installing drivers in win98 -> "please insert win98 cd" -- did THIS ruin my optical drive setup?

In general, I notice that when I install a device in WIndows 98 SE, the installer wizard asks me to insert a windows 98 cd. I do this, and it ususally doesn't seem to access a goddam thing, but I can't be sure. I just assume it's either necessary or else a rotten bug with win98.

Never cared about it, except for following:

I've been using a old win98 pc to test various old devices (NICs, dialup modems) pulled from PCs with dead hard drives. DRiver installers often ask me for the win98 cd.

(1) Why is this necessary -- when Win98 ALREADY couldn't find the driver, so I have ALREADY gone to great lengths to find & install the correct driver myself, since it's obviously not part of win98 -- in those cases, it's almost like a bad joke of somekind for win98 to ask me for it's cd... Like it's trying to claim credit for the driver I found? (WTF/LOL!)

(2) As indicated in another post -- all my optical drives stopped working being visible to windows98, after working for a long time.  DOS can see them.  Then dont' show up in device manager at all.  ==> is it possible this was caused by the ridiculous accessing of the win98 disc, somehow?

thx  (been up 36 hours fixing nothing)
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.



That is the default behaviour and, forgive my opinion, the correct one. This will ensure the installation of an approved (working!) driver for the hardware.

This was excellent when Win98 was released ait included a large number of drivers for almost all the hardware available in those days.

Some years later, it's just natural that recent hardware cannot find the drivers in that "oldish" Win98 CD, but of course the default behaviour remains.

Nothing really to worry about.


The non-working drivers and devices may ba a result of the hardware testing you do regularly.

What happens is that most of the hardware that you install and uninstall remain as "ghosts".

And even if you don't see it in Device Manager, in Normal Mode, it can interfere with the corerct work of the system, specially, as it seems this is the case, you are constantly installing and uninstalling hardware.

You can probably solve this problem by starting in Safe Mode, after tapping F8 at startup, and going to Control Panel > System > Device Manager.

You will now be able to see all the "ghost" hardware that Windows has kept without you being aware of that.

To solve it, delete ALL entries per device/branch and reboot letting Windows reinstall the drivers.

Don't touch any System Devices and please do it step by step, i.e., start with Display Adapter, delete, reboot.

Restart in Safe Mode, delete Sound, etc., reboot.

If you try a one step cleanup it may be troublesome.

Hope the above helps.



From your other post, I noticed you didn't mention here the PCI System Management BUS issue.

You may need a chipset/motherboard driver update.

Do you know the motherboard brand name and model?

If you don't, download and run Everest Fee edition:

It will identify your hardware and point you to the drivers update website.


Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial


If you want to ask for a refund on this question, please do, as the problem was solved on your other question.


Become a CompTIA Certified Healthcare IT Tech

This course will help prep you to earn the CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician certification showing that you have the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in installing, managing, and troubleshooting IT systems in medical and clinical settings.


When you say that the setup process prompts for the CD, and then "ususally doesn't seem to access a goddam thing, but I can't be sure", you MUST have some indication of what it was hunting for if it comes back and tells you that it hasn't found what it was looking for.

If you want to avoid setup processes prompting for the Windows CD on your test rig, do the following:

1. Copy the "win98" folder to a partition of the system drive, to a separate slave drive, or to a folder somewhere on the system drive.
2. Open Regedit and navigate to the key:
3. Modify the data values of the following "StringValues" to reflect the path to the "win98" folder that you have copied to hard drive:
4. Close Regedit.

From now on, instead of prompting for the CD, it will look in that folder without asking.

Optionally, you can do the same with other setup source files like MS Office, ie. by copying the cd contents and then changing the registry to reflect the new location as the original install source.

Go through the sub-keys and look for "InstallSource" StringValues that show the CD's drive letter.
Search Regedit for other mentions of the CD-Drive's drive letter.

