How to Uninstall Windows 98

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SUMMARY

This article describes how to determine whether you can uninstall Windows 98 to return to using an operating system that was previously installed on your computer, and this article describes how to uninstall Windows 98.

This article refers to an old version of Windows. If you need help about how to install, reinstall, or uninstall Windows, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/help/install-reinstall-uninstall

MORE INFORMATION

If you want to return to a previous operating system, you may be able to uninstall Windows 98 to do so. To be able to uninstall Windows 98, you must have chosen to save uninstall information during Windows 98 Setup. The uninstall information is saved in the Winundo.dat and Winundo.ini files.

In some situations, you cannot return to a previous operating system by uninstalling Windows 98. Before you uninstall Windows 98, use the information in the "Determining Whether You Can Uninstall Windows 98" section of this article to determine whether or not you can uninstall Windows 98 to return to a previous operating system.

Determining Whether You Can Uninstall Windows 98

You cannot return to a previous operating system by uninstalling Windows 98 if any of the following conditions exist:
  • You did not choose to save the uninstall information during Windows 98 Setup.
  • The uninstall information, which is saved in the Winundo.dat and Winundo.ini files when you choose to save the uninstall information during Windows 98 Setup, has been deleted.
  • Your hard disk was compressed or converted to the FAT32 file system after you installed Windows 98. The FAT32 Converter tool and the DriveSpace tool remove the Winundo.dat, Winundo.ini, and Uninstal.exe files from your hard disk. You need these files to uninstall Windows 98.

    NOTE: If your hard disk used the FAT32 file system before you upgraded to Windows 98, you can uninstall Windows 98.
  • Your hard disk was compressed before you installed Windows 98. If your hard disk is compressed by using the DriveSpace tool before you upgrade to Windows 98, you are not prompted to save the uninstall information during Windows 98 Setup.
  • The partition information for your hard disk or disks has changed since you last installed Windows 98 successfully.

    IMPORTANT: Do not attempt to uninstall Windows 98 if the partition information for your hard disk or disks has changed since you last installed Windows 98 successfully. At the end of a successful installation, Windows creates a backup copy of your partition information in the Suhdlog.dat file. The Uninstal.exe program restores the partition information that is listed in the Suhdlog.dat file to your hard disk when you uninstall Windows 98. If the partition information on your hard disk or disks has changed since you last installed Windows 98 successfully (specifically, since the Suhdlog.dat file was created), you might experience partial or complete data loss if you attempt to uninstall Windows 98.

    Your partition information might be different from the backup copy in the Suhdlog.dat file for any of the following reasons:
    • You ran Drive Converter (FAT32) to convert a FAT16 file system drive to the FAT32 file system after you installed Windows 98. Windows 98 removes the Control Panel option to uninstall when you run Drive Converter (FAT32) to prevent the data loss that results from an attempt to uninstall Windows 98 from occurring.
    • You ran a third-party partitioning utility, such as PowerQuest Partition Magic, to change your partition structure after you installed Windows 98.
    • You copied or restored the Suhdlog.dat file from a different physical hard disk or from the same physical hard disk with different partition information (for example, if you ran the Fdisk utility to repartition your disk and then restored a backup that included the Suhdlog.dat file).

      NOTE: The Suhdlog.dat file is a hidden file in the root directory of drive C.
    • Your computer is infected with a boot-sector virus. If you suspect that your computer is infected with a boot-sector virus, run an antivirus program that contains the latest virus signatures and allow the program to remove any viruses that the program finds before you attempt to uninstall Windows 98. For additional information about boot-sector viruses, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
      129972 Description of Computer Viruses

Uninstalling Windows 98

NOTE: Any Windows-based programs that you installed after you installed Windows 98 may not function correctly after you uninstall Windows 98. After you uninstall Windows 98, reinstall these programs to restore the programs' functionality.

