Can Windows 98SE run on an Intel I7 with SATA hard drives?

Josh Dersch derschjo at
Fri Jan 29 11:02:47 CST 2016

On 1/29/16 8:04 AM, js at wrote:
> On 1/28/2016 8:37 PM, Chuck Guzis wrote:
>> On faster, more modern systems, I use VirtualBox.  Just not worth the 
>> extra trouble finding drivers--but I suspect 98SE will run on P4 
>> systems as well.
> The one thing I'm not seeing mentioned in re VirtualBox is that what 
> if you have a legacy Win 98SE system with hardware in it, like a GPIB 
> card or sound card?   Or if you have software that talks to hardware 
> via serial or parallel ports eg. eprom burners, Zector ZVG vector 
> graphic driver for MAME, etc.
Serial ports can be forwarded to real hardware (as can USB ports, though 
that's less applicable for vintage hardware).  Unless you have a very 
special-purpose sound card, that's covered by the VM's sound hardware 
(which can simulate a Sound-Blaster 16 compatible, IIRC).  For 
everything else, you're SOL.  I could see it being possible to modify 
VirtualBox to support parallel port forwarding or other exotic hardware 
but as you move away from generic interfaces like serial/parallel it 
would get a lot more difficult.

> The other hassle is having to essentially rebuild an Win98 (or any 
> other) machine from scratch in order to try to replicate an existing 
> setup.  I haven't seen any way to "capture" an existing machine and 
> all its disk partitions -- especially when there's multiple partitions 
> of different types -- and import it into the virtual world.   That'd 
> be great.
It's certainly possible to get disk images of all drives in the old 
system -- I'd use an external IDE/SATA -> USB adapter and do the "dd" 
equivalent on the OS of your choice, then there are tools to convert to 
the VM's native disk image format.  It's not trivial, but it's also far 
from difficult.  Windows 95-based OSes are more resilient to hardware 
changes than the NT-based OSes, mostly because 95 can fall back to BIOS 
calls to access the hard disk so even if the hard drive controller 
changes it can still boot.  So once you have your disk images in hand, 
you can set them up in a VM (configured with Windows 95-compatible 
hardware), boot the system and let Plug 'N Play find all the new 
hardware.  I've found this works maybe 80% of the time (and on a VM, if 
it doesn't work you haven't really lost anything but a bit of time...).

Then again, it's been awhile since I last had to do this; as they say, 
your mileage may vary.

- Josh

> - J.

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