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Who's still using Win9x on the web besides me???


ZortMcGort11
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Hi Wunderbar98, I'm using K-Meleon as well, version 1.7 and no javascript as well. Sometimes I'll use Firefox 3.6.28, but K-Meleon allows more tweaking and adjustments to the user interface, and the bookmarking works better. So I'm pretty happy with it. Opera 12 is useless now, it breaks down on almost every site I try, with all the certificate error messages and everything.

I was using the Library computers for doing most browsing, but due to Covid-19 shutdown, the only internet access I have is my old trusty Windows ME computer on dialup for last six months. It's better than nothing.

There are some news websites that actually work, even with a slow connection. There's the text-only edition of CNN:

https://lite.cnn.com/en

And netscape news:

https://isp.netscape.com/news/

I browse forums a lot as well. Can't check my Gmail though, Google says my browser is too old. I don't suppose anybody knows an email service that still works?

Anyhow thanks for the reply.

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Another thing, if I come across a news article or website that won't load, I can usually use "CachedPages.com" to view it in text mode. Whether it's to read Wikipedia, news article, or whatever it usually works.

http://www.cachedpages.com/

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Hi ZortMcGort11, you're a Windows 9x trooper. K-Melon is very nice, lean and functional. Thanks for the Netscape News link, already had CNN lite bookmarked. Gmail is accessible in DOS via Links browser and in Windows 98 with K-Meleon v1.5.4, didn't even need to change user agent string. My Gmail is still set up to be HTML only, not the JavaScript version. You may need a JavaScript capable browser to access and change your Gmail settings. Not sure if they still allow reverting back to HTML, maybe my account is grandfathered. Just used K-Meleon to send a sample JPG attachment, no problem. I have a very old Yahoo account too, last used it was set up to be basic, not sure HTML only though.

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Thanks Wunderbar!

I think you are grandfathered into Gmail, because I used to be able to log in using Netscape 9, Firefox 2 or K-Meleon, but then I made a new account due to spam emails, and then I couldn't get back to the "HTML Only Version" with my new account. That could be cause I made the new account with a new computer.

I'm going to try and make a NEW account with plain old K-Meleon 1.5.4, just to see if it will work, but I doubt it will :-)

Another website that still works is SciTech Daily. They have some pretty cool news sections on Space, Technology, Health, Earth, etc.

It still works good with Netscape 9, but it does look better if you use either Firefox 3+ or K-Meleon 1.6+

https://scitechdaily.com/news/space/

Oh and, If you can stomach the right-wing bias, Breitbart website works pretty good. On dial-up, it's one of a handful of websites that loads properly with pictures besides, say, Drudge, CNN Text, or Netscape News.

https://www.breitbart.com/

The problem with Drudge is that all those aggregate websites just link to other sites, and about 90% of it doesn't work.

I just noticed more websites going all "secure" and blocking out old browsers... each day there seems to be fewer and fewer sources of entertainment :-)

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ZortMcGort11 said:
I'm using K-Meleon as well, version 1.7 and no javascript as well. Sometimes I'll use Firefox 3.6.28, but K-Meleon allows more tweaking and adjustments to the user interface, and the bookmarking works better. So I'm pretty happy with it. Opera 12 is useless now, it breaks down on almost every site I try, with all the certificate error messages and everything

Wait a sec.... just surprised... you're really getting MORE sites readable with KM1.7alpha as with Opera12.02??
And what about wikipedia? github? sourceforge downloads etc...? (KM-Forum?)

In any case doesn't sound as if you're aware of roytam1 cipher-updated forks of old browsers, with TLS1.2 :cool:
And which KernelEx version are you using? Basic 4.5.2 or newer?
By the way this forum has quite a bunch of topics for Win9x, although most people are using it just for retro-fun, in a virtual machine or dualboot system.
(posted with KM1.6beta2.6+TLS1.2 by RT)
.
Edited by siria
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Thanks for the MSN link :-)

I used Opera exclusively for about 7 or 8 years... from 2010 until 2017? Then it just went to total crap. Endless popup windows and certificate errors that don't go away even after I click the okay button. It's unusable.... worse than Firefox 2.

In my experience, yes, K-Meleon 1.7.0 loads way better than Opera, or anything else I've tried. Then again, maybe I haven't tried enough. I set the user agent to Firefox 3.6 by the way. Google results work better that way then the default K-Meleon user agent string.