To uninstall Windows 98:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Add/Remove Programs.
  2. Click Uninstall Windows 98, click Add/Remove, and then click Yes.
  3. When you are prompted with the following message, click Yes:
    Before Windows 98 is removed from your computer, your disk(s) will be checked for errors. Do you want to continue?
    This starts ScanDisk and the uninstall process.
  4. After ScanDisk checks all of the disks, you are prompted with the following message:
    Uninstall is ready to proceed. Windows 98 will shutdown and uninstall will continue automatically. Do you want to continue?
    Click Yes.
  5. Follow the uninstall instructions to finish uninstalling Windows 98.

Uninstalling Windows 98 If You Cannot Start the Computer After An Upgrade

If you are unable to start a Windows 98-based computer after an upgrade from Microsoft Windows 95 or Microsoft Windows 3.1, you cannot remove Windows 98 by using the Add/Remove Programs tool in Control Panel. In this case, restart your computer in Real mode and run the Uninstal.exe program from the Windows\Command folder.

Note the following information before you use the Uninstal.exe program:
  • The Uninstal.exe program may not be available in the Windows\Command folder. If you run the DriveSpace or Drive Converter (FAT32) tools, Windows removes the Uninstal.exe program. You cannot uninstall Windows 98 after a drive has either been compressed by using the DriveSpace tool or converted from a FAT16 file system drive to a FAT32 file system drive by using Drive Convertor (FAT32). If the Uninstal.exe program is not available on the hard disk, you cannot uninstall Windows 98.
  • The SMARTDrive tool (Smartdrv.exe) is not required to run the Uninstal.exe program, but the SMARTDrive tool can significantly speed up the uninstallation process.
To restart your computer in Real mode and run the Uninstal.exe program from the Windows\Command folder:
  1. Either restart your computer and choose Command Prompt Only from the Startup menu, or start your computer from a Windows 98 Startup disk.

    To start your computer at a command prompt from the Startup menu, restart your computer, press and hold down the CTRL key until you see the Windows 98 Startup menu, and then choose Command Prompt Only.For additional information about how to use the Startup menu in Windows 98, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    178548 No "Starting Windows 98" Message at Startup
  2. Type each of the following lines and press the ENTER key after each line (where drive is the letter of the drive that contains the Windows folder and windows is the name of the Windows folder):
    smartdrv
    drive:
    cd\windows\command
    uninstal.exe
  3. When you are prompted to continue, type y. This process might take several minutes.

Uninstalling Windows 98 If a Real-Mode NetWare Client Is Installed

If you want to uninstall Windows 98 and a real-mode NetWare client (VLM or Netx) is installed on the computer, restart your computer in Safe mode and run the Uninstal.exe program from the Windows\Command folder:
  1. Restart your computer, press and hold down the CTRL key until you see the Windows 98 Startup menu, and then choose Safe Mode Command Prompt Only.For additional information about how to use the Startup menu in Windows 98, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    178548 No "Starting Windows 98" Message at Startup
  2. Type each of the following lines and press the ENTER key after each line (where drive is the letter of the drive that contains the Windows folder and windows is the name of the Windows folder):
    smartdrv
    drive:
    cd\windows\command
    uninstal.exe
  3. When you are prompted to continue, type y. This process might take several minutes.
If the real-mode NetWare client is loaded in memory, the computer may not have sufficient conventional memory to successfully uninstall Windows 98. For additional information about how to optimize conventional memory, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
77083 Optimizing Your Use of Upper Memory Blocks

Information About the Ie4.txt File

When you upgrade a Windows 95-based computer on which Microsoft Internet Explorer version 4.0 or 4.01 is installed, the Ie4.txt file is not removed from the computer. The Ie4.txt file describes how to remove Internet Explorer; however, these instructions do not work on a Windows 98-based computer because Internet Explorer is an integrated part of the operating system and cannot be removed from Windows 98.

Properties

Article ID: 186102 - Last Review: January 23, 2007 - Revision: 1.4
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
Keywords: 
kbhowto kbsetup KB186102

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