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Wunderbar98

Running vanilla Windows 98 in 2020...

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Mostly just a quick note to siria regarding Google search result issues with Dillo. Finally got Cygwin-lite running okay on Windows 98. When Dillo is launched through Windows, the Google search results do not display properly, also not clickable. When Dillo is launched from a Bash terminal, a new Dillo user profile gets created in Cygwin's home directory. From within Cygwin, Dillo displays proper, clickable Google search results.

Don't know why, seems like an issue with porting Dillo to Windows. Dillo also can't copy to the system's clipboard, from Windows or Cygwin, definitely there are Dillo issues. Believe jumper indicated there were two other Dillo ports for Windows 98. Will probably investigate further or may just use old SeaMonkey as a sole browser. Dillo's so blazingly fast though. Might even try your beloved K-Meleon.

Edited by Wunderbar98

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@Wunderbar98
There might be a misunderstanding, but I'm not using this Dillo browser, know zero about it nor have it installed, nor ever seen anywhere except in your posts. Only meanwhile realized it's a Linux app, which for me is the same as "from outer space, can't use". When I'm forced to use a fallback browser, necessary for modern TLS, there's already Roytam's Retrozilla version and his Firefox3.6 (both work in vanilla98) and K-Meleon-Goanna74 (KernelEx2016), all with familiar gecko engine at least.
Would not recommend you to consider seriously ancient KM1.5.4 in your vanilla 98. It's engine is much older as in KM1.6 with KernelEx, with crucial features missing, and of course TLS extremely broken too. If you want to use an ancient browser with those TLS probs anyway, you're better off sticking to your own favorite browser, as I do too. It just makes no sense to replace one broken browser with another broken one.

As fallback for vanilla98 I'd recommand roytam's Firefox 3.6, since it has a much better engine as FF2:
http://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/fx36vc71-20171108.7z

Regarding google, would try killing css-styles. For me that often helps to get blocked or hidden stuff working (for example the Edit-button here ;-)

(PS: meanwhile figured out that my old system has only SSE, not SSE2 as wrongly guessed recently)

Edited by siria

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Why not push a lot harder and try newer SeaMonkey builds with KernelEx updates? I know, I know, the topic is about vanilla Windows 98, and as much as I appreciate the effort (believe me, I have tried that for some non-sleep nights before, too) the OS will not survive past 2019 without some "performance tweaks".

BTW, the KernelEx updates need to be a lot more organized. It's very complicated as of now to get it right. 

I gave up on Windows 98 eventually, to go for Windows 2000 Professional and BlackWingCat's kernel extenders. For that I updated it to SP4 along with Windows Update downloads, and used an ISO file that I found last weekend, with a very straightforward install of rollup updates for Windows 2000 plus BWC Kex. So far so good, it was faster to set up than Windows 98, and I am using latest SeaMonkey there with no issues as of now (I know there is Firefox 52.9.x ESR, but I dislike the newer Firefox UI), but I still want Windows 98...

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Thanks for the Firefox v3 link @siria. Unfortunately the 7z file does not come as an installer and attempting to run firefox.exe results in an illegal operation stack fault failure. Disabling CSS in Dillo did not help, thanks for the suggestion.

I installed K-Meleon v1.5.4 before reading your reply. The default menubar is busy for my eyes, Klassic skin helps. It is very configurable, reasonably light and extensible, very nice browser. Outdated, as you say, everything on this OS is outdated anyway. Compared to Dillo, Google search results work properly, cut/paste works, probably a Dillo replacement. Most of my processors are also SSE only.

Hi @Bruninho, thank-you for your reply. I understand your sentiment, still want to stay vanilla to see how things get along. Going to stick with Windows 98 on this system, primarily for it's DOS capabilities. Was initially playing DOS games but am now having more fun working on the system. I use other operating systems for fallback, so no sleepless nights. If Windows 98 was my only OS, i would also feel pushed to move on. Can't comment on KernelEx's complications, never used it. Your Windows 2000 install with latest SeaMonkey sounds awesome, it is a great OS. Why not just dual boot if not ready to let go of Windows 98.

It is evident vanilla Windows 98 is becoming more limited all the time. After months of success, Wikipedia failed today using all three browsers, even newer useragents:

Your Browser's Connection Security is Outdated
English: Wikipedia is making the site more secure. You are using an old web browser that will not be able to connect to Wikipedia in the future. Please update your device or contact your IT administrator.