I gave Retrozilla a shot. While I found it DID render some pages better than SeaMonkey 1.1.19 and Firefox 2.0.0.20 (other browsers from the same exact Gecko branch/engine), I would often experience random crashes. So unfortunately had to stop using it. Otherwise I would consider Retrozilla the last, good, non-kernelex browser for Win9x. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the effort put into these things :-)

Tried Firefox 4.0, but it was terrible.

Are there any Windows9x browsers that load Wikipedia anymore? Are you guys still able to load wikipedia.

I'm using vanilla KernelEx, last version posted on Xeno's old website.... 4.5.2. Is there a simple download package that update from that?

Thanks for the replies.

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Thanks for clarifying @loblo, don't use Opera anyway. The browsers mentioned earlier @ZortMcGort11 all work fine with Wikipedia: RetroZilla V2.2, K-Meleon v1.5.4, Links for DOS v2.21. Since you're using kernel extensions and like K-Meleon, a newer K-Meleon release is probably better, best bet is a @roytam1 build. RetroZilla is stable here, were you running JavaScript? JavaScript processing is broken on old browsers and will cause crashes, disable via about:config.

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(_HOWTO_ modern ciphers for old browsers for Windows98, Win98, Win9X, ME, forks, TLS1.2, ...)

ZortMcGort11 said:
Are there any Windows9x browsers that load Wikipedia anymore? Are you guys still able to load wikipedia.

YES - again :) It was starting to become a real killer prob 1-3 years ago, half the web broken, even with basic KernelEx, but thankfully roytam1 appeared, and has posted a bunch of updated OLD browser forks! Adding modern TLS1.2 CIPHERS, and he also backported a few browsers to work on older systems again. That stuff is just shattered around here and there, a bit everywhere...

For VANILLA Win98 there's mainly Retrozilla (project of dev rn10950), in various flavors, and roytam's recent fork of K-Meleon1.5.4+TLS1.2, with modern ciphers added.
There exists also a roytam-fork of Firefox2, which is also called Retrozilla, with now an rzbrowser.exe inside. Its older version still had a firefox.exe inside. Yes it's a bit confusing...

RETROZILLA (ancient Seamonkey, era Firefox2, but with modern CIPHERS):
guess this exists now in 3-4 flavors, but am rather confused, since initially, when I found and used it for awhile as fallback browser, had no clue yet there exist 2 RZ-builders with completely independant forks, using even same version numbers, and different engines inside! Had completely lost overview in that chaos and given up when not needing RZ myself anymore, but finally did some more research now:
The official Retrozilla is a fork of an ancient Seamonkey version, by rn10950, hosted at github, and he started the msfn topic here in 2016:
https://msfn.org/board/topic/174987-retrozilla-an-updated-version-of-mozilla-for-windows-95-and-nt4-22-released/
Not long ago he posted an update to version 2.2, containing modern CIPHERS and other stuff.
But independant of this version, roytam had already made some own RZ-forks too, before and after the official RZ update, and partly used other engines inside too, and also called them version 2.2.
Guess there exist now
1) RZ-ori-SeamonkeySuite, and
2) RT-RZ-SeamonkeySuite, and
3) an RT-"RZbrowser" with Firefox2 engine inside, which is even more confusing, because:
I happened to stumble upon this "RZbrowser" first, so used it, unaware of any other builds/forks/variations, and at the time it was the older version yet, v2.1 from 20180504. Was completely confused that it didn't identify itself as RZ, but instead as "Firefox2 Community Edition", and was started by a firefox.exe, and it also stored its Profiles in AppData/Firefox/. When I finally got it that this really is FF2, roytam posted an update to "Retrozilla v2.2". Now I was AGAIN completely confused: this update looked completely different as my "previous version 2.1"! And it was started with a "retrozilla.exe" and stored profiles in appdata retrozilla folder. Finally learned that there are two branches: "rz-suite", based on Seamonkey, and "rzbrowser", based on Firefox2. Awhile later, an update of this Firefox version followed: rzbrowser-tls12-20200127.7z. And AGAIN completely confusing: now this update identified itself as RZ too, in the startup page! And it gets now started with "rzbrowser.exe". So, no Firefox inside anymore? Then again, the exe properties still claimed to be FF2. And the toolbars still looked like Firefox too. After starting noticed the next surprise, it created completely new profiles in a completely new path: "AppData/Retrozilla/BROWSER/Profiles" (note that RZ-Seamonkey SUITE uses "AppData/Retrozilla/Profiles", and "retrozilla.exe") Uff, what a chaos... But what I mainly wanted to know: can this new version still run normal FIREFOX addons? And luckily, after a quick test: Yes! My test addon Read Easily installed quite normal. So it really is still a Firefox towards addons. Just was confused again for a moment that the new button wasn't visible, until realizing it must first be unhidden, by right-click on a toolbar and "customize". There it was hiding! Ouf....

