How to Use USB Drives With Windows 98

Introduction: How to Use USB Drives With Windows 98

About: I love programming, 3d printing, and electrical design. I am about to start my 1st year at PennState.

When I was a kid, my first experience with computers was with Windows 98. I remember doing things like playing solitaire and making my grandparents gift cards in Print Shop. Times have changed a lot since the times of W98 and one of those changes is USB. If you have your own W98 machine in 2018 you have probably realized that USB thumb drives don't work natively. That is where this instructable comes in.

First of all, why would you need USB support? Or even a 98 machine for that reason?

The reasons for using W98 vary from person to person but some of the most common reasons are:

  1. Retro Gaming
  2. Programs that only work on 98
  3. Working with floppies and ATA drives
  4. Nostalgia

So, without further ado, let's jump into it!

Step 1: Supplies

This process is relatively simple but it is important to have a few key components.

  • A modern computer with:
    • An internet connection
    • A way to send files to the W98 computer (ex: disk drive)
  • Keyboard and mouse with a PS/2 connector (image 1 and 2)
  • W98 install disk
  • Flash drive (image 3 is mine)


  • You will be deleting USB drivers so you can't use a USB keyboard and mouse. After the installation, however, you can switch to USB. (image 4)
  • Technically you don't need a PS/2 mouse but it's a lot easier to not have to tab around when installing the drivers.

Step 2: Download the New Driver

First, you are going to want to download the new driver on your modern computer.

You can find it here . (If this link isn't working just send me a message and I can send it to you directly)

After the driver is on your modern computer, you need to transfer it to the W98 PC. There are a few ways to do this such as a CD or a floppy disk. If your W98 computer doesn't have a CD drive, you can always pick them up for a few bucks at a thrift store.

Once you get the driver on the W98 PC, you are going to want to put it somewhere easy to access like your Desktop or Documents. This is extremely important if you aren't using a mouse for the installation.

Remember where you put the file and move on to the next step without running it.

Step 3: Delete Old Drivers

Before you install the driver, you are going to have to delete all of the old USB drivers. You can do this by right-clicking on "My Computer" (if you don't have a mouse, use tab and arrow keys to select "My Computer" and press the menu key.) and select properties.

Once in properties, select the "Device Manager" tab and scroll down to the bottom.

Expand the "Universal Serial Bus controllers" and delete all of the drivers.

Now you can close out the properties menu and return to the desktop.

Step 4: Install Drivers and Restart

All that is left is to run "nusb36e". Just run the driver, accept the Licence Agreement, and install it.

After you are done, simply restart the computer and when it reboots you should have access to USB flash drives.

Something to keep in mind: I can't guarantee that every drive will work, so if your drive is still not recognized, try a different flash drive. I'd also suggest using USB 2.0 drives.

Step 5: Conclusion

If everything worked properly, you should now have access to external storage. Now you can transfer files freely. Something to keep in mind, however, is that you still have to make sure the files you are trying to transfer are supported by W98. This includes things like word documents and zip files. Something else to keep in mind is that your W98 computer probably only has a couple of gigs of storage so this can also be used as a semi-permanent storage option if you just leave your drive plugged into the back of your PC.

So guys, I hope you enjoyed this instructable and found it useful. If you have any comments or questions make sure to post them down below. Good luck in your retro endeavors!

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    Question 1 year ago on Step 1

    Hello Chris.
    Dell Latitude D620.
    I made all the procedure, after the installation, when Restarting the computer, got a "blue" "A fatal exception 0E... at 0167:BFF90FB... " windows error , the startup is never finished, the "send watch" is permanently on the screen.
    can you help please?


    2 years ago

    Thanks, this is useful. Is the usb driver for Win 98 FE or Win 98 SE? No mention of the Win 98 version on the download page. I have an old computer with Win 98 SE and it would be handy to be able to use a usb flash drive.


    Reply 2 years ago

    It said Windows 98SE.


    2 years ago

    It works thank you!


    3 years ago on Step 5

    Thank you sir, you made my day!


    4 years ago on Step 5

    Ha! Still remember Bill Gates announcing Win98 and USB at a convention. His demo of USB crashed the Win98 computer. Just another embarrassing moment in personal computer history....