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The 'Rendering Issues' section of the original post indicates web pages are sometimes difficult to read. As indicated one tip that often helps when viewing a web page that does not format well, or if links are missing, is to toggle View dropdown -> Use Style -> 'Default Style' to 'None'. Also experiment with different font and color preferences, select Edit dropdown -> Preferences -> Appearance and modify as desired.

Although useful, drawbacks. First, having to toggle Default Style to 'None' is a hassle and new tabs automatically revert back to 'Default Style'. From previous experiments, changing the style to 'None' via about:config then does not allow changing pages back to 'Default Style' during runtime. Secondly, over-riding font and colour preferences won't render the web site as intended, part of it's character and charm.

If the font and background are poorly contrasted (ie. not readable), a quick and dirty method is to simply press Ctrl-A to 'select all' on the entire web page. On this system, this automatically changes the font and background to a blue and white combination, ugly but very readable. Alternatively, left-click and drag a selection to change contrast. Read the information you want, click on a desired link and move on. To disable the 'select all' selection, press F5 or click 'Reload' to re-render the page or left-click another area of the page.

Edited by Wunderbar98
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  • 2 weeks later...

RetroZilla now fails to load YouTube using the default User Agent (UA) string. RetroZilla still connects and the YouTube search engine from the RetroZilla Search Engines Collection still work. To load YouTube and perform searches, ensure the 'user-agent-switcher-0.6.10-bump.xpi' extension is installed, available from the RetroZilla Extensions Collection linked on the first post of this thread.

Then in RetroZilla's Tools dropdown menu select User Agent Switcher -> Options -> Options. Select User Agents -> Add. In the popup's description field, enter 'Googlebot'. In the User Agent field paste the following UA string, then click OK to exit. This adds the UA to the extension.
Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)

To use the Googlebot UA string in RetroZilla, select Tools dropdown menu -> User Agent Switcher -> select Googlebot. This needs to be performed during any session when the YouTube page or search engine is utilized. As RetroZilla reverts to it's default UA on restart, re-select the desired UA string during runtime.

Thank-you forum member @siria for finding this valuable UA string.

Edited by Wunderbar98
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5 hours ago, Wunderbar98 said:

RetroZilla now fails to load YouTube using the default User Agent (UA) string. RetroZilla still connects and the YouTube search engine from the RetroZilla Search Engines Collection still work. To load YouTube and perform searches, ensure the 'user-agent-switcher-0.6.10-bump.xpi' extension is installed, available from the RetroZilla Extensions Collection linked on the first post of this thread.

Then in RetroZilla's Tools dropdown menu select User Agent Switcher -> Options -> Options. Select User Agents -> Add. In the popup's description field, enter 'Googlebot'. In the User Agent field paste the following UA string, then click OK to exit. This adds the UA to the extension.
Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)

To use the Googlebot UA string in RetroZilla, select Tools dropdown menu -> User Agent Switcher -> select Googlebot. This needs to be performed during any session when the YouTube page or search engine is utilized. As RetroZilla reverts to it's default UA on restart, re-select the desired UA string during runtime.

Thank-you forum member @siria for finding this valuable UA string.

how exactly do you install the "user-agent-switcher-0.6.10-bump.xpi" extension? do i just copy it into one of the folders of the already installed retrozilla program files folder? 

Edited by cov3rt
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Hi cov3rt. The RetroZilla Extensions Collection link on the first post of this thread contains the extensions collection for download plus detailed instructions on how to install extensions in RetroZilla. Below is a paste of the 'Install and Remove' section from that linked post. Note the extensions in the collection have been well tested, can probably ignore the breakage dialogue below. All eleven extensions, including modified NoScript which is a separate download, are highly recommended and combined make for a decent browsing experience. If you have not yet installed the RetroZilla Search Engine collection, it's also quite useful as RetroZilla's built-in search engines are now broken or no longer exist.

