Where Can I Download Windows 98?

A Windows 98 download might be hard to find

Screenshot of the Windows 98 Startup Screen
Windows 98 Startup Screen.

There are several reasons you might want to download Windows 98. For example, if you need to install Windows 98 but you've lost your original Windows 98 Setup CD, downloading a Windows 98 ISO would get you out of that bind.

You might want to download Windows 98 just to try out the operating system or to put it on a second computer at home. Windows can be expensive, so finding a place to download an older operating system like Windows 98 for free is an enticing thought.

Pretty much everything is available on the internet for free, right?

Windows 98 Download

There are several places online to download Windows 98 but none of them are legal. Windows 98 is not distributed online so there is no legitimate way to download Windows 98, even from Microsoft.

No matter where you find it, be it on a software download site or through a torrent website, any Windows 98 download you find online is illegal. In fact, downloading Windows 98 online is probably the last thing you want to do if you expect to get a clean version free from malware or bugs.

It's important to note as well that even if you did download Windows 98, what you would get is an image of the Windows 98 Setup CD. For example, you would probably download an ISO file like windows-98-se.iso, or something like that. You would then burn that ISO image to a CD that you would use to install Windows 98.

The only legal course of action when you need a copy of Windows 98 is to actually buy a new copy of Windows 98. It's that simple.

How to Buy Windows 98

One option is to find an untainted copy of Windows 98 online. However, given that Windows 10 is the newest operating system from Microsoft, and Windows 98 is several versions old, you might find it challenging to find a copy.

Your best bet is to buy Windows 98 on Amazon, but you might have luck other places, too, like eBay. Just remember that if you find a Windows 98 download on an obscure website, and especially if it's free or very cheap, chances are it's not a legal download and could contain viruses.

In many ways, however, what you actually pay for when you legally purchase a copy of Windows 98 is the product key (sometimes referred to as a CD key or key code, or incorrectly as the serial number). This unique number is required during an installation of Windows 98. So, even if you did download Windows 98, you would still need a valid Windows 98 product key to install and use Windows.

Important: There are ways to hack Windows 98 to make it work with a product key created from a keygen program, but that's definitely not a legal or safe way to get a Windows 98 key.

Note: If you actually do have a valid Windows 98 CD but you're looking for your product key, there is a way to find it. See How to Find the Windows 98 Product Key for easy instructions.

If you do in fact have your Windows 98 product key but you're missing your Setup CD, you could argue that, since you did actually purchase Windows 98 and you have a valid product key, downloading a Windows 98 CD image from anywhere should be within your rights.

At this time, however, the only legal way of obtaining a Windows 98 CD is a legal purchase of the operating system. We suggest contacting Microsoft for a replacement Windows 98 Setup CD, assuming you can show proof of purchase. However, since Windows 98 is a retired operating system, you may have trouble doing that.

Windows 98 Alternatives

If you want to download Windows 98 because you need an operating system on your computer, know that it was released and available to the public in 1998, so it's clearly a very old operating system.

Since then, Microsoft has released several other versions of Windows with new features and improvements, so you don't really need to download Windows 98 when you can just pick from the modern options available today.

Windows 10 is Microsoft's newest OS, so if you're looking for the most up-to-date Windows version, you can download Windows 10. However, many people still use Windows 8 and Windows 7.