I maintain several computers for a small Sign & Screen printing company, who use Windows 98SE for their main vinyl plotting computers. The reason (I'll try to keep this short) is because the store owner has a few years of age on her and she really didn't like the newer versions of the plotting software they use, so they've stuck with a version that really only works in Windows 98. (I've tried to talk them into upgrading and it hasn't happened yet...)
With that out, I received a call from them that one of the Windows 98 computers wasn't working. I stopped by, thinking it was a power supply issue so I took another one along with me. The test power supply didn't fix the issue so I figured it was the motherboard. Long story short, I couldn't find the exact motherboard they had with the computer, being a fairly newer P4 /w sata board, but still couldn't find an exact replacement. So, I moved them over to a Dell Optiplex GX270. (If anyone tells you a GX270 won't run 98, they don't know what their doing...) In the end, I re-installed windows, which removed the ability to do TCP/IP based printing.
Now, I had run into this issue before with this same company in trying to get these two Windows 98 computers to print to a network printer. I was able to get one of them going because it showed the 'Standard TCP/IP Port' in the printer ports. But, the other one didn't. Well, after setting up the new computer, I ran into the problem again. A missing 'Standard TCP/IP Port' for Windows 98. Apparently, the computer that fried, was the one that had the port in the beginning. So, I ended up with two windows 98 computers that wouldn't print to a network printer. Next thing to do? Research it on the Internet.
Previous researching I did, came up with absolutely nothing on how to add the 'Standard TCP/IP Port' into Windows 98. I thought maybe it was print sharing, or Dial-up Networking (Hey, Win98 was weird like that...) These did nothing to magically add the TCP/IP port that Windows 2000 and XP are so blessed with.
After a few minutes of research, I came across an article that suggested downloading a file from Hewlett Packard to install the "HP Standard TCP/IP Port". I figured since the printer I needed to setup was an HP, I'd give it a try. Much to my surprise, the file worked like a charm! I used the file on both Windows 98 computers and voila! I now have a "HP Standard TCP/IP Port" and can print to the network printer! A bit more research outlined that Windows 98 by default, doesn't have any type of built in TCP/IP printer port and it must be installed separately which explains the following file.
Since the original location to download the file from HP doesn't work (ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/networking/software/hpspm98.exe)
I have attached the file to this page for downloading.
Please keep in mind that this file has been tested with an HP based printer and I have no idea or guarantee that it will work on a non-HP based printer. I'm pretty sure it will, but I don't know since I haven't tested it. The file is very HP branded but the way it works seems to be pretty generic and "should" work with any IP based printer.
If you need help actually setting the printer up as a TCP/IP port, the following article pretty well outlines how to do this:
I won't go into detail with it, but basically you add a local printer as a LPT port first, then once the printer is setup you go into the properties of the printer and change it from LPT to TCP/IP.
2008/05/22 Update: I found another page that gives a more "true fix" for this issue. It seems as though it might work in theory but I personally have not tried it and really like how easy it was to use HP's solution. Here You can find the other article that explains how to fix the Missing TCP/IP Port Problem.