Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

Why won't Win98 recognize my new hardware?

I am trying to install a wireless network on four computers. These
computers all have the same motherboard, but vary from Celeron 300 Mhz to 700
Mhz with min. of 64MB Ram, and using Win 98 Se operating systems. I bought 4
D-Link DWL-G510 PCI Cards which on the box says should work. Windows does not
find any of the network cards. I have changed positions of the PCI Slots with
no help. I go to Device manager and there is no new hardware to find. I went
ahead and exchanged one of the D-Links with a Linksys and still have the same
problem. After spending some time with their help desk, they were unable to
give me any usefully information. I can take the same devices and the wireless
router and install them on other computers that are 300Mhz, 64 M Ram using
Windows SE with no problems. The only thing I can think of is with the
motherboards. Any ideas?

Personally, I like to blame Windows 98 when there are new hardware detection
problems. It’s too bad you don’t have more RAM and WinXP.

But I do have an idea or two.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!

The first is your motherboard’s BIOS. Plug-and-Play requires a little help
from the BIOS. Especially in older machines PnP support might not be there at
all or might not be enabled if it is. So check for BIOS upgrades for those
motherboards, and double check that PnP, if listed, is enabled.

Another approach is just to install the drivers anyway. If those cards come
with driver software, I’d install it even if Windows didn’t recognize the
cards. Back in the days before plug and play, this was in fact the way it had
to be done: drivers had to be installed before the hardware would be

And yes, as you suspect, the motherboards themselves may be an issue as

But I still like to blame Windows 98. That’s one more reason why my home is
a Win98-free zone.

Do this

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

19 comments on “Why won't Win98 recognize my new hardware?”

  1. I bought the same dlink DWL-G510 PCI Card 2 days ago and I cant get my PC to detect the presence of the card. I am running windows 2000 on an AMD K-6 on 64 ram. I also tried switching PCI slots and I even upgraded to windows xp but the card still wouldnt be detected. I then formatted and went back to windows 2000. Any help on solving this problem would be greatly appreciated!

  2. I have found that wireless PCI network cards don’t seem to work in older machines with a PCI 2.1 bus but will work in machines with a PCI 2.2 bus. Maybe the same problem?

  3. Always check Device Manager.
    Control panel, to system, to device manager.
    If there is anything in there listed as
    “other devices” make sure you delete any of them.
    Windows 98 has a tendency to select it’s drivers as silently Windows boots; you may never see Windows recognize your new device as it decides what it is and installs a driver without your knowledge.
    Always check this as it is common.
    Good luck, Terry

  4. Hello,

    I just bought DWL-G510 PCI and have exactly the same problem. Tried it on 2 different computers running Win 98SE with no detection. Tried different IRQ and Bios setting’s, checked device manager….and so on with no results.

    The card work’s find on WinXP.

    Did you get any clue on how to fix this problem ?



  5. I agree with Peter regarding the PCI version issue. The G510 appears to require v2.2 compliant PCI slots, although that is conveniently missing from the system requirement on the box. Most boards prior to PIII have v2.1 PCI slots. I’ve tested my G510 on three older systems, and only the PIII (w/PCI 2.2) recognized the hardware. There does seems to be a few 802.11b cards that work with PCI 2.1, but I’m still looking for a “g” card myself.

  6. I also have a similar problem, but the funny thing is that my DWL-G510 wireless card works on my PII running Win2k board fine and on my PIII board running WinXP doesn’t. Does not recognize it at all. Can anyone please help me out here. Would appreciate it.



  7. I run win2k server with my DWL-G510 on a brand new AMD Athlon 64, the card works fine.. for a couple of hours or even days, then it says: “Card not found” the only thing to do is to reboot, and then it works like a charm, for a couple of hours or days. Strange huh?

  8. Very. I’d check for latest drivers, and on a really off-chance, check for overheating … make sure the card and PC are getting enough ventilation.

  9. i have brought a linksys wireless pci card to install on my computer down stairs. My new computer upstairs is directly connected to the modem, throught the router. i installed the pci card on my win 2000 computer down stairs. The computer won’t reconize it. I called linksys and they were no help, can someone please help me.

  10. I’m having the same problem installing a Netgear WG311 adapter. I see on the box it requires a PCI 2.2 compliant bus. My motherboard is a pc100 super7 that’s about 7 yrs old. Probably the problem, huh? Version 2.1 strikes again? Is there any way to upgrade this, or do I have to break down and just buy a new m’board/cpu and start all over. I know, it’s old but it’s good for the wife and kids to bash around on. I’d llke to just keep using it if I can.

  11. I’m having a similar problem with a customer’s computer. I can’t install any drivers. It has Windows 98 SE and is a Compaq Presario 5441. I’ve tried installing the drivers but Windows doesn’t recognize the devices at all. The video is only basic video, that won’t even upgrade. Any ideas?

  12. i just installed a fresh version of windows 98 SE on my computer, then tried to hook up my modem from my other computer to it. But the computer cannot recognize the modem. Its a newer one from telus called “D-Link, DSL-300G”. Im not sure why it cant recognize it, can you help me, is my modem to new?

  13. I found that the G510 is not supported on either version of win98. I had one that was working on a Win2k machine. After reformating and installing win98. The drivers would not install even though windows detected it. Dlink’s website says that they do not have drivers for win98 and thus it is not supported. Their tech support confirmed this.

  14. I’m installing an HP 3420 Deskjet Printer on a machine running Windows 98 the machine install the software but still won’t detect the printer. I even use the add printer and add hardware wizard and it still wont work. I’m not sure if it is the USB port that causing it, it one of those USB cards that goes into the PCI slot. someone please help me.

  15. Hello. I have a problem…My computer doesn’t want to detect my device. I run on Windows 98 and my device is a Philips JackRabbit JR32RWDV. When I connect it to my computer, it works(the lights of my device will work),but my computer will not detect it.Where to go?? I only want to burn a cd!
    Please help me..
    Thank you

  16. I have 2 PCs running Win98SE. One is a Gateway with an AMD K7, purchased in 2000. New pci wireless nic works just fine. Two is a PII 400mhz w/PC-Chips mb built 1998. Has pci 2.1 slots and the new wireless nic won’t work. Windows recognizes the card but hangs up during installation of the driver. I’ve ordered a wireless nic which shows to be compatible w/2.1 – we shall see!

  17. I can not figure out why my sound will not work. I have it built in on the mother board and I can’t get it to work. The funny thing is though I got it working before but now I can not figure out how to work it again. I recently had my computer formatted, and re-instaled Win98, so I’m wondering if that has anything to do with it, also I’ve noticed my games are running really slow, and I have enough RAM, HD space, and a 850 Mhz Prcser. So I can’t figure that out either. Well thank you for your time, and I hope you can help me out. Thanks, Scott.

  18. hi, i need help i dont no anything about computers but i have windows 98 i use to have windows xp but it crashed so i had to go to windows 98 i dunno if tha matters or not but when i try to install aol it says that it cant detect my modem n the modem they are givin me is lik (tcp summin) with broadband and i have no idea how to get it to work can u help me???


Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.