So, this was the older and "pure" RZbrowser-Firefox2 version I used myself a few months as fallback, simply because it was the first RZ I ever saw:
https://msfn.org/board/topic/174987-retrozilla-an-updated-version-of-mozilla-for-windows-95-and-nt4-22-released/?do=findComment&comment=1150700
HTTP or https://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/rzbrowser-tls12-20180504.7z
And this is the newer RZbrowser-Firefox2-wrappedRetrozilla Mixup:
http://rtfreesoft.blogspot.com/2020/01/other-browser-binaries-20190131.html
http or https://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/rzbrowser-tls12-20200127.7z

And here is the original "complete" Retrozilla version, based on Seamonkey, containing a retrozilla.exe, by dev rn10950, but downloads hosted at Github (=now BLOCKED for old native Win98 browsers, thanks Microsoft!)
https://msfn.org/board/topic/174987-retrozilla-an-updated-version-of-mozilla-for-windows-95-and-nt4-22-released/
https://github.com/rn10950/RetroZilla/releases/latest
Perhaps direct links are better for future...
retrozilla-2.2.en-US.win32.installer.exe 12.5 MB
retrozilla-2.2.en-US.win32.zip 11.4 MB
Source code (zip)

And roytams forked version of "complete" Retrozilla SM suite:
http://rtfreesoft.blogspot.com/2020/01/other-browser-binaries-20190131.html
HTTP or https://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/retrozilla-suite-tls12-20200131.7z

The main differences between RZ-Seamonkey and (RZ???) Firefox2, as vaguely as I understand them, is that SM is a suite and comes with an email tool and chat etc build in, while Firefox2 is "only" a browser, but for it are still many more addons available, in wayback machine. Incl. crucial ones like CustomButtons and "Read Easily" (toggle styles off permanently, with button). While addons for SM are still found on Mozilla's official AMO site or guess an official split of it, among Thunderbird addons.

Now, not sure which Retrozilla version you tried, if you found it so bad, perhaps on old one.
Of course, all engines inside all versions ARE stone age, around Firefox2 era! Just updated with modern CIPHERS to restore access to HTTPS sites. And the original version probably yet more updates.
Then again, you mentioned too many CRASHES, but crashing is a whole different prob in itself, sadly more and more frequent now. KM is heavily affected too, old versions and newer ones. I hear even medium aged browsers like current KMG76.3 (based on PaleMoon26+Updates) and running on modern systems have started crashing here and there :(

roytam's K-Meleon154+TLS1.2 ciphers is here
HTTP or https://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/K-Meleon1.5.4en-US.tls12.7z
(3 files missing: profile.ini for portable mode, msvcp71.dll+msvcr71.dll, if not in system folder already. See below)
KernelEx NOT needed on Win98, but if you run it in a kernelex system anyway, set the compat to "disabled" to avoid a bug.

Anyway, if KernelEx is installed, choices get much better:

For example roytam's version of Firefox3.6+TLS1.2 ciphers, build for NT-systems.
Perhaps runs on vanilla ME too? But have heard not on all, so suppose Win98 still needs KernelEx?
HTTP or https://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/fx36vc71-20171108_newnss.7z
Incidentally this also contains the 2 mscv files missing in KM1.5.4 above.
For portable use it can be started with the contained bat file.

