I have a Epson Stylus Color 740 and have had it for years now. It is very finicky.
I would unplug the printer and replug, then press and hold ink button. Have you installed the drivers for your printer?
Win 98 needs the drivers. If they have gone bad you need to re-install the drivers.
It sounds like you computer lost or forgot it has a printer. Re-install the printer program and then go to Epson.com to get an upgrade to your printer.
Let us know,
P.S. If I don't get back to you...PM me. I am very busy at this time.
Your Hardware Guide.