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Email on Windows 98, 2022


retrotrash69
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14 hours ago, retrotrash69 said:

Winsslwrap confused me right at the beginning, when the post mentioned "blackwingcatopenssl files" and "configuring apps to localhost"...

I think it would be easier to understand in the format of a how to for absolute beginners

Downlod Windows 9x SSL Protocol WinSSLWrap 1.17 (Rev 08)

http://www.htasoft.com/u98sesp/download98ssl.php
The installer should work on 98SE.

Install: You have to choose the instruction set of your CPU SSE or SSE2 (Pentium 4 or higher => SSE2).

I think I installed it manually on ME:
SSE2 CPU
- extracted with 7Zip
- SSL2.cab files into the program folder - name "SSL Protocol"
- Sys2.cab files into System folder
- created a shortcut to Wrap.exe on the Quick Launch / Taskbar ("C:\Program Files\SSL Protocol\WRAP.EXE") - no autostart
- Configuration - see above
SSLWrap must be running before you start the MailClient

WinSSL.png.b241bba00e740f9364f996302fc390cb.png

 

Edited by schwups
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I haven't looked into it, but it might be possible to configure a Linux server with the proper security protocols that are compatible with these older mail clients, and have it sync with another, modern mail server, such as an Outlook or Gmail account. The tricky part is sending mail (smtp), as this is typically done through a trusted service that is whitelisted to other mail providers. I don't know if it's possible to proxy smtp through one computer to another remote service, for the purpose of supporting an older mail client.

It would be interesting to consider, though.

I have already experienced this issue of older security protocols breaking legacy applications previously. For example, GitHub no longer supports the security protocols with git, as provided by the last Cygwin version release for Windows 98. Cygwin's ssh from this same version is also unable to connect to modern Fedora Linux 36 on my network due to incompatible security, despite working just fine with a much older CentOS Linux 7.9 that is also present on the network.

Sometimes there isn't anything wrong with the software per se, but it's the other end that refuses to talk with you because they no longer accept older protocols that are deemed insecure.

Edited by Kahenraz
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14 hours ago, Drugwash said:

For what it's worth here is my own recent experience with searching for a truly free e-mail provider: link
Do check out the link quoted there to get an idea of what has become of the freedom of communication today.
They do not mention mail.com though. No idea how they go lately, I had my account created a few years ago without the need to provide a phone number. It has been working fine in POP Peeper.

You should really fix your KernelEx installation, it may be required for much more software. I just checked POP Peeper 4.5.3 yesterday in a virtual 98SE setup and it only misses three APIs that should be easily fixed through KernelEx. Also uSP3 might provide additional help, but make sure it's installed before KernelEx.

If it's of any comfort I couldn't wrap (pun intended) my head around WinSSLwrap either, and without false modesty I do consider myself fairly knowledgeable. We may just have a completely different way of understanding things which requires a different approach in explaining certain procedures.

At risk of going off topic, how would I go about fixing the broken kernelex installation? I'll try mail.com later and see if I can register successfully sans-phone number

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8 hours ago, retrotrash69 said:

how would I go about fixing the broken kernelex installation?

Someone mentioned before installing the correct version of unicows.dll if you have anything different than that or none at all. It may be best done in pure DOS mode or Safe Mode if it requires replacement.

Also other updated system files provided by AutoPatcher or uSP3 may prove useful along the way. Either should be installed prior to KernelEx, so if you already have KernelEx installed you'd have to first uninstall it, then update the system with either of the aforementioned packages. I believe uSP3 does install the correct unicows library too so you may not have to perform multiple steps.

Installing KernelEx 4.5.2 - the original version - should be straightforward. If you are unsure you may visit the related topic and see if there are any specific advices there.

If all goes well with installing KernelEx the somehow complicated part is setting the proper compatibility for each application that requires it, and sometimes for some of its pertaining libraries. To find out which executables and/or libraries require higher compatibility I use Total Commander with the FileInfo plug-in which displays the missing or incomplete dependencies, it's very easy to check each file that way.
Screenshot-from-2022-08-19-05-03-59.png Screenshot-from-2022-08-19-05-05-13.png Screenshot-from-2022-08-19-05-06-05.png Screenshot-from-2022-08-19-05-06-29.png

Thing is, your KernelEx installation may not even be broken - maybe you just didn't set up the correct compatibilities for the required executables and/or libraries. In POP Peeper only the main executable - POPPeeper.exe - and the database convertor - PPconvert.exe - require higher compatibility due to missing APIs while all the libraries, including the SSL ones that it downloads during installation, are fully compatible with Win98. Setting XP compatibility for the two files should fix it. (right-click the file, choose Properties, go to KernelEx Compatibility tab and select XP).