= Install and Remove =

Extension installation and removal in RetroZilla is messy and may lead to breakage. Recommend backing up the entire RetroZilla user profile before installing extensions or test drive the extension(s) in a new test profile. A full browser removal/re-installation may be helpful in case of severe breakage, as extension files may install into both the user profile and the browser installation directory, default pathways:
C:\Program Files\RetroZilla
C:\WINDOWS\Application Data\RetroZilla

Ensure RetroZilla's Edit dropdown -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Software Installation is set to 'Allow web sites to install extensions and updates'. This is required even when installing extensions locally. For security reasons it is best to disable this checkbox after all desired extensions are installed.

To install extensions go to File dropdown -> Open File -> select and install extension -> restart browser.

To cleanly remove extensions either restore a previously backed up profile, delete the profile's chrome directory (created on restart), create a new profile or fully uninstall/reinstall the browser. Note not all extensions install cleanly into only the chrome directory (eg. NoScript) and some extensions even alter the browser's Preferences configuration window (eg. ImageZoom).

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History is being erased. Both links in the 'RetroZilla Extensions Other' section in the first post of this thread were replaced with archive[dot]org links. This may keep them alive a longer but not all associated *.xpi extension download links will necessarily work :(

http://users.skynet.be/fa258499/extensions.html stopped loading recently, maybe temporary. Replaced with
http://web.archive.org/web/20191225070534/http://users.skynet.be/fa258499/extensions.html.

http://xsidebar.mozdev.org/modifiedmisc.html now redirects to generic https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/. Replaced with http://web.archive.org/web/20191228112850/http://xsidebar.mozdev.org/modifiedmisc.html.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/30/2020 at 9:52 PM, Wunderbar98 said:

Hi cov3rt. The RetroZilla Extensions Collection link on the first post of this thread contains the extensions collection for download plus detailed instructions on how to install extensions in RetroZilla. Below is a paste of the 'Install and Remove' section from that linked post. Note the extensions in the collection have been well tested, can probably ignore the breakage dialogue below. All eleven extensions, including modified NoScript which is a separate download, are highly recommended and combined make for a decent browsing experience. If you have not yet installed the RetroZilla Search Engine collection, it's also quite useful as RetroZilla's built-in search engines are now broken or no longer exist.

= Install and Remove =

Extension installation and removal in RetroZilla is messy and may lead to breakage. Recommend backing up the entire RetroZilla user profile before installing extensions or test drive the extension(s) in a new test profile. A full browser removal/re-installation may be helpful in case of severe breakage, as extension files may install into both the user profile and the browser installation directory, default pathways:
C:\Program Files\RetroZilla
C:\WINDOWS\Application Data\RetroZilla

Ensure RetroZilla's Edit dropdown -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Software Installation is set to 'Allow web sites to install extensions and updates'. This is required even when installing extensions locally. For security reasons it is best to disable this checkbox after all desired extensions are installed.

To install extensions go to File dropdown -> Open File -> select and install extension -> restart browser.

To cleanly remove extensions either restore a previously backed up profile, delete the profile's chrome directory (created on restart), create a new profile or fully uninstall/reinstall the browser. Note not all extensions install cleanly into only the chrome directory (eg. NoScript) and some extensions even alter the browser's Preferences configuration window (eg. ImageZoom).

when i try to install "user-agent-switcher-0.6.10-bump.xpi", it asks whether or not i should install for the profile or just the application folder? does it matter which one i select? i selected no. i also noticed that youtube.com still doesn't work properly with the "user-agent-switcher-0.6.10-bump.xpi" installed. it still shows greyed out text merged onto the left and no search box. 

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Hi cov3rt. Don't bother quoting, i know who you are and for now monitor the thread :)

Just retested in RetroZilla due to frequent YouTube changes, all still works fine. Just install the *.xpi extension into the profile directory. Don't forget, after the user-agent-switcher extension is installed, re-start the browser, add the Googlebot User Agent string, then actually select it from the drop down menu otherwise the browser will still use the default user agent.