And for KM-fans.
A tiny step in numbers, but huge step in functions: K-Meleon 1.6+TLS1.2
You don't happen to still have an old community updated version of KM1.6beta2.6 lying around? Downloads of the time are long since broken too. Only the outdated official 1.6beta2 on sourceforge still available in repo, but lots of fixes and updates missing:
K-Meleon 1.6.0 Beta2 (Dec.2010) Win98 needs KernelEx452 with compat=XP
HTTP-SF or https://master.dl.sourceforge.net/project/kmeleon/k-meleon-dev/1.6.0Beta/K-Meleon1.6.0_Beta2_en-US.exe
HTTP or https://master.dl.sourceforge.net/project/kmeleon/k-meleon-dev/1.6.0Beta/K-Meleon1.6.0_Beta2_en-US.7z
Important Update packages:
(but sadly only the most crucial updated files. There were more in old times, but download long since broken):
2012 +Beta2-3: http://kmeleonbrowser.org/files/KMeleon1.6.7z (by Dorian)
(2012 Gecko updates by forum members, beta2.6 by JamesD, download broken)
2020 +TLS1.2 ciphers: HTTP or https://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/ns9-nss-update.7z (by roytam1)
Attention: For KM REMOVE sqlite3.dll from nss-7z, KM must keep its original version

KM1.6+TLS1.2 topic
http://kmeleonbrowser.org/forum/read.php?2,151536

And for CometBird9+11, Firefox10, Netscape9:
Some little NSS-update packages by roytam1, adding modern TLS1.2 CIPHERS:
https://msfn.org/board/topic/178283-how-you-really-browse-the-web-on-98me-in-2019/?do=findComment&comment=1178208
HTTP or https://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/CometBird-9.0.1-new-nss.7z
HTTP or https://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/CometBird_11.0-new-nss.7z
HTTP or https://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/Firefox10-new-nss.7z
HTTP or https://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/ns9-nss-update.7z

If anyone has Win98+modern KernelEx2016:
roytam also forked a special K-Meleon74 build (based on an old KM74-fork by Naruman), backported it for vanilla Win2000 (=Kex compat) and added modern TLS1.2 ciphers.
In Win98 this one is far too buggy+crashy for real use, but sometimes the only chance.
Perhaps it runs better in ME?
He also fixed 2 old KM74-bugs, native site-useragents and macro stuff (injectJS-return).
HTTP or https://o.rths.ml/gpc/files1.rt/KM74-g22-20180718.win2000.7z
(files inside from 2020-01-09. If only minor (?) updates like a few more ciphers, RT often insists to keep old date in name, sigh)

With VERY modern KernelEx2019 (and perhaps ME, not Win98? not sure) someone even reported that RT-KM76g starts in his system, but also rather buggy of course... Since 2-3 years roytam1 updates the engine inside his Goanna3-fork almost weekly. For example, at the moment the last version is here:
http or https://o.rths.ml/kmeleon/KM76.3.1-Goanna-20200926.7z

ZortMcGort11 said:
I'm using vanilla KernelEx, last version posted on Xeno's old website.... 4.5.2. Is there a simple download package that update from that?

Lots of packages, but very far from "simple". And when I finally dared to try updating last year, hoping to get RT-KM74 running, it nearly ruined my system. For an expert no prob of course, but for me, having no clue of system stuff, so decided to leave it at a semi-updated state and not daring to touch it anymore since. Killer prob is, my 2016 version is also rather buggy, not possible anymore to disable Kex completely on an app, killing some old native 98 apps :(

By the way, when using a BRANDNEW profile and getting this ERROR on all HTTPS sites:
"Could not initialize the browser's security component"
that's also a KernelEx bug, but luckily can be worked around. HOWTO:

NEW profiles must first create 3 personal key files for HTTPS (key3.db, cert8.db, secmod.db)
- either copy over those 3 files from an older, existing profile of a similar Mozilla browser
- or produce new files with a native Win98 browser, then copy those 3 new files over into your younger browser
(from Firefox2, K-Meleon1.5.4, Retrozilla? etc, into Firefox3.5/3.6/9, K-Meleon1.6/7/74 etc.)
For example, if using for this key-creation roytam's updated fork of K-Meleon1.5.4, in Win98 with KernelEx:
right-click on "k-meleonW9x.exe", open file properties, set KernelEx compat to "disabled", start this exe, and visit a httpS website, like msfn. If it works now, the browser has created those files in current profile folder. From there you can copy them into other browser profiles, of younger engines.

