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What I've got is the full version of Win98 Second Release (which is what it took to actually fix the bugs), and that's what I'd like to install on top of what's there and keep the data, emails and software, if at all possible.
I would definitely agree with the previous poster that you really should reconsider installing Windows 98. Unless the machine is too slow to run XP or 2000 at a reasonable speed you really should consider moving on. Microsoft doesn't support older versions of Windows anymore and a lot of other vendors have dropped support for 98 as well. If you choose to move up to XP or 2000 the previous advice still applies.
When you reinstall windows you don't really need to reformat so much as get rid of everything in the windows directory and any installed software. There is no reason you can't keep data files on the drive. That should save you some time reinstalling. Provided you have a good backup of everything it shouldn't take you very long to reinstall everything unless you have a very slow machine.
Wouldn't have been a problem had I not decided to return the OS to SP1 from SP2 - which I accomplished by wiping the drive and reinstalling a fresh SP1. But then I had to reinstall all of the application programs because the registry had changed....
Fairly annoying, though not fatal.... I'm still considering what would be best to do though - because the point of putting the OS on a separate drive was supposedly that you would have no trouble just wiping and reinstalling the OS at any time you needed to.... but there will ALWAYS (with windows anyway) be the registry problem....
And to address Marcia's situation, when I was still using 98, I upgraded to 98SE and simply "upgraded". It worked fine for about 4 years. In fact I occasionally long for my 98SE whenever XP does something stupid....
It is way too slow, it's a P2/350 clunker and there wouldn't be enough available HD space for XP. I've got a new computer, but just wanted to hold on to this as a backup.
As it turns out, it looks like there's a motherboard problem and with P3 refurbs under $100 complete it seems like that'll be the way to go, just pull the HD and memory and bury the old gal. It's only for a spare for the time being that'll mostly sit unused, just in case.
Plus, I've got some hardware that can't be used with XP (printer & scanner), so when I move up again I can just give the outdated stuff to someone who has no computer at all.
I'm a hoarder - still have the 8088 under the bed. :)