First post, by KT7AGuy
Everybody has their own preferred method for getting Win9x installed. This is mine. I do not intend for this to be a complete or definitive guide. This definitely isn't a manual. It's just the way I like to do things. Almost everything in my guide is optional. Heck, the only things you really need to do to get Win98SE working are to install it and your device drivers. Everything else is personal preference.
I've been meaning to post this here at VOGONS for a very long time. I invite constructive criticism and hope that this will inspire others to post their own preferred methods for getting things working. I also hope that this will help others who did not grow and age into this hobby as I did. We've got more than a few members who are just learning things now for the first time; they didn't have the advantage of being there when things were new.
This is a generic write-up of how I usually configure my Win98SE systems. I usually install more software than this, but I would consider this a baseline for my systems. Please bear in mind that I do not run more than 512mb RAM anymore. Benchmarking in 3DMark2001SE was slightly lower when I ran 768mb RAM. Others have also reported issues when running more than 512mb. I choose not to invite trouble and now run between 256mb and 512mb. These instructions assume that you too are using between 256mb and 512mb RAM. If you are using less or more RAM, then you'll want to configure your system.ini file differently.
As the years have passed, my method for installing Win98SE has changed as I've gained knowledge and experience. As such, this post will be edited over time as I incorporate new and better ideas from others. I will acknowledge those people when that happens.
If your BIOS has an option for disabling ACPI, then you should disable it. On some systems, it may be referred to as, "APIC", "IPCA" or something else. Additionally, set the BIOS option for "Plug n Play OS" to "NO" unless you have a PCI sound card. If you have a PCI sound card, set the BIOS option for "Plug 'n' Play OS" to "YES".
This is a stability recommendation. With Win2K, ACPI became much more stable and standardized. Under Win98SE, ACPI was somewhat flaky and could lead to issues such as hanging on restart/shutdown.
Hard Drive Setup
Create a single, primary, active, FAT32 partition and format it.
There are many other ways you could partition your hard drive. You can create multiple partitions and you can even multi-boot. For the sake of simplicity and consistency within this guide, I assume that we're just using a single, primary, active partition. Feel free to partition and design your system the way you like and translate my instructions accordingly.
Copy the source files to the hard drive before installing Windows. This saves you from having to fish out your Win98SE CDROM each time the system needs to access something on it. Doing this makes things easier and more convenient, but will consume some hard drive space.
Create a "C:\Win98CD" directory.
Copy the entire contents of your Win98SE disc to "C:\Win98CD".
Remove the CDROM and boot with the Win98SE Boot Disk.
If you were able to disable ACPI in your BIOS, install Win98SE without ACPI by running this command:
c:\Win98CD\setup.exe /p i
If you were unable to disable ACPI in your BIOS, or you are unsure about it, install Win98SE normally by running this command:
Complete your installation of Win98SE.
If your motherboard is Intel 440BX, i810, or i815, install the Intel INF v3.20.1008 chipset drivers (infinst_enu.exe).
https://web.archive.org/web/20191020071930/ht … Series-Chipsets
If your motherboard is VIA, install the 4in1 v4.43 chipset drivers (4in1443v.exe).
https://d34vhvz8ul1ifj.cloudfront.net/Driver/ … A_4in1_443v.zip
If your motherboard is VIA, install the VIA USB Filter Patch v1.10 (usbf_110.zip).
A note regarding 3dfx Voodoo 2 cards and VIA motherboards:
The v3.03.00 drivers are slightly older than the v3.02.02 drivers, even though the version number is higher. The v3.03.00 drivers were designed for DirectX 6, while v3.02.02 drivers were designed for DirectX 7. Due to a flaw in the design of some VIA motherboards, the v3.02.02 drivers will often cause lockups and other undesirable effects. There is no reliable, documented way around this. The v3.03.00 drivers work just fine. USE THE v3.03.00 DRIVERS! Better yet, use the FastVoodoo2 drivers that have this problem fixed.
Install FreeWheel v2.4
https://web.archive.org/web/20071021005734/ht … /freewheel.html
This program makes using the mouse easier and fixes a "bug" that was only recently corrected in Win10. With this program, you'll be able to scroll inactive windows without bringing them to the foreground first. Contemporary alternatives to this program are KatMouse and WizMouse.
Copy everything from "C:\Win98CD\TOOLS\OLDMSDOS" to "C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND". Don't overwrite anything.
Copy everything from "C:\Win98CD\TOOLS\RESKIT\HELP" to "C:\WINDOWS\HELP". Don't overwrite anything.
Copy "VBRUN300.DLL" to "c:\windows\system"
Many programs need this.
A note about DirectX:
Win98SE includes DX6 preinstalled.
If you have a DX8 video card, then install DX 8.1B (DX81eng.exe).
The final version of DirectX 9.0c for Win98SE is dated 08 Dec 2006 (directx_dec2006_redist.exe).