Googlebot
Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)

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Just took a quick hurried look at first post again, and noticed this intro sounds completely misleading, scaring off most people who are not able to use a different OS for even just downloading RZ - so not many hurried folks would even read much further:

= Overview =


RetroZilla v2.2 appears to be the only open source web browser that presently connects to modern HTTPS websites in vanilla Windows 98.

= Prerequisites =
(....) As the official RetroZilla download is from an HTTPS site, a different operating system and browser may be required for the initial download, plus a mechanism to get the installation file on to the Windows 98 system (USB stick, CD burn, multi-boot).


It may not be quite as obvious to folks having alternative younger fallback systems, most using Win98 just for fun and retro-nostalgia, but the (currently wrong) assumption to need a different SYSTEM just to download a better Windows98-browser, equipped with modern CIPHERS and TLS1.2, is a complete killer requirement. The snake is biting its tail!
No access to web without a younger system => no access to even download any TLS1.2-browser for native Win98 => blocked from most internet today, and especially blocked from nearly all download sites for anything, especially from any browser downloads.
Same killer prob by the way for KernelEx, hosted on Sourceforge, and just about everything else today too. Even read access to public Wikipedia was completely blocked awhile ago, without any need.

Only the end of the (very long) first post contains a little hint to roytam1's RZ-suite, but not pointed out clearly neither there nor further down that -currently- all his browser builds can still be downloaded from plain http too, not only from encrypted https. That means NO need for a different system just for downloading. And once finally having such a browser with restored access to github, sourceforge etc. again, all the doors are wide open again to continue in whatever direction. To try other RZ-builds, or his K-Meleon and PaleMoon forks, or to download and install KernelEx and fly from there. And also access to lots of info again, before installing and doing anything. All this would be impossible if not able to download even just 1 better browser without needing a younger system.

By the way, since reading here that not even VISTA has native system access to TLS1.2, I'm still in shock. Although Firefox and other gecko browsers are independant and contain their own ciphers, what hardly anyone knows (TLS1.2 since FF27??), and which allows to restore Web access for even most ancient gecko browsers on Win9X. But am not sure what happens if Mozilla some day decides to join the rest and super-encrypt all their downloads too, and many XP-to-Vista users sure haven't downloaded yet a young enough Firefox before.

But back to topic, just meaning those crucial intro sentences should be updated :)
For now at least, while roytam's server still works freely, what sadly may change any day considering his country gov (HK) :-(

The first post could simply point down to loblolly's post, he's already linking to RT's rz-suite (Retrozilla Seamonkey build), and to RT-K-Meleon1.5.4. Both downloads still accessible by simpler https and un-encrypted http, and those browsers can then be used to further download the other Retrozilla from Microsoft servers (github).

Perhaps also worth a hint, what I discovered surprised, RT's second Retrozilla flavor for native Win98, "rz-browser" (based on Firefox2), is important too, since a lot more addons are still available for Firefox2 on wayback machine (e.g. "Read Easily" to switch off Page Styles permanently)
Am aware this topic is specifically about RZ-Seamonkey, but not so sure how many people know there exist meanwhile 3 (!!) different Retrozilla forks, easily confusable, as usual with roytam1's same-name forks. I for one didn't realize for a long time there exist several independant "Retrozillas". But whatever, the first requirement for this topic is to get RZ downloaded somehow...

roytam's blog and sources on github:
http://rtfreesoft.blogspot.com/
https://github.com/roytam1/kmeleon/commits/master
Download page of his latest RT-Retrozilla without needing ciphers ("rz-suite" is SM, "rzbrowser" is Fx2):
http or https://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/index.php?sitemap
(and other test builds there, like KM1.5.4+TLS1.2, NewMoon26-win2000, KM-Goanna74, etc)

