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Author Topic: Making my life difficult - Windows 98 - advice needed  (Read 8714 times)
iphigenie
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« on: March 06, 2009, 12:43:21 PM »

My in laws have been talked into donating one of their old PCs to a lovely old lady, and I am tasked with cleaning it and putting some reasonable basics on it.

Problem is the machine is running win98, and has been gathering dust for a few years now so it has very out of date software and updates on it. I can't seem to be able to download the browser(s) to do anything useful (netscape 4 just refuses to go to any page as it is out of date) or to get any updates.

I know some people use win98 around the forum - either on old machines or as a testing platform, so you might have a collection of links for the updated MS libraries and perhaps basics such as browsers, virus scanners etc. Would love any advice eg small utilities, tricks etc to make it more friendly/up to date.

Browsers: Opera is available for Win98, if the memory fits I might use that (not sure about the memory yet). Amaya is available too. As far as I can tell IE 7 or 8 are not available for win98, neither is ff3. Chrome and Safari don't work. Kmeleon works, i have been told. And I have heard of another browser called "the world". So far that is all. If I dont have the ram for opera it'll be an odd set of choices.

Anti Virus: Clamwin and AVG are the only ones offering a win98 offering that I can tell, at least in the free crowd.

I'm going through a "windows 98" word search on fileforum to see what's available http://fileforum.betanews...indows+98&x=0&y=0
and http://fileforum.betanews...;description=&os[]=15&last_days=&alphabeta=&min_rating=&licenses[]=Freeware&licenses[]=Open+Source&search_advanced=Search+Fileforum
« Last Edit: March 06, 2009, 12:53:06 PM by iphigenie » Logged
app103
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2009, 12:49:47 PM »

K-Meleon would be the best choice on 9x. Anything else is outdated or inferior.

As far as getting the updates, there is an unofficial service pack that should have everything from MS in it, and then some, available on this forum...along with any and all info you would need about software for running Win98 in the modern world.

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showforum=8

See the sticky posts in that section for all the info you need.

Oops, forgot the other link with the rest of the goodies that you will most likely be amazed by:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showforum=91
« Last Edit: March 06, 2009, 12:52:45 PM by app103 » Logged

MilesAhead
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2009, 01:01:31 PM »

Check this out for old Netscape
http://sillydog.org/narchive/full67.php

Eudora email client old
http://www.eudora.com/email/archive/

btw find out if the old lady is thinking about getting broadband!! If she does she'll prolly overload the file system with a few downloads smiley
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iphigenie
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2009, 01:16:21 PM »

Thanks for the links, that'll save me loads of search smiley - seems there is loads of stuff to make her a nice machine that is easy to use.

(thankfully my cheapie usb wifi key worked with win98 - 108G too!)

I'm not even sure she has dial up (let alone broadband), but better find out.

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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2009, 01:17:46 PM »

What are the specs? If you can upgrade it to just Win2k it'll save a lot of hassle.
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iphigenie
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2009, 01:21:40 PM »

I'm downloading something called "autopatcher" which seems to have all the patches in a service pack-alike package. Phew!

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iphigenie
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2009, 01:23:17 PM »

Don't think we have a spare windows 2000 sitting around (I'm currently on another continent visiting the in-laws in surprisingly balmy Iowa).

PS: 64 Mb of RAM. right.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2009, 03:13:46 PM by iphigenie » Logged
iphigenie
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2009, 03:12:47 PM »

Well, kmeleon works a treat - finally was able to open some web pages and download for example the USB driver etc. without things crashing

I am not too sure about the "autopatcher" - at the moment it seems to be unpacking an awful lot of things including java and backup4all! I hope once it has unpacked I will have a choice of what to install.

