Is a Windows 98 machine usable in 2017?

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

I’m often teased by friends for my reluctance to upgrade my operating system and by proxy, my PC. Although it’s more than six years old at this point, the system is plenty speedy for how I use it and the thought of learning a new OS isn’t as appealing as it would have been in my youth.

I suspect my machine still has plenty of life left in it thanks largely in part to the fact that AMD conceded defeat to Intel many moons ago, thus allowing Chipzilla to take its foot off the innovation accelerator and push out a series of incremental upgrades that weren’t much to write home about.

The slowing of Moore’s Law also hasn’t helped matters but that’s a discussion for another time.

At the height of the processor wars, however, meaningful hardware was coming down the pipeline each and every year. This meant that new hardware was significantly faster than what it was replacing and processing power jumped by leaps and bounds in a relatively short amount of time.

Considering that a properly configured PC running six-year-old hardware is still zippy by today’s standards, it begs the question – just how old of a PC can you get by with today?

In exploring that question, YouTube user Oldtech81 recently dug up a laptop from the Windows 98 era and attempted to use it as his main machine today. How did the dated Compaq Armada E500 hold up to Father Time? Check out the video above to find out.

Found is a TechSpot feature where we share clever, funny or otherwise interesting stuff from around the web.

Permalink to story.

 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Yeah, I still have it on an old test station I built years and years ago. While it's a stand alone, it just keeps chugging along and at this point, I'm just running it to see how long it can last!
 

Panda218

TS Evangelist
My parents still have our old Gateway in the basement that's running windows 98 and I was surprised that it still boots. I was even able to fire up the G-nome and Turok, but they weren't as enjoyable as I remembered from my youth.
 

cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
The topic alone is laughable, but it is even worse when using a laptop instead of a desktop. Seriously this machine doesn't even come close to giving a true representation of what a Windows 98 machine is capable of.
 

Skidmarksdeluxe

TS Evangelist
Windows 98 SE? When was it released? I don't remember seeing or hearing about M$ bragging about releasing this latest and greatest OS, I really must upgrade from DOS 3.0 someday but I suppose by the time I do that, the world would've moved on to an even later OS like XP which I vaguely remember hearing was in the pipeline.
 

Theinsanegamer

TS Evangelist
I ran 98se on my socket 7 system ages ago. Ah the memories. Tracking down SD RAM because I was too poor to get something newer, playing Xwing until it locked up, using a K6-III 500 chip for the first time.
Windows 98 SE? When was it released? I don't remember seeing or hearing about M$ bragging about releasing this latest and greatest OS, I really must upgrade from DOS 3.0 someday but I suppose by the time I do that, the world would've moved on to an even later OS like XP which I vaguely remember hearing was in the pipeline.
May 1999.
 

Igrecman

TS Maniac
The problem with such an old machine is that you have to forget about installing the recent browsers, Chrome and FireFox. It will say the hardware is not supported. But instead of Windows if you install a light version of Linux (Lubuntu among others), then you can install anything. I've done so on a 2002 machine having an AMD Athlon 2700 and 1300mb of RAM. It allows me to keep using a very old dot matrix printer, a Fujitsu DL1200. I even installed Kodi succesfully that I couldn't install on that machine having Windows 7. Kodi wont play 1080p videos though, but it does play the 720p and lower quality streams perfectly if a decent video card is present.
 

yeeeeman

TS Maniac
Move forward three years to 2001 and you have probably the best operating system ever made, Windows XP which can do almost everything Windows 10 can do.
 
  • Like
Reactions: cartpusher96

JamesSWD

TS Maniac
This brings back a lot of good memories. I liked 98SE. As far as hardware, one of my machines is a 10 year old self-built Intel rig, still running her original hardware, and has run Win Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and now 10. Ran all of them like a champ and still going well with Win 10.
 

lazer

TS Addict
I have two computers running XP and they work fine. One I need for business since it has a program that can not easily be moved over to a newer machine and the second is a old laptop that I just mess with.

I prefer win7 or ubuntu but the problem with ubuntu is that it is not so nice with older windows programs but that is also a problem with win8 and win10.

So I see no reason to upgrade. If it aint broke, don't fix it....
 

cartpusher96

TS Rookie
Move forward three years to 2001 and you have probably the best operating system ever made, Windows XP which can do almost everything Windows 10 can do.
I have to use a windows xp laptop because my other one with 7 is down at the moment. Everything works great. XP is still the best!!
 

bazz2004

TS Evangelist
No it's not usable. XP is great but not secure enough so keeping up with the evolution of Windows 10 is important.