Advanced/Programs/Details “Protocols handled by Opera” settings. 10.63 did.
    - does not preserve Preferences/Advanced/Programs “Check if Opera is default browser on startup” setting.

    The protocols and file types not being settable w/11 is a big problem for me. I may have to downgrade to 10.63 again.

    • Xeno says:

      Everything from this list works fine for me.
      You might need to export your settings and recreate profile from scratch.

      • RP says:

        Are you sure this is an Opera profile issue?
        I did a *very* clean reinstall of Opera 11.01. I get the same problems.

        Could you have fixed the problem for your KernelEx with the recent, unreleased, Opera related KernelEx fixes on SourceForge?

        I also downgraded various DLLs/EXEs to see if they were the issue. I had a couple ME files, more recent version of SHELL32 etc. I get the same problems.

        I didn’t try downgrading KERNEL32.DLL since that would require a KernelEx reinstall.

        I’m not sure what else to try. If you think it’s a DLL/EXE issue, is there a tool which will help me locate which one could be a problem?


        uninstalled Opera 11.01
        manually deleted Program Files\Opera
        manually deleted Windows\Application Data\Opera
        manually deleted regKey HKCU\Software\Opera Software
        manually deleted regKey HKLM\Software\CLASSES\Opera.HTML
        manually deleted regKey HKLM\Software\CLASSES\Opera.Image
        manually deleted regKey HKLM\Software\CLASSES\Opera.Widget
        ran RegClean – nothing found
        ran Norton WinDoctor – removed Opera file extensions
        rebooted
        reinstalled Opera 11.01 from Opera_1101_int_Setup.msi
        clicked “Set Opera as default browser”
        options
        unselect “Add Opera icon to quick launch”
        unselect “Run Opera when installation is finished”
        next>
        I agree
        5 seconds…
        prcview – Opera installer has exited
        check Wininit.ini – nothing
        reboot anyway
        check Properties/KernelEx – still set to specific “Windows 2000 SP4″
        double click Opera icon on desktop
        (no changes, imports, etc. to default Opera install)
        Menu/Settings/Preferences/Advanced/Browsing
        select “Show srcoll marker”
        Menu/Settings/Preferences/Advanced/Browsing
        scroll marker setting is not set.
        Menu/Settings/Preferences/Advanced/Programs
        “Check if Opera is default browser on startup” is set
        unselect
        reselect
        Menu/Settings/Preferences/Advanced/Programs
        “Check if Opera is default browser on startup” is set
        close Opera
        restart Opera
        dialog “Use Opera as default web browser”
        select “Do not show this dialog again”
        yes
        close Opera
        restart Opera
        Menu/Settings/Preferences/Advanced/Programs
        “Check if Opera is default browser on startup” is not set

        problems are still present with others also, e.g., file type associations not working

        —-
        downgraded USER32.DLL from 4.90.3001 to 4.10.2233
        downgraded USER.EXE from 4.90.3001 to 4.10.2233

        problems are still present

        —-
        downgraded SHELL32.DLL from 4.72.3812.717 to 4.72.3812.634

        problems are still present

        —-
        downgraded MSVCR71.DLL from 7.10.6030.0 to 7.10.3052.4

        problems are still present

        —-
        did not downgrade KERNEL32.DLL
        requires KernelEx reinstall
        current is 4.10.2226
        can downgrade to 4.10.2225 or 4.10.2222

      • Xeno says:

        I did the test on fresh VM image of 98SE (no updates installed). Installed KernelEx 4.5 Final, downloaded and installed Opera_1101_int_Setup.msi and followed your instructions step by step.
        Both “Check if Opera is default browser on startup” and “Show srcoll marker” are preserved between Opera restarts. File associations don’t currently work, it is a known issue, you have to either create them manually or perform upgrade from 10.xx which creates them correctly.

        • RP says:

          I tried three things.

          I updated another machine from 10.63 to 11.01 Opera. Same issue. It was a factory install of Win98SE, not my Win98SE CD. I recently updated it with NUSB and SESP30B4, Java, Flash, and etc. like files above.

          I tried to install Win98SE to an external USB, but the final hardware detect in the setup kept resetting the USB controller… I attempted to manually install NUSB. That didn’t help.

          I pulled an ancient IDE drive out of another computer and did a clean install from CD. No extra 98 files. No drivers for Ethernet, etc. Started to install Kex45final. Complained of no unicows. Installed unicows.exe. Installed Kex45final. Started to install Opera. No .msi support. Installed InstMsiA.exe. Installed Opera. Opera install complains of no OUniAnsi.dll. Set Opera to NT2kSP4. Reinstall Opera w/repair setting. Attempt to start Opera. MSVCRT crashes. Install vcRedist 2005. Opera errors with “r6025 pure virutal function call” and then crashes. Install vcRedist.msi, more recent, same thing. I have vcRedist 08 and 10, but IIRC, they don’t work with 98SE. I also tried the unofficial vcRedist fix Q932590.EXE. Same thing… It could be that not seting up Win98 more completely may be an issue. I may do a normal setup, and try again, i.e., getting the hardware drivers all working first.