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Created a Bash script, my solution for connectivity issues. The screenshots are fairly self-explanatory. Allows access to most any site, using cache or web proxy as needed, specify archive.org date, manage clipboard, toggle browsers and search engines, bookmark problematic sites, etc. Needs bug fixes and tweaking, may add more. Long gone, however, are the days vanilla Windows 98 was useful for online banking, sensitive emails, that sort of thing.
 
 9xweb-01-mainscreen.png
 
 9xweb-02-bookmarks.png
 
Forgot Windows 98's print screen functions: 
When you press the Print Screen button on your keyboard while you're in Windows 98, your screen is copied to the clipboard. Now start the Paint program (click Start > Programs > Accessories > Paint) and from the Edit menu select Paste.Now you can print your screen. If you only want to print an open window, and not the whole screen, hit Alt+Print Screen.

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1 hour ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Created a Bash script, my solution for connectivity issues.

Interesting ideas there. In my scripts package there is one called IEMenuExt, meant to be registered as an IE menu extension. A second script called Browser registration can un/register portable browsers to the system registry. The menu extension should be available in any application that exposes an IE control, such as POP Peeper (a POP3/IMAP e-mail client I've been using), and obviously in IE itself. Right-clicking an URL or an image in such applications would then offer to open it in one of the registered browsers. Moreover, there are options to open a clean URL, that is certain redirections are removed (one is outdated). I believe some of the options in your script could be implemented in IEMenuExt or - more easily, maybe - in the other script that monitors the clipboard.

Unfortunately only the sources are there for IEMenuExt, no compiled executables, and it's kinda difficult for me to work with the 98SE machine right now. I may be able to compile with AHK Basic under Linux, but editing the executable to add/replace resources (icons, bitmaps, versioninfo etc) doesn't work - it always results in corrupt files.
Also I'm not sure if everything would work correctly under vanilla 98 - I only tested it under the upgraded 98SE with KernelEx.

1 hour ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Forgot Windows 98's print screen functions

For screenshots I implemented a function in a private script that saves directly to disk in PNG format (using gdiplus.dll APIs) - something that 9x's MS Paint cannot do. Unfortunately not all hotkey combinations I wanted would work in 9x, and another drawback is that tooltips and cursor are not captured.

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Firefox3.6:
Wunder98 said:
> Thanks for the Firefox v3 link @siria. Unfortunately the 7z file does not come as an installer
> and attempting to run firefox.exe results in an illegal operation stack fault failure

Huh??? Have always used portable programs if any possible, and definitely only unzipped Fx36 too and it works. So am now slightly shocked. But it's been awhile, and there's a good possibility it's just profile related. Of coursing sharing the same profile among different browser versions is quite unhealthy. Did you try with a separate profile instead?
Incidentally, roytam has even included a PORTABLE profile inside already :-)
To use it, Firefox can be started with the BAT file in its root folder, instead of starting firefox.exe directly.
Or better, create an all NEW profile for it, using the profile manager. By adding "-P" in the start shortcut:
firefox.exe -P
It's also possible to have that profile manager show up at every startup automatically, even without adding "-P"
When already open, it has a checkbox for this setting.
Or alternatively, that setting can be edited manually too, inside file "profiles.ini", by setting
StartWithLastProfile=0


> It is evident vanilla Windows 98 is becoming more limited all the time. After months of success,
> Wikipedia failed today using all three browsers, even newer useragents:

Wikipedia is getting killed now too, without any need? Oh no.... ARRGH!!
And GRRRR.... they know full well they're neither a banking nor a shopping site, and that their info is absolutely needed by everyone. So they know full well that intentionally forbidding to just READ their sites at all is far more HARMFUL and DAMAGING to readers as just getting it with lower encryption or even unencrypted. This is a PUBLIC site! Forbidding to just read it only increases any possible damage for users, so it would make absolutely zero sense, except them just openly joining now the war of the other monopolies against the population too. With the only goal to make sure that absolutely no one can escape their much more powerful SPYING and tracking possibilities anymore, contained in younger browsers :-(( Shame on them.

Luckily even for VANILLA Win98 there are still the TLS-updated browsers mentioned already. Not for banking of course, but to access at least harmless public content without need for proxies or vpn, which are great spying tools too.
Strongly hope the portable profile helps for Firefox3.6, but if not, there's still Retrozilla. Although unbearably ancient engine, era FF2, but with working TLS1.2. I keep wondering why you don't like to use it even as fallback for broken ciphers. Or do you...? Possibly when talking about Seamonkey, really meaning the retrozilla-builds?

Meanwhile a few supermodern sites are even blocking public pages with older TLS1.2 in those updated browsers too, but so far only a few. And suppose future new builds will contain more cipher updates too.

