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

mark at mark at
Fri Jan 29 23:10:05 CST 2016

From: jnc at (Noel Chiappa)
>    > Win-98 SE ... it would have been nice if it recognized USB storage
>    > devices natively.
> There is that package you can add (my copy is in a self-extracting 
> archive,
> called "nusb23e.exe") that recognizes USB drives, etc. I run a number of 
> devices (memory sticks, mice, etc) on my 98SE's and they all work fine.

Thanks for the tip - I wish I'd known about that 15 years ago!

From: "Jerome H. Fine" <jhfinedp3k at>
>> >mark at wrote:
>>> QUESTION:  Is it even possible to run Win98SE on a current
>>> Intel I7 CPU with SATA hard disk drives?  I realize that it might
>> Almost certainly not, at least practically.  Even if you can get it to
>> boot and install, it will have no idea how to handle any of the modern
> Then I am really confused.  I have two older systems that
> are able to run 64-bit Windows 7, an E8400 and a Q9550.
> Both take SATA drives which are still available.  The mother
> I can also still boot from both system using an old DOS 3.5"
> floppy media and run Ghost 7.0 with these old SATA drives,
> but as far as I can understand, using the device drivers on the
> floppy drive.

I believe that Win98 tries to use its own drivers for disk, but if it can't 
find any that work it just uses the ones built into the BIOS.  Performance 
suffers, because all disk I/O becomes blocking, but it still works.  With a 
modern disk with built-in cache, one probably wouldn't even notice the 
difference (except for the floppy).

> Is it likely that either of these two systems be able to run
> Win98SE with the SATA hard drives, in one case 500 GB
> each and the other system has 1 TB drives.  In that case, it

I would expect that you could successfully boot and install Win98, although 
you couldn't use all the drive in one volume (FAT32 is good for a little 
over 100 gig); I've never tried partitioning up a terabyte drive and running 
Win98 on a appropriately-sized partition, but it seems like it might work 
OK.  As above, the BIOS will take care of the fact that Win98 never heard of 
SATA, and also abstract the USB keyboard and I think the mouse to look like 
AT-type devices.

As I mentioned, though, it won't know about the video adapter, so that will 
run in VGA 640x480 16-color mode; the sound card won't be available either, 
nor the network interface.  VirtualBox simulates all nice period-style 
hardware for those things.

> As I mentioned, the only two applications I would run would
> be the DOS variant of Ersatz-11 and Netscape 7.2 for e-mail
> and newsgroups.

I suspect that both of those would run on Windows XP, and VirtualBox handles 
that extremely well.

From: Chuck Guzis <cclist at>
> I didn't mention that I've got 98SE running on an 820 chipset
> (RIMM/RDRAM is silly cheap now) with a Tuallie 1.4GHz in a Powerleap
> slocket.  It doesn't much agree with the Crystal CS4622 audio, but
> perhaps that's just a matter of finding the right driver.

As I predicted... :-)

>> Windows 98 was supposed to support a maximum of 2GB of memory, however
>> it has a bug in the Vcache driver which causes problems unless you limit

> Exactly what I've done with 440GX system.  Using a different XMS driver,
> I keep a 1GB RAMdisk there.

But it runs quite nicely in just 64 or 128 meg, which was much more typical 
of a machine of that period.

> 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

Yup, that's what seems to work best for me.

From: "js at" <js at>
> 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.

Yup, that's true.  VirtualBox will provide one or two com ports (optionally 
mapped to the real host ports, or just pipes to other virtual machines), but 
it doesn't support the parallel port.  And as you've pointed out, any 
specialized hardware won't work at all (because the backplane doesn't really 

> 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

Also true...

From: Josh Dersch <derschjo at>
> everything else, you're SOL.  I could see it being possible to modify
> VirtualBox to support parallel port forwarding or other exotic hardware

Wow! I guess it is open source, but that would be quite a bit of work, I 
expect.  If you do it, let me know - I've got an old Needham's PROM 
programmer that would be nice to have working again.

From: John Foust <jfoust at>
> No one has mentioned the Windows Virtual PC, a Microsoft product,
> that lets you run Windows XP apps in a virtual environment under
> Windows 7 Pro, letting XP apps run in their natural window on
> the 7 desktop, or you can run the virtual XP machine desktop
> in its own window.

I used an earlier version of Virtual PC on XP, and found that it worked 
fairly well, although it was very resource intensive.  So many applications 
failed to run correctly on Win7 that Microsoft felt compelled to make a very 
tightly integrated version for that operating system (Pro or greater only); 
it was pretty neat how tightly integrated it was.  That's how I ran 
QuickBooks and a couple of other recalcitrant programs, but it wasn't a 
panacea.  In particular, applications that had several programs running 
simultaneously, especially if they communicated via DDE (DDEML) were still 
broken, and the tight integration was always a little scary to me.  (If I 
fired up a "stand-alone" XP machine, it would always want to log off or shut 
down the one that had been running some other application, and because of 
the Draconian security, I was never sure that I'd be able to get it back...)

> It will also run Windows 98, with a few gotchas:

This is what I did with the earlier Virtual PC on top of XP, and it worked 
fairly well.  Like VirtualBox, it's free, but I find that VirtualBox tries 
to do less integration "magic", and therefore feels like a more stable and 
clearly delineated product.

I've seen no mention of Virtual PC on Win8 / 8.1 / 10 - does it still exist, 
and is that "XP-mode" feature still available?
Mark Moulding

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