PC Tech: Installing Operating Systems ...

      • … -on blank hard drives.
  • I want to put together another PC using some of the parts from my current Acer, and still use the Acer OEM system recovery disk to install Win98, so I don’t have to avoid buying a copy of Win98 over again. I dunno if it’s strictly legal, but there will still only be one computer running the OS. MS has instructions online for installing to a new PC without an OS, but will this work for my OEM-Win98 disk? That is, are the cab files alike? My disk has no obvious setup program, and I already know that it doesn’t run at all when placed in an older Win95 PC. - MC

I don’t know if that will work then. I don’t think a recovery disc will have all the necessary files for a non-upgrade. That’s why they sell two different versions of the Windows OS (one an upgrade and one a full version). A recovery disc may not even have enough files for an upgrade. I’m not really sure though.

Proprietary system recovery disks are sometimes quite system specific and configure the OS to set up for specific hardware configurations. If the PC is using a different MB chipset and other components differ from what the recovery setup install is looking for it might be a bit of a headache to get the “recovered” system to play nice with the new components and some significant tweaking would be necessary. Also, some recovery disks will not proceed unless they detect the original the PC manufacturers MB BIOS.

As stated you might have trouble using a recovery disk as it will scan for hardware.

You might even have to install it on you old computer then put the HD into the new.

As for the legalities - I don’t think you are going to have a problem since you own one licence and have one computer running it. (you just upgraded your computer w/ new motherboard, case, cpu, etc.). I personally don’t like the recovery disks -I would rather have the win install disks.

With my laptop I got both - during a reformat using the win98 disk - It keep locking up. Then I tried the recovery disk - worked like a charm.

As for using a upgrade win 9x disk for a new install - yes you can it will just ask for your older win 9x (or w3.1x for 95) during installation.


Technically speaking (as a former reseller) you should be fine using that OS as long as it’s not on another computer.

Okay, here are the steps I recommend.

  1. check the CDs directory – either in DOS or in Windows and look for a directory called Win98 – all your CAB files will be located there.

  2. You need a Boot Disk, something that will allow you to access the CD ROM…a Win95 disk will do for this as well.

  3. Once you launch the Boot Disk, preform the FDISK function, I usually go for the “large disk” arena…once you have completed FDISK, then it on to setting up the OS.

  4. Locate the Win98 files and copy them from the CD to the hard drive…create a directory on the C drive called Win98. This way if you ever need to install a new piece of hardware (and sometimes software) it wont ever ask you for the CD…it will find it on the hard drive.

Usually, at least on the zillion Gateways I have worked on, the Win9x set up is located on a separate directory and you don’t need to follow the through the restore directions which would not be good considering the computer is essentially a “new” computer. If your computer is set up to look for the CD, just cancel out of the set up program and run through the steps above.

You may need to borrow a retail Win98 CD (and the associated key number) from a friend. Microsoft’s main concern is the license. If you still have the license, and only use Windows on one PC, and don’t sell/give away the old PC with Windows still loaded, it doesn’t really matter what CD you use to install the OS.