I couldnt find the "service pack" app103 mentioned - well I could find a beta-tester-only version 3 but no stable version 2. Beta tester is not what I want to inflict on my little-old-lady
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app103
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2009, 03:23:04 PM »

you can get V2 of the service pack here: http://majorgeeks.com/download4131.html
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iphigenie
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2009, 03:36:21 PM »

Thanks - finding things is a pain in 800x600  tellme
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app103
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2009, 03:42:19 PM »

Here is another site you may be interested in, if you don't already know about it: http://www.mdgx.com

He has a lot of system tweaks, bug fixes, and security patches for Win98, some to fix more recent things that Microsoft won't because they dropped support. Some of those unofficial patches would be essential for survival, so make sure you take a look.
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iphigenie
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2009, 04:59:30 PM »

it seems that the "autoupdater" goes through 150 of these automatically - and it does let you choose to some extent. Hopefully that'll give me a stable system

It installs a set of patches, reboots, picks up automatically - so nice and hassle free. A good thing since it has been going for an hour and has rebooted 20 times. I'd forgotten how often the windows of old needed to reboot on patching!

The machine has works 2000 on it so it should allow her to do the basics.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2009, 05:20:26 PM by iphigenie » Logged
MilesAhead
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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2009, 05:55:23 PM »

Also you might look for KeyHH.  I'm pretty sure you can use it to display HtmlHelp without the ms updates.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2009, 07:05:21 PM »

you can get V2 of the service pack here: http://majorgeeks.com/download4131.html

There is also a supplementary pack at http://majorgeeks.com/98SE_Option_Pack_d4738.html which includes all the bits not included in the unofficial service pack (inc. IE 6, WMP 9 and DirectX 9)
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iphigenie
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« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2009, 09:52:52 PM »

What I have done so far:

install kmeleon
install peazip

install the sp2 as linked in this thread by april

install the "autopatcher dec 2007" (which contains bits like directx, windows media, patches etc.) - there's a slight overlap with the patch above but it detects what is already installed so no weirdness http://www.msfn.org/board...index.php?showtopic=80800
This took an hour and at least 20 reboots, but happened automatically so no hassle

What I still need to do:
- install autopatcher Dec 2008 additional (after sanity check, that is)
- install some simple office tools (if works is not enough), possibly abiword
- install PDF either acrobat reader 6 or sumatraPDF
- install some form of virus scanning/security if i can find a suitable option
- email client (must find out what if anything she is familiar with)


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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2009, 05:40:34 AM »

Outlook Express is built in for email and perfectly adequate - why go looking for something else? Either that or just set her up with a google account and keep email online.
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« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2009, 06:37:32 AM »

If there's any chance she'll get much spam, she'll probably be better off with gmail than outlook express+isp. Can always set outlook express/gmail up to automatically download emails if that is wanted. As long as she knows to check gmail spam box if stuff appears to go missing.
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app103
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« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2009, 07:40:23 AM »

I would reccommend webmail for an outdated OS in which one can't update IE to the latest version. Otherwise you are going to expose her to all the unpatched vulnerabilities in Outlook Express or something else that relies on IE.

If you are going to set her up with GMail, you might want to create a shortcut on her K-Meleon toolbar to point here: https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=html&zy=a

That's the HTML version suitable for slow PC's and dialup. It's what I use on my 9x machine of similar specs. The standard GMail doesn't work well on an old PC like that one.

An additional button on the toolbar that you might want to add is a bookmarklet to take her to the Google Mobile version of whatever page she is visiting. This is handy for sites that are too heavily scripted to load on slow PC's. This was a huge frustration saver for me.

[copy or print]
javascript:location.href='http://www.google.com/gwt/n?_gwt_pg=0&u='+document.location.href;

Antivirus: Avast (background scanning) AND BitDefender Free (this is for on demand scanning, right click file in explorer and scan it before opening it)
Firewall: Zone Alarm 3.7 (just a firewall, and nothing more, effective, stable, easy to use, & suitable for an old pc)
Anti-spyware: Spybot Search & Destroy (make sure you run it & vaccinate that PC!)

PDF reader: I would stay away from Adobe for security reasons, and because it isn't very light. Older versions of Sumatra are pretty crappy and latest version doesn't support 9x.

