Windows

Is Windows 98 still an option?

Windows XP may rule the desktop now, but until about 2002, the main desktop operating system of choice for many businesses was Windows 98. Is a 10 year old operating system good for anything, especially in the face of Windows Vista and Linux? Here's why, in some cases, yes it is.

 

Windows XP may rule the desktop now, but until about 2002, the main desktop operating system of choice for many businesses was Windows 98. Windows 2000 Professional never got a lot of traction and Windows XP faced a lot of the same launch challenges that Windows Vista does today.

In 2004, I wrote an article that argued that Windows 98 was still a viable choice for some business desktops. But what about today? Can a 10 year old operating system still make the grade? And in some cases, does Windows 98 make more sense than Windows Vista?

The answer of course depends on your users and the equipment you're using. Windows 98's hardware limitations make it an extremely poor choice for most newer machines. Vendors very rarely include Windows 98 drivers for most new peripherals. Most computers nowadays ship with at least 1 GB of RAM, and Windows 9x chokes with this much memory. Finally, under Windows 98, a hard drive partition formatted with FAT32, the default file system, can't exceed 127.5 GB. What's worse is that at that size, individual clusters are 32 KB, which can result in a lot of wasted space.

From a security standpoint, Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 98, so you've got to watch out for unpatched security vulnerabilities. You can minimize your exposure by making sure you've installed a Windows 98 – supported virus scanner and firewall as well as making sure you use modern updated software like FireFox for Windows 98. In any case, you don't want to use Windows 98 any where security is a major concern.

So clearly, Windows 98 isn't a choice for any machine built in the last year. On the flipside however, Windows Vista isn't a choice for any machine that's more than a year old. So where does that leave you?

Obviously, Windows XP is the choice for machines less than 5 years old. Properly configured however, you can still use Windows 98 in your organization. Say for example you have a user who really needs access to a laptop and all you have is a stack of machines that are perfectly good except for the fact that they're all Pentium III based. In that case, Windows 98 just may be the ticket. Blow the dust off of it, apply all of the available patches and updated software, and your user is ready to go.

 

 

 

 

 

95 comments
shawnerr
shawnerr

Ok. As far as as a PIII not being able to handle anything other than Windows 98 SE, here's proof. Right now I am using a Pentium III 733MHz computer that runs Windows XP Professional with no problems. That is of course with the 384 MB memory and a 64MB Nvidia Video Card. Runs smoothly. My other computers (2 desktops, 1 laptop) are running Windows 98 SE. As a certified technician, I can keep them running as long as I want to. I still love Windows 98 SE because it's stable and easy to tweak around with. It's also good to hang on to your old computers/operating systems for running older programs & games or to use as a test bench machine. In my opinion, Windows 98 SE is still a great, simple, stable operating system that doesn't require much. Even though it's old, it still can be tweaked and updated to make it a decent OS. Lastly, as my favorite saying goes.... "If it's not broken, don't try to fix it."

still_learntoo
still_learntoo

I know time passes faster than we realize, but it doesn't seem all that long ago (within the year) that a Gardner report was telling us that a majority of PC's were running on pre-Win 2000 OS. Anyone have factual data on this?

lrohrig
lrohrig

I have an old Pentium III laptop with a gig of RAM an it is very happily running XP pro with Office 2003. I haven't told it that it can't. Shhhhhhh!

robmitchell
robmitchell

I still maintain that Windows 98 was the ultimate Windows!!! I just got a new laptop, I've spent several hours reconfiguring Vista to look & feel like 98; over 380 changes. I had a bear of a time getting rid of the task scheduler. Of the 130 services in Vista, 79 can be safely disabled!!!!! Talk about blote. I wanted to see just how small footprint of absolutely essentials needed to run Vista; before I dumped it for DSL Linux. I really wish MicroSoft would wake-up and realize that the O/S is not an end but a means to an end. An O/S should NOT be cluttered with useless apps like IE7, Movie Maker, Outlook express, & RAM hungry services. Let's get real, Aero doesn't do anything to enhance the performance of Peachtree or Quickbooks. Rob Mitchell Ironstone Farms San Antonio, TX, USA

stoneyh
stoneyh

Oh yeah... Windows 98 is absolutely still relevant. It occupies the entire DONT side of the chart for all future desktop OS products. All kidding aside its about as much as option for business as Windows 95. Most of my clients run Windows 2000 or better for the server platform. 98 is just not a realistic option for the GPs and security policies that are needed today.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

I'm still running 98 on my laptop, which will likely finally be replaced this year. I also have another machine in the office with 98 that runs my voice mail system. When the hardware for that gets swapped out, I'll likely run 98 on it via Virtual PC or VMWare. I finally got my last of my clients with stations running 98 up to XP last year.

daytech
daytech

This is what I run on my older laptops. My slowest is a Toshiba PIII-450 with 256 RAM. It runs very well and with XP you can keep security current. Wireless support is much better than Win98 and Win2K.

