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

CuriousMarc curiousmarc3 at
Sat Jan 30 03:16:01 CST 2016

I managed to run Win98 SE (the Second Edition is important!) on a Core Duo
E6700 2.6 GHz with SATA. But it was a very hard job to get it going. The
motherboard still had a legacy PCI slot on it which was helpful. Here is the
procedure I had to go through.
You'll need a Win95 or 98 "DOS" boot disc properly configured to recognize
your CD-ROM to start the install process. 
You will probably need a trip to your BIOS to enable legacy mouse and legacy
hard drive modes.
First you have to remove memory until it has only 1 GB left while you
install. Later you boot into safe mode and add two lines to your
C:\Windows\system.ini to limit memory:
	[386 Enh]
	MaxPhysPage = 30000
	MaxFileCache = 393216
Then after install you have to fight the hardware and drivers pretty hard
until it boots without crashing. Boot with step by step confirmation and
logging on, and watch the bootlog.txt to see where it fails. You will need
many trips to Safe Mode and Device Manger to remove all the PCIe hardware it
discovers but can't deal with.  In my case:
- disable the hard disk PCI controllers
- disable the built in Ethernet controller
- Changing the video driver to the MiniPort Standard VESA allowed me to boot
up to GUI without crashing. I then had a hard time to find a driver to allow
high res graphics, but eventually found one online that worked, don't
remember what it was.
- For Ethernet I just put an older 100 Mb generic PCI card that 98 could
deal with, as it obviously could not do anything with the onboard 1GB
- I don't use sound, but if you wanted some you would do the same trick,
stick an old PCI sound card in there.
- USB mouse seems to work, albeit a bit choppy
- finally you can put back the rest of your memory in and you should be good
to go. Beware, once you do this, no more booting into safe mode unless you
remove the extra memory.
- I could run Explorer 5.5, but never 6.0. This gives you a tiny bit of the
web for emergency purposes.
Needless to say, you'd only boot to this Windows 98 for retro-computing

Eventually I moved my main Win98 machine to a Dolch 65 (Pentium II 350 MHz),
which has 5.25" floppy support, two serial and one parallel ports, plenty of
PCI slots and more importantly an ISA slot. A much better match for Win98.
As expected, installing Windows 98 on it was a breeze, as was NT, and the
tougher one was Windows XP. I also successfully installed the 2010 version
of Crunchbang Linux on it (runs within the 256 MB of RAM!). It is now my
main retro-computing workhorse. There is a good chance one of the 5 OS's
(counting 16-bit Win98 DOS) will have a driver or a utility for any old
hardware I want to drive.


-----Original Message-----
From: cctalk [mailto:cctalk-bounces at] On Behalf Of Chuck Guzis
Sent: Thursday, January 28, 2016 10:41 AM
To: General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts
Subject: Re: Can Windows 98SE run on an Intel I7 with SATA hard drives?

The latest rig that I've run 98SE on is a  Intel P3 (440GX) with 2GB of
memory.  I can do it, but it took the "unofficial final service pack" to
reduce the amount of memory to something reasonable.

Drivers, I think would be the stumbling block on modern hardware.  I'd use
VirtualBox in any case to deal with that issue.  I've certainly done with
other old systems.


More information about the cctech mailing list