Author Topic: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98  (Read 3203 times)

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Offline bostonman

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Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« on: August 30, 2021, 03:13:40 am »
Yes, you're reading this correctly. I have a Win98 based oscilloscope that I've repaired (I had a thread going about repairing it, but feel this deserves a new thread because it's changing subjects) and obviously can't connect many modern printers to this scope.

I'd like to print directly to a PDF file and then I can copy it to a USB stick.

The need to print is to print waveforms for reference.

The issue I see: maybe something exists where I can print to a PDF, however, I assume keeping the PDF compatible to work with a Win98 system and the current PDF versions will be difficult.

In any case, does anyone know of software (or a method) I can use to print to a PDF file?
 

Offline bdunham7

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2021, 03:32:51 am »
I  think the XP/2003 version of this might work on Windows 98 SE, if that's what you have.  You could ask them.

http://www.cutepdf.com/products/cutepdf/writer.asp

Or you can print to an .eps file and then convert that to .pdf on a different machine.

https://kenchiro.tripod.com/howtoPDF.html
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Offline Halcyon

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2021, 03:47:37 am »
I recall using CutePDF back in the day, it was quite good. I can recommend this as well. You might need the older version of PDF Writer which you can get from archive.org at: https://web.archive.org/web/20050117091654/http://www.cutepdf.com:80/download.htm
 

Offline bostonman

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2021, 03:52:41 am »
Thanks for the input.

I'm uncertain if either of you use an oscilloscope, but being able to print directly to a PDF (or a jpg) is a huge benefit; otherwise I need to take a photo and those always come out skewed.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2021, 04:22:27 am »
What about doing Print Screen to capture the screen to the clipboard, then saving that as a jpg?

Any help here: ?

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/21532393/printing-to-a-file-in-windows98
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Offline bostonman

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2021, 01:16:35 am »
I hit obstacle number two: Win98 isn't recognizing the USB stick so I can't install CutePDF

I'll try digging out a Win98 CD in hopes it has USB drivers.
 

Offline LateLesley

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Offline bostonman

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2021, 11:50:45 pm »
This hasn't been easy.

This scope has Win98 v4.10.1998.

Two of the drivers in the link didn't work, I got an error stating something about the native USB for WinSE isn't compatible with this version of Windows.

Obviously it's been years since I worked with Win98, and I realized (more like remembered) Win98 came out with SE (second edition).

Most of the USB drivers I've tried require SE to be installed. Installing SE may cause an issue. From what I understand, something was configured in Windows for the oscilloscope software that allows turning off the scope with the power button rather than having to 'shut down' Windows. This allows Windows to boot without going through a scan disk or whatever.

It doesn't seem like the power button shuts down Windows because the scope turns off immediately when it's pressed.

Having said all this, I'm afraid to install SE because I fear it may overwrite whichever Windows files were altered to accommodate the scope software.

Also, when I installed CutePDF, it stated it's an evaluation (I assume this means I'd need to buy a license), however, it didn't place a virtual printer in the printer drop down menu.

From research, it seems this type of Motherboard (see attached picture) can't be upgraded to XP, however, the actual oscilloscope software doesn't seem to exist anywhere. The only way I've obtained it is by people uploading Win98 images from their hard drives. Others have upgraded the entire motherboard, OS (to Win10), somehow transferred the scope software, and replaced the display screen.

Obviously the above option isn't financially worth it (at least to me). Obviously upgrading to Win10 would buy me several years of compatibility, but I'd be spending a great deal of money for a scope that's probably worth $1500.

I guess an option would be software that can gather all the installation files - assuming this exists. Then maybe I can get lucky enough to install XP and then install the scope software; but I doubt any software is reliable enough to gather all the installation files.

In any case, maybe an easier option is somehow connecting to it via the ethernet port from a laptop.

Is it possible to somehow connect a laptop directly and transfer files? This still doesn't solve printing directly to a PDF file so the file exists on the scope's hard drive, but I'm trying to solve the most difficult issue first.

On a side note, I'd like any option to stand the test of time. I sense installing CutePDF (assuming the company can help provide one that works for Win98) will eventually print a PDF that's too old to be viewed on future versions of Adobe.

 

Online T3sl4co1l

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2021, 03:27:36 am »
What about doing Print Screen to capture the screen to the clipboard, then saving that as a jpg?

