Has there been a time
when you felt like your system was so messed up that you would like to
start from scratch with a clean install? Maybe you got struck by the Klez
virus and did not get the system cleaned before it totally messed up your
Windows installation. Maybe you have installed so much software that you
no longer use and your hard drive is filled to the breaking point. Maybe
you have all the software and decide to install a new larger drive so you
wonít have to worry about running out of space.
Do you have any idea of what you need to accomplish the task? Lets take a look at what it would take to wipe a drive clean and install Windows 98 from scratch.
If you have a working operating system installed, there are a few things
that you can do to prepare for the operation. The first and most important
item would be the Windows 98 CD. Insert the disk into your CD drive and
reboot your computer. Most of the systems will boot to a bootable CD by
default. Look closely at the bottom of the screen for a message that asks
you to press any key to boot to from CD. This would give you an indication
that your CD disk as well as your system will support booting from the
CD drive. If you do not get the message you might want to go into the bios
of you system to see if the option is available. There should be a section
that will allow you to change the boot order from the floppy drive, CD
drive and hard drive. If the section is not there then you will most likely
not be able to use a bootable CD to run your installation.
If your system boots to the CD drive, you will see the beginnings of
the setup process. If Windows is still running on your machine you will
want to exit out of the installation and reboot back to Windows. If the
CD or system does not allow booting to the CD, you will need to take a
few more steps to prepare for the installation. After you get back into
Windows you will want to first look at your Windows 98 CD. Take a look
inside the win98 folder from within Windows Explorer. Look for the file
setup.exe. If this program is not present, you will need to find the floppy
disk that came with the CD. This floppy will contain the setup.exe file
as well as some other files that you will need to have to make the installation
If the setup.exe file is present but your system does not boot to the
CD, you will need to have a Windows 98 startup disk. You can create one
by opening the Control Panel, Add Remove Programs and clicking on the last
tab labeled Startup Disk. Click on the button to create the disk that will
have the files that you will need to start your computer. After the disk
is created, reboot your computer with the disk in the floppy drive to be
sure that it is working properly. After the boot is finished you will be
at the DOS prompt. The startup disk should have tried to load CD drivers
that will allow you to use your CD drive in DOS. If the load was successful
you will see the drive letter listed as one of the last items on the screen.
If you have one drive in your system, the CD drive should be E. Type e:
and press the enter key. With your Windows 98 CD in the drive type dir
and press enter. You should get a listing of the files that are on the
CD. If you are successful looking at the list of files on the CD, reboot
back to Windows.
If the CD drivers did not give you a drive letter or you were not able
to list the directory, you will need to investigate why and correct the
problem before you will be able to proceed with your installation. Start
by rebooting to the floppy and keeping a close eye on the screen to look
for error messages that might come up. You can also press F8 while booting
to bring up the Windows 98 Startup Menu. This will allow you to choose
a step by step boot that will allow you to see each of the steps as well
as the results.
For those of you that have a bootable CD or were able to boot to your
floppy and look at your CD, we are now ready to proceed with the installation
preparation. Go into Device Manager and make a list of the key hardware
components that your system contains. The key components would include
the IDE controller, Display Adapter, Modem, Network card, and Sound card.
You should be able to print the entire list but the names of these key
devices as well as the resources would be sufficient. Now you need to know
how you connect to the Internet. You have two choices in how you load the
drivers on your clean install. I have other computers available to download
drivers with so I usually will wait until after I load Windows to see what
I need to get. I will make notes for the key components so I will be able
to download drivers if needed without opening the case to find out what
is installed. If you have drivers that came with your system, now would
be a good time to get the disks out to check to see if they are the latest
versions. There is usually a readme file included on the disk that will
give you a web page to look for later drivers.
After you have gathered any drivers that you need and backed up any
data that you do not want to lose, it is time to begin. Insert the Windows
98 CD and the floppy disk if needed. If the CD is bootable, the setup process
will begin. You will want to format the drive to remove all of the files
so you will have a clean install. If you need to boot to the floppy first,
you will need to change into the win98 folder on the CD and type setup
to begin the installation. Follow the prompts and type the information
that is requested. If there are questions that you do not understand, accept
the defaults that are given. If you get some hardware installation dialog
boxes, click next until Windows decides that it cannot find the driver
or the driver is installed. After the installation is completed you will
need to go into Device Manager and load drivers for any Unknown devices
that Windows was not able to install. Some of the items that you may be
confronted with will be PCI Communications Device (Modem), PCI Ethernet
Controller (Network card), PCI Multimedia Device (Sound card) or even some
that are simply listed as Unknown Device. Click on the Drivers tab and
install the drivers to enable the use of these devices. You will also want
to check to see if the video drivers were installed correctly. If Windows
does not have the correct driver for your video card it will load a standard
PCI video card driver. If you look at device manager, it will look like
it is working correctly, but you may not have all of the features, resolution
or colors that should be available by using the correct drivers.
After the drivers are installed, I would suggest that you go to the
site and install all of the Critical Updates, Recommended Updates and
any Device driver updates that are available for your system. This will
insure that you are protected against some of the viruses that use Internet
Explorer exploits to get into your system. After the updates are completed
you can begin to install any additional software programs that you have.
You will need to reconfigure any Internet dialup or email programs and
restore any data files that you backed up before beginning the installation
Be sure that you have a good working knowledge of the programs that
you need to use to complete the installation of Windows before beginning.
If you remove the partition from your hard drive with the fdisk program,
you will have a very hard time recovering any files that were on the drive.
Same thing with the format program, everything will be gone for good. If
you use fdisk to prepare a new drive, be sure that your system will see
the entire drive. Some of the older systems will not see a drive over 8GB
without a bios update or overlay software. Overlay software would allow
your system to use some of the larger drives by translating the size of
the drive for the bios of your machine. This overlay software is available
from the hard drive manufacturer web sites and usually needs to be installed
before the operating system.
There are a lot of problems that can occur when installing Windows.
You need to have the experience to be able to know the answers to the questions
beforehand in order to undertake such an operation. It is not rocket science
but it does take a bit of experience to do the job correctly. If you have
an old hard drive, try installing it in your system and practice on it
so that you can learn as you go and still have the option to reconnect
your current hard drive and get back to where you were. It is always a
good idea to learn when you donít have to because then you donít have as
much pressure on you. Take your time and have fun with it.