Windows OS 98

At A Glance



Limited availability, still supported


Second Edition (SE)

GUI, Multi-threaded



This Graphical OS is designed for workstations at home or business. Windows 98 likely has the widest hardware and software support of any OS in existence, greatly exceeding even Microsoft’s flagship product Windows 2000. The Windows 9x/Me family is installed on more PCs than all other OSes combined. While not as dramatic a change from Windows 95 as Windows 95 was over Windows 3.x, Windows 98 adds a number of improvements, fixes, and interface tweaks. It now includes the previously separate Windows Plus! Windows 98 Second Edition (SE) added further fixes, updates, improved USB support, drivers, and Y2K updates. Windows Me is the next release in this series.


13-Jan-2004 – Microsoft extends end of life to Jun-30-2006

1-Jan-2001 Volume Licensing to End
In an effort to force corporations to switch to the more expensive Windows 2000, Microsoft announced it is ending volume licensing of both Windows 95 & 98 on June 30, 2001.[Infoworld, Page 15]

14-Sep-2000 Windows Me
Microsoft has a replacement for Windows 98, called Windows Millennium also called “Windows Me”. See Windows Me for more details

1-May-2000 Missing Windows CD
Microsoft has changed the OEM policies for including Windows 98 on a new computer. In most cases, to get the OEM pricing, computer manufacturers are not allowed to provide a Windows CD-ROM as has been done in the past. This means if your hard disk is corrupted, you have to buy a new full copy of Windows! Some manufacturers do include a recovery CD-ROM, with some, but not all of Windows files found on a normal Windows install CD. Often these “recovery” CD’s will erase everything and start over with an image of the system as it was first shipped. [InfoWorld Page 101]


Windows 98 SE

486DX. 66 MHz or better

24 MB (16 MB for first edition) min; 512 MB max

Drive space
205-315 MB

Runs from hard disk, Prompt available from boot diskette.

VGA or better

File systems


Windows 16-bit programs (Windows 3.x type programs)
Windows 32-bit programs
Windows VxD device drivers
DOS programs, 100% native, while Windows is not running
DOS programs in a “DOS box” while Windows is running, compatibility excellent
DOS device drivers

Windows is a GUI interface, but supports both a text-based DOS window, and can boot from a single diskette into a “DOS” prompt.


Must be installed on a primary partition on the first drive. See Secrets section below for complete installations on other than the first drive. About 4 MB of boot up code must reside on the C drive, but all remaining files can be installed in any drive (primary or logical, any physical drive).

For system with more than 512 MB of RAM, to avoid instabilities it is necessary to use run MSCONFIG, select Advanced, and set the option “Limit memory to” on, with a value of 512.


Upgrade edition – upgrades Windows 3.x/95 to Windows 98.

Full edition – includes boot diskette and can be installed on a blank drive

OEM edition – installation depends on part on how an OEM configures the installation. In most cases, the OEM edition will install safely on top of a prior installation of Windows 98, but will erase the entire first hard drive and put a fresh install of Windows 98 if Windows 98 is not detected.


Windows release timeline
First edition – Released:11-May-1998
Second edition – Released:

Two releases of Windows 98 are available, the first edition and second edition. From a version standpoint, both are considered version 4.1 (with all Windows 95 releases considered v4.0). Second edition is referred by Microsoft as Windows 98SE, and is a paid upgrade from the first edition. Second edition provides the following changes over first edition:

Improved USB support (Universal Serial Bus)
Multiple computer modem sharing Web TV (with systems equipped with TV tuner) DVD support
Multiple monitor support

Identification of Windows 98 version: Go to “Start”, “Settings”, “Control Panel”. Select the “System” icon. In the General tab (the default), it shows the product “Windows 98” or “Windows 98 SE”.

Upgrade from the first release to the SE (second edition) is only available as a paid release.

WUGNET – Windows User’s Group

Books on Windows 98


Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052 USA

Phone 1-206-635-7000 (support)

Free support to user’s who purchased retail copies. OEM users (i.e. included with a new PC) are referred back to the computer manufacturer for support.

Windows Me, Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Linux, and Solaris

Setup Switches
Easter Eggs
Startup/Shutdown screens
Installation Not on the First Drive
Uncommon Keyboard Shortcuts

Retail price: $209.00
Upgrade price: $109.00 (upgrade from Windows 3.1, 3.11, 95)
Upgrade price: $19.95 (upgrade from Windows 98 first edition)