Surely you mean png gif?

(Preferably PNG if you have compatible software, but it wasn't too common back then.)

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Offline bostonman

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2021, 03:30:29 am »
Quote
Surely you mean png gif?


This idea could work, but the oscilloscope offers the option to print additional report data associated with settings that are not necessarily on the screen. Also, I assume other menus offer more unique reports that extend beyond the screen.

 

Offline bdunham7

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2021, 03:36:52 am »
Obviously it's been years since I worked with Win98, and I realized (more like remembered) Win98 came out with SE (second edition).

On a side note, I'd like any option to stand the test of time. I sense installing CutePDF (assuming the company can help provide one that works for Win98) will eventually print a PDF that's too old to be viewed on future versions of Adobe.

Um, yes--Windows 98 wasn't worthwhile until SE came out.  Almost everybody and everything was SE, can't imagine being stuck with the original.

As for .pdfs, I'm not aware of any instance where Acrobat will not open a file from any previous version.  There's no real reason to drop such support.
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Offline bostonman

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2021, 03:48:05 am »
Quote
As for .pdfs, I'm not aware of any instance where Acrobat will not open a file from any previous version.  There's no real reason to drop such support.


You're probably correct.

Being a slave to Win98 (non Second Edition) is a bit scary. I need to install and save the installation file (should I need to reinstall) for a PDF virtual printer, hope I can continue using old thumbdrives in new machines (or vice versa), etc...

I imagine, as I alluded to earlier, if I can somehow network into the scope and view the C drive, I can just save PDFs to the hard drive (I have plenty of space as I've installed a 120GB or maybe 320GB) SSD, and copy/move PDFs as desired.

A bit more annoying than plugging in a thumbdrive, but it may allow for the test of time.
 

Offline bdunham7

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2021, 04:09:52 am »
Can you clone the drive and then just try doing an in-place upgrade to SE?   :scared:
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Offline bostonman

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2021, 04:18:23 am »
Hahaha

Yes and no.

Yes, I'd be more than willing to experiment with cloning the drive (or needing to re-burn the known good working image I used for this drive should things go wrong), installing SE, and installing the USB drivers.

No because, after a year of having this scope in pieces, I finally tightened the last cover screw (had to buy some replacements at the store). In order to remove the SSD (assuming I need to re-burn the image should this be a failure), I need to cut hot clue that helps keep the plexiglass holding the SSD in place.

For the love of science, obviously I may need to gamble with installing SE and ripping apart the scope to reinstall the image if this doesn't work. I can't ask for help, and expect to get answers, if I'm unwilling to take chances.

In any case, I was hoping an easier solution existed. If I don't get any further suggestions, I'll pull the trigger and install SE.

In fact, I didn't think I'd get the responses I did as, after all, this is Win98.  :) So I'm grateful to get this far and shouldn't complain about re-burning the image.
 

Offline bdunham7

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2021, 04:32:14 am »
In fact, I didn't think I'd get the responses I did as, after all, this is Win98.

I never imagined I would be troubleshooting 8080 systems in 2021 and my much newer CMU200 runs on DOS 6.2.2 (the very latest!) so Win98 is not so shocking at all.   It's surprising how long old tech persists. 
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Offline LateLesley

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2021, 04:45:26 am »
OK, this is a tough one... you got me thinking... like bdunham7 said, probably most stuff Win98 will be SE dependent now... So I thought, why not look for a win95 compatible version, that should be old enough.

So then I found this page http://oldcomputer.info/hacks/living95/index.htm

Which at point 4, 2/3rds of the way down the page, states

"4. PDF printer: PDFCreator 0.9.3
As you use poductivity applications, you should be able to make PDF of results. There are many commercial PDF printers which advertise that they work with Windows 95. That's not true. I tested many of them, none of them worked: installation failed or printing process ended with "DLL not found" error. The only printer which works is open source PDFCreator in its 0.9.3 version (later won't work)."

It then links here - https://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/files/PDFCreator/PDFCreator%200.9.3/

So maybe that is worth a try??