General info for vanilla Win98 users:

If UNZIPPING of roytam1 browsers doesn't work, update to 7-ZIP 9.20, last Win98-version:
HTTP-SF or https://master.dl.sourceforge.net/project/sevenzip/7-Zip/9.20/7z920.exe
or http://sourceforge.mirrorservice.org/s/se/sevenzip/7-Zip/9.20/7z920.exe

For running K-Meleon1.6, 1.7, Firefox3.x etc. on Win98, you need at least good old basic
KERNELEX 4.5.2 for Windows 98:
HTTP-SF or https://master.dl.sourceforge.net/project/kernelex/KernelEx/4.5.2/README.txt
http or https://master.dl.sourceforge.net/project/kernelex/KernelEx/4.5.2/KernelEx-4.5.2.exe

Ouf... what a novel, sigh.
.
Edited by siria
fixed wrong link
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Oh, and almost forgot, yet another TRAP:

Just because an updated browser may then be ABLE to handle modern TLS1.2 ciphers (more or less), doesn't imply that those were automatically enabled in user settings too! And not even, that checkboxes for those new choices would now appear in the GUI settings.

Depending on the browser, you may have to change the "security." prefs on about:config page directly. Or faster, filter for "tls"
The most important setting:
security.tls.version.max = 3 or 4
0=SSL3 / 1=TLS 1.0 / 2=TLS 1.1 / 3=TLS 1.2 / 4=TLS 1.3

Just as reminder, would create such an info pref manually:
security.tls.version.__INFO = INFO: 0=SSL3, 1=TLS 1.0, 2=1.1, 3=1.2, 4=1.3 beta

Depending on browsers, you may even have to add a list of new ciphers manually too - just which ones exactly...? Have only seen a few listed here and there in the forum, somewhere...
If anyone knows details, please post such a list here. Preferably in same format as other files for default settings, in .../defaults/pref(erences)/*.js :)

And except for too extremely old engines, Mozilla browsers have a page "about:support" which lists such stuff... "NSS" has to do with security TLS-versions... but that's all I know.

All that said, am no expert! Can't guarantee that all this is 100% accurate.
Just collecting tips here. If anyone has corrections, feel free to post!

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And another prob for ancient Win98 browsers of course: PAGE STYLE!
In such extremely old browsers as Firefox2 or FF3.5 forks, half the web looks completely messed now. Lots of stuff overlapping each other etc., due to ancient CSS.

The usual workaround is to toggle page styles, to get a very raw, but readable view. Occasionally even looking better! Or discovering hidden stuff, vanished input fields etc.

Most Mozilla browsers have a native menu for this:
View > Page Style On/Off
or View > Use Style > None

What's stupid is having to hit that menu again, and again, and again... and AGAIN...

To kill page styles automatically, there's a popular tiny addon "Read Easily"
In Firefox it creates a toolbar button and a right-click menu and a keyboard shortcut.
And it keeps the current state when opening new pages (always OFF)
And it installs from Firefox 1.5 up to (??) 56
https://web.archive.org/web/20170902081132/https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/read-easily/

Have tried it in roytams rzbrowser (Firefox2) and it first complained about signatures, but after simply deleting the META-INF folder inside the zipped xpi, it installed without any probs. And after restart first thought it didn't work, no new button in sight anywhere. Then figured out that after installation and restart, users must first right-click in toolbar area > customize to find the button. Sorry but have almost zero experience with Firefox, let alone SM/RZ, only KM.

CATCH for RZ/Seamonkey:
this addon doesn't install?

CATCH for K-Meleon:
It even has no View > Page Style at all! Incredible. Never missed while engine and CSS was still current enough, but with such a function gap between Win98-Firefox2 and today's web - no chance.
My user macro StyleKiller helps mostly, posted in KM-Forum:
http://kmeleonbrowser.org/forum/read.php?9,146712
(but version v1 can't toggle inline styles yet, only my private unfinished update so far)

And of course the USERAGENT string should be faked, to escape those "old browser warnings" everywhere.
For Firefox / RZ there are several UA addons available.

In OLD K-Meleon a macro was included: menu Tools > User Agent
The ancient native macro toggles only the global UA string.
But sadly our dev tought it's not necessary anymore and removed it some day, to our horror.
Awhile back I made some updates to that old macro, and called it useragents2018
http://kmeleonbrowser.org/forum/read.php?9,143898

And perhaps a few more K-Meleon starter hints I posted recently ;-)
https://msfn.org/board/topic/181726-k-meleon-tls-12-in-vanilla-windows-98-se/?do=findComment&comment=1185099
.

Edited by siria
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