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Why do you still use 9X


win95guy
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I have an old Dell V350 that I picked up from work when we got new machines. I stuck a 1.4 Powerleap CPU upgrade in it, upped the RAM to 384MB and installed a 3dfx Voodoo5 PCI card that I had. I then installed Win 98 SE and patched it with the Unoffical Windows 98 SE Service Pack. It runs very nicely. I have a few Glide games installed on it (Diablo II in particularly) and its great for them. Its not my main PC of course, but it still works fine and I don't see getting rid of it ever.

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IMO all means have been used to create a neurotic passion against Windows 98 by those who are interested in selling software and hardware and in controlling our lives and our money. I wonder if there is any obligation, moral duty or legal command to stop doing anything that you do in a legit use of your freedom. :realmad:

As many other people, I like Windows 98 because I spent thousands of hours using it and I am not ready to spend another thousands of hours of my life trying to reach the point of security in the opsys and in myself that I have now. It is something like to stop speaking english to begin talking phoenician.

Wow! :thumbup

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With XP and Vista you never know if the changes you are making in your system will pas through all the protections and guardian services, or if they will be applied at all.

Edited by Fredledingue
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  • 11 months later...

Because i have tried the following:

Linux: heavy as an anvil, the less user-friendly driver management in the universe

Windows 2000: took a virus after 2 hours from setup

Windows XP: tested this week, messed up something (each time i open a file the system freezes)

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I do have both FE and SE installed. So far, I haven't got as much performance from SE as I get from FE. The difference isn't much, but it's enough that I prefer FE. I use SE as more of a testbox. As for how to "tune" 98, that subject would be several threads in itself. Many threads here cover a lot of the details, like optimizing memory usage, swap file settings, etc. Most 98 boxes came with a lot of junk installed, just like XP does today. Much of it has autostart entries. The big problem is the hardware these came with. Much of 98s alleged instability was due to the weak hardware it was installed on, combined with the ever growing demands placed on it by new software. Microsoft's own software is some of the worst for this.

One of the best things you can do for 98 is to stop using Internet Explorer. I can't make this box run day after day if I browse with IE6, but I can with SeaMonkey. Security suites are another problem. Most are too bloated for 9X systems and much of what they do isn't needed on a 98 box. There's better ways to secure a 9X box that are more effective and don't add several more autostart processes at the same time. DOS batch files top that list.

And these two paragraphs prove nicely how fragile Windows 95 and 98 is. Clogging up Windows NT based systems with loads of programs are much more likely just to slow it down. Destabilising the NT based OSes is much more difficult than destabilising a 98 or 95 which can be done with just a few wrongly set options. In other words, it has crap fault tolerance, which I can vouch for, even although I like it. Windows Vista, XP, 2000, NT, will never run quite as fast as 98 and 95, but will always run more stable. The slight tradeoff for speed is worth it for the extra protection that the NT based OSes offer, and is also offset by increasingly more powerful hardware. Simply put, NT was designed to be robust while 95 was designed to be easier to play with. It's a single user operating system with a kernel which will do absolutely anything it is told to. There is no concept of access control, security permissions or who's who. Sure, there are lots of security holes in an NT default setup, but once these are plugged, the system will be far more secure than a 95 or 98 system could ever hope to be. These may be more difficult to plug, but that does not mean it is less secure. To think otherwise when the system is not even based on a secure concept is bizarre. It's like saying a car with no brakes is safer because it has no accelerator.

It's the same argument as people who think Apple Macs are the best thing since sliced bread. If it really were true, more people would use 95 and 98.

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It's far better to have nothing to plug than something you have to plug that has holes. Win9x doesn't run remote services by default, hence it's more secure in a networked environment.

NT offers pretty much zero more protection for the home user. It was designated as a corporate OS, after all.

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Win9x doesn't run remote services by default

Cars don't get stolen, driven by lunatics, and end up killing people 'by default'.

Your point holds weight in the fact that most home users are unaware of the fact that NT based OSes default settings may leave them at risk, but it does not make NT inherently insecure. It simply makes it badly configured, which, I will 100% agree with. Up until Vista, Microsoft OSes default configuration has been nothing short of a godawful security disaster. I have to spend at least an hour fiddling with XP before I am satisfied enough to use it, but once it has been fiddled with, any NT based OS can be made so secure to the point of being virtually impenetrable. 98 and 95s only cover is its so called 'secure default setup' which again, doesn't make it secure by design. Saying that it is secure because it is set this way or that 'by default' is almost as bad as the security through obscurity argument in other words the Mac users who think they're secure or the Firefox users who also think this.

As a side note I should make it crystal clear that I don't hate Windows 9x. I am fully aware that it runs faster than Windows NT and I think it is a great OS that I grew up on, and yes, I know it does several things better than NT. But it is not stable. It is not secure (Such a novelty on an OS that runs everything as root is an oxymoron). And it can never manage its resources as well as NT. I would much rather suffer the lag that you get with NT for a more solid, reliable, secure OS that won't bring itself down when a naughty app throws its toys out the pram.