Screenshots:
am using FastStone Capture, old version 5.3, was freeware at the time. Quite popular and fantastic tool which can even grab complete webpages in my KM1.6. Including tooltips, and option for mouse cursor etc. Just sadly occasional stuttering or hickups, probably RAM related. Made a macro long ago to start it from inside KM, but later found it to run more stable when starting it directly, standalone. So just for quick info:
http://kmeleonbrowser.org/forum/read.php?9,100997
Not quite sure if FSCapture was running on Vanilla already, but well likely, since I always had KernelEx installed with "default=off", and my start shortcut contains no special Kex-setting.
Strangely Faststone's auto-scroll-grabbing doesn't seem to work in old Firefox at all, but never investigated this closer. Well possible just some browser setting involved, or even just too little RAM again, running fallback browsers usually parallel to main browser.

But for Firefox, for grabbing whole-page-screens, there's an even better FF-addon out there, much faster and no hickups (just quickly tried it once somewhere, as proof of concept, now forgot details). Would LOVE to get this FF-addon running in KM too, but no clue how. Or using any other systemwide method to grab complete webpages, just how?

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55 minutes ago, siria said:

for Firefox, for grabbing whole-page-screens, there's an even better FF-addon out there

Maybe you're referring to ScreenGrab? I've been using it in Pale Moon under XP and it's installed in Pale Moon under Linux now too but dunno how compatible would be with 9x.
The version I have here (fix version - 0.99.03c) states compatibility with Firefox 4.0 to 49, SeaMonkey 2.0 to 2.47 and Pale Moon 24.0 to 26.

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screengrabs:
searching around in my folders, the one I played with was probably just this prefbar button. Was starting that little research with the prefbar-button code since chances are hopefully higher to somehow figure out a standalone-script for KM:
https://web.archive.org/web/20161022040647/http://prefbar.tuxfamily.org/buttons.html#pagetoimage
No idea why it's not listed in the current page anymore :-/
There's also a (german) discussion of this button and some size limits here (set useragent IE7 to view in old browser):
https://groups.google.com/d/topic/de.comm.software.mozilla.browser/blXaEn3GQ1Q

But so far haven't spend much time on those experiments yet, due to eternal KM-prob with addonpower scripts being forbidden outside of chrome-pages, and the eternal jsbridge riddles for the GUI :-( Am sure there is some trick possible to give addon-scripts access to websites too, especially after figuring out that narumans old KM74+1 build can actually list page properties a la Firefox too, but so far still way over my head and will require huge amount of time, due to almost zero clue of addons and of even just plain JS.

Also have saved two other screenshot-addons it seems, will try to get ScreenGrab too.

Edited by siria

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Thanks again for all responses. My screenshot needs are simple, it's good enough Windows 98 has a built-in tool.

Thanks for the information @Drugwash. Windows compiling or cross-compiling for Windows isn't something i want to start, compiling in Linux no problem. I will keep my existing script, tweak as needed. Bash scripting is easy for me and no compiling is necessary. Getting to be an old dog, set in my scripting ways. Still an awful shame so much good software gets left behind. You don't have to answer, curious you don't multi-boot Windows 98?

Tried everything @siria and the Firefox linked still failed. When i reference SeaMonkey, it's actual SeaMonkey (v1.1.19). Always enjoy your rants, don't understand too much of the modern world either. To me >90% of websites should still be HTTP only, no HTTPS. Guess the Wikipedia administrators justify it, as users need to be able to securely log in and edit information. Most websites are like this, people logging in to news sites or blogs to comment on articles. May take another look at RetroZilla, can't remember if i already tried it.

SeaMonkey v1.1.19 supports SSL2, SSL3 and TLS. Can't see a TLS specification in settings or about:config, presumable TLS v1.0. Re-installed Firefox v2.0.0.20, it provides TLS v1.0. This also failed on Wikipedia today.

IMHO, regardless of the workarounds and browser juggles, failing to keep a modern OS on a system for fallback is an exercise in frustration. Doesn't matter if it's Windows 98, 2000 or XP, newer releases may just bump up the inevitable a couple more years. My significant other clings to Debian 7 (Wheezy), even though long term support ended in 2018. It's now ancient in the Linux world, three major releases old. So far i've worked around issues by modifying source code, compiling newer software, using curl instead of wget, etc, but it will require eventual upgrade. My newer Linux installs just work, no need for this stuff. For me the biggest limitation is not the OS but the hardware, as many Linux distributions and newer browsers no longer support 32-bit systems. It's all a moving target anyway, just fun to experience the ride.

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With KernelEx updates by Jumper on Windows 98SE, you can go up to 2.8 with SeaMonkey, theoretically you can try 2.9, but it will crash a lot more often and will not work well.