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, Drugwash said:

Screenshot-from-2022-08-19-05-03-59.png Screenshot-from-2022-08-19-05-05-13.png Screenshot-from-2022-08-19-05-06-05.png Screenshot-from-2022-08-19-05-06-29.png

Thing is, your KernelEx installation may not even be broken - maybe you just didn't set up the correct compatibilities for the required executables and/or libraries. In POP Peeper only the main executable - POPPeeper.exe - and the database convertor - PPconvert.exe - require higher compatibility due to missing APIs while all the libraries, including the SSL ones that it downloads during installation, are fully compatible with Win98. Setting XP compatibility for the two files should fix it. (right-click the file, choose Properties, go to KernelEx Compatibility tab and select XP).

Unfortunately it does appear that my KernelEx is indeed broken... I set the file's to XP compatibility and it still gives me that missing dll error and doesn't start. so it looks like I am going to have to reinstall and hope all goes well.

sure wish someone would compile all the information about making Win 98 somewhat functional in the modern day, and write a full tutorial with step by step.. If that existed I would have known to install that other thing before installing KernelEx!

Thanks for helping me so far, hope this stuff can be sorted out..

EDIT: so I'm  already stuck. There are multiple versions of usp3 out there, which one do I download? Also will this really install the correct unicows or should I download that too just in case? I wanna make sure I have it before reinstalling KernelEx.

On 8/18/2022 at 9:43 AM, Kahenraz said:

I haven't looked into it, but it might be possible to configure a Linux server with the proper security protocols that are compatible with these older mail clients, and have it sync with another, modern mail server, such as an Outlook or Gmail account.

I've never used a Linux anything in my entire life, this is unfortunately way over my head. Plus, its kinda not in the spirit of the pre-2000 limit, you would still be required to own a modern machine if I understand correctly.

Edited by retrotrash69
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1 hour ago, retrotrash69 said:

sure wish someone would compile all the information about making Win 98 somewhat functional in the modern day, and write a full tutorial with step by step.. If that existed I would have known to install that other thing before installing KernelEx!

On the blog page, for KernelEx, "Retro Systems Revival" makes mention of the prerequisites. A readme distributed along with the release might not be a bad idea. But most are pretty grateful that the release even exists.

 

2 hours ago, retrotrash69 said:

There are multiple versions of usp3 out there, which one do I download? Also will this really install the correct unicows or should I download that too just in case? I wanna make sure I have it before reinstalling KernelEx.

Some have had stalling problems with 3.66. But that seems to be mostly a Virtual Machine issue. Killing the "old app (I think that is what its called)" process moves things along again. Don't know if that is advisable. To avoid that issue some prefer 3.65. Both come with KernelEx. So it is likely that you will be fine. Just be sure to read the instructions provided by the installer, during execution. You'll see what I mean when you run it.

 

2 hours ago, retrotrash69 said:

I've never used a Linux anything in my entire life, this is unfortunately way over my head. Plus, its kinda not in the spirit of the pre-2000 limit, you would still be required to own a modern machine if I understand correctly.

Linux is easy and hard. Good advice and/or research skills (man pages) can get you a long way. Linux is HUGE, its easy to get lost. But it is very flexible. Hence, user created video game console distro's (RetroArch). Smaller live Linux distro's can be easier to start out with.

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7 hours ago, retrotrash69 said:

I set the file's to XP compatibility and it still gives me that missing dll error and doesn't start.

One or more missing libraries may not have anything to do with KernelEx. Newer applications can be linked to various libraries that may not be native to Win9x, so one would have to search for them in newer OS versions (or on the web, there are sites that provide various DLLs) and attempt to port them to their system. Some may work, some may not, depending on whether they work standalone or require other dependencies themselves. All this requires quite a bit of work.
If you mentioned which library/ies exactly you're missing maybe someone could help further.

7 hours ago, retrotrash69 said:

There are multiple versions of usp3 out there, which one do I download?

Usually the latest...? As far as I know the latest was v3.66. In view of recent reports below it may be prudent to avoid v3.66 and try an earlier version - maybe v3.65 as suggested below.

