Windows 98

Windows 98 (codenamed Memphis ) is a 25 June 1998 publicized by Microsoft operating system. The Microsoft support for Windows 98 and Windows ME has ended as of July 11, 2006. The operating system is substantially a development of the Microsoft Windows 95


The beta version of "Memphis" went through a total of 3 beta -phase and a pre-beta phase. The pre-beta was released in December 1996 and is no longer able to run from a certain date. As a boot logo of the pre-beta "Microsoft Memphis Delevoper Release " is displayed. It offers no visible improvements, even in the system properties, it is still called Windows 95 However, it offers eg USB support.

Later, the Beta 1 was released It includes the following new features:

  • In the system properties, the main processor is identified (this was removed in the final version ).
  • Title bars and gradients can be altered.
  • The Control Panel indicates the point " Scanners and Cameras ".

With the beta 3 was "Memphis" renamed to Windows 98. As originally release was already planned in 1997, the name of Windows 97 was planned in advance. The setup has ( except for a few photos while copying ) the appearance of the setup of the final version. The boat 's logo under the word "Windows 98" subtitled " Microsoft Internet Explorer", the subtitle was removed in the final version. Internet Explorer 4.0 is included and comes with everything that is in the final version here:

In addition, located in the Control Panel of the "User Management". In addition, folders can be opened with a single click.

Originally Windows 98 should be published in November 1997, but this date is postponed until spring 1998. Microsoft officially announced that this delay to serve, 3.1 to allow an upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 98, Microsoft actually used the delay to the 4.0 to integrate Internet Explorer into the operating system and thus to displace Netscape during the browser wars, from the market. These details came to light was not until the court case against Microsoft in 1999.

Technical Details

Windows 98 is, like its predecessor, a 16-Bit/32-Bit-Hybrid-System. It uses, like all Windows systems the 9x series, the MS- DOS operating system to start and is partly based on it. The installation requirements of various programs lead to the conclusion that the win- 95 - C output and the first Windows 98 kernel are largely identical. Windows 98 supports, like its predecessor Windows 95, true preemptive multitasking. This means that the operating system in the allocation of CPU time exerts a strict control on active programs with fixed time slices. This consequence is limited only by hardware requests that take longer than the allotted time slice, eg timeouts. Consequently memory protection is not guaranteed on Windows 98, but only from NT/2000/XP ( there with the disadvantage of loss of backward compatibility with older software that provides direct access to physical addresses needed ). Windows 98 is based on the supplied 16 -bit base operating system MS -DOS 7.1, a hybrid solution, which allows the operation of DOS and 32- bit Windows programs. Windows 98 is substantially larger than its predecessor. It sold as an upgrade to Windows 95 well from the start.

Innovations of the first edition in comparison to Windows 95

Windows 98 is the first ( partial) DOS - based operating system that runs 95 no longer single background programs in 16- bit mode, unlike Windows. But even here are still individual utilities in 16- bit mode to use. It was also the first windows operating system, with which the WDM driver architecture has been introduced. Other new features were such as better AGP and USB support (both starting from Windows 95 B, but USB support is there so flawed that most hardware drivers can be installed only on Windows 98 ), support for ACPI, hard disk partitions greater than 2 GB with FAT32 file system ( starting from Windows 95 B). Some functions that can be in Windows 95 with Internet Explorer 4.0 upgrade are 98 already integrated in Windows. This includes the integration of Internet Explorer into the user interface, Active Desktop, the improved Windows Explorer ( better service, UNC paths, and network computer can be controlled via the address bar ). Until the appearance of AE output (see below ), there was criticism that Windows 98 was too little developed and has therefore been brought mainly for marketing reasons on the market.

In addition, Windows 98 was the first operating system from Microsoft that supports multiple monitors.

Second Edition

Windows 98 SE ( Second Edition) (Build 2222 ) was released on 5 May 1999. The German version was available on 10 June 1999.

Although it was not freely available update for its predecessor, Windows 98 SE was still a great sales success, because it contained significant improvements over the first edition, which are still of importance. It contained further improved USB support, among other things, and significant enhancements in network support, such as the so-called Internet Connection Sharing (ICS ), which allowed for the sharing a single connection to the Internet through several computers. However, this feature was problematic, difficult to activate and not always stable. Another innovation was the possibility of unattended installation.

Other features of the Second Edition as DirectX 6.1, Internet Explorer 5.0, Windows Media Player 6.1, MDAC ( database connection), MSI ( Microsoft Installer ), etc. can be retrofitted on both versions.


