Installing Windows 98

Installing Windows 98®

Part 1

Whether you are installing Windows 98 for the first time or reinstalling it in order to clean out accumulated of old files and clutter, with a little planning and forethought, the installation can and does go smoothly.

Installing Windows can be as simple as you make it!

Unlike Windows 95, Windows 98 is a much simpler operating system to install, use and maintain. While many find it necessary to attack both Microsoft and Windows 98, none of these people offer an alternative operating system that is nearly as robust. While we have quite a few of these alternatives, we haven’t found one of them that doesn’t require ongoing tinkering to get it even close to the way you want it so that you can get to the main issue, getting some work done and/or enjoying some serious play!

Anyway, enough of that, let’s get on with understanding the different versions of Windows 98 and what is require to load them. Windows 98 is available in three (3) principal flavors. While there are a few odd version numbers floating around, the following are the common released versions:

  • Windows 98 Original Version* (The first retail version 4/98)
  • Windows 98 (The original version with the Service Pack added)
  • Windows 98 (Original Equipment Manufacturer OEM version)
  • Windows 98SE (Windows 98 Second Edition)
  • And naturally the Windows 98 Upgrade version!

Note, while there are differences between the versions, most of which are minor, the exception is Windows 98 Second Edition, Second Edition incorporates ICS (Internet Connection Sharing). Much has been written about the differences between the retail release of Windows 98 and the OEM version, however when you examine it closely this is usually that persons perception, as the only real differences are possibly a few more drivers and a few updated files. This is the result of the fact that the OEM version was released later and is updated more frequently.

Unlike Windows 95, which was initially developed around the 486 MHz style processor, Windows easily recognizes most processors through the 667MHz Intel Pentium III and most of the Athlon processors. Of course, as motherboards, chipsets and other devices evolve additional drivers, other than those found on the Windows 98 CD, will be needed. You must keep in mind that, if a particular device in your computer was being developed during or after the development and release of Windows 98, then in all probability the devices drivers for that device will have to be added after you have accomplished the initial installation of the operating system.

Let’s review first what has been done (or should have been done) at this point, along with a checklist of items that you should do before starting the actual installation process.

You should have:

  • partitioned your hard drive (if need be) and chosen whether you were using Fat 16 or Fat 32. Note: Bear in mind that if you choose FAT 16 you will have a 2 gigabyte partition size limitation.

  • made the very first partition the active partition.

  • formatted the hard drive and transferred the system files to it.

  • have your Windows 98 Startup Boot Disk ready


  • have created both a config.sys file and autoexec.bat file that contain your CD-Rom drive drivers to enable the use of your CD-Rom drive if need be.

What you will need to do if they haven’t been done already:

  • If your motherboard relies on any of the early chipsets, such as TX, BX, FX, GX etcetera, the drivers will be on the Windows 98 CD. If, on the other hand, your motherboard relies on any of the newer Intel chipsets such as the i810, i820, i840 etcetera, you will need the Intel drivers for those chipsets which should be on the Intel drivers CD. Likewise, if your motherboard relies on the VIA chipset, or employs the ATA66 IDE bus, then you will need appropriate drivers for this as well. These drivers can be found on most manufacturers websites or we can provide them upon request.

  • You may need drivers for your modem, sound card, video card and if equipped, your SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) card and/or network card.

  • Make sure that any external devices such as printers or scanners are disconnected from the computer. During the Windows 98 installation process, the hardware interrogation modules that locate devices in your computer may find these external devices and try to load them. In all probability they will not be loaded correctly and only serve to make the installation process more difficult.

If you have everything together that you need, then let’s get started:

  • First, restart your computer with the Windows 98 Startup Boot Disk. During the startup process, a menu will pop up asking you whether you want to boot with or without CD-Rom drive support or whether you want more information. Select “With CD-Rom drive support”.

  • When the system finishes the boot process, take note of the drive letter that is assigned to your CD Rom drive. As an example, if your computer has only one hard drive, and on that drive only one partition, and you only have one CD Rom drive, normally that CD Rom drive letter would be “D”. This is not the case with the Windows 98 Startup Boot Disk. The special boot floppy used by Windows 98 now comes with all of the tools necessary to prepare your hard drive and load Windows 98. To accomplish this, the boot disk creates a “virtual drive” into which are copied all of these tools and it is then assigned a drive letter right after the hard drive. Therefore, given the same circumstances as described above, your CD Rom drive letter will be bumped from “D” to “E” for the installation. Note however, that this temporary drive assignment will revert to the normal “D” drive letter assignment at the conclusion of the installation.

  • At the MS-DOS prompt “A:\>” type “E:\setup” (without the quotes) and touch the enter key. “E” represents your CD-Rom drive letter. It should look like this before you touch the enter key: A:\>E:\setup. If you have more than one hard drive and/or partition, you will need to change “E” to whatever drive letter the Windows 98 Start Boot Disk created during the boot process.

Click the “Next” button and we will take you through a step by step of what you should see throughout the installation process.

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