SeaMonkey 2.9 is the last version for vanilla Windows 2000, and SeaMonkey 1.1.19 the last for Windows 98/ME. Both useless for proper HTML. As a test, I try to load my main daily news website; If the blocks are rendered exactly like I see on my macOS, then it's working as expected. If they render in cascade (meaning CSS is not rendering properly or some HTML5 tags aren't being recognized) then it's garbage to me (unless the layout looks sort of a mobile website as a fallback, then it's acceptable).

With BlackWingCat's kernel extenders on Windows 2000, I can go to the latest (and I really mean, latest) SeaMonkey: 2.49.5, and they announced that it will be the last version supporting Windows XP and Vista. "How rude". I was becoming a fan of SeaMonkey after that until I learned this news.

At least Youtube works, sites are rendered as expected. Probably some super new CSS3 properties aren't, those that are in the draft for the next version of CSS. Hopefully - and I haven't tested yet - CSS Grid & Flexbox are still supported.

If KernelEx with updates on Windows 98 is supposed to make possible to run XP-like apps, then why it doesn't work in practice for SeaMonkey? Something must be missing.

The most decent browser I could run on Windows 98SE vanilla was probably Retrozilla 2.2. No Youtube, and no proper rendering of my favorite websites, though. And some cipher overlap errors somewhere else. Opera 10.63 probably was a little better. I haven't tried other browsers in a vanilla Windows 98 apart of RetroZilla, SeaMonkey and Opera. I know Firefox 2.x won't render OK.

Edited by Bruninho
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Thanks for that informative post Bruninho, you've been around the block with this stuff. As most of my hardware is not SSE2 capable, SeaMonkey stops for me at v2.49.4, even in a recent Linux install. SeaMonkey is a terrific browser, they have been struggling as of late. You can't really blame them for dropping Windows XP support, do any other browsers still actively support it?

Forgot i already tried RetroZilla v2.2, but dismissed it too early. This time around installed rn10950's release:
https://github.com/rn10950/RetroZilla/releases/tag/2.2

This forum's RetroZilla thread can be found here:
https://msfn.org/board/topic/174987-retrozilla-an-updated-version-of-mozilla-for-windows-95-and-nt4-22-released/

It's a similar experience to SeaMonkey v1.1.19 with improvements. TLS v1.2 support is not evident from browser preferences or about:config. To confirm browser capabilities load this (from RetroZilla thread):
https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/viewMyClient.html

Additionally, the last RetroZilla thread post from ClassicNick indicates modifying about:config for improved cipher support.

---
ClassicNick:
Retrozilla does support AES-GCM cipher suites, but you need to enable them through about:config. search "security.ssl3" then create a new Boolean "security.ssl3.ecdhe_ecdsa_aes_128_gcm_sha256" and "security.ssl3.ecdhe_rsa_aes_128_gcm_sha256". Retrozilla works very well, and I'm excited for the next version (especially a 3.0 release).
---

No other browsers tested thus far in vanilla Windows 98 pass the TLS v1.2 test. Quite a feat, believe Firefox didn't introduce this until version 20 something. Note the last working version of Opera for vanilla Windows 98 was not tested, just a personal preference. Old Opera versions have been highly praised on this forum many times.

From brief RetroZilla usage, obvious improvements were noted. For example, built-in updated certificates, startpage search engine works, some previously inaccessible websites now load (Wikipedia, https://sourceforge.net).

All of my SeaMonkey tweaks still work:
- Custom search engine engines mentioned on page 4 of this thread (November 6th)
- Old SeaMonkey / Mozilla extensions linked on page 11 of this thread (November 28th)

Of course, rendering is poor compared to a modern browsing experience, JavaScript engine is dysfunctional and many sites still don't load, take what you can get. Hopefully developers rn10950 and roytam1 will eventually re-visit RetroZilla for further tweaks.

To me this drawn out testing experience was worth it. Secure and functional online access remains the primary obstacle from keeping Windows 98 fully viable. IMHO I am now using the best browser for this old system. Thanks for everyone's input, i've always got to learn the hard way, by doing. Now just have to clean up almost half a dozen browsers and a whole bunch of scattered bookmarks.

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My favourite local HTTPS weather page now works for the first time in 2019 following ClassicNick's about:config tweak. This is good.

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1 hour ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Thanks for that informative post Bruninho, you've been around the block with this stuff. As most of my hardware is not SSE2 capable, SeaMonkey stops for me at v2.49.4, even in a recent Linux install. SeaMonkey is a terrific browser, they have been struggling as of late. You can't really blame them for dropping Windows XP support, do any other browsers still actively support it?

