|Did the computer originally have 98SE on it?|
This series can have all sorts of operating systems on it - it appears starting with Win 95 there is a full list of downloads for it
If 98SE wasn't on it originally, if you were to use the downloads on the HP site you might need different ones.
E.g. Many Win 95 drivers and Win 98 drivers are the same or very similar, 98SE and ME drivers can be the same, but many 95 and 98 drivers cannot be used for 98SE or ME.
Earliest manuals listed put there in 2000
In User Guide - 05/00 (May 2000).
It's likely at that time that you could get the system with either 98SE or 2000 on it.
(98SE was first released ~ mid 1999; 2000 in ~ Dec. 1999)
There are two main situations for a restore disk set.
The older situation is the set's first disk can't also be used as the same way as a regular Windows disk.That set prompts you to insert the second disk, etc. Very little user input is required, other than changing disks when prompted to do so - it automatically installs a Product Key for the Windows version - for 2000 and up, it Activates Windows automatically in the background near the end of Setup. . When that set has finished installing, all the necessary drivers for system, and any included extra software that comes with the system, has already been installed.
I have reloaded only one brand name system with such a set - it was a Compaq or HP desktop that had XP Home on it.
The newer situation is the first disk is merely a slightly modified version of a regular OEM Windows disk (almost all the files, of the ones that have the same name that are on both, are identical ), which can be used the same way as a regular Windows disk.
I have seen several such sets, for newer Dell, HP, and Compaq systems, laptops and desktops, have used the first disk as a Windows disk to repair Windows, but I haven't used such a set to reload all the software yet.
It definitely does not have the drivers for your system built into Windows on the first disk.
- that set probably does not prompt you to insert the second disk when you boot with the first one - you have to know you need to insert the second disk, etc., and install the drivers, and any included extra software that comes with the system.
- you probably have to enter the Product Key yourself during Setup - you use the one on the official Microsoft label if it's present on the computer case. That label was not available for 98SE until after the beginning of 2000 - before that the Product key was printed on the front page of a Microsoft booklet that came with the computer, or that came with the Windows CD if it was a generic system or you used a retail or upgrade CD. If the set has 2000 or later on it, you probably have to Activate Windows yourself, near the end of Setup or after Setup has finished.
Your system was made at about the time that there was starting to be a switch from the first type of set to the second type, so it could be either type.
"Depending on how old the computer is that could mean you still need to download many updates and possibly service packs."
As far as I've seen, service packs are only available , or built into the contents of the CD(s), for the operating system itself, for 2000 and up. (There is a SP2 for IE 6 though, which is not the IE version included with 98SE).
For 98SE, after you have installed the necessary drivers yourself, or after they have been installed automatically by the set, you go to the Microsoft Update page on the Microsoft site, and have it Express search for updates - install all that apply, which is usually all of them.
NOTE that the version of Internet Explorer that comes with 98SE (and 98, an older version, and 95, an even older version, if it comes with it, the earliest disks didn't ) does NOT work properly on the web these days - it's unusable !
You need to install IE 6, or another newer browser version, before you can properly use the internet.
Installing IE 6 installs a lot of files that are not just for the IE browser - those are used by other programs as well, including other browsers, so it's important to install IE 6 even if you aren't going to use the IE 6 browser.
After you have installed IE 6, SP2
You need either the IE 6 download that starts the downloading of the rest of the files you need for IE 6 , or the full IE 6 install download, to be available for you to load, before you try to go on the internet. The former may fit on a floppy (I don't know where you get that anymore); the latter must be on a CD (98SE can't natively recognize USB flash drives; additional third party drivers are required to be installed for that).
Note that some software CDs you may already have may have IE 6 on them you can install (e.g. older AOL CDs - there is merely have a small amount of AOL labelling for some titles.)
Otherwise, you need to get a IE 6 download.
See Response 8, regarding IE 6 and Generic USB drivers, and Response 9, regarding the (Adobe) flash player and several other recommended programs you should or could install
Note that, these days, both IE 6 SP2 and Netscape 184.108.40.206 occasionally experience slow loading on some web pages because of (java) script being loaded on the page in 98SE.
In IE 6 SP2 you can't do anything about that.
In Netscape, you can either use the YesScript plug in, or you will get a message box in a short time, saying
Warning: Unresponsive Script
click on Stop script.
The page will then load faster, but you may need to do that again if you reload the page or load a different page.
In 98SE, there are some pages that don't work properly in IE 6 SP2; there are some web pages that don't work properly in Netscape; there are some that don't work with either (e.g. UTube)