Anyone old enough to remember using Windows 98 when it was still current can attest to the fact that it was a really fantastic operating system. It made big improvements over Windows 95 in almost every area that mattered, and at the time it actually looked extremely sleek and clean. Today, of course, it’s absolutely ancient, but one brave man took it upon himself to see if it’s still possible to use a Windows 98 system as your primary computer today, and the results are actually quite astounding.
Not wanting to cheat by installing Windows 98 on current PC hardware, the intrepid retro software adventurer Oldtech81 decided to use a machine from the same period. He settled on a Compaq Armada e500 laptop, which looks like a massive chunk of flagstone. After some issues getting the computer to actually boot up properly — no surprises there — he was able to run the outdated OS just fine.
Then came the big test: using the computer for day-to-day work and leisure. Against all odds, the extremely old Compaq and Windows 98 were able to offer a pretty respectable experience. Listening to music and watching movies was still as easy as it was back in 1998, and basic apps like Word and Excel still worked fine, which isn’t really much of a surprise.
The real challenge, of course, was attempting to browse the web, and that’s where things got a bit hairy. Once KernelEx was installed for expanded compatibility, the machine was able to run Opera 11, giving it some decent web browsing chops. However, Gmail and YouTube still didn’t load up correctly, which is a bit of a bummer, but using YouTube download sites like KeepVid allowed him to save the videos right to the computer and then play them locally. On top of that, many sites like Reddit and various forums were perfectly usable.
Just for fun, Oldtech81 even booted up some old PC games like Duke Nukem, Grand Theft Auto, and Carmageddon, all of which looked just like we remember them. It’s a really interesting look back, and a reminder of just how impressive Windows 98 was a couple of decades ago. Give it a watch if you feel like going on a nostalgia trip.