19 May 2012

My nostalgia for old computer software/equipment put a bug in my head to get the old Win98 screensavers.  Specifically, “Mystery.”  I was greatly disappointed by the fact that Win98 native didn’t support more than 16 colors and a 640×480 resolution (I was further disppointed by the fact that Win7 can’t run the old screensavers!  Ugh!).

I kept googling for generic drivers that would allow me to up my color and resolution.  I finally found the “bear” drivers for windows.  I hard tried SciTech Display Doctor but I couldn’t get it to work properly.  It either didn’t let me boost the color to what it should be or caused the entire VM to lock up after I booted into it.  Not to mention, it’s only a trial!  The problem is the driver wont work (right) with the un-patched install from the CD.  MS doesn’t support the OS so you can’t update from their site, either.  Luckily, there is a kind fellow who has provided a “Service Pack” of updates for the OS and has made it available for DL.  Below are the steps to go through to get your Win98 patched, video quality improved, and sound working.

  1. Install the “Service Pack” from here:  http://exuberant.ms11.net/98sesp.html
  2. Reboot
  3. Install the display drivers from here: http://bearwindows.boot-land.net/vbe9x.htm#2
    1. The version I used (current as of this post) 2010.06.01
    2. If you didn’t install the service pack, Windows wont be able to “see” this driver and install it.
    3. To install:
      1. Download and extract
      2. Open your monitor via Device Manager (right click My Computer and select Properties)
      3. On the details for your monitor (display adapter) select to update the driver
      4. I skip having Windows search for it and just go straight to the VBEMP.DRV file under the VBE9X\UNI folder
  4. Reboot
  5. You should now be able to open your Display Properties and change your color to 32 bit and your resolution up to 1600×1200.  I run mine at 800×600 🙂

If you’re having trouble getting these files onto the Win98 VM (since it doesn’t support Guest Additions and therefore no folder sharing with the host) you have a few options.  You can burn a CD or use an FTP program like I did.  I have my own domain (duh!) so I uploaded the files there.  CoreFTP has a fairly navigable web page and it has a version that supports Win98, oh and it’s free!  When you go to download the page renders pretty bad from whatever file service they use but it’s manageable.

Info on getting your sound to work (selecting Soundblaster 16 in the Audio config for the VM) can be found here:  https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?t=9918

Huge thanks to the folks at the places above for putting these things together!


2 Responses to “Win 98 Updates, Drivers, Improving Resolution”

  • Lawrence Mathon
    November 17th, 2012 at 9:17 pm     

    Hello: I have installed the 2.1a patch for the windows 98se but I can’t access the site for the “bear” driver (http://bearwindows.boot-land.net/vbe9x.htm#2) Can you email me the bear driver or send me another working link for this driver. Thanks Lawrence Mathon

  • thegeek
    November 19th, 2012 at 7:01 pm     

    The link works for me. Are you somewhere (work) that may be blocking it? You can try this: http://bearwindows.boot-land.net/100601.zip

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