Windows 98 rises from the ashes!!!

Hi everyone,

Just had to share this. I’ve been wanting to obtain a retro gaming PC for some time now, and I finally got one — in fact, the circumstances and end result couldn’t have been much better. My coworker told me he had an old PC sitting in his basement, which he said I could have, and I said, heck ya, I’ll take it off your hands if you want. So he finally brought it in, and I took it home, which included the CPU, monitor, and a box o’ stuff (keyboard, mouse, etc.).

Well, I couldn’t be more pleased. Turns out it’s got an AMD K6-2 @ 475 MHz. The CRT monitor has turned a little yellow, but it’s not horrible. It works. It did contain a 64 MB stick of RAM and an additional 32 MB stick of RAM, but I swapped both of those out for a 128 MB stick that I bought online. (That’s MEGA-bytes guys … remember those days? ๐Ÿ˜€ )

Unfortunately, right out of the box, the hard drive died on me, so for storage I am using a Compact Flash to IDE adapter. Works like a charm, and for Windows 98, it’s really fast. (That part made me nervous, I admit, because I had never used something like that before.)

It’s got onboard video and sound, but I made a couple of upgrades. Turns out that I still had my Diamond Monster 3D II accelerator board sitting on a shelf, so I installed that, and now I’ve got a nice 3dfx Voodoo2 capable machine. I also purchased a Sound Blaster AWE64 online, brand new, and installed that. Works great.

Another thing I bought, that I found brand new, sealed, is a Gravis GamePad Pro. What a great controller — I wish I had something like this back in the day, but what I had was some no-name controller that I bought at a local trade show for five bucks or something like that.

My coworker was able to supply the original Windows 98 install CD and the motherboard CD, and everything was pretty painless to set up. It’s not 98SE, unfortunately, but I can live with that.

The machine was surprisingly clean when I opened it up, and is in real good condition. (The keyboard was a bit gooey, and I had to clean that.)

Now on to the REALLY good stuff … the games. I am having a ball with this time machine, going back and re-living all the classics. So far I’ve installed the following, most of which I bought my own copies of back in the day that I kept all these years: Doom, Quake II, Duke Nukem 3D, FIFA 96 and 97, Need for Speed I and IIse, Links 386 Pro, and Virtual Pool.

On eBay I also bought copies of Quake I and Redneck Rampage. Quake I is installed with the GLQuake patch so it uses the 3dfx card, but I haven’t installed Redneck Rampage yet.

Some other titles I want to get include Heretic, Hexen, Half Life, Wolfenstein 3D, Rise of the Triad, and others. is a good source for some stuff like that.

I even installed my registered version of WinZIP that came on a floppy disk in the late ’90s!

I’ll be busy for a while.

Some other trivia: It came with a fax/modem card installed, which I removed, and some literature for AOL.

Here are a couple of photos. Not pictured are the speakers that were also included, including subwoofer.

Thanks for reading! (As a token of gratitude to my coworker, I bought him a $25 Amazon card.)

Conversation 24 comments

  • ecumenical

    12 February, 2019 - 7:26 pm

    <p>This is awesome, and something I've wanted to do myself for a good while. I love my Surface Pro… but there's also something special about these big beige boxes. Your setup is a lot like my first PC setup that I used for gaming – Pentium 2 @ 450MHz, 128MB of RAM, 8MB ATi Rage Pro graphics, and (*gasp*) a DVD drive, mainly useful for installing Riven in fewer than 5 discs ๐Ÿ™‚ I also had that exact same Gravis gamepad as well. My only suggested addition here would be a Sidewinder joystick!</p><p><br></p><p>Very cool too that GOG has all those titles available digitally. Have you tried to connect to the net at all or just transferring the installers over from another machine?</p>

