Does anyone know of an external USB hard drive that works with Win 98 SE?

Posted on 2006-11-20
Last Modified: 2013-12-29
Don't care if it's USB 1 or 2. Another tech here is asking me this. He got a USB 2 controller card working in 98 SE but when he plugged the USB 2 hard drive into that USB controller the drive never showed up. What's up with that? Anyone? I don't really deal with 98 any more so I'm virtually clueless on this one. Thanks.
Question by:WineGeek
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Accepted Solution

LeeTutor earned 250 total points
ID: 17983871
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Assisted Solution

BillDL earned 150 total points
ID: 17985191
It's all very well getting a USB Controller Card recognised and installed on the computer, but an external USB hard drive normally requires a driver written for it to work in Win98se.

I just had to use a Freecom Classic SL (must mean "slimline") 80GB usb hard drive to recover data from a FAT32 drive from a Win98se computer slaved temporarily to an XP system.  Windows XP sets it up using its own drivers, but Win98se needs the drivers before it is accessible.

It's the same as this, but without the Ethernet interface:

The non-network versions have now far exceeded the 80GB mark:

I bought my 80GB non-network version from a large UK supermarket chain which obviously buys up the versions that are just about to become outmoded, and sells them at a reasonable price.  Here's's range:

The particular one in question installs the Port Driver "CY_IOSTB.PDR" and configures a new Hard Disk Controller as :
HDCClassName = "Hard disk controllers"
CY_IOSTB.DeviceDesc="Freecom SL Drive"
It also installs the driver file "CY_IOSMP.SYS" (Mass Storage Driver IOS Port Mapper Filter Driver).
The "CY" comes from the fairly generic "Cypress" USB Mass Storage storage drivers.

Also of note is the fact that, although some of the descriptions offered on web pages tells you that external usb hard drives are "hot swappable", this is not strictly correct.  You will be aware that, beginning with Windows ME, Win2K and XP show the "Safely Remove" icon in the System Tray.  Win98se does not have this native resource available, so unplugging USB Devices always carries a risk of data loss if there is still some data interchange going on there when yanked out, especially if caching is enabled for the device.  

The "Windows 98 Second Edition 1394 Storage Supplement"
although intended to update support for Firewire devices, also adds a new HOTPLUG.DLL which contains the resources for the Windows ME/2K-type "Safely Remove" system tray icon, but it doesn't load it to the system tray all by itself.

In the case of the external usb drive I bought, the driver setup routine adds its own exe file that loads to the system tray and acts like the WinME/2K/XP one.  They refer to it as the "Cypress USB Mass Storage Driver Notification Icon Application for Windows 98".  Obviously the driver versions for different makes will all differ, but you will most likely find that the core driver files are all fairly generic and common to many makes.

So, what you are looking for, as well as the technical description that says that the external usb hard drive is supported by Win98se, is a Driver CD in the box which actually installs Win98se drivers.

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Assisted Solution

by:Marc Z
Marc Z earned 50 total points
ID: 17985221
As Bill points out, you simply need the driver for the Hard drive installed before it will be recognized by Win 98.  You may even be able to find the driver at the manufacturers web site if it didn't come with a disk.
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LVL 92

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 50 total points
ID: 17985672
for windows 98SE, i would suggest to use the native usb driver :
to my knowledge, works with EVERY usb device without problems, just like XP
no need for ell different drivers
LVL 38

Assisted Solution

BillDL earned 150 total points
ID: 17986831
Regarding the unofficial usb update for Win98se as suggested above, this has worked for me and allowed access to quite a few usb devices that do not have Win98/98se drivers specifically written for them by the manufacturer.

I made some notes from the files in the setup package and the *.TXT file is uploaded here if you are interested:
(Login is required to download the file).

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Expert Comment

ID: 17994198
Thank you, WineGeek

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