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Windows 98 USB Guide

From the very moment Microsoft introduced Windows98 SE (Second Edition), problems with the Operating System were apparent. The update that was touted as the cure-all for USB initially created more problems than it fixed. Shut Down maladies, new USB headaches and driver incompatibility issues topped a long list of new and unique difficulties for end-users and technicians alike.

Thankfully, most of these issues have been resolved through a series of patches, adjustments and fine tuning.

Unofficial Service Pack Offers Improved USB Performance

The unofficial Service Pack is offered as Freeware by Exuberant Software. The Service Pack consists of a collection of Microsoft released updates and hot fixes that have been packaged together in a single, convenient download. Among the 70 Hot Fixes is a work-around for the 512 MB Ram issue and Improved USB Support. USB updates include better WDM and enhanced USB Mass Storage Device support. More information can be found here:

More Information

You can download the Unofficial Service Pack here:

Windows 98SE Unofficial Service Pack

How to Enable USB

Microsoft Knowledge Base Article Q258773

Enumeration Problems with Athlon

USB Enumeration Problems on Athlon System with OHCI Controller

USB Devices Not Working in Win98SE

Microsoft Knowledge Base Article Q240075

USB Compatibility Update

Install 240075 before installing this patch

Removing ACPI

ACPI active can be the source of problems in Win98SE. Windows 98SE automatically installs in ACPI mode if an ACPI BIOS is detected. Unfortunately, Win98SE does NOT handle ACPI very well and IRQ sharing with this OS is problematic. If USB is sharing its IRQ with IRQ Holder for ACPI Steering and several other devices you will need to install the OS in APM mode as outlined below.

  • Reinstall Windows by starting the system using the boot floppy with CDROM support.

  • From the A:\ prompt start Windows from the CDROM

  • D:\setup /p i when D:\ is the drive letter of the floppy.

  • If your hard drive is running from a High Point, Promise or ATA 66 or 100 controller, the drive will not be recognized at boot up and you will need to come back a letter.

  • A clean reinstall is recommended

Shutdown Problems

Microsoft Win98SE Shutdown Supplement Update

Preventing USB Problems in Win98 SE

  • Bios Setup

    • Power Management - Disabled

    • IRQs Assigned - Auto

    • Plug and Play OS - Enabled (Disabling this option can cause IRQ Steering problems in Win98SE)

    • USB Keyboard - Enabled

    • Assign IRQ for USB - Disabled (Some systems require this feature to be Enabled)

  • Resource Conflicts - Windows Device Manager / Resource Tab

    • Check each of the four boxes for conflicts

      • IRQs (USB does NOT like to share its IRQ with other devices)

      • DMA

      • I/O

      • Memory

  • Windows Settings That Effect USB

Update the Drivers

  • Update your drivers to the latest available version. Always check for updated drivers before installing new hardware.

    • Rule of Thumb: The drivers in the box with the new device are obsolete.

    • Drivers / Patches

USB Host Controller / Type Specific

Additional Help Resolving USB Problems

Known Issues

Microsoft Knowledge Base Articles - Win98 Specific


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