OEM product key on old PC has a different length to the one required by the Win98SE installation

Posted on 2006-05-21
Last Modified: 2013-12-29
I am trying to install Windows 98 SE OEM version onto a Compaq Presario 4810 PC that was bought with Windows 95.  The product key for the computer/Win95 has 3 groups of digits (total 17 digits), whereas the 98 SE installation asks for 5 groups of 4 digits.  How do I proceed or should there have been a new product key with the 98SE software (that was bought from Software Select, a UK software distributor)?
Question by:charleslarge01
    LVL 29

    Accepted Solution


    You need a new product key for the Win98SE.

    The CD that you bought should come with its own product key and you MUST cleanup before installing.

    Look at the jewel box or paper folder for a sticker with the specific key for that CD.

    Being an OEM version it will not install even with the correct key.

    You will need to format the HDD before installing Win98SE.

    Good luck,

    LVL 13

    Assisted Solution

    The easiest way is to pay 35 dollars and purchase from e-bay a new software package.

    You will need at least 256 megs of memory. In fact 512 would be great even though win 98 se only recognizes 407 megs.
    LVL 31

    Assisted Solution

    You may be able to upgrade instead of reformat:
    ( also gives similar info: search for "win.old")     Differences between Win98 OEM and upgrade - PowerJoe

    Win98 recognizes MORE than 407 megs...I got three 256 Meg chips on my Win98 system: total 768

    See also my posts at:     Miscellaneous: Missing Product code for Windows 98 se cd

    LVL 31

    Assisted Solution

    And Win98 runs with as little as 32 Meg of RAM. A laptop someone gave me has Win98SE with only 32Meg RAM. and that 1999 laptop won't even physically take more than 160 Meg. Win 98 was made in the age when memory was EXPENSIVE, so was made to run with tiny amounts of RAM, though it runs better with more. Some older computer motherboards (1997 & older) won't even cache more than 64Meg of RAM, so some people say that your system performance can DECREASE with more RAM in such computers.

    For greater than 512 though, you need to tweak your cache settings:
    Set MaxFileCache in the System.ini file to less than 524,288 (I got mine set as MaxFileCache=393216)
    See:     Win98/se Memory Tweaking     "Out of Memory" Error Messages with Large Amounts of RAM Installed

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