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Format Win 98 SE Hard Drive

beachnet asked
I need to reformat a Win 98 SE hard drive and re-install Win 98 SE.  What is the procedure?  I have all the disks for the software that is on it now as well as all the external ZIP drive installation disks.  Video drivers, Earthnet card, CD Rom drivers ... etc... I am concerened about.  I do not have the original Win 98 setup disk that came with the computer.

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Can you access your current install of Windows 98SE?  If so, create a boot disk by going to Start>Settings>Control Panel, choose Add/Remove Programs, and then the Startup Disk tab.  If you do not have access to Windows 98 on your computer, you can make one on another Windows 98 computer or download one from http://www.bootdisk.com.

Assuming you have everything you need off the drive, boot with your Windows 98 boot disk, choose cd-rom support.
'format c: /s'
Once the format is complete, you can run setup.exe off your cd (which should be one drive letter off what it normally is [ex. normally is d: so is now e:]) or if your computer is set to boot off of cd-rom drive, then just restart computer with Windows 98SE disk in drive.

"Video drivers, Earthnet card, CD Rom drivers ... etc... I am concerened about"

You are reasonable in being concerned about these, however:

1.  Many different brands and models of network cards have drivers included with the Win98 CD.  You've neglected to mention what make and model, so no one here can check for you.  If you have a floppy or CD that came with your network card, that will suffice.  If the type is not supported by 98's CD and you don't have the disk included with the card, you should download the apropriate driver from the manufacturer's website before erasing the hard drive.  Once you have a network connection to the internet, you can get any other drivers you may need from the respective manufacturer's website.

2.  Same as above; support may or may not be included with the Win98 CD.  However, if it is not, *ALL* video cards operate in a generic low-resolution mode.  As long as your network is functional and you can get to the internet you can put up with the low resolution long enough to download the apropriate drivers from the manufacturer's website so this is not as important to have beforehand like the network card drivers.

3.  Most CDROM drives have a standardized communication protocol meaning that the one generic driver included with Windows 98 will operate almost any CDROM drive you can find.  There are a few rare drives that need special attention but you have neglected to mention the make and model.  If the Windows startup boot disk mentioned by "laxangel" can identify and operate your CDROM drive, then the Windows 98 installation will automatically have the apropriate drivers.

"I do not have the original Win 98 setup disk that came with the computer."

Any Win98 CD will do just fine.  I assume you do have SOME disk otherwise it should be obvious that you can't install something for which you have no installation disk.  If you don't have one, your local computer shop will have it.

After you have seen to the above, follow laxangel's instructions to wipe out the old installation (except I've never seen a bootable Windows98 CD; you'll need to use the floppy method).

Win98SE CD-Roms are bootable and this would save you some time and steps. You can format from the CD then run setup and install it too.

This is of course assuming your CMOS (BIOS) supports booting from a CD-Rom, the drivers are loaded by the CMOS if you have a bootable CD in the drive (of which Win98SE are bootable)

I find my drivers at

For example: click on video card and select the manufacture of your video card and then select the driver page.

The following is how I install Win98.

Find a Win98(version does not matter) PC, you will need a floppy, Goto [Control Pannel][Add/Remove Progrmas][Startup Disk][Create Disk]. Also copy the following files to the floppy: ?xcopy.exe,  xcopy32.exe & format.com? the files are located in ?c:\windows\command?.
The win98 disk created includes cd-rom support.

To install Win 98
1. Bootup with win98 disk with cd rom support
2. fdisk hd
3. Bootup with win98 disk with cd rom support
4. a:\format c:
5. md c:\cabs, xcopy e:\win98\*.cab c:\cabs (for just in case cd rom is lost after win9x reboots first time.)
6. e:, cd e:\win98, setup, accept the "c:\windows" default as your windows directory.
7. Note: If your cd rom is lost after firt boot and you are asked to insert the win98 cd, point to c:\cabs.
8. After win98 is finally installed your cd-rom support will be there.

Note: replace e: with whatever dirve letter is assigned to your cd.

Then I install the latest drivers.

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