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Running Windows 98 in 2020 and beyond...


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15 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

Thinking this may be a connection issue, the computer was unplugged. A cotton tip was dipped in isopropyl alcohol then 'flattened' with pliers to fit inside the computer's USB slots. A repeated poking action was used to clean the ports. The tip came back dirty so the cleaning action was repeated.

I do exactly the same, but usually flatten first, then dip in alcohol. This way it leaves more of the good stuff in the cotton :P


Have a Merry Christmas!

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  • Wunderbar98 changed the title to Running vanilla Windows 98 in 2020 and beyond...

Wunderbar98 (December 10th): It's okay Santa pre-approved a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B.

Happy new year all. Christmas came and went and as usual there were no presents, just some lights. Can't remember what year my household purchased anything new aside from socks, underwear, food and rare home/vehicle maintenance items. Live a low profile, work from home, prefer staycations. Entire year only washed the truck once and burned two tanks of gas. Single vehicle household, would like to get rid of that too but suburbia requires driving for everything. The 20+ year old bread maker died last year, we've reverted to baking bread the old fashioned way. Also got serious about machine knitting house socks. As usual the neighbour's oversized garbage bin is overflowing long before garbage day, can't even close the lid. May skip taking the bin to the curb this week to set an example but they'll probably think i threw my garbage into their bin :(

So needless to say no Raspberry Pi - happy! Configured the 11-year old SSE2 capable netbook to handle all banking needs with a modern non-Windows OS, re-routed some DSL wire and everything's good. Hopefully can keep this existing setup for 5-10 years. So no need for a Raspberry Pi or newer computer, which would have opened a big can of worms (another KVM switch, HDMI -> HDMI-mini and VGA -> HDMI adapters, etc). Keeping on with the old hardware. May spoil myself this year and upgrade the primary system to a faster tower presently in storage (800MHz/384MB RAM to 1.7GHz/1.5GB RAM). Reluctant as this Windows 98 setup is the best i've ever used.

Will perform another full image backup of this Windows 98 install then just continue to enjoy the system. It's been fun, thank-you everyone for your input and feedback. Lately have been busy with other projects and probably won't post much anymore. Have been going through years of old online forum logins and memberships, attempting to either cancel or gibberish/harden the data, not an easy feat. They make it easy to sign up then keep your data for years. Also started tinkering with other non-Windows/Apple/ proprietary OS', gotta keep moving.

Thread title updated to 'Running vanilla Windows 98 in 2020 and beyond...'. Feel free to post your modern day Windows 98 experiences here, or not. It's great that there are still some users out there. Personally i think Windows 2000 Professional was the best MSFT ever produced, though my nostalgia remains loyal to Windows 98. It is very versatile and still surprisingly useful today, despite occasional clunkiness, which adds to the charm.

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Logging in Tiny Personal Firewall v2.0.14 was figured out, the issue was briefly mentioned here:

The firewall notifies about all incoming and outgoing connections without rules via popup. Once the user defines a rule (deny or permit) by default the firewall does it's job in the background and no longer notifies. If the user wants ongoing feedback for connection attempts select either 'log when this rule match' or 'display alert box when this rule match'.

To set up logging, double-click the firewall icon in the system tray -> select Firewall tab -> Advanced -> filter rules tab. My current setup has 24 incoming and outgoing rules defined (9 deny, 15 permit). Select a filter rule -> Edit -> check 'log when this rule match' -> OK -> Apply. This must be done individually for every filter rule you want logged.

Then in the Advanced -> Miscellaneous tab ensure 'log into file (filter.log)' is checked. When a filter rule gets triggered by network activity it then gets logged to file. On a default install this is C:\Program Files\Tiny Personal Firewall\filter.log.

If a log file is not desired but you still want notifications, then instead of selecting 'log when this rule match' for a desired filter rule, select 'display alert box when this rule match'. This will provide a message popup with a connection attempt.

As logging causes increased disk activity and popup alerts get tiring, i will likely just log connection attempts at random intervals or only for connections set to 'deny'. Logging can help determine how frequently a connection gets triggered or whether specific software may be 'calling home'.

This firewall also has an MD5 feature that allows checking the path and MD5sum for each defined application executable. A little bonus protection against undesired intrusion. Of course if someone has physical access to your machine then none of this matters. On these old systems it is easy to reset the BIOS or BIOS password, bypass a Windows 98 login or read/write FAT partitions with a liveCD.

Probably overkill for internet facing systems used for hobby purposes, nonetheless better safe than sorry. As mentioned previously some system components and software applications that attempted network connections were surprising.

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Firewalls and internet traffic filters are really important on low-end hardware. You just can't afford to load the bloat! As I have a big home network of 4 computers here, my router does all the firewalling for all of them. It runs on OpenWRT (https://openwrt.org/), a special Linux, improving the functions of the router. Once the router is flashed and configured on a more modern machine (Windows XP and old Slackware are enough), it can be accessed via SSH or SCP through Windows 98.