I'd either go with Foxit 2.1 (lighter) or 2.3 (might be a bit too heavy). (Avoid v2.2. It has a bug that doesn't allow copying text on 9x)

Photo Editing: (yes, she will want this)

Some older scanners came with Adobe Photo Deluxe, which worked quite well on 9x as long as it wasn't v2.5 + MS Office 97, 2k, or XP. If you have any plans on ever putting Office on that machine, go for a newer version of Photo Deluxe. (doesn't have issues with MS Works, as far as I know)

Some other older scanners came with a free copy of Corel Print House. That wasn't so bad for a beginner, either.

And then there was the ones that came with MGI Photosuite.

All of these are better than MS Paint, and lighter than anything you will find available today. Check around for anyone that might still have a disk for one of these from an old scanner that they might be willing to donate to this project of yours.

And no matter what else you install for images, make sure you give her a copy of Irfanview, too.

IM Client: Miranda Set it up to be able to work with Yahoo, AIM, and MSN. Those are the 3 services she will be most likely to want or need.

Make sure you also install Quicktime Alternative and Real Player Alternative.

Some very lightweight sticky notes to remind her to do whatever it is she needs reminding of. (the older we get, the more reminding we need)

And when you are all finished, give her few small lightweight free games to play while she is waiting for pages to load. All 4 listed on that page work well on 9x, and the Uno game is one of the best free implementations of the classic card game that I have come across.
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f0dder
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« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2009, 08:23:50 AM »

64meg would be a bit on the low end for Win2k... but if you could get a RAM stick for cheap, it would very likely be a much better choice than keeping a win98 machine together with duct tape smiley
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2009, 08:41:04 AM »

You should be able to upgrade the RAM very cheapy via the product identifier at www.crucial.com You can specify the make and model number if it was a bought PC or the motherboard make and model id (printed on the circuit board). Crucial will also tell you what size modules are supported and their memory is both cheap and is guaranteed for life if you place the order via their compatibility picker.
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app103
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« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2009, 08:49:13 AM »

64meg would be a bit on the low end for Win2k... but if you could get a RAM stick for cheap, it would very likely be a much better choice than keeping a win98 machine together with duct tape smiley

A stick? Most old PC's require them in pairs. And on many, in order to make an increase that would make a difference, you'd have to replace, not add, and possibly all 4 of them...being careful not to exceed the maximum allowed per slot.

And hope that it isn't one of those machines that requires proprietary ram, like some old NEC machines do. If it is, it could end up costing you about $400 to go from (4)16mb to (4)32mb. The price of ram for those machines has gone up over the years and getting much harder to find.
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iphigenie
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« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2009, 09:08:25 AM »

Actually, recent RAM is a lot cheaper than older RAM, too - so what might cost $20 in a recent format is just as likely to cost more

But frankly, after installing all these unofficial patches and tweaks, this is a lovely usable system - I'm going to add several USB drivers (so if someone gives her an usb key it has a chance of working out of the box) and a few more toys (something for photos, since she's likely to receive some from her grandkids etc.).

I am considering web based for some of these. The problem is many webapps (eg: gmail) are quite RAM hungry, I need to find the more old school ones which use less javascript and more server side (EDIT: I see April's got a link to a lightweight gmail option, cool!)
« Last Edit: March 07, 2009, 09:10:44 AM by iphigenie » Logged
iphigenie
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« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2009, 09:31:06 AM »

April you are an absolute STAR  Thmbsup

I actually have a lot of these old programs back at home (yes, I keep my CDs, floppies, registration certificates etc.) but for now I'll just go with freeware
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iphigenie
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« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2009, 08:46:36 PM »

you can get V2 of the service pack here: http://majorgeeks.com/download4131.html

There is also a supplementary pack at http://majorgeeks.com/98SE_Option_Pack_d4738.html which includes all the bits not included in the unofficial service pack (inc. IE 6, WMP 9 and DirectX 9)

it's amazing what a difference installing these packs and/or the "autopatcher" makes - a wholly usable system and not looking so far away from the way I configure my winxp (yes, i turn most skinning off so it looks like win2k)
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iphigenie
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« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2009, 08:48:51 PM »

Also you might look for KeyHH.  I'm pretty sure you can use it to display HtmlHelp without the ms updates.

Thanks' I'd never heard of keyHH - found the webpage http://www.keyworks.net/keyhh.htm
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