I have a Dell Windows 98 restore CD lying around in it's original packaging. I also got a Dell OptiPlex GX150 that I'm fixing up. According to the service tag, it came with Windows 98 SE (Intrestingly, the part number on the plastic of the Windows 98 Media and on Dell's website when I looked up this computer's service tag are the same). Though, there is no COA on the OptiPlex and there aren't any sticky reminisce of there being one, though there are scratches around the marked position so maybe all the residue could have been wiped off. But I'm not even sure if there was one there to start with. Since I don't think my Windows 98 manual or CD has a product key, could it be that the product key is stored inside the computer? Or will I need to be fishing a Windows 98 product key from somewhere?
The Dell disk should install ok because it will detect a Dell motherboard and shouldn't ask for a product key. It's legal too if the system came with Win 98 so it would have a Microsoft license for Win98.
You'll have to install the Win 98 drivers for your specific hardware (eg, chipset, video card etc) in the correct order right after you finish installing Win98. You can choose the drivers your system needs here.
Is it worth the time/effort to install an ancient OS on such ancient hardware? You won't find antiviral or anti-malware software for Win98 that's up-to-date so there'll be no protection if you go online, etc.
Note: Since this system has probably been unplugged for a long time, you may need to replace the motherboard battery before you do anything else.
Forum Member since 2004
I am not a Dell employee
I'm using the computer for nostalgia purposes. I shouldn't have to worry about about viruses since the computer won't be going on the internet. Though I'll have to be careful what install of course. The battery still keeps the correct time. And if it ever dies, I have replacements.
You'll need the product key -- OEM activation didn't come in until WIndows XP, and the concept of embedded product keys didn't arrive until Windows 8. A 98 install will need a product key.
Hmm, I wonder why I had no product key. I would usually think someone ripped it off, but it seems that other GX150 systems never came with them when I looked on eBay.
If the system was purchased by a business, it may have had a volume license agreement with Microsoft -- and if so, may have had no COA on the system.
It's also possible that someone selling the system used, separately sold the COA and disc -- not uncommon for EBay sellers and others.
WIN98 SE has different key than WIN98.
DELL WIN98 SE can use the Generic Dell Key to install
The Key and Recovery Disk will only work on DELL models
like the GX150 GX200 GX240 GX260.
The disk I am talking about looks like the one below.
The resource CD will be required for the other drivers.