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Redtoast - what Windows 98 should've been...
Redtoast Alpha 3 desktop, System Properties, copying files

Redtoast is the correct way to use Windows 98. No bloated IE shell, no 100MB of extra useless components, just the meat and bones of the improved kernel and expanded Win32 API powered by yesterday's Windows 95 shell.

While Redtoast is generally usable, it is basically a one-man project that is developed on and off, and as such you may run into issues in certain places. You can see the list of known issues with Redtoast here.

Floppy disk Download the latest release of Redtoast (Alpha 3a) (via FTP) (91.9 MB)

Reminder: Please do not sell Redtoast or any other Windows remasters, and do not sell computers bundled with Redtoast to avoid jeopardizing the 9x remastering community.

What's new for Alpha 3a?

Fixes issues with Internet Explorer not opening without the new shell installed and device detection. Also adds lines in MACHINE2.INF and MSHDC.INF for Intel chipset drivers. SYSDM.CPL reverted to original Windows 98 version.

A Sound Blaster 128 PCI WDM driver is also included for the sake of convenience for VMware users. Benchmarks will have to be done later to decide whether it is more practical to use WDM or VxD.

View full changelog

Latest Developments

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August 16, 2021 at 07:24 PM - So, this project slipped out of my mind yet again. As you might know, I recently moved to Linux full time, so I've had to rewrite the ISO building script to work in this new environment. I've confirmed that it works now, but it may still be yet longer before I can get Redtoast back up to speed. At this point I'm really not concerned with trying to get stubborn Microsoft programs working correctly under here, only USB 2.0 and other more practical updates. See you whenever...

July 01, 2021 at 06:53 AM - Hey, at least Visual Studio 6.0 seems to work all fine in Redtoast, minus the Java VM installation failure... but who needs that!!!

03:24 AM - Turns out some leftover Redtoast installation in VMware actually worked with Office 2000... don't know if it's a registry setting I changed or just the fact that I installed from a CD-ROM instead of over the network, but it's not crashing now; it's just failing to load the Office Assistant... not like it was ever needed. Either way, Microsoft's Windows 98 programs are way too stubborn. So much trouble just to get a newer usable operating system with a faster shell!

02:29 AM - The installation of Office 2000 on near-vanilla Windows 98SE with the 95 shell in place is a success... sort of. The shortcuts do not work, and Explorer crashes every time I open a program. At this rate I can only suggest you use Office 95 or 97 instead. Just why did this operating system have to not be normal, and require programs to be non-normal?

12:43 AM - It's been quite a long time since I last touched on this... yet again. This thing really isn't all that compelling to work on as I'd like it to be. Yes, it is mainly because that Office 2000 installer has me stumped. The best thing I could try now is take a stock 98SE installation and plop the 95 shell in there WITHOUT updating Internet Explorer, and see how that goes. Really, if Windows ME hadn't tried to gimp DOS/VxD support, I would've used that as a base for Redtoast instead.

Still, one development outside of this project may prove to be of use here. I recently rewrote Infsect, a command line INF editor, to be better suited to the limited PSP in MS-DOS and more stable all around. Since Windows 9x Setup is driven by INF files, the new program could really come in handy so as to give Redtoast an "express setup" routine that outclasses that of Windows 95D Lite. It'll just need a few extra functions, particularly one that would be suited to letting the user select a time zone from a list. By the time Alpha 4 is finally ready to drop, Infsect should be in a state where it can be very useful for batch scripts!

Check out the development miniblog to see more of the latest advancements in Redtoast's development, and feast on the screenshots to really get an idea of what's coming up next!

No Name Change

(UPDATE 5/20/2021) 189 users have voted on which name this project should settle on, and the majority of them have decided it's best to stick with the running codename Redtoast. So that is how it shall stay. I suppose it's for the better since it means I'll be a lot more free to brand this how I want wherever it is practical.

What should Redtoast's release name be?

Super Windows 9828
Windows 98 Chicago24
Windows LE (Legacy Edition)54
Purple Belugy10
Redtoast (leave unchanged)73

Poll completed on May 18, 2021

Many thanks for your input, and confirming that the relatively simple poll form programmed for this is stable!

What's Next?

While Redtoast is very much usable, it is far from complete. Here is a list of some things that it'll need in the future:

Newer Drivers

Windows 98 comes with a decent set of newer drivers for later hardware by default, but it's still not going to be enough for a lot of builds. You're probably going to be installing a 3dfx Voodoo3, GeForce 256, or something to that degree, and it would be great to be able to have those installed immediately alongside Redtoast. Windows 95D Lite already does this, so it's really a matter of catching up to it.

More Updates

Redtoast has a number of updates integrated already, but may still have yet more to go. Some new optional components are also desirable, including Windows Messaging from Windows 95, Remote Desktop Connection, and maybe KernelEx. There might be more, this is just all I can think of right now.

Help Documentation

As of now, most of the Help documents are gone. They were removed because they rely on the Internet Explorer help engine, so what I want to do much later on is create replacement Help documents in the legacy WinHelp format. This could be a very daunting task and I'm not willing to take it on alone, so I encourage you to experiment with the Microsoft Help Compiler I've mirrored on my site, as well as a decompiler written by several authors over the years. Contact me if you wish to make any contributions.

Internet Explorer?!

Now, this sounds like it would just compromise the whole point of Redtoast, but here's the thing: if you try to install Internet Explorer yourself on here, the components will be available, but you can't actually use the program. Unlike with installing Internet Explorer on Windows 95, the installer assumes certain things that allow it to skip certain parts of file copying that would otherwise be necessary on a Windows 95 installation without Internet Explorer... because Windows 98 ALWAYS has Internet Explorer, right?

As of Alpha 3a, the essential web browsing functions of Internet Explorer 5.5 and the new shell are available. In later builds I plan to add new versions of the other internet components back in, such as NetMeeting and Windows Media Player. Other things forcibly installed by Windows 98 before will also be componentized, such as the Task Scheduler that never really gets used these days.

Download old releases of Redtoast here