 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2021, 09:30:50 am »
Remember as well the initial USB drivers for Win95/98 used FAT12, so any USB drive over 512M would not work, and not be recognised. Getting hard to find sub 1G USB drives these days.
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2021, 09:44:19 am »
Remember as well the initial USB drivers for Win95/98 used FAT12, so any USB drive over 512M would not work, and not be recognised. Getting hard to find sub 1G USB drives these days.

FAT32 support started back in the Windows 95b (OSR2) days but was improved in Windows 98 so you could convert FAT16 disks over to FAT32 without losing data.

FAT12 was for floppy disks.
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2021, 09:48:41 am »
I've attached my copy of the generic USB mass storage driver for Windows 95c, Windows 98 and Windows 98SE.

See if that works.
 

Offline bostonman

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2021, 06:47:08 pm »
I’ll try it, thanks.

I thought of whether it’s possible to connect a Raspberry Pi via Ethernet and use it as an FTP for the scope.

Mynetworking knowledge is limited to basically plug and play, but I thought of whether a Raspberry Pi can be set up to mimic a server of some type, and, assuming I can print via PDF, I can use the Pi to move files.
 

Online T3sl4co1l

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #20 on: September 02, 2021, 07:10:17 pm »
I don't know what all this plexi-glue business is about (WTF?), but just to add the note... it appears to have IDE, so if not all (1, 2, A/B) positions are in use then a Compact Flash card can be stuffed in there, it's stock IDE just need an adapter board to supply 5V and mate the pins.  Shows up as a, whatever it does in the BIOS.

Maybe you already did this, and this is redundant (but why glue in place, something that's removable?!..), or it's using some weird (contemporary?) SSD hence the concern, Idunno.

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Offline bostonman

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2021, 11:28:59 pm »
This scope is an older model and it most likely had a 3.5" drive.

Either the previous owner, or another previous owner, upgraded the drive to a SSD. In doing so, the person needed to fit an IDE to SSD convertor.

I don't know what the inside looked like before, but whoever modified it cut a piece of thin plexiglass in order to mount the SSD. I'm guessing 3.5" drive hardware was removed and discarded because I don't see a way a 3.5" drive could have fit in this thing.

In any case, the plexiglass is mounted to a metal wall that holds the large power supply on the other side. The previous person, and myself, decided to mount the plexiglass using two screws (one in each corner) because four holes are meant to hold the power supply. The plexiglass has four screws holding the SSD. The IDE convertor doesn't have a mount and is held in by the force of the connector pins.

I chose to adhere the IDE convertor tot he plexiglass with hot glue for extra support. The two unscrewed corners have a dab of electrical chalking preventing the glass from twisting.

It's really overkill because the plexiglass it quite solid with just two screws, however, I wanted everything to be tight and neat.

In any case, this was more than I meant to explain. Did my Raspberry Pi idea make any sense?
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2021, 11:41:14 pm »
In any case, this was more than I meant to explain. Did my Raspberry Pi idea make any sense?

Yeh it does.

You'll really need to think about how to implement this properly. You could set up a small file server and map a network share, but the problem you're going to run into are SMB version mismatches. Windows 98 supports SMB version 1 while modern operating systems now have SMB1 disabled by default (because it's considered insecure). You could re-enable SMB1 in Windows 10, but I would advise against doing that. If your little mini file server can be set up to support both SMB1 and SMB2/SMB3 then that could be a work-around.

You could also maybe transfer files via a combination of FTP and SMB? SMB3 out to your main network and FTP between Windows 98 and the server.

For simplicity, I think USB flash drives are the way to go. It shouldn't be too difficult getting them to work under Windows 98. As I said, try that generic driver I attached. I've personally used it many times and it has supported every USB drive I've thrown at my old computers.
 

Online NiHaoMike

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2021, 01:01:01 am »
What about an Arduino with native USB emulate a generic Postscript printer and save the data to a SD card?
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Offline bostonman

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Re: Printing Directly To Acrobat in Win98
« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2021, 01:13:47 am »
If i understand correctly, you're talking about a USB from an Arduino that simulates a printer plugged into the scope so the scope things it's printing to an external printer?

I like that idea because it offers the ability to avoid anything becoming obsolete. The only issue is that I don't know much about the scripts and stuff.

The USB driver that was provided seems like the best approach based on simplicity (providing it works). I still need to get virtual printer to PDF software, but it seems like I have a few options (more than I initially assumed).
 


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