Install video card drivers.
https://download.nvidia.com/Windows/45.23/45. … n9x_english.exe
Install Ethernet drivers, if necessary.
Make sure TCP/IP is installed and working.
Set Primary Network Logon to "Windows Logon" to avoid password prompts.
Install Sound drivers, if necessary.
NOTE: If you're using an SB16, AWE32, or AWE64, you do not need to install anything. Win98SE has drivers for these sound cards built-in.
OPTIONAL: You may consider updating the built-in drivers with "sbw9xup.exe" provided by Creative Labs.
http://support.creative.com/downloads/downloa … nDownloadId=417
Install PS2Rate v0.4
This lets you adjust your PS/2 mouse refresh rate. If you're into FPS games, this may help to make your aiming more precise and accurate.
Replace the installed Win98SE versions of ScanDisk and Defrag with the WinME versions. Just overwrite the existing files with the WinME versions:
The WinME versions of ScanDisk and Defrag are faster, more efficient, and support larger partitions and drives.
Install EndItAll v2.0
by Neil J. Rubenking
First Published in PC Magazine, US Edition, October 16 2001, v20n17
https://web.archive.org/web/20080213181620/ht … 2817,697,00.asp
This lets you see what processes are running and allows you to kill them selectively. Think of this program as "Task Manager for Win9x".
Install Microsoft Plus!98 with the following options:
Deluxe CD Player
Disk CleanUp Add-Ons
Organic Art ScreenSaver
MS Plus!98 is totally unnecessary, but the included themes are great for nostalgia. I like to install it just for fun. The "Disk CleanUp Add-Ons" and "Maintenance Wizard" may also be useful.
Install Microsoft Internet Explorer v5.5 SP2
(Without Flash, ShockWave, NetMeeting, and Outlook Express.)
This is for the occasional game or program that insists on launching your default web browser. IE6 is newer, but it has issues and is just as useless as IE5, so just use IE5.
Install Media Player v6.4 Codecs Pack (wmp6cdcs.exe)
https://web.archive.org/web/20200804150313/ht … ls.aspx?id=4621
https://web.archive.org/web/20200812072619/ht … on.aspx?id=4621
Unofficial Windows 98SE SP 2.1a (sesp21a-en.exe) with these options:
Command Prompt Here
New Animated Boot and Shut Down Logos
Note: Make sure you want this before you install it, because uninstallation can be troublesome.
https://forums.lunarsoft.net/topic/1167-windo … l-service-pack/
https://web.archive.org/web/20181113145532/ht … -of-version-20/
https://www.philscomputerlab.com/uploads/3/7/ … 621/sesp21a.exe
http://exuberant.ms11.net/98sesp.html (Dead link. No Wayback Machine archive. Saved for posterity.)
USB Mass Storage Drivers (nusb33e.exe) - READ THE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE INSTALLING
http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/43605-maximus … ve-usb-drivers/
https://www.philscomputerlab.com/windows-98-u … age-driver.html
https://www.philscomputerlab.com/uploads/3/7/ … 621/nusb33e.exe
This will give you better USB support so you won't have to constantly install drivers for each new USB device you connect.
"Powerful PC" File System performance tweak
This registry tweak will enable you to add another option called "Powerful PC". This option will enable the system to remember twice as many files as the "Network Server" setting, which will result is a substantial performance enhancement.
Right-click My Computer and then select:
Properties • Performance • File System • Hard Disk • "Typical role of this computer" • Powerful PC
Adjust virtual memory & swap file appropriately. Lately I've been setting it to 128mb, but going as low as 64mb is probably fine too. If you're running 512mb RAM with Win98SE and the system is swapping at all, then the size of the swap file isn't the problem.
Disable the Task Scheduler
System Tools -> Scheduled Tasks -> Advanced -> Stop Using Task Scheduler
Increase cdrom cache:
Right-click My Computer and then select:
Properties • Performance • File System • CD-ROM
Set Supplemental Cache Size slider to maximum
In "Optimize access pattern for", select "Quad-speed or higher", unless your optical drive really is slower than that.
Read ahead buffering:
Right-click My Computer and then select:
Properties • Performance • File System
Put the Read-ahead optimization to Full
Verify that DMA is enabled for the Hard Drive and Optical Drives. YawetaG mentioned that "If this keeps getting reset to "disabled" after a crash, that may indicate a power issue."
Install Dot Net Framework v1.1 (dotnetfx.exe)
Install Dot Net Framework v1.1 SP1 Update (NDP1.1sp1-KB867460-X86.exe)
This isn't totally necessary, but I like to have it installed for the occasional program that might need it. Dot Net Framework v2 can also be installed under Win98SE, but I don't bother with it. Dot Net v1.1 SP1 is sufficient.
7-Zip File Manager
Daemon Tools v3.47 (daemon347.exe)
NOTE: Be careful with this. Modern distributions of this software may contain adware, spyware, or other malware.