Note: roytam's files are hosted on a clean server, but the current DOMAIN address is by a free DNS-provider, and may change occasionally. Happened before that his (free but slightly shady) DNS-service noticed his domains were running well and then suddenly blocked access, redirecting instead to ad-infested girls+video stuff, pffff. Luckily the files itself are NOT hosted by them, only the IP-address.
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Hi siria. The first post statement 'RetroZilla v2.2 appears to be the only open source web browser that presently connects to modern HTTPS websites in vanilla Windows 98' is true in my experience. When i previously trialed a K-Meleon build from @roytam1 in vanilla Windows 98 it had no installer and would not launch the browser, presumably since my system did not yet have a K-Meleon profile. Since there was not a readily available guide, it was not apparent which K-Meleon to install first to get a profile, then the @roytam1 build on top. You've mentioned somewhere a simple *.ini file could launch the browser, couldn't find the information again. So never had the chance to confirm how it handles TLS v1.2 or even if it runs on a vanilla system. Also IIRC the @roytam1 builds were 7-Zip files, a barrier discussed at length below. If someone can provide a well documented guide to getting K-Meleon up and running on a vanilla Windows 98 system, not on this thread please, i would be happy to test and change the statement to something like 'RetroZilla v2.2 is one of the only open source web browsers that presently connects to modern HTTPS websites in vanilla Windows 98.'

The old chicken and egg problem. Windows 98 is 22 years old and most everyone has access to a newer system with a mechanism to get the needed files (burned CD, USB stick, multi-boot, network). On a fresh Windows 98 bare metal install another system is usually necessary just to fetch the required ethernet driver, otherwise getting online is a non-starter. Anyone using Windows 98 virtually should have a capable host.

The direct download link provided on page one by loblolly986 is for a 7-Zip file (http://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/retrozilla-suite-tls12-20200131.7z). Windows 98 can not handle *.7z files after a fresh install and a base install browser, such as Internet Explorer 5, can't access their download site (https://www.7-zip.org/download.html).

Are you able to find a reputable link to a 7-Zip v9.20 release that is HTTP only (i could not)? As 7-Zip is GPL licensed a tinyupload[dot]com HTTP link may be acceptable, someone clarify if they know for sure, although a link to a proper website is preferred. If so please provide and i can update the first post. Regardless the information in the first post is accurate. There is nothing misleading about 'the official RetroZilla download is from an HTTPS site'. This is a true statement, it is the official build and it is hosted on an HTTPS site, the other releases are further forked.

Quick tested, Internet Explorer v5 appears to download this link fine: http://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/retrozilla-suite-tls12-20200131.7z. This release does not have an installer but after un-zip the RetroZilla executable launches the browser fine and initiates a new user profile if one didn't already exist.

The HTTP link you provided above (http://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/index.php?sitemap) does not display properly in Internet Explorer v5 or RetroZilla. In RetroZilla a message indicates 'This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below". Is this link correct?

As you noted the first post is already long, even after linking most information. It gets longer every time something gets added, eventually too much for those who text and tweet. Can't comment on @roytam1's DNS provider, your description sounds shady indeed. Since i've only used the 'official' SeaMonkey-based build, can't comment on what does/not work in the Firefox-based build, such as the RetroZilla Search Engine and RetroZilla Extensions Collections. Nevertheless the retrozilla-suite-tls12-20200131.7z link provided by loblolly986 i believe is for the SeaMonkey-based release.

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Thanks, and sorry. I feel a little bit misunderstanding here, probably based on our different viewpoints about the importance of solving the chicken-egg-prob. There may be a lot, and well possible even most Win98 (fun) users today with access to a younger system too, but in my opinion not 100% by far. That's why I find it absolutely crucial to also provide start-help for the rest. Those who are really stuck, and really do need such browsers most. And don't have the slightest clue how to even get started, since downloads don't work anymore, and are just lost. And then are reading right at the start of first post here too, that they can't get RZ either, without access to another system :-(
This is what I mean with wrong info.
This topic is of course specifically for RZ, that's very fine. But first of all, they must manage to get it downloaded somehow, that's why I wrote here about roytams forks for win98. Because his builds can still be downloaded easily, and can then be used to get download access to ori-Retrozilla too. If there are other possibilities, no idea, not aware of any?? I keep finding it a bit funny that all over the web retro-fans are playing with old systems again and sometimes even create builds, while at the same time real users who depend on those systems are now locked out (thanks Google+MS+SF!) And I keep reading such users are just supposed to not exist anymore, and if they do they are crazy, so either way, who cares. Big thanks to RT for still providing http-downloads.
And sure, it's well possible that fresh Win98 installs without any updates are doomed today, but those are typically for fun-users. Real life users certainly installed some updates over the years/decades, especially if still online, so their main prob are now all the cipher-blocked sites since just 1-2 years.