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It is not secure (Such a novelty on an OS that runs everything as root is an oxymoron). And it can never manage its resources as well as NT.
Agreed. I say run the OS you are comfortable with, and if that's 9x, or DOS, or Win3.1, or any other OS, so be it. Far be it for me to tell someone what to use, so I don't. However, the delusion that an OS with a flat memory model and zero system security is somehow inherently secure because it doesn't broadcast itself like NT, 2000, and XP did (until SP2, anyway) is a bit crazy. Yes, there are 3rd party tools that can shore up 9x's security, just like there are ways to configure an NT system to be locked down (even to the point of being fairly unusable, but that's for another discussion). But, at the end of the day, having a flat memory model with no process security means any code in any mode (user or kernel) can write to the other and do anything it wants. This is not possible on an NT system, unless you run as administrator (and even then, in Vista+, it takes social engineering or a lazy user for exploits like this to work).

Again, I don't hate on 9x like others, but you have to be realistic - the flat memory and no process security or separation model is 100% the achilles' heel of 9x system security.

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with a flat memory model and zero system security is somehow inherently secure because it doesn't broadcast itself like NT, 2000, and XP did (until SP2, anyway) is a bit crazy

QFT.

having a flat memory model with no process security means any code in any mode (user or kernel)

And that's only the beginning. Flat memory, no process or application isolation, no ACLs on anything (filesystem and otherwise), all processes effectively running as root (why does that sound bad?), no DEP (much more vulnerable to buffer overflows and such) or ASLR (ditto, for return to libc attacks), stuff like no security policies (admittedly not used by the vast majority of home users), no sandboxed browser (like protected mode IE), no UAC (it's quite effective), no firewall by default, no anti-malware included (e.g. windows defender), no kernel patch protection (patchguard) and much more. It looks very much like swiss cheese to me.

Most of its security comes from its 0.1% market share: nobody bothers attacking something with basically no user base. Just like people don't write viruses for other outdated OS'es like MS-DOS anymore.

Up until Vista, Microsoft OSes default configuration has been nothing short of a godawful security disaster. I have to spend at least an hour fiddling with XP before I am satisfied enough to use it, but once it has been fiddled with, any NT based OS can be made so secure to the point of being virtually impenetrable.

Agreed. There are entire books written on hardening Windows too.

RetroOS: I'm not exactly going to argue over 0.1% or less. Point is: nobody writes for BeOS either, as there are no users to target, and no systems to infect. That simple. Especially when they can target the large group of XP users logged in with admin rights, who'll gladly run any .exe from P2P or shady web sites (low-hanging fruit)

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...

Most of its security comes from its 0.1% market share: nobody bothers attacking something with basically no user base. Just like people don't write viruses for other outdated OS'es like MS-DOS anymore.

...

Actually according to July results posted at Market Share, it is 0.2% :P

Windows 98=0.14%

Windows ME=0.07%

I guess that makes it twice as insecure than you thought! B)

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However, the delusion that an OS with a flat memory model and zero system security is somehow inherently secure because it doesn't broadcast itself like NT, 2000, and XP did (until SP2, anyway) is a bit crazy.

I am not sure who is delusional on that cluberti... Maybe it's you actually. I am sure you are aware of the fact that got disclosed last year I think that an NT OS can be taken over simply by sending a specially crafted packets to its ports leading to buffer overflow and code execution, remote control of the machine. Is this correct or not ?

But, at the end of the day, having a flat memory model with no process security means any code in any mode (user or kernel) can write to the other and do anything it wants. This is not possible on an NT system, unless you run as administrator (and even then, in Vista+, it takes social engineering or a lazy user for exploits like this to work).

Isn't it just dead easy to run something as admin within a user session ? Doesn't Microsoft even provide some utility called run as if I am not mistaken to do just that ? If correct where is the security offered by running the OS within a rights-limited user account in such a context ?

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The reason why I'm still using w98se today is the huge security black hole caused by XP during 6 years. It's possible to increaseXP security by setting up limited account but it's always a nightmare to cope with the access denied errors.

Vista is slightly better than XP, but such bloatware. Only w7 is an OS I contemplate using, if M$ promises on it are true.

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I am not sure who is delusional on that cluberti... Maybe it's you actually. I am sure you are aware of the fact that got disclosed last year I think that an NT OS can be taken over simply by sending a specially crafted packets to its ports leading to buffer overflow and code execution, remote control of the machine. Is this correct or not ?
It's possible on NT4 and 2000 unpatched, yes, but the process receiving the data has to be running as admin or higher, again backing up my point (it's possible if you're an admin before Vista to basically do the same thing as 9x, as an admin is an admin).
Isn't it just dead easy to run something as admin within a user session ? Doesn't Microsoft even provide some utility called run as if I am not mistaken to do just that ? If correct where is the security offered by running the OS within a rights-limited user account in such a context ?
Because at that point, the user has to be lazy or conned into allowing it. At least in an NT system, you have process separation, and user privilege limitation on top of that - again, using an NT system as admin is inherently insecure - the admin is supposed to be the *admin*, not a regular user.
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