You will also find a list of "Most Recently Used" (MRU's) "Install Sources" listed in the key:


The paths will be set against string-values from a to e, and there will be another StringValue named "MRUList" with a value that reflects the order of the letters as they would appear in the drop-down list that shows when you get to the "Search in a specific place".  You can change these to something like the following, assuming that the win98 folder you copied to hard drive from the CD is now on the E:\ partition as a sub-folder of "WIN98CD" and that you have added additional sub-folders into which you have added the driver setup files to run :


Create a .REG file from the following pasted into Notepad (adding two blank lines at the end), and Right-Click > "Merge" it before installing any other drivers and it will refresh the list:



Just get into the habit of copying all your drivers to the "E:\Win98CD\Drivers" folder under separate sub-folders from which to run the installer, and preferably also extract each .exe file to its own sub-folder there with WinRAR.  That way, if new hardware is found, the unpacked installer will usually contain the required .INF file that the wizard seeks and you can just guide it to the right sub-folder of one of the MRU's that shows in the drop-down list.
That was a bit garbled, but I hope you catch the idea.  I also notice that I showed "e;\win98cd\drivers" twice in the top list.  Just ignore that and use something like that shown in the example .REG file.

Another thing to watch when installing and uninstalling drivers.  The uninstall routines often leave behind one or more *.INF files in the C:\Windows\INF or C:\Windows\INF\other folders.  Both of these paths are set as known directories in the following registry key against the values named "DevicePath" and "OtherDevicepath":


This causes Windows to look there first when installing drivers.  The main reason is that .INF files used for installing drivers will often specify the following in their header:

LayoutFile= Layout.inf, Layout1.inf, Layout2.inf

Those "Layout?.inf" files are in the C:\Windows\INF folder, and contain a complete listing of all files available on the Windows CD, the .CAB files cntaining them, their file sizes and file versions, and where they have to be installed to.  This is the lookup table, so that an installer knows where to find a file on the CD if it needs a Windows file that isn't already installed, and several other reasons.

Hopefully this sheds a bit of light on the Windows annoyance you despise ;-)
dgrrrAuthor Commented:
Yes, blue zee -- I apologize -- this whole thing was a huge learning experience for me (a couple weeks ago -- I was out for a while).  My original problem with the optical drives was caused by my not having a good driver the PC Management BUS. (The old one didn't even have a license.)

I'll never ignore an "unknown device" again. I just assumed that, when the PC works at all, then the "motherboard" must be happy, in general... (lol)

BillDL  -- those tips remind me of how much is customizable in win98 and beyond. (and before?)  I will make a note of these changes, and may use them. (not sure -- I reinstall win98 so often - but If I save the reg files, why not?)

Thank you, dgrr.

If, as you say, you reinstall Win98 often, then might I suggest a method that will speed this up greatly.

On the Win98 and Win98se CD you will find a folder CD:\tools\reskit\batch.
In there, you will see a "setup.exe" file that will install the MS Batch Editor.
When you open this from the new start menu icon after installing, you will see a "gather now" button.
When you click that, it retrieves a lot of settings from the registry and serves as the starting point to generate a custom setup file containing pre-configured instructions that can be used during the Win98 setup.

Once you go through all the tabs and set the options, you can generate your setup instruction file.  The default filename is "MSBATCH.INF", but you can create a few different setup options and save as .INF files with other names.

The command to make setup.exe use the *.inf file for instructions is (assuming the default name):

setup [[drive:\][path\]msbatch.inf /other_options

For best results, the next time you format your hard drive, boot to a Win98 boot floppy and use FDISK to delete existing partitions, and then do as follows:
1. Create a new Primary DOS Partition, but don't make it 100% of the drive's capacity.
    It depends on the capacity of your drive, but you want to leave room for a 2nd partition.
2. Create an "Extended DOS Partition" in the remaining % of the drive
3. Create one logical drive in that Extended DOS partition ie. to 100% of the % occupied by the Extended Partition
4. Make the Primary DOS Partition "Active"
5. REBOOT to the floppy and choose "With CD-Rom Support)
6. Format the C: drive (your primary dos partition) and then the D: Drive (the logical drive in the extended partition)
7. Change to the CD-Rom's drive letter, and then to the win98 folder
8. Run setup using the following options that speed things up a bit:

setup /m /id /im /is /iq /iv /IW

/m       Bypass playing Setup sound (.wav) files
/id      Ignores the Disk Space check
/ie       Skip the Startup Disk screen <------- leave this one out for now
/im      Skip the check for low conventional memory
/is      Do not run ScanDisk
/iq      Skips the test for cross-linked files
/iv      Do not display billboards
/IW       Bypasses needing to read the License screen.
      (Needs to be upper case when run within Windows)