    • ErichK

      Premium Member
      13 February, 2019 - 12:03 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#404460">In reply to ecumenical:</a></em></blockquote><p>I was also considering a Sidewinder. In the meantime though I think the Gravis will serve me well.</p><p><br></p><p>I do not have the machine networked in any way — I ended up buying a memory card reader from Best Buy, and I've been using it to transfer files from my modern Windows 10 rig to the Windows 98 machine. It works really well.</p><p><br></p><p>From my research, some titles, like the ones on GOG, will apparently work if I just copy them over. Other stores like Steam don't work that way … I own Half Life on Steam, and I tried copying the files over and issuing some command line arguments that were supposed to make it work, but it didn't.</p>

      • ecumenical

        13 February, 2019 - 12:40 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#404567">In reply to ErichK:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Ah, but the Sidewinder absolutely *made* MechWarrior 2 and Combat Flight Simulator! </p><p><br></p><p>I really appreciate that GOG provides the actual installer files so you can transfer and back them up as much as you need to. I find myself moving away from Steam a bit for that reason (a niche concern, I'm sure). Though GOG has made them a bit hard to find lately as they push their own Galaxy client :-/</p>

        • ErichK

          Premium Member
          13 February, 2019 - 3:04 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#404589">In reply to ecumenical:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yes, GOG has pretty much no DRM as I understand it.</p>

  • waethorn

    12 February, 2019 - 7:45 pm

    <p>Good work. Try getting a Roland GS-capable Sound Canvas for General MIDI games and an MT-32 for older ones for the best MIDI game music now. You can find used ones on Ebay since they're not made anymore. Not sure, but I think the AWE64 has an MPU-401-compatible MIDI interface, but you'll probably need the BLASTER environment variable set, and possibly an initialization program for it, along with the proper cables, since those devices are external modules. A lot of games work better on proper DOS rather than running from within Windows. You can boot into a proper DOS command prompt using Windows 98SE, but I don't recall the best way to do that with DOS-based TSR programs.</p><p><br></p><p>This is what Duke Nukem 3D was meant to sound like:</p><p><br></p><p></p><p><br></p><p>Quake 1 and 2 have recorded CD audio soundtracks on the discs, but Quake 1 was always buggy and won't always play it, depending on the setup. You'll likely need an analog CD audio cable attached to the soundcard for that. I never had an issue with Quake 2 though, and the soundtrack is far better.</p><p><br></p><p>Windows XP stopped using the analog audio cable for CD audio playback and made it work with a digital stream through the data bus.</p>

    • ErichK

      Premium Member
      13 February, 2019 - 11:57 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#404461">In reply to Waethorn:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yes, I've seen demos on YouTube of people running DOS games with those Roland devices, and it sounds great. Might have to give that some thought. I do have the CD player's audio cable connected to the AWE64. The fact that Windows XP stopped doing it that way is interesting, I was actually kind of wondering about that. Thanks for that info.</p>

  • Andrewzarian

    Premium Member
    12 February, 2019 - 7:46 pm

    <p>Dude i love it! </p><p><br></p><p>I've also gone down the Retro Gaming rabbit hole but on the console side. I built a Raspberry pi 3 but in the end my PS3 (that i barely used) has turned into my Retro Gaming machine. </p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p>Also Those AMD K6-2s were great. </p><p><br></p>

    • ErichK

      Premium Member
      13 February, 2019 - 11:56 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#404463">In reply to Andrewzarian:</a></em></blockquote><p>Thanks Andrew! Actually, when I first booted the machine, I thought the BIOS said it was just an ordinary K6. Then when I looked closer and realized it said "K6-2, 475 MHz" I was much pleased. :-)</p>

  • bharris

    12 February, 2019 - 7:48 pm

    <p>I still thoroughly enjoy computers but there was something different back then. They were innovating so fast back then that it never got boring. </p><p><br></p><p>What makes me smile is my first IBM Compatible (Compaq 8086) was around $2200 in 1984 and the computer I'm on now cost about the same! Of course $2200 in 1984 in today's dollars would be around $5000!</p><p><br></p><p>Thanks for sharing…..</p>

