A Clean Slate: New Beginnings for Windows 98 and Me
Reinstalling Windows 98 and Me is trickier than reinstalling XP and 2000, but in many ways the process is the same: Follow all the steps in "Be Prepared."
My driver-copy batch file for Windows 98 and Me also copies the data folders that reside inside C:\Windows to a backup folder named 'c:\datawin'. Because you must delete the old Windows folder before you install the new one, this data must be moved to a safe place. The folders that must be saved are All Users, Application Data, Desktop, Favorites, Local Settings, Profiles, SendTo, and Start Menu (not every installation has all of these folders). C:\My Documents doesn't need to be copied to a different location--it's already outside the Windows folders. If the PC has multiple users, everyone's individual My Documents folder is actually inside C:\Windows\Profiles, which my batch file will back up.
Start With a Floppy
You need a startup floppy to reinstall Windows 98 and Me. To create one, have a blank, formatted floppy disk ready and select Start, Settings, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs. Click Startup Disk, Create Disk, and follow the prompts.
Next, reboot your system from that floppy. At the Startup Menu, select Start computer with CD-ROM support. Once DOS has loaded with a generic CD-ROM driver, put your Windows CD-ROM into the drive. At the DOS prompt, type dir x:, where x is your CD-ROM drive letter. This letter is probably one up from the CD drive letter that you're used to, so if Windows sees your CD drive as D:, it will probably be recognized as E: here. (Windows Me will show you the correct drive letter on screen.) Type c:\windows\command\deltree /y c:\windows (don't forget the spaces after "deltree" and "/y") and press Enter. Once you're back at the A> prompt, type x:setup, where x is again the CD drive letter, and press Enter. Follow the prompts. Don't forget to remove the floppy before Windows reboots.
(If your PC was set up for multiple users, select Start, Settings, Control Panel, Users (in 98) or Start, Settings, Control Panel, view all Control Panel options, Users (in Me). Use the exact log-in names that were used previously; each is now the name of a folder inside c:\datawin\profiles. Once you've re-created each user log-in, reboot and press Esc to bring you to Windows without logging you in as a specific user.)
Finally, select Start, Run, type xcopy c:\datawin\*.* c:\windows /s /h /r, and press Enter. If you're prompted about overwriting a file, press a for 'All'. When xcopy is finished, reboot your PC and follow the instructions in "Finish the Job."