RknRlKid
RknRlKid

I'm not being factitious either. If security and stability are a problem, wouldn't both be "fixed" by using NT4 Workstation instead? Granted, the game support is not there. But supposedly NT4 had the greater security, and it is not a resource hog according to the book specs. I'm curious about what other people think about this.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If there's not a reason to have winXP as your game platform, win98 can save far more of your system resources for the game to actually use. Of course, you don't want that dedicated gaming rig to be the same machine you browse about the internet or leave connected all the time. In like fashion, older hardware that barely runs winXP but still works perfectly well can push win98. With the number of people still using win95 (they are out there), win98 is worth considering. If winXP was not a requirnment for some of my programs, I'd probably still be running win98 on my laptop as the dual boot along side Mandriva. Sadly, the software that keeps a win32 boot on the machine at all requires winXP as a minimum and boy does the weight of the OS on the hardware (cf27) ever show. My favourite excuse of course is "testing". My win98 license resides happily among my OS collection VMs though mostly as something to pound against with MSF and similar software.

liviumacoviciuc2000
liviumacoviciuc2000

Windows 98 is a security disaster I know what I am saying I wrote several viruses for this OS Why ? Because it invited me to

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

I still use WIN98, but only as an interum step to installing the WINXPHOME upgrade I have. I have to load WIN98 first and then the upgrade version of WINXPHOME. I suppose if I had bought the full version of XPHOME to start with, but I didn't and so I have to do it this way. There are still a few units I work on that are older hardware and still have WIN98 installed but it hasn't presented any problems so far.

dawgit
dawgit

It's (Win98) still out there in daily use in many Mom and Pop businesses. (I agree though, there's not many left.) They will continue to use it until their computer Dies. And after that they'll want the same ?feel? in whatever OS comes on the new computer. Worse, Vista now has such a bad reputation, (over here in Europe, anyway) They know and are convinced they don't want that. (Most will and do actually go to a Linux Sys.) What's the point of bringing up the FAT32 file sys. when many, if not most, laptops (with a Win OS) still and being pushed out using it. -Mute Point. As for HD size, it's really only important for Data storage, there no justification for it a Desktop. -None. (actually 20GB to 40GB is ideal, more is a disaster waiting to happen.) As for MS no longer supporting any Win9x Systems, We have more problems on the systems they do support. (and subsequently screw up in the process) Where are you getting your data that Win2k ? never got a lot of traction?? It was the most widely used OS in the business world (with Win2k server) until WinXP had proven itself. (WinXP is now the most widely used OS in business world, but Win2k is still hanging in there) Again, just as with SMB's, big business up-grades their OS when they (need to) up-grade their equipment. I think you're missing the point on the up-coming (wither we like it or not.) Web2.0. Desk tops are becoming terminals again, and OS kernels are shrinking. It's all going to be online. (either the Internet, or an internal intranet) So, it seems after your article and my rant, it seems we came to the same point. (?Windows 98 isn?t a choice for any machine built in the last year. On the flipside however, Windows Vista isn?t a choice for any machine that?s more than a year old.? and ?Windows XP is the choice for machines less than 5 years old.? and ?Properly configured however, you can still use Windows 98 in your organization?) I still have one Win98 machine around, for an obsolete scanner, that no drivers for other OS's will ever be written. It comes in handy when somebody calls for help with their (Win98) computer that is still in use. (My memory isn't as good as it used to be.) As you mentioned I have it on a laptop too (for when I must interface with a MS whatever.) Great for kids to learn on as well. With an old computer, even with a PII, they're on their way. You managed to hit a nerve here, but I have to say, it was, after all a good post. Maybe that was also your reaction to this subject, and thus the posting. If so, dito. -d

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I was actually thinking of software limitations, but the same result stands. It just ain't gonna work right no more! I must confess that I did just install an OLD Win98 box for a family member learning how to use a PC for the first time (couldn't find a P4 box in my junk pile), but the needs are absolute minimum, a bit of email, less than half a dozen websites. Now that I bought the user a new digital camera, I'll have to get the system upgraded so that newer software is runs properly, camera is easier to work with, importing and emailing pictures will be easier etc. I have no intent on setting it up with XP but will skip it and go to Vista Home Premium, which I have had excellent results with myself, light years ahead of XP as far as useability and the FLASH drive memory boost works really well and saves battery time with a notebook (even with a base 2 gigs already installed)! BUT you do need a enw PC/notebook to use it. With the incredibly low price of new hardware these days, it's worth a new box instead of XP and a hardware upgrade or two. As for XP, I noted you said it would be best for PC's up to 5 years old, of course that would be unless on a NEW system, in which case vista has no real problems running well, especially when compared to XP when it first came out, which was teh biggest horror show I have seen from MS