I just spent an interesting weekend moving my P5A motherboard with K6-2/350 to my son's computer. Actually it was more like moving his drives and video board to my old computer, but the result was a new machine with the hard drive and Win'95 (1st release) as it was set up in my son's old Pentium. I think of this as a brain transplant or something similar. Anyway, it is an interesting experiment, as many of you know. There is always something new to learn. I am still trying to figure out what I learned (uh-oh), and I have a question that I will get to after some background.
After installing all the hardware (mobo, 1 hard drive on IDE 1, 1 CDROM on IDE 2, 1 floppy, a PCI ATI video adapter, a PCI USR modem, and an ISA SB16 sound card), I ran into serious problems when the hard disk controller looked funny to W'95 and the machine went looking for drivers.
The retaining wire (to hold a CD in place when operated on its side) in the CD drive had come loose and jammed the drive, so I couldn't put in the ASUS CD and have a go at loading the ALi drivers. The system ended up with some problems after restarting and it couldn't see the CD drive. By loading DOS drivers for the CD I was able to run the installer for the ALi drivers. There was not a decent Readme doc on the CD. Not knowing any better, I installed all the drivers offered. Here is a lesson: the ALi drivers are incompatible with MSCDEX, so the DOS drivers I used to get going nuked the machine when I restarted. The correct way is to edit Autoexec and Config files (change the MSCDEX driver lines to remarks) before you restart.
At this point the drives worked, but things were a mess in System Properties, Device Manager. There were lots of non-functioning devices and even several duplicate devices: 3 modems, 2 video adapters, and duplicate system devices. The ISA sound card was not accessible at all. Over the course of hours and nearly 100 restarts, the extra devices were eliminated and non-functioning devices were "fixed". The most stubborn ones only gave up after the system was stripped down to the mobo and video adapter (plus drives), and all the drivers I could nuke were eliminated. Everything was reinstalled methodically.
In the end there was still one persistant problem. I have a mystery PCI device using IRQ 3. COM 2 is disabled in the BIOS. W'95 will rediscover the "PCI card" if it is removed. When W'95 asks for drivers, it wants video drivers and will happily install the drivers for the ATI adapter and put a second adapter under Display Adapters. Does anyone know why this is happening? Can I safely ignore it? I suspect something fishy about the ALI drivers. Maybe I loaded something that doesn't work well with W'95 (1st release)? There is little useful information on the Acer pages about the ALi drivers.