Forgot i already tried RetroZilla v2.2, but dismissed it too early. This time around installed rn10950's release:
https://github.com/rn10950/RetroZilla/releases/tag/2.2

This forum's RetroZilla thread can be found here:
https://msfn.org/board/topic/174987-retrozilla-an-updated-version-of-mozilla-for-windows-95-and-nt4-22-released/

It's a similar experience to SeaMonkey v1.1.19 with improvements. TLS v1.2 support is not evident from browser preferences or about:config. To confirm browser capabilities load this (from RetroZilla thread):
https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/viewMyClient.html

Additionally, the last RetroZilla thread post from ClassicNick indicates modifying about:config for improved cipher support.

---
ClassicNick:
Retrozilla does support AES-GCM cipher suites, but you need to enable them through about:config. search "security.ssl3" then create a new Boolean "security.ssl3.ecdhe_ecdsa_aes_128_gcm_sha256" and "security.ssl3.ecdhe_rsa_aes_128_gcm_sha256". Retrozilla works very well, and I'm excited for the next version (especially a 3.0 release).
---

No other browsers tested thus far in vanilla Windows 98 pass the TLS v1.2 test. Quite a feat, believe Firefox didn't introduce this until version 20 something. Note the last working version of Opera for vanilla Windows 98 was not tested, just a personal preference. Old Opera versions have been highly praised on this forum many times.

From brief RetroZilla usage, obvious improvements were noted. For example, built-in updated certificates, startpage search engine works, some previously inaccessible websites now load (Wikipedia, https://sourceforge.net).

All of my SeaMonkey tweaks still work:
- Custom search engine engines mentioned on page 4 of this thread (November 6th)
- Old SeaMonkey / Mozilla extensions linked on page 11 of this thread (November 28th)

Of course, rendering is poor compared to a modern browsing experience, JavaScript engine is dysfunctional and many sites still don't load, take what you can get. Hopefully developers rn10950 and roytam1 will eventually re-visit RetroZilla for further tweaks.

To me this drawn out testing experience was worth it. Secure and functional online access remains the primary obstacle from keeping Windows 98 fully viable. IMHO I am now using the best browser for this old system. Thanks for everyone's input, i've always got to learn the hard way, by doing. Now just have to clean up almost half a dozen browsers and a whole bunch of scattered bookmarks.

If you feel fancy to try out, there's Firefox95 and SeaMonkey95, from ToastyTech. Try them and let me see if they work for you. Both can run on vanilla Windows 98 (They were for windows 95). I have tried several (yes, several) browsers from different places and none was giving me a good experience for Windows 98. Like, literally, none. These two also failed my test.

http://toastytech.com/files/95browsing.html
 

Edited by Bruninho

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Wunderbar98 said:
> Of course, rendering is poor compared to a modern browsing experience,
> JavaScript engine is dysfunctional and many sites still don't load, take what you can get.
> To me this drawn out testing experience was worth it. Secure and functional online access
> remains the primary obstacle from keeping Windows 98 fully viable.
> IMHO I am now using the best browser for this old system.

Well yeah, just always keeping in mind it's only a personal decision to keep those obstacles as high as any possible. By sticking strictly to ancient "vanilla" version and not installing even the tiniest updates, just for purity. In reality, users who'd like to use better browsers can of course install KernelEx. That makes the obstacles about half as high only, huge difference. And the system still remains win98.

Yes we all know this here and I'm aware it's just done for experimental reasons, just a little reminder for later passing readers ;-)

Bruninho said:
> If KernelEx with updates on Windows 98 is supposed to make possible to run XP-like apps,
> then why it doesn't work in practice for SeaMonkey? Something must be missing.

That's a misunderstanding. KernelEx doesn't make that "all" XP-apps work, only some. Especially those which are unnecessarily blocked. For example when a setup.exe checks the system and then cancels without even trying, the KernelEx compatibility setting (chosen by user in the exe properties) makes apps believe they were running on another system. And it helps to start some apps which are "mostly" working, just missing a few minor features. Better partly running as not at all. Especially apps which are checking at startup the existance of all sorts of system features by default, when not even needing some of them. KernelEx provides "stubs" for some of those missing system features, pretending those would exist, when in reality they still don't. I think it's also creating some real replacement features, but that's dev stuff, this water is getting too deep for me, no clue.
Not sure how big the current version is, but the slightly older ones had a setup size of only 0.3MB. This alone shows already that it can't contain lots of new functions. And the dev wrote recently again that newer versions replace the original system files only in RAM, not physically anymore, really like this.

Edited by siria

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