System Updates And My Maintenance Batch File

By Andrew Westcott


Along with modern operating systems, I still run a few Windows 98 installations here for particular tasks. I find this older operating system does everything I need in these instances, runs the software I use without any problems and doesn't come with all the bloat of later Microsoft operating systems. This isn't some die-hard attitude - it's simply that I have never seen any point in paying for a newer operating system which does exactly the same as the old, only slower, and won't run much of the software I have purchased in the past.

I know there are still many people out there using Win98, and this page aims to support those users in my own little way. Updates from Microsoft were discontinued many years ago, but I managed to save many of the files before the service was withdrawn. Further down the page you'll find a list of critical updates, enhancements and bug fixes as originally offered, virus-free and unmodified.

Apart from the Microsoft goodies, I offer a batch file I wrote to assist in removing junk files which can accumulate on a well-used Windows 98 system, some of which can only be deleted from pure DOS mode. Now it's just a case of restarting in MS-DOS once in a while, executing the batch file and running whichever option I choose. To aid my memory, it also creates a log file on the root of the C drive of the jobs completed and the date. I realise that there are other batch files for doing this kind of system cleaning available on the internet, some of which are worse than others, but this one gives me all the flexibility and options I require, and is easy to use.

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This batch file is offered 'as is', and with all faults; No guarantee is given or implied by the offering of this software that it will be safe to use on your particular installation and you use it entirely at your own risk. It is entirely your responsibility to ensure that you have adequate backups and I cannot be held liable for any problems which may arise either directly or indirectly from its use or abuse.

It is important that you only use this batch file on a Windows 98 system, and that you follow and understand any instructions given, either here or within the program. A moderate knowledge of computer systems is advisable to ensure you know what the program is doing.

Instructions For Use

This batch file is offered in both the bare bat and in zip format. The zip version must be downloaded and then unzipped into your Windows folder - it won't work if you place it anywhere else. If you don't have an unzipping utility, download Winzip or Winrar to do the job - both are available with a free trial period.

Please do not link directly to these files, as they may change name or location.
Please link only to the page.

Version 14.11.22 in .ZIP format
Version 14.11.22 in .BAT format

IMPORTANT! The file must be placed into your C:\WINDOWS folder to work.

Those of you already using my file, check your version number and if the one on offer here is more recent than the one you have, simply download it, allowing this new file to overwrite the old one. You can check your version by opening a DOS box from within Windows, accessible via the program menu as the 'MS-DOS Prompt', typing in 'clean' and pressing the return key. Do it right now if you like!

This batch file can only be run properly in true DOS mode, therefore if an attempt is made to launch the file from within Windows by either clicking on the file or launching it from a DOS box, I have designed it to refuse to run whilst displaying a message to this effect.

In order to run the batch file correctly, you must first shut the computer down to MS-DOS mode by selecting that option from the shutdown menu, as in the image below:

Image of the shutdown dialogue box

After a few seconds once the computer has shut down from Windows the DOS prompt will appear with a flashing cursor, as in the image below:

Image of a DOS prompt

Simply type in the name of the batch file, which is CLEAN, press the enter or return key and it will begin to run, and after a few seconds during which the file prepares and checks its environment, you will be offered a list of cleaning jobs available. Simply decide on the option you require and follow the instructions.

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The options currently available are:

  1. Clean out temporary Internet Explorer files and other junk
  2. Remove all IE internet history files
  3. Remove all IE cookies
  4. Delete all Windows TEMP files
  5. Renew your icon cache
  6. Repair and compact the registry
  7. Perform a scan of your hard drive
  8. Perform options 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 in one go
  9. Close the program and return to MS DOS

The most useful and frequently used is option 1, the rest doing more specific cleaning which doesn't need to be performed on such a regular basis. Options 1, 2 and 3 clear out accumulated files which can also be removed within Internet Explorer, but in addition to these files, certain other normally hidden and undeletable files are also removed. It is in fact highly beneficial to delete your temporary internet files and cookies using the removal feature in Internet Explorer before running this program, as otherwise it could take a considerable amount of time to delete them from DOS.

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Microsoft Updates For Windows 98SE

The following section is devoted to ensuring the updates for Win98SE remain available, as it seems difficult to find a reliable source of unadulterated files these days. The files on offer here are those obtained directly as updates back in the day, and I've zipped them with a short text file quoting Microsoft's comment on the particular file. You should be running Second Edition, but if not it should be updated - original installation CR-ROMs are available if you look around.

If embarking on a new installation:
•  Ensure you have all the required drivers to hand, and have tested them.
•  Then partition your hard drive. I'll explain why in a moment.
(I'm assuming you know enough about computers to NOT partition a drive that already has a Windows installation on it, as this will result in EVERYTHING being deleted.)

Using FDISK, create a primary DOS partition of between 500Mb and a few Gb (depending on whether you are a gamer or not), then create an extended DOS partition filling the rest of the HDD. Finally, create a logical drive in the extended DOS partition. Be sure to make the C: partition active, to enable the computer to boot from it. Oh... and don't forget to format both partitions.

The reasoning behind this is that once you've got a nice, clean and stable Windows 98SE installation you should create an image of it on the D: partition, so it can be reinstated if and when required. I strongly recommend Damien Guibouret's Partition Saving software. Ensure any saved files are also stored on the D: partition, as everything on the C: partition will be deleted when an image is reinstated.

I tend to save several images: one after an initial install with nothing done to it, another once all drivers have been installed, another once I have configured everything, done the registry hacks and installed my chosen updates, and a final one once I have installed my core software. (I defrag before each image save, because I feel better for doing it that way.) By saving the installation at several ponts, I can choose at which stage I wish to reinstate the install.

Defrag & Scandisk - 0.1Mb
Package consisting of defrag.exe and scandskw.exe. Place both files into your Windows folder, allowing them to overwrite the files already there. It may be a good idea to back up the originals first, in case the replacements arrive corrupted. These files originate from Windows ME and are an improvement on the original '98 ones. Run Defrag to see the difference in speed!

Assorted Updates - 10Mb
Package consisting of 33 updates, including critical updates and various patches. These files are the ones originally downloaded from Microsoft, and as such you will need to install them one at a time, and although a restart is needed, this can be deferred until the lot have been installed. (The pack includes an update for Dial-Up Networking - obviously there's no need to install this unless you use a dial-up modem.)

Hopefully this information has been useful to someone out there.

I can be e-mailed at this address: