Windows 98

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computing: operating systems: Windows: Windows 98


Windows 98 is a version of the Microsoft Windows graphical desktop and operating system which was released in 1998. It was the successor to Windows 95 and part of the Win9x line.

This article refers to Windows 98 Second Edition, usually abbreviated Win98SE or just Win98 or w98. The original release, usually referred to as "Windows 98 Original Edition", "Windows 98 First Edition", or "Win98FE", was apparently quite buggy and generally vanished after the second edition was released.

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If you can't get Windows to talk to the printing system used by the rest of your network, CutePDF might be an adequate substitute. It will let you print to a PDF file which you can then copy to a more modern system and print from there. (I have not actually tried this yet, but it does claim to run under Win98. --Woozle (talk) 12:24, 10 May 2014 (EDT))


Woozle, 2005-06-25: Win98 strikes me as being a kind of pinnacle for single-user Windows, if you look at usability divided by bloat. Windows 95 didn't need as much memory to run, but it lacked support for certain things which became rather essential soon after Win98's release, such as USB and hard drives larger than 2 GB. In general, it was a successful reworking and enhancement of the basic Windows 95 design; more significant bugs were eliminated by the reworking than were introduced by the new features.

After Win98 came the disastrous WinME (which some people apparently do still use), after which Microsoft began to merge its single-user "9x" line (95, 98, and Me) with the multi-user, more security-conscious line started by Windows NT and continued by Windows 2000 ("Win2k"), ultimately resulting in Windows XP (WinXP) and its successors.

From our perspective, Win2k and WinXP both have problems, even leaving out the cost (which is a significant factor). Win2k will not run Access 97, and WinXP will not run PTC, an ancient DOS-based credit-card processing application. I need both of these for my business. As a result, I am working on a long-term conversion of all database operations to Linux (so we no longer depend on flaky Access 97 for data processing), and in the short term working on using emulators such as qemu so I am not depending on the Windows filesystem (FAT32) for essential data storage. (PTC needs to be eliminated; everyone else is using internet gateways or web-based credit card processing.) I am also watching closely at the development of ReactOS, a FOSS Windows clone.


Woozle, 2005-06-25: What I usually do when setting up a new Win98 system -- especially if the hard drive is 5 GB or more (and if it's not, you probably shouldn't be running Win98 on it) is copy the essential setup files to the hard drive, and run the setup from there. This not only makes the install go faster, it also means you never have to find the CD again when installing device drivers or making changes to the network. If Windows asks for the setup CD, you just tell it to look in c:\etc\setup\win98, and it will be happy.

Here's the process:

  • boot to DOS -- either with a floppy, which an existing Win98 installation will make for you, or with a bootable CD-ROM which you can make from the Win98SE Setup disk plus a bootable floppy
  • format c:/s/v assuming it's not already formatted with FAT32; if it is, and there's data you want to keep, skip this step. You can leave off the "/v" if you don't like naming your disks; I do because it helps reduce confusion sometimes. If the disk is already formatted, you can instead type "sys c:" to make sure you have the Win98SE boot sector and system files.
  • make the following folder: "c:\etc\setup\win98". ("c:\etc\setup" comes in handy for some other apps such as Microsoft Office 97, which has a "run from CD option" -- I usually just copy the whole CD over, then use that option.)
  • Run the following commands:
cd \etc\setup\win98
copy \setup\*.* c:
(Note: I may have the source path wrong. Need to check this.) This copies the install files from the Win98SE CD to your hard drive — about 130 MB worth, if I remember right. There are a lot of other folders which play no part in the Win98SE setup, and I'm really not sure how one is supposed to use them; this strips the install folder down to a minimum.
  • You can also delete anything having to do with "online services", as they are by now hopelessly out of date.
  • Remove the floppy or CD, and reboot to the hard drive. You may get a brief flicker of the Win98 splash screen, and then a prompt asking you which type of boot you want; the answer to that is that it doesn't matter, though you will get fewer error messages by selecting "with CD-ROM support".
  • Run the following commands:
cd \etc\setup\win98
  • Windows 98 Setup will now run, and rather faster than it runs from the CD.