This disc virtualization software will allow you to mount CDROM images.
Adobe Acrobat Reader v5 (ar505enu.exe) (rp505enu.exe)
http://ardownload.adobe.com/pub/adobe/acrobat … .x/ar505enu.exe
http://ardownload.adobe.com/pub/adobe/acrobat … .x/rp505enu.exe
Note: After all these years, I still do not know what the difference is between these two versions.
Note: Adobe Acrobat Reader v5 is old, outdated, and has multiple security vulnerabilities. As suggested by Jorpho and DosFreak, Foxit Reader may be a better choice. The final version of Foxit Reader that works well with Win98SE is v2.2.2129. Other folks using Foxit Reader under Win98SE report better results with v1.3.1621. However, please be aware that these are older verions of Foxit Reader and also suffer from numerous security vulnerabilities.
ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/acrobatreader/win/5.x (Dead link. Saved for posterity.)
Adobe SVG Viewer v3.03 (SVGView.exe)
https://www.adobe.com/devnet/svg/adobe-svg-vi … nload-area.html
This is old software that you will probably never use. Consider this optional.
Media Player Classic v126.96.36.199 (Included with QuickTime Alternative and Real Alternative)
Similar to the built-in Windows Media Player, but much much better.
QuickTime Alternative v1.56 (quicktimealt156.exe)
This is an alternative to Apple's QuickTime. Much lighter on resources than the real bloatware.
Real Alternative v1.52 (realalt152.exe)
Completely obsolete and useless by today's standards, but I like to keep it installed for any game that might actually need to use the craptastic RealPlayer format that plagued the late 1990s and early 2000s. Much lighter on resources than the real bloatware.
DivX v5.2.1 (DivX521ME98.exe)
http://www.afterdawn.com/software/audio_video … x_for_win98.cfm
PowerDVD XP v4.0
Installing a DVD player is optional, but I like to have it just in case I want to watch a DVD.
VLC Player (vlc-0.8.6i-win32.exe)
This is probably the best choice to use as your default media player.
Flash v9r280 (flashplayer9r280_win.exe)
Flash for ActiveX v9r280 (flashplayer9r280_winax.exe)
Shockwave v10.3.0.24 (Shockwave_Installer_Full_10.3.0.24.exe)
Sun Java v1.4.2_19 (j2re-1_4_2_19-windows-i586-p.exe)
http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase … .4.2_19-oth-JPR
CCleaner v2.36 (ccsetup236.exe)
https://web.archive.org/web/20150919074011/ht … 7/ccleaner-v236
Atomic Clock Sync v188.8.131.52 (atomic.exe)
http://www.afterdawn.com/software/system_tool … nc.cfm/v2_7_0_3
Sync your system clock and keep it accurate.
CH Products Analog Drivers (CHANLG08.EXE)
http://www.helpdrivers.com/joysticks/CH_Produ … tual_Pilot_Pro/
NOTE: For whatever reason, these drivers are becoming increasingly difficult to find for download. Although this site has them listed under the Virtual Pilot Pro, these are indeed the correct drivers for all of the CH Products analog controllers. Also, see here: Software suite for CH Fighter Stick, Pro Throttle, and Pro Pedals (gameport version) - get it here
Obviously, you don't need this unless you use a CH Products controller.
CTFJ v3.20 (CTFJV320.ZIP)
https://web.archive.org/web/20160626102156/ht … m/swdownld.html
https://web.archive.org/web/20070226173153/ht … ks/ctfjv320.zip
Allows you to adjust your joystick's deadzone. You don't need this if you don't use a joystick.
JoyToKey v3.79 (jtk379en.zip)
http://freewarewiki.com/w/page/14935784/JoyTo … y?mode=embedded
Gives you complete control over input peripherals. Great for remapping game controls.
OPTIONAL - Intel Application Accelerator (iaa23_multi.exe) (iaa23_enu.exe)
If you're using an Intel i810 or i815, you may get some performance improvement by installing the Intel Application Accelerator v2.3. Then again, this might cause problems. Make sure you want this before you install it, because uninstallation can be troublesome and maybe even impossible.
https://web.archive.org/web/20180102023738/ht … ion-Accelerator
NOTE: If you're using a laptop, v2.2.2 was the last version for mobile processors.
Use Phil's excellent instructions to setup MS-DOS Mode:
https://web.archive.org/web/20170121121019/ht … -tutorials.html
Jesolo has also posted a guide for configuring MS-DOS Mode:
How to create a boot (start up) menu under Windows 9x/ME
If you've made it this far, thank you for reading my guide. I strongly recommend that you download the software from all the links and archive it. Tense posted an updated link to the NVIDIA v45.23 drivers on September 23rd, 2020. That prompted me to recheck this post and I found almost two-thirds of the links were dead or broken. I've now updated this post with working links, but some of this software is becoming harder and harder to find. Download and save it all while you still can.