Windows 98 SE on a ThinkPad R61i


I installed Windows 98 SE French edition on my ThinkPad R61i.

Required :

First, use the Startup Disk to format the hard drive :

  1. Use fdisk to partition the drive.
  2. Use format c: to format the drive (took 3-4 hours for a 420 GB drive).
  3. Use fdisk /mbr to erase the old Debian booting screen (I used to dual-boot between Debian and Windows XP).

Important : Make sure you have a maximum of 1 GB of RAM or you will not be able to finish the installation.

I opened the laptop and found two RAM cards : 1 GB and 3 GB. I simply removed the 3 GB one.

Tip : When unscrewing the screws, tape them to the laptop without removing them so that they don't get lost.

To start the installation, boot to the Startup Disk with CD-ROM support and start install.exe from the CD-ROM.


Remove the Startup Disk from the USB floppy drive and follow the setup instructions (this part should be easy).

At this point, you should have a working Windows 98 installation.


USB key driver

To make installing the necessary drivers easier, you will need to install a driver for USB keys.

  1. Download the right version of the driver : French English.
  2. Burn it on a CD-R.
  3. Install it on the laptop.

USB floppy drive driver

Optionally, you may also install a driver for your USB floppy drive.

  1. Download
  2. Unzip it on a computer that has zip support.
  3. Place the folder on a USB key.
  4. Copy the MITSUMI folder to the laptop.
  5. Run setup.exe and follow the instructions.
  6. Reboot.
  7. Plug in the USB floppy drive.

The floppy drive should now be functionning.

Display driver

Now, you may have noticed that the screen is not at the right resolution.

You will have to install a universal display driver.

It is available online : Universal VBE Video Display Driver.

Steps to install :

  1. Download
  2. Unzip it on a computer that has zip support.
  3. Take the 128MB folder and put it on a USB key.
  4. Put the 128MB on the laptop (let's say at C:\128MB).
  5. Right click the Desktop and click Properties.
  6. Go to the Settings tab.
  7. Click Advanced.
  8. Click the Adapter tab.
  9. Click Change.
  10. Point Windows to the 128MB folder.
  11. You may now delete the 128MB folder.
  12. Reboot

Once installed, set the proper resolution :

Network drivers

Unfortunately, I am still not able to find a driver for the internal Ethernet card.

For, now, I am using a Belkin PCMCIA Wi-Fi card.

I was able to install it by plugging it in and using the f5d7010v3.exe driver.

To install :

  1. On Windows 98, double-click the f5d7010v3.exe self-extracting file.
  2. Insert the PCMCIA card. A driver installation wizard will open.
  3. Point Windows to the extracted folder.
  4. Go to Control Panel > Network > Double-click "Belkin 802.11g Wireless Card" > Advanced > SSID
  5. Enter the SSID of your Wi-Fi network.
  6. (You will unfortunately need to remove the password from your network)
  7. A reboot may be needed (I can't remember).
  8. Open Internet Explorer and enjoy.

Note that leaving the card plugged in while booting will slow down the boot.

I was not able to find the necessary software to set a WPA key. I instead secured the network as much as I could without having a password.

I made the network invisible, set its signal strenght to the minimum and only allowed my card's MAC address.