First, I'm going to move this thread to the Windows forum. This is the business applications software forum.
Second, I'm not Windows-illiterate, so I'll tell you that I don't believe you'll have any problems formatting and going with Windows 98. I'd probably do the same thing myself.
However, it *might* not recognize your hardware. Prior to doing anything, get thyself online and go to the sites of your hardware manufacturers and get yourself the drivers of your hardware components for Windows 98 OS. Put them in a safe place. Then, you'll probably be able to load it all using generic drivers from Win98, then reinstall your hardware with the 98 drivers you downloaded. Hardware may be new, but the companies should still provide drivers in case people install that piece on a 98 PC. I'm sure you understand.
I'm also sure other people will have links to non-manufacturer driver download sites where you might obtain those drivers you need. They'll also tell you any other precautions you should take, like making a Win XP bootdisk first.
I tried the web site for bootdisks, and not being computer literate, I do not know which I would need. Can I use the startup disk from my old computer which has Win98?
Windows XP seems to require too much space and work. I also have several programs that are a few years old. I do not know whether they or my Iomega and printer will work. Seems like a silly thing to try.
I'm not too thrilled with the look of XP either and it's always a bother to learn a new OS but in the long run, you might be ahead to use the XP. This is not a technical answer but hope you consider the idea.
If winxp was installed using ntfs then you will need to run fdisk [from the win98 boot disk] to delete the non-dos partition. Since win98 does not recognize ntfs, you will need to create a primary dos partition.
If winxp was installed using fat32, then all you will need to do is format and install win98. As was previously stated have updated drivers for your hardware such as video card, sound card, nic card, etc.
Another problem is the size of your hard disk. Win98 has some limits [I cannot remember what they are right now] as to the size of the hard disk it will recognize. You may have to partition you disk anyway depending on how large it is.
I would try and learn the new os. If you need to get updated software or updated hardware and or drivers it will probably be better in the long run for you.
Unless there is a compelling reason to have win98, stick with winxp. Win98 is five year old technology. You may encounter problems with modern hardware.
This is for all of those who dont know. I have recently formatted XP of this computer and installed 98se. To make the devices work you only have to use the device drivers from the recovery disc. Yes Yes Yes i know what the manufacturers say." no we dont have device drivers for Win98" But the device drivers work fine for me. I have all sound keyboard mouse speaker monitor and printer capability as before.
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