7 hours ago, retrotrash69 said:

Also will this really install the correct unicows or should I download that too just in case?

I just checked and the SP3.cab package inside uSP3 v3.66 contains unicows.dll v1.1.3790.0 so you shouldn't have to download it separately.

7 hours ago, retrotrash69 said:

I've never used a Linux anything in my entire life, this is unfortunately way over my head. Plus, its kinda not in the spirit of the pre-2000 limit, you would still be required to own a modern machine if I understand correctly.

Nowadays' Linux is fairly easy to deal with, some distros provide a Windows-like feeling and the GUI has evolved pretty well. Unfortunately a lot of them only provide 64bit versions of the distros but there still are a few that provide 32bit for whoever doesn't own a 64bit machine. Some distros are quite small i.e. Puppy Linux. There is a learning curve though and it depends on each person how welll they cope with that. Personally I switched to Linux about three years ago when 98SE + XP couldn't deal with the web in an acceptable way.

Edited by Drugwash
changed advice based on recent reports on uSP3v3.66
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1 hour ago, Drugwash said:

Personally I switched to Linux about three years ago when 98SE + XP couldn't deal with the web in an acceptable way.

Ironic. Three years ago I began digging up Win9x/Dos. Right about when Linux started acting more and more like modern Windows/Apple. I admit, it still has a long ways to go. Switched to the BSDs for awhile. They seemed more pleasant to lean out, when compared to something like Archlinux. The future is looking bleak.

Anyway, I liked your Linux description. I had written one similar to it, but chickened out and went simple.

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When you install KernelEx 4.5.2 and it must be installed prior to an upgraded version, it will say if successful or not. I have only installed with KernelEx enabled though and therefore inexperienced with KernelEx disabled. ( I should be experienced but am guilty of not being ) If you run Verify.exe in the KernelEx folder it will say whether it is installed properly. With Linux if you want up to date support with a dual boot with Win98 and not being a Linux expert then you will need compatibility with a GeForce 7 series video card from installation and most new releases do not provide that. I know of 2 that do; Zorin is Ubuntu based and antiX is Debian. Once you have KernelEx 4.5.2 running then Thunderbird 8.0 is a good email client to use as it provides all that is required with updated files and settings. I will run though these updates once you have Thunderbird 8.0 working.

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> Some have had stalling problems with 3.66. But that seems to be mostly a Virtual Machine issue.

Just to throw my two cents into the fire. (Hey, is that a mixed metaphor?)

I had a terrible experience with U98SESP v3.66 on a *real* 98SE machine (not virtual) -- many of my apps began to crash or not run right after. I *tried* going back to v3.65, but with only partial success. I've never had a problem with any previous versions. I really should do a full Win98SE re-installation (a major undertaking).

To summarize: I *highly* dis-recommend using U98SESP v3.66 -- use v3.65 instead!

- Doug B.
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Posted (edited)

Linux would be extremely difficult for me, I am stuck in my ways and pretty poor at adjusting (for an example, I can't wrap my head around the newer windows versions with their ugly and confusing UI, even if I wanted to). Must be the Autism, LOL!

I am a little curious in terms of experimenting with it but none of the distros catch my attention aesthetically. Too "sleek and modern" I suppose.

Plus I like my Windows games.

I've used 98 since it was new but not as a daily driver until a little over 10 years ago, so I'm a bit behind on all the tweaks that have come out for it (and completely forgot others lol). so forgive me everyone for the ignorance, and thanks again for working with me.

Currently 'm looking at a checklist , in usp3, what do I check there if anything?

Edit: Well, I went through with it without checking anything but a few interesting looking addons, it froze in the background after extracting (program open in taskbar but window not displaying), so I restarted. No idea if that's installed correctly or not. KernelEx is now reinstalled. PopPeeper still doesn't work. I assume Thunderbird won't either. Might have to keep this vanilla and just stick with gmail on Firefox, until that breaks one day.

The missing DLL is GDIPLUs, but I am gonna bet replacing it will do nothing.. I tried this with another application already, it keeps asking for different dlls and once I have downloaded everything it asks for it gave me some error I forgot and still didn't work.

Edited by retrotrash69
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3 hours ago, retrotrash69 said:

The missing DLL is GDIPLUs

That DLL should be included in USP3. It is a common add on to the Windows 98 libraries (sorry, if you already knew that). Classic programs like "Media Player Classic (middle versions and onward)" need it.