As requirements Microsoft states:

  • 486DX (Windows 98 SE: at least 66 MHz) or higher processor
  • 16 MB of memory ( RAM)
  • The standard installation about 195 MB free hard disk space is required ( depending on system configuration and installation components selected from 120 MB to 295 MB)
  • CD -ROM or DVD -ROM drive (bootable, for installation)
  • VGA - compatible graphics card
  • Mouse or compatible pointing device

This system is called Microsoft as minimum requirements for installing and ( sensible) operation. In fact, the system can be operated with even lower equipment or installed in other ways (in particular with the aid of another PC ). Thus, by using a few modifications, an installation on or even on a USB stick possible; Prerequisite is a non-existent RAM limit in MS- DOS, which in turn is dependent on the processor.

Support and contemporary meaning of the operating system

Update and Patch Support

Microsoft had 98 scheduled adjusting the support with troubleshooting patches for Windows for January 2004. Given the continuing popularity of the system ( 27 % of all users Windows 98 users were with Google in October and November 2003) it was decided to maintain support until July 11, 2006. July 11, 2006, Microsoft development work on Windows 98 and Windows Me officially discontinued. Later the Windows update function has been set, whereby the already published updates can no longer be obtained via Windows Update. In 2005 there were unofficial support in the form of service packs that were created by the Windows 98 user community.

Support for hardware

If you want to work with Windows 98 on newer hardware, it may lead to problems. Often there is no manufacturer drivers more and standard Windows drivers provide only part of the functionality. At present ( end of 2012) there are at most new motherboard chipsets no drivers from the manufacturer more for Windows 98, but work all chipsets also use the Windows default drivers, what does it matter that manufacturers must adhere to industry standards, so that you chipset is considered to be PC-compatible. Windows 98 is neither UEFI BIOS capable nor can it boot from GUID Partition Table - managed disks. However, it can still be booted to UEFI systems thanks to the far always integrated BIOS emulation CSM ( "Compatibility Support Module " ), if in addition the hard disk is managed by MBR format.

A peculiarity of the Second Edition is that this supports both old Windows drivers as well as new WDM drivers. From Windows Me WDM drivers are only supported. This offers the possibility to SE, both old hardware for which there is no WDM drivers, as well as new hardware with WDM drivers to combine or use the old Windows driver or the newer WDM drivers depending on stability.

Windows 98 can control disks over 128 GiB (137 GB) with the standard drivers, but a write access to a file beyond this limit will likely result in data loss. The 128 GB GiB/137 apply here per actually existing hard drive ( physical disk ) and not per -partitioned logical drive. This also applies to externally connected USB and FireWire hard drives. But there is an unofficial patch that works fine. Also offer some driver manufacturers with which the operation of large media is possible. For example, in a i8xx Intel chipset you have the possibility to operate with the Intel Application Accelerator disks over 137 GB, also there are other solutions from third parties.

To more than 512 MB ​​( max. 2 GB) to take advantage of memory, are small changes, for example on the system.ini necessary. More than 1 GB may affect the stability of the system. When using USB mass storage, an additional non-operating system existing drivers is often required. There is this for Windows 98 also a generic driver that also supports various storage media.

Support for application software

On Windows 98, many new programs can including virus protection and firewalls currently (2011) still install as the Win32 API has been fairly stable with the evolution of Windows to Windows 7 This is true even for many programs that do not officially support Windows 98, but is to be expected in case of problems with such software under Windows 98 no help from the manufacturer. Since DOS -based Windows systems know no user rights management, can so far access programs and other files unchecked on the computer system.

The last usable on Windows 98 version of Microsoft Office XP, Office, supports Windows 98 up to and including version 2.4.3. Windows 98 SE is the oldest Windows operating system on which thus all Java development (client, server ) running the latest Java VM and connected stable.

IE 6 is the last version for Windows 98 Firefox 3 is by default not run on Windows 98. Firefox 2 is no longer being maintained since version Opera no longer exists as of version 11 Windows 98 as a supported operating system. By using the open-source patch KernelEx it is possible also some only written for Windows XP programs under Windows 98 to use (such as Firefox 3). This is achieved by extensive customization of Windows system DLL files that lack of API functions to be retrofitted. Since KernelEx is an unofficial patch, there is no official support and the user is working at your own risk.


For Windows Me, hardware support has been further developed for many peripherals, there are driver, but they work all on Windows 98 SE, with the advantage that in addition VXD driver can be used. Windows Me is not a substitute for older computers, especially as the System File Protection and Integrated System Restore thwart the Me system (the latter can be disabled, however ). Who has enough powerful hardware can be upgraded to Windows 2000 or XP, for older computers (CPU at 200 MHz) 4 may be a sufficient replacement for reasons of stability and Windows NT, but still missing the native USB support and DirectX 9.0c.


The demonstration of the operating system by Bill Gates at CES 1998, the operating system caused a blue screen, which clearly contributed to the amusement of the audience.