          If I get back to this or find out what’s wrong, I’ll let you know. Since two different computers are having the same problem, I’d suspect what is in common:
          98SE, Kex, Opera, NUSB, SESP30B4, maybe Java, Flash, DirectX, and misc fixes from MGDX’s site.

          • RP says:

            I cannot seem to get past the r6025 error. I uninstalled/reinstalled Opera and KernelEx. No fix. I tried different versions of Kernel32.dll. No fix. I copied over the MSVCRT files directly from a working system in case they were different somehow from MSVCRT setup files. No fix. I was hoping that maybe a more complete install would fix the r6025 issue, so I could get to the other issue. So, I also installed video, monitor, DirectX, SESP30B4, NUSB. No fix. SESP30B4 resets video modes and crashes which required patched Nvidia drivers, which needed stock Nvidia drivers to install correctly (Why Tihiy?), which needed monitor driver, repeate, reboot, repeat, reboot, etc… The only thing missing are MS Win98 online updates. The other systems were updated that way first, but SESP30B4 should’ve installed all those files. I have many of the MS packages. Although, that’d be even more tedious, and I don’t know if I have a list of what’s needed. I may wipe and try again. But, first, I may copy over a good system to see if it’s something with the older, slower, IDE.

          • RP says:

            Ok, I copied over the working system. Opera started without the r6025 error. I then reinstalled and and the working system gets the r6025 error also. It has something to do with the operaprefs.ini file. There is not much in the ini on the r6025 bad versions. An operaprefs.ini from a working version of Opera eliminates the r6025 error. I don’t have ethernet or internet setup, so maybe that is related, e.g., attempting to access network? However, once a working .ini is added, I still cannot save those settings, but the new install was updated a bit. I’ll try a new fresh install of SE.
            I’ll also try a clean operaperfs.ini from a new install on a working machine, not just a working, changed operaprefs.ini.

          • RP says:

            Ok, fresh install of Windows 98 SE from install CD using HIMEM.SYS, not other XMS providers. I followed that with installation of the ethernet drivers, unicows to windows\system, KernelEx-4.5-Final.exe, Kex regkeys for Opera, InstMsiA.exe, Opera_1101_int_Setup.msi in that order. Nothing else. Same problem. Those Opera settings do not save. I also tried other operaprefs.ini, from installation prior to first run, prior to connection to internet, etc. and from other systems. Six total. No go.

            So, now I’ve tested two existing working systems, one factory installed and one from install CD, and I tested a completely clean system. IMO, something is different, incorrect, or modified on your end.

  8. Craig says:

    Great work, I was almost ready to give up on W98SE until I found your program, now I can keep W98SE until MS gets it right again!
    I’ve updated Firefox, Thunderbird, Flash, Quicktime, and more! Awesome!

  9. Jeff says:

    running with no issues 98se with all updates from AutoPatcher. Running Firefox 3.5 with multiple plug-ins and Opera 10.63 as well as VLC Player 1.1.7. 98 is running under VMWare Player, seems to be slightly smoother. Great job Thanks!!

  10. Paul Zee says:

    Hey Xeno & Friends, 4.5 best yet and I have been casually using this program from early 3 series on 98se. You helped me once with Nortons conflict on start-up some time ago..
    You may be interested in some of these stand alone portable apps for the USB stick, as almost all are now working with KernelEx v4.5 Final.
    If your video card supports open-gl try BrutalChessPortable.. here is a partial link
    portableapps.com/news/new
    or
    OpenOffice.org Portable
    portableapps.com/apps/office/openoffice_portable

  11. Sherry says:

    Incredible!! Upgraded Firefox so that I can use alot more features of the internet PLUS Firefox is working better than it ever has! (I used to keep System Monitor running in the background to show me how much usage Firefox would take, but now, it is normal!)

    I get to keep a computer that I really like because KernelEx solved so many issues that I was having. My computer may be old and using Win98se, but it works GREAT!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

    I’m still not sure about Flash. I’ve been getting content errors. The player seems to work, but the content doesn’t play. I’m going to keep looking to see if there’s something I haven’t done quite right though.

  12. Paul Zee says:

    Codec Repair Tweak Tool 4.9.2 working now with KernelEx v4.5 Final.
    - must be set to Windows 2000 sp4 or better ..

    Updated: 3 Apr 2011 | Freeware | 527KB | Downloads: 71478

    Developer | Screenshots
    Codec Tweak Tool is a free utility able to detect and remove broken references to codecs and filters.

    With Codec Tweak Tool you can :

    - Scan the registry to detect and remove broken references to codecs and filters.
    - Generate a detailed log of all installed codecs and filters.
    - Enable/disable over 200 codecs and filters (if they are installed).

    http://www.free-codecs.com/download/Codec_Tweak_Tool.htm

    Xeno.. not to clutter up your site but this is a super little problem solver for 98se and of course is now working so easily, a salutation to your project.

  13. pera says:

    hey thanks for this great proyect! :D

  14. ? says:

    Is there a way to get RPG maker vx to run on windows 98 with kernel ex.

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    Do you have any video of that? I’d like to find out more details.

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