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How to re-install Win98

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This assumes that you have a good working boot disk.  And that you wish to start with a freshly formatted hard drive.

Click here to go to the boot disk page.  Click here to learn more about Partitions and FDISK.  Click here to find out more about FAT32.  From Microsoft "How to Install Windows 98 on a Computer with No Operating System"  Want to download a bootdisk image with generic CD-ROM support?
This assumes that you only have one hard drive and that you plan to use only one partition i.e. drive "C".  Down the road I plan to add a page discussing disk partitioning schemes.  But for now, if you want/need further info on this subject please email me. There are two methods that I like to use.  Both assume a good working boot disk.  This includes being able to see/read a CD-ROM with it.  Also that you want to format your hard drive and there is no (NONE) info on this drive that you need/want to save.  Please note, when you format a hard drive you will lose all data on that drive!  If you are using the Win98 "upgrade" CD you will need to have your Windows 3.1 or WFWG 3.11 floppy disk one available. (You may wish to verify that you can read from this disk before starting)

NOTE: For Win98 if you're using the "upgrade" CD you can use a Win95 upgrade CD during the verification phase. If you use floppies you'll need the whole set! (what a pain!)  If you're using a CD for the "DOC" check, only point to the drive the CD is on, DO NOT drill into any sub-folder!

A couple of other possible concerns:
  1. If you have an older computer and you've added/replaced your existing hard drive with a newer/larger one then ask yourself/find out if you're using a "drive overlay" program.  If you are then there are different steps you must follow!  Contact the maker of you drive overlay software for more info.

  2. If you have either a SCSI CD-ROM or a SCSI hard drive then you may need to do things differently.  My SCSI knowledge is very weak so please be careful if you wish to use my methods.


  Method one

***This is my prefered method.***

With your computer turned off, insert the boot disk.

  1. Turn on the computer.
    When the computer's booted up do the following...

  2. type FDISK /MBR hit enter
    (this destroys the master boot record and re-creates it.  You should not see anything on the screen.)

  3. type FORMAT C: /U /S hit enter
    (this will format your hard drive and "SYS" it.  This means install the system files needed to boot up.  When it's done you may enter a name for this drive if you wish.)

  4. Reboot the computer with the boot disk.

  5. Type C: hit enter

  6. Type MD CABS hit enter

  7. Type X: hit enter
    (where "X" is the drive letter for your CD-ROM make sure your Win98 CD is in the CD-ROM drive!)

  8. Type CD WIN98 hit enter

  9. Type COPY *.* C:\CABS hit enter
    (what you've done is, you've made a folder called "cabs" on your hard drive, then copied all the files needed from your Win98 CD-ROM to that folder.  This way you will install from your hard drive.  Then, in the future if Win98 needs any files, it will automatically get them from there.  Also I've found that some people have a problem getting their CD-ROM to be recognized by Win98.  If that were to happen during the Win98 installation, you wouldn't be  able to finish the install.  This method avoids this problem.)

  10. Reboot the computer without the boot disk.  NOTE: If you're using an upgrade CD to do the install, skip step 10, and start the install while you're booted off the bootdisk, this way you will have CD-ROM support when Windows wants proof.  At that point simply put your Win9x CD in, point to it in the browser, then put your install CD back in.  Remember to remove the boot disk before the next reboot!

  11. Type CD CABS hit enter

  12. Type SETUP hit enter
    (here you go! just follow the on-screen instructions and (hopefully *grin*) you will successfully install Win98!)


Method two

With your computer turned off, insert the boot disk.

  1. Turn on the computer.
    When the computer's booted up do the following...

  2. Type FDISK /MBR hit enter
    (this destroys the master boot record and re-creates it. You should not see anything on the screen.)

  3. Type FORMAT C: /U hit enter
    (this will format your hard drive when it's done you may enter a name for this drive if you wish.)

  4. Reboot the computer with the boot disk.

  5. Type X: hit enter
    (where "X" is the drive letter for your CD-ROM)

  6. Type CD WIN98 hit enter

  7. Type SETUP hit enter
    (and away you go. follow the on-screen instructions and good luck.) 


Method three

For Win98 there is a third possible method to use.  You must have a 'puter that can boot from a CD-ROM.  (The Win98 CD-ROM is bootable.)  You may have to go into your CMOS to change some settings to enable this.   (Please look at your 'puter's manual or go to the manufacturers website to find out how to do this.) 

  1. Boot the computer with the Win98 CD.

  2. Then follow the prompts.

I personally do not like this method!  While you can FDISK, and FORMAT with this method it tends to get very confusing.  If Win98 detects a current install of Win95 or Win3x it assumes you want to do an upgrade instead of a full install!  I feel that a fresh install is the only way to do it!


As always, other people have different ways of doing things. These are the methods I use. I find that a fresh install tends to be more reliable than "installing over the top".  I hope this helps, if this is too basic or too technical let me know and I'll do what I can to help you.


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Last Revised: 12/11/2000
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