9. Choose the "custom" option, and untick as many of the optional components as you can to get a fast and slim Win98.
10. Once installed, create a new folder on your D: Drive named eg. WIN98CD
11. Copy the "win98" and "tools" folders from your Win98 CD into it:
12. Create a new folder named DRIVERS and copy all your hardware drivers into new and appropriately named
13. Do the same for the essential programs, .reg files, or applications that you always need from the word go.
14. Install MS Batch from the D:\WIN98CD\tools\reskit\batch folder
15. Generate and save a new MSBATCH.INF file to the D:\WIN98CD\win98 folder
16. Create a new batch file named INSTALL.BAT in the root of the D:\WIN98CD folder from the following text:

@echo off
cd win98
setup msbatch.inf /m /id /ie /im /is /iq /iv /IW

17. Install WinZip (or your preferred compression program)
18. Navigate in Windows Explorer to the C:\Windows\Command\EBD folder and zip up the CONTENTS of the folder
19. Save it to the D:\WIN98CD as "".

The /ie option used in the "install.bat" file saves time by not prompting to create a new boot floppy during setup, but it also doesn't create the folder C:\Windows\Command\EBD and doesn't copy the setup files required to create a new boot floppy into it.  All you need to do after the reinstallation is complete is to unpack your EBD.ZIP file with Winzip to the C:\Windows\Command folder, so that it creates the EBD folder.

Actually, creating a new boot floppy from the Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs will try to source the required files from the CD in the absence of the EBD folder, but the file C:\Windows\Command\BOOTDISK.BAT needs the EBD folder.  The idea here is to avoid having to fetch your CD each time.

Not all of those options shown in the above batch file will be needed, depending on the options you chose while using the MS Batch Editor, and perhaps you would choose to leave out the scandisk ones just to be sure that the drive is sound for each new install.

So now, instead of running Setup.exe, just boot to the Win98 boot floppy, change to the D:\WIN98CD folder, and type INSTALL.  A whole lot easier than having to remember all the switches to use with setup.exe.

Setup in Windows 98 cannot be completely automated, as is possible in Windows 2000 and XP, but at least it can avoid having to fill in the CD-Key and choose the regional settings, etc.  It can be a 15 minute job installing without all the user intervention from the hard drive as opposed to a 35 minute job from the CD with all the user intervention.

You have all your essential drivers immediately available on the extra partition, so they can be speedily installed after setup.  The question of how large to make the 2nd partition is your choice, but the "win98" and "tools" folders from the Win98 CD need about 160 MB minimum before you start copying your drivers setup files and program installers into it.  A good idea is also to copy the setup files for your most essential Windows Updates to the 2nd partition, eg. IE6 SP1, and the most recent cumulative update for IE 6 SP1 and OE6 SP1.

I have made a habit of exporting a .REG file (using regedit) from the relevant "Current_User" section of the registry for each of the installed programs for which I like to save those configuration settings I prefer.  You just edit out the unique values such as date values, etc, and concentrate on the ones like layout and preferences.  The same goes for .INI files created by programs to store user preferences.  By copying these files into the sub-folders on your 2nd partition alongside the setup files, you can install them and then configure them (by merging the .reg file or copying back the saved .INI files to the new program folder) before even opening the newly installed programs.

I use Office 2000, and my spare partition is large enough to contain the contents of the two CD's.  Using the Office 2000 Custom Setup Wizard, you can generate a custom *.MST file and save it to the root of the "Drive" (ie. the folder hat acts as the root of the Office 2000 CD).  By modifying the "MST1=" line under the [MST] section header in the file SETUP.INI to call for the named *.mst file, you can run setup.exe for that Office CD and it will perform a fully automated installation that would only halt on errors if those are the options you chose in the Custom Setup Wizard.  When first run, Office then prompts for the CD-Key, and you can have that stored in a .TXT file in the root of the folder acting as the Office CD.

Hopefully these additional hints will be helpful to you in the future.
Add another step in there, we'll call it No. 6 (a).  I always reboot to the floppy after formatting the partitions, although it isn't strictly required.  The reboot AFTER using fdisk, but BEFORE formatting IS an essential step that must not be ommitted.



It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows OS

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.