@Wunderbar98: Might I ask, what exactly you are filtering? What gets on your nerves?

Attachment picture 1 shows the easy interface of WinSCP, which let's you connect to other devices on the network.

Picture 2 shows the file transfer between the local drive and the connected device.

Picture 3 shows the file dnsmasq.conf, which kills all web traffic listed there.

Picture 4 shows the hardware, a semi-new TP-Link TD-W8970B. It's not perfect (installation required soldering some pins on the board), but I can recommend it as a daily internet gateway running OpenWRT.


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Hi Gansangriff. You have a sweet setup, thanks for sharing. My router is proprietary from my internet provider. I've always wanted to flash or 'open source' a router but haven't done so yet. So aside from the hardware firewall (proprietary, query backdoors) most blocking is done at the system level.

Lots gets on my nerves, thanks for asking. Don't use Flash, no Smartphone or closed-source 'apps', disable most software update checking and online access, use a custom user.js file for Mozilla-based browsers, disable "features" like 'pocket' and 'sync', avoid the "cloud", don't trust password managers, minimize JavaScript, block advertisements, encrypt sensitive data, etc. Probably be living out of a van soon, pay cash for everything and use a read-only OS with a roaming laptop. Now where did i put my medication ;)

All systems here (GNU/Linux, Windows 98, Windows XP) have their own software firewalls. All browsers either don't support JavaScript or have it fully or partially blocked. My Windows 98 system uses an ~13,000 entry HOSTS file from MVPS. On GNU/Linux such a large HOSTS file would slow down the system, so NoScript and Bluhell Firewall is used there with SeaMonkey. I coded a Bash front-end for youtube-dl, which allows quick terminal access to various video sites. I coded a Bash scripted web browser that parses as much data as possible from Wget fetches. Also coded some web scraping scripts to avoid visiting bloated sites and automate daily data collection (news, weather, comic strips, etc). Fair amount of coding and upkeep but it's a hobby anyway. For now it's all good, don't get much bloat either and systems have little overhead.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Still more that bugs me. WiFi is rarely used here and is usually kept disabled on the router. The router is turned off when not in use and computing is often performed without an internet connection, especially when working with sensitive data or even just gaming. Was contacted by my ISP once, wondering if everything was okay (due to frequent reboots). Whatever, they must be used to it now and don't bother me anymore.

Encrypted USB sticks for all sensitive data are triplicate. Highly recommended, nothing important ever on a hard drive. Two sticks are kept at home (one on person when leaving home) and the third stick in an off-site safety deposit box. Synchronize data on the two at home sticks regularly. Try to update the safety deposit box stick annually. Wrote a 'diff' script to verify byte count and filenames to help keep them synchronized.

System tray programs (Windows) and detailed Conky (GNU/Linux) are kept visible to real-time monitor CPU/RAM and ethernet activity. To me not having this is like driving a car without an instrument cluster. There was a time when networking all Windows and non-Windows systems was important, now it's the opposite. The only networking now is some shared storage on the router for non-sensitive files, otherwise the computers don't communicate. USB stick data is moved via sneakernet.

Almost all drive partitions boot unmounted and are only manually mounted when needed. Windows 98 and XP systems are unable to access GNU/Linux, where most sensitive computing is performed. During tax season only locally installed tax software is used, no web-based tax preparation software, and the system utilized for this task is kept offline until the taxes are completed, tax files have been moved to encrypted USB sticks and all traces of the tax software have been removed.

Still using Windows 98 almost daily for news, forums, YouTube and nostalgia. Lately daily DOS gaming sessions. Finished USNF (US Navy Fighters circa 1994/95), took 20 years to finish. The game was enjoyable and challenging. Too simulation for me, not a flight sim expert, so some built-in 'cheats' were enabled (fuel, ammo, damage) to reduce frustration and improve enjoyment. Finished 50 individual, 50 campaign and 12 bonus missions. Lots of content for the money, part of a 10-game multi-pack purchased in 2000 for a whopping $20 CDN. Imagine this would have been a wicked game back in the day, to me still cool today. An expert player uploaded all missions to YouTube, cinematic, changing views to see all the action, very enjoyable.

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Hi i430VX. Yeah i noticed cool hey! Tried to delete duplicate posts with RetroZilla, couldn't see an option.

So with Lynx web browser for DOS, just select P)ost once and when repeatedly prompted select G)et the second time. Hopefully posts will work better then.

The Lynx config file is dated February 27, 2020 and the release appears to be Lynx v2.9.0dev.5. Believe this was the direct download link used.

To me Lynx has always been more involved to configure than Links, everyone has a preference. Setup is similar to Links for DOS, it requires a DOS packet driver and also needs cwsdpmi.exe loaded before launching the browser. AFAIK text mode only, no images.

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Well a lot of fun was had by all (me, myself and i - socially isolating) setting up and running Lynx web browser ported to DOS. A new project page was started if anyone's interested. Feel free to add tips and feedback. Take care everyone.

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  • Dave-H changed the title to Running Windows 98 in 2020 and beyond...

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