About 7-zip, good reminder! Had almost forgotten again about that prob, but luckily for Sourceforge there's a trick: direct download links from their official mirrors still work :-) Just not the SF site itself, and not their "usual" download links, so the catch is to figure out such a direct url:
http or https://netcologne.dl.sourceforge.net/project/sevenzip/7-Zip/9.20/7z920.exe
Posted here some months ago (+KernelEx links, and more mirrors):
https://msfn.org/board/topic/177106-running-vanilla-windows-98-in-2020/page/23/?tab=comments#comment-1178102

Weird prob you have with KM, but no own topic for it. Shall we take this one...?
https://msfn.org/board/topic/178283-how-you-really-browse-the-web-on-98me-in-2019/page/30/#comments

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Hi siria. Very back door, problem solved, thank-you. A vanilla Windows 98 system using just Internet Explorer 5 can now use HTTP only sites to get 7-Zip and a working @roytam1 TLS v1.2 compliant browser, good stuff. Too bad my double-vanilla system isn't hooked up, not even Windows updates installed, that would be the best confirmation.

So for anyone with a fresh Windows 98 install with working internet connection, the two links below is all you need to get started. AFAIK this RetroZilla build already has all of the required TLS modifications built-in, so disregard the 'TLS Tweaks' section on the first post of this thread. As this RetroZilla download does not have a formal installer, just unzip into desired directory and create a desktop or task bar shortcut to the executable. If no RetroZilla profile exists a new one will be created upon first launch.

7-Zip (direct download, no JavaScript needed):
http://netcologne.dl.sourceforge.net/project/sevenzip/7-Zip/9.20/7z920.exe

RetroZilla (direct download, no JavaScript needed):
http://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/retrozilla-suite-tls12-20200131.7z

I will update the first post in the next couple/few days, used up my forum time today. Up to you regarding a K-Meleon discussion, existing thread or start new. I would like to give it another shot on my vanilla system and see if we can't make it go. A previous K-Meleon version i trialed appeared full featured and configurable, just didn't connect to most HTTPS.

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The first post was edited to reflect new information provided by siria, thank-you. This should solve the chicken vs egg problem for some systems. Note MSFN does not load in Windows 98 SE's default Internet Explorer v5, not sure about Internet Explorer v6. So some users will still need another computer, even just at work or public library, to read the good information available here.

Interesting side note, Microsoft still maintains some HTTP sites. Below is my Internet Explorer v5 homepage (from my homeland), useful to read latest news. Believe it or not the links on this page are HTTP, you can actually read the articles! Darn HTTPS, often purposeful but a real thorn in the side.
http://www.msn.com/en-ca/

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The Startpage search engine from the RetroZilla Search Engine Collection now requires changing the default User Agent to utilize, otherwise Startpage will not provide results. Use another search engine, such as DuckDuckGo-Lite, or the User Agent Switcher extension, available in the RetroZilla Extensions Collection. After installing the User Agent Switcher extension, restart browser and select the built-in Opera 9.2 user agent via Tools dropdown -> User Agent Switcher -> Opera 9.2 (Windows Vista).

Edited by Wunderbar98
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The 'JavaScript Issues' section on the first post was simplified, removing personal preference note for the NoScript extension. As JavaScript processing is so broken on this old browser, personally don't bother even selectively enabling code. To keep the RetroZilla install lean, just change javascript.enabled to false via about:config and forget about NoScript.

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