Software for Windows 9x and Windows 3.1

Here is a collection of freely downloadable utilities that you may find useful for vintage Windows systems. Testing has been primarily done via Windows 98SE at the moment, but some programs may be compatible with Windows 95 and Windows 3.1 as well. Software on this listing has been tested on my computer(s) and shown to work and be at least moderately useful; I've done what I am able to sift through all the buggy and subpar software out there to find what I consider the best options but make no guarantee that any of these will work for you.

As many of the programs listed here are 20+ years old and it may be difficult or impossible to complete registration for them any more, I am only including shareware programs if they are sufficiently useful even in their unregistered form. Some optional features may be disabled in these programs but none of them should be obnoxious, overtly crippled or rigged to expire. If you are the author of any of these programs and are still offering registrations, please contact me so I can add relevant up-to-date links for doing so. Gratis programs have been preferred where feature sets are comparable.

Further, due to the volatile nature of the web particularly with regards to older files, I am now hosting downloads for all programs listed here on my page. In cases where a program homepage is listed you might wish to check for newer versions (I will note if new versions are known to remove Windows 9x support).

For software version, I note the latest version I have tested to work, while for Windows version I note the earliest version I have tested to work. As of the current writing, I have not tested any Windows version other than 98SE.

Many DOS programs will also work on a Windows 9x system although some may require a restart into the command line.

(Un)archivers and File Split-Join Programs

Programs that can work with .ZIP and similar files.

SoftwareSoftware VersionWindows VersionDescriptionLicenseDownloadSite
7-Zip9.2298SEExcellent compression/decompression software for .7Z, .ZIP and other archive formats.

This is a dated version; new versions no longer support Windows 9x.
LGPL7z922.exe
Source code
Homepage
HJ-Split3.098SESplit/join files (e.g. for floppy disk storage/transfer), also offers an MD5 checksums calculator and basic file compare.Freewarehjsplit.zipHomepage

File Editors, Checkers & Patchers

SoftwareSoftware VersionWindows VersionDescriptionLicenseDownloadSite
Metapad3.698SENotepad replacement, light & no-nonsense, can load big files and can also handle UNIX-formatted texts.
A good choice if you just want something similar to the default Notepad but more capable, although it can be rather slow.
GPL3metapad36.zip
Source code
Homepage
ICY Hexplorer2.698SEHex editor, excellent with many useful features including pixel viewer to search for image data in files, x86 opcode disassembling, etc.GPL2hex_setup26.exe
Source code
Sourceforge page
HashCalc2.0298SECalculates file checksums. Offers a wide variety of methods including the common CRC32, MD5 and SHA1 as well as more exotic ones.
Download contains a .ZIPed setup EXE.
Freewarehashcalc.zipSlavaSoft Homepage
Lunar IPS1.0298SECreate and apply IPS patches in order to transform a base file into an edited version.
The IPS format is commonly used in the ROM-hacking scene.
Freewarelips102.zipFuSoYa's Niche

Game Editors

SoftwareSoftware VersionWindows VersionDescriptionLicenseDownloadSite
PakExplorer1.298SEBrowse, extract, and compile .PAK files, the data archive format used by Quake, Quake II and Hexen II.Freewarepakexplr.zip
AdQuedit1.398SEWorks with various Quake formats, insert/extract graphics etc.
Some handy features include being able to replace textures contained in compiled maps or models (reskin a creature, etc.)
Freewareadquedit_v13.zip

Graphics & Painting

SoftwareSoftware VersionWindows VersionDescriptionLicenseDownloadSite
GrafX22.4.203598SEPaint program with lots of nice features, DeluxePaint-ishHomepage
Wally1.55b98SEPaint program specialized for Quake textures, including support for the Quake II .WAL format.Freewarewally_115b.exe

Music

SoftwareSoftware VersionWindows VersionDescriptionLicenseDownloadSite
Auto Composing System2.498SEPseudorandom MIDI generator. Could be useful for inspiration or to make a base file to edit off of.
Note that each time you hit play on the program, it will start overwriting the previously generated MIDI files, so if you make any you want to keep, copy them somewhere first.
Freewareauto24le.zip
Mad Tracker 22.0.998SEModule music editor. Saves to .XM or its own .MAD format, can load from others also.Sharewaremt209.zip