So you want to install Windows 98?

I’m detailing the basic process of installing Windows 98 SE on this nearly pristine Dell Inspiron 5100 that fell into my lap. It’s a Pentium 4 from the XP era of laptops, I’d guess released sometime around 2003 or so. The service tag doesn’t bring up any info on Dell’s site anymore since they purged it a long time ago, but none of that really matters anyways. They never released official drivers for it, so I’m having to make up everything as I go. 

The things that helped me the most are finding a giant universal driver pack, old video drivers, and installing USB mass storage device support. I’m not going to go over all the details on how to set up Windows or install drivers, just cover some of the basics of what worked for me. If you’re attempting something like this, chances are you’re savvy as it is. That or you’re insane. Or a little bit of both. 

I’ll have the drivers I needed linked at the bottom. For video drivers, you’ll be on your own to find those. There is a good chance they’re available though, AMD (then ATI) and nVidia were both great at supporting older OS’s, and finding their legacy drivers is a pretty simple Google search away. 

Universal Driver Pack

I obtained this from the Retro System Revival blog and you can find out more info clicking here. I wanted to rehost the installer just in case the page goes down and/or to lighten the server load. 

Contains 100,000 universal drivers
Holds drivers compatible with Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7
Compatible with 3com, Acer, AMD, AOpen, APC, Asus, AutoDesk, Brother, Canon, Creative, Epson, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Samsung, Toshiba, and many more brands!

Windows 98SE USB Mass Storage Device Drivers

This driver was a bit tougher to find. I’m not exactly sure where I got it, as the link to download it is dead. But it is the one I found that worked. You can find more info about it here. Once it is installed, Windows will pop up the new hardware found window when you plug in your thumb drive. Just follow the prompts and let it install the drivers manually. 

It’s important to note – Windows 98 does not support NTFS or exFat. You must format whichever thumb drive you’re using as Fat32. Windows 10/11 will only offer that as an option if the drive is 4gb or less. There are programs that let you format larger drivers, but there is a chance 98 will have no idea what the hell the drive is if it’s larger. I haven’t tried it, but keep those warnings in mind. Also, 98 only supports up to 512mb ram and a 137gb storage drive natively. 

Why would you this? Why not. It’s a fun little project, and old laptops are a great way to play some classic PC games. They can be had for dirt cheap, don’t take up a lot of space, and some of the specs were more than adequate enough to play most games from the Windows 98 and DOS era. 


Video cards are too damn big!

Modern video cards are the size of water melons, and about as heavy to boot. This is a problem since they barely fit in cases, and they block access to existing ports, which is a problem that I ran into recently.

I recently upgraded to an RTX 4080, from my 3080, to get some extra frames in Cyberpunk. The upgrade was totally worth it, as running it at the native 5120×1440 my ultrawide monitor supports was causing me issues. Mostly with the GPU running out of VRAM, as that resolution pushes the 10gb my old video card has. 

While worth it, the upgrade presented me with another issue. The new card is so damn big, my 2nd PCI-E x16 slot is completely blocked by the heatsink, which renders my capture card completely useless. But luckily there is a solution to this problem. And luckily for me, my case has vertical slots to side mount cards. 

Enter this little cable; the pci-e riser cable. 


For $35 from Amazon, one end pops into the port on the motherboard, and is low profile enough that it can fit under the cinder block sized heatsink. 

Worked like a friggin’ champ.

Flatiron Special Generator

A favorite local bar called Flatiron has some absolutely wild specials daily, which look quite appeasing. But for years, we’ve been joking that they must be using some random food generator to come up with the recipes, because the combinations are things that most sane people wouldn’t consider. Things like this: 

Nashville-Hot Blackened Shrimp & Collard Green Alfredo Cavatappi

Which sounds completely random, and might be. Either case, sounds completely delicious. We had been joking for ages though, that someone should create a food generator. Which sent me down a rabbit hole. A friend spent some time creating up a list of ingredients, which I used to generate a word list. 

I found some great code for a Adlib generator, which is what was the base of the code I used to create our new toy. 

 When you goto the page, it pulls from the word list we have created, and combines the 5 ingredients into the creation you see above. While my math isn’t the best, I believe there is about 90,000 potential combinations. So the likelihood of 2 people getting the same creation is pretty low. 

The actual code itself is pretty simple – there are 5 variables and it picks a random variable from the list. Each one is named: flavor, protein, dish, served, entree. The example above: General Tso is the flavor, Smoked Turkey is the protein, Quesadilla is the dish, Habanero is the served, and Hummus is the entree. 

The page pulls from the javascript and displays the output whenever someone visits the URL or clicks the Refresh button. It’s super simple, and was a fun coding exercise! On top of that, the staff loved it so much that they plan on using some of creations from the page one day.

You can either click here or click the Flatiron image above to visit the page. You definitely need to visit Flatiron in East Atlanta Village and try out some of their specials. The food is amazing and it’s a great atmosphere to throw down some beers. 

The Flatiron

Flushing Facebook and Twitter preview cache

I found some cool features that Facebook and Twitter both have which is great for indecisive people such as myself. Both social media platforms offer dev tools for flushing their preview cache. Links are at the bottom!

This has been useful for me since I’ve been posting Youtube videos on both lately, and sometimes find that the thumbnail doesn’t quite fit properly. 

The way they work is pretty simple – pop in the URL to your video (or website or whatever else) and click a button. 

With Facebook, you enter your URL then click on Debug. 

On the next screen, click Scrape Again and it will force Facebook to refresh it’s cache. From there, click Edit on your FB post and then pop in the URL again and it should have the updated preview. 

Twitter is much of the same process but a little trickier. Start with clicking ‘Preview Card’, which will show you the latest Card preview.

That should be it, but there is an extra step. Likely will still show the old preview. However, if you add something like ?123 at the end of the url ( for example) it will refresh with the latest preview. This doesn’t actually affect the URL you’re sharing and works a treat with Youtube videos. 

I wanted to share this since info since I had to dig around to find it. I imagine some other social media platforms offer similar tools, but these are the only two I really use for the moment. 

For Facebook – here is the link!
For Twitter – here is the link!

Another Smashed Dell

Not to be outdone by FedEx, UPS delivered a brand new Dell laptop and did their best to smash it as well. The real issue here is Dell’s packaging is terrible. A $2k laptop being shielded with 1 layer of the cheapest cardboard known to man isn’t a good start. At least they’re quick about sending replacements. 

Also, because it looked kind of cool, I took a pic of the busted screen and created a nice wallpaper out of it. Available for download in 1080p. 

FedEx strikes again!

FedEx delivered us a new laptop to the office that had clearly had someone jump up and down on the package before arrival! After being delayed several times, having a $1700 laptop show up in this condition is quite frustrating. The service and support from FedEx over the past few years has gone downhill quite a bit.