  • Greg Green

    13 February, 2019 - 6:30 am

    <p>LOL! AOL!! You can never get away from it with equipment from that era.</p><p><br></p><p>Congratulations.</p>

    • ErichK

      Premium Member
      13 February, 2019 - 11:54 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#404504">In reply to Greg Green:</a></em></blockquote><p>Thanks!</p>

  • irfaanwahid

    13 February, 2019 - 6:53 am

    <p>That's a lot of hard work gone into rising this machine!</p><p><br></p><p>But it's all worth it I believe.</p><p><br></p><p>I truly believe, there is something fascinating about Retro games, software, hardware</p><p><br></p><p>I like working with old Operating Systems.</p><p><br></p><p>I have upgraded all OSs right from Windows 95 (my first PC).. and I didn't even know how to actually go about it, nor did I go to any school to learn. But the excitement and interest made me upgrade on my own, with some misses. </p><p><br></p><p>I recently installed Windows Vista Ultimate on my SP4 VM. </p>

    • ErichK

      Premium Member
      13 February, 2019 - 11:53 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#404505">In reply to irfaanwahid:</a></em></blockquote><p>Using Compact Flash as storage, Windows 98 shuts down in about three seconds… :-)</p>

      • karlinhigh

        Premium Member
        14 February, 2019 - 9:20 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#404559">In reply to ErichK:</a></em></blockquote><p>And that's probably just to play the DING-ding-ding-DING! shutdown sound. :)</p>

        • ErichK

          Premium Member
          14 February, 2019 - 12:18 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#404741">In reply to karlinhigh:</a></em></blockquote><p>Haha, probably. :-)</p>

  • johannes

    13 February, 2019 - 7:57 am

    <p>Loving this! Makes me really miss my first ever gaming computer/my first own personal rig. It was a Pentium 166 wit MMX ๐Ÿ™‚ 32mb ram and later upgraded to 64 ๐Ÿ˜‰ Escpecially like the Voodoo2 you are rocking there, what an amazing card that was. You should try do get a second one so you can run 1024X768 resolution?</p><p><br></p><p>Keep it up and let us know your progress.</p>

    • ErichK

      Premium Member
      13 February, 2019 - 11:52 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#404510">In reply to Johannes:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yep, my first Pentium was a 120 MHz-based system. That's where this 3dfx card originally went into. That system was all SCSI as well, it was pretty fast.</p><p><br></p><p>I am tempted to SLI that 3dfx card, but I don't know if I'm going to do that yet. :)</p>

  • Paul Thurrott

    Premium Member
    13 February, 2019 - 8:30 am


  • jwpear

    Premium Member
    14 February, 2019 - 9:18 am

    <p>Sweet! I have an old Dell Optiplex with a Pentium III and a Radeon card (don't remember which model) that I was thinking about tossing, but this might be a fun project to tinker with. Back in the day, I used it mostly to play around with Linux. Unfortunately, the case cooling fan, which was built into the custom power supply, is so absurdly loud that I can't stand to use it very long. I have an extra case, from my soon to be retired WHS, that I might swap the board into and give this a shot.</p>

    • ErichK

      Premium Member
      14 February, 2019 - 12:17 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#404740">In reply to jwpear:</a></em></blockquote><p>It definitely becomes a rabbit hole that just gets deeper and deeper. :)</p>

  • kalimad924

    23 February, 2019 - 8:41 am

    <p>Great Article </p>

  • jimchamplin

    Premium Member
    24 February, 2019 - 5:48 am

    <p>Iโ€™m going to be restoring a Celeron 600 notebook today! Canโ€™t wait to see the grays and blues of 90s Windows!</p>

  • WarWizard

    Premium Member
    25 February, 2019 - 6:58 am

    <p>Very nice . . .</p><p>Brings back some fond memories from that era. ;)</p>


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