Me presonally, I don't use USP3. When I do, I use it as an archive. I just extract what I want, then manually install it. You can search around and find that some people have even stuck with USP versions in the 2.x series. Regardless, I am glad someone spent the time to release at all.

KernelEx is a great project. I've tested it out a few times, but have yet to depend on it.

Having tried to "Teach" highly determined Windows users, to get the hang of Linux, I cannot recommend it. But, there is something to be said for overcoming personal limits. It is not my intent to discourage you. But plenty of people understand where you are coming from.

I used to have some Windows centric friends, that praised "Peppermint OS". But that was awhile ago, and those users were coming from Win7.

I apologize, as the following crosses the border of thread jacking.

I've long planned a LiveUSB Linux, that centers on the use of WINE. A real basic linux window manager (Evilwm,Openbox) could host the execution of some Windows Shell, in fullscreen. WINE actually has its own explorer that could be used (ugly). Then a person could install and use Windows applications. Everything exists inside a Windows File Structure, located inside a user folder (/user/.wine/drive_c). Plenty of programs world great with Wine. Games can be a problem. But many work fine. 

Hardware/System settings become the issue. A person would have to learn how to connect Wifi, safely remove USB storage, etc. My planned solution would be a key combination shortcut, that opens a menu with the handful of required applications/system settings. If I had the time, I would modify WINE's explorer. Then the Linux settings could be exposed via the WINE interface, designed in the familiar likeness of Windows. Alas, this crucial part is beyond my current ambitions. I've seen other people approach the same idea. But I think the last time I looked into it, a more accomplished one failed; because they wanted to charge money for it.

But the Linux part itself wouldn't take up that much space. Especially, if someone used something like Slax. Then all the Linux parts are inside a live compressed(fast decompressed) filesystem. Slax would just need to be ran in Persistence mode, to save setting (like wifi and username/password). Or that is one way. The user folder could just be linked to storage somewhere. The whole thing could just be booted and then completely installed to the harddrive.

Any Linux people are probably thinking that I am just lazy. Because we all know the basic concept could be accomplished in hours. Apt-get insall this and that, with some Zenity here and there. But hey, I'm busy with Windows 98 right now.

EDIT: Well, its been awhile since I've thought about this. I forgot that WINE now incorporates the .lnk shortcut, created when installing a program, into a directory, complying with Linux desktop standards. So a basic "Start Menu" like desktop environment could be used. A nifty "Wine" section shows up in the desktop menu. There all the Installed Windows applications are listed as menu entries.

I don't use a desktop environment, so I'm almost ignorant about them; aside from seeing the lnk files being referenced inside a Linux folder.

Edited by awkduck
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Yeah I'm already not a fan of Peppermint, looking it up just now. Looks kinda like if Windows 10 had a dark mode and a proper start button. Like I said, too "sleek and modern'. I really love the oldschool Windows aesthetic. Ya know, before everything went flat. Also doesn't look like it would run on pre-2000 hardware so is pretty much irrelevant to this thread.

I don't think usp3 installed correctly...  I was pretty confused on what to do with it. Maybe I did need to check something... My assumption is by terminating the hanging program I probably killed the installation halfway or something.

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Sorry, that I missed the pre-2000 era "hardware" part. Any Linux that would run there, you probably wouldn't like. Not that it couldn't be made pleasant. The crappy thing is that you'd have the same problems. Newer Linux stopped maintaining 3D Acceleration, for older video cards. And older Linux doesn't support the new encryption standards.

TinycoreLinux would be a the closest fit, hardware wise. The default Desktop is pretty spartan. But the deal breaker is that accessing applications and settings is nothing near similar to Windows. It is a simple Linux. But far from intuitive, for a beginner. I don't how Slitaz Linux is compiling its 32bit kernel these days. They might be and option. Devuan Linux would work. But the default system configurations (background processes) and desktop might really bog the computer down. But any Linux could be made to look win9x-ish. One ugly example (page down a little).

Its been awhile since I've looked into usp3, but I recall the check box menu listing one main upgrade, to install before the rest. However, some list themselves as needing to be install by alone. Meaning no other check boxes should be marked.

I would say DougB's post is probably evidence enough, that v3.66 should be avoided by most. For anyone curious, you can just extract v3.66, and then read the install scripts for each thing you wish to install. You can consider the scripts as install advice, and adjust to your needs. Or at the very least, isolate the cause of the update stall/issue.

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