14 March 2012

So my mint-condition copy of Windows 98SE arrived today and after work I got it setup in VirtualBox.  Much easier than Windows 95 (and much easier than the way many folks on the net did it).  I googled it quickly to see what people ran into but figure screw it, why I don’t I just do things my usual way and find out for myself?  See my previous post about Win95 to see my versions/specs that I’m running this on.

Unlike it’s predecessor, Win98 can boot off the CD and doesn’t actually need the startup disk.  Once you create the HD (I chose VDI again) for it, be sure to go into Settings > System and disable hardware acceleration again like we had to for Win95 (UNCHECK “Enable VT-x/AMD-V”).  If you don’t do this, you’ll receive a “Fault outside of MS-DOS Extender” error.

Then when you boot, select your CD drive with Win98 and you’ll be brought to a screen asking to boot to the local HD or the CD.  Choose CD since you don’t have anything on the HD yet and it will start the dos-based setup.  It’s just a few [Enter]’s and then it’s asking you to reboot to begin the GUI-based install.

Then it’s just go through the GUI wizard and do as it asks.  When the file copying process finished I had to reboot.  When loading for the first time and before getting to the next stage of install (setup:  detecting pnp, setting date/time, etc) I got a blue screen.  I remembered seeing something somewhere about turning on ACPI so I closed down the VM and turned that on (Settings > System).  However, this significantly slows down response time so after I finished getting it all setup I turned this off again and it booted fine.

Once up, you dont get the internet setup Wizard like the Win95 install.  When you launch IE it tries to go through a wizard to detect your modem and wont do anything else.  You have to go into the control panel, open internet options, go to the connection tab, and click the setup button at the top to setup to use as a LAN.  I didn’t have to fill out my gateway but it was probably because my first attempt to get the internet working without a modem was to go into my network adapter properties and configure TCP/IP with my gateway (router) IP.

And that was it, super easy.  Didn’t have to create a boot iso or any kind of iso.  No special storage setup.  I suggest leaving it to boot to CD until you get to the desktop and setup is done.  Then you can go into Settings > Storage (for the VM) and remove the CD drive.

6 Responses to “Installing Windows 98SE in VirtualBox”

  • Jon Montez
    April 14th, 2012 at 11:36 pm     

    Thanks for this post. Unchecking “enable VT…” probably saved me a big head-ache.

  • Alex T
    August 7th, 2012 at 7:31 am     

    Hi, could you go into more detail about how you were able to get the Internet working within Win98 SE? I’ve set it up to use the LAN connection, but Windows 98 cannot find the internet and I’m not sure how to find where the dead-end is located to troubleshoot.

  • thegeek
    August 9th, 2012 at 6:11 am     

    Do you have the NIC on the host machine bridged to the VM, in the VM’s properties?

  • guthan
    November 14th, 2012 at 9:15 pm     

    I try to install Windows98 in VirtualBox and everything goes fine until the first reboot. I don’t even get the blue screen, i got this message: “ata-detect failed to detect ata device”.

  • thegeek
    November 16th, 2012 at 9:28 pm     

    Guthan, it’s telling you it can’t detect your drive. This could be related to newer technologies on your modern PC not supported by the old OS. Did you uncheck the Enable VT-x/AMD-V option? You may have to disable more on that screen. In the settings of the VM, make sure there is still a vdisc associated with it, too (It’s on the Storage section of the Settings)

  • David Simpson
    July 25th, 2013 at 12:41 pm     

    For Guthan I would advise checking the disk setup – you need to setup an IDE drive as sata will not work with Win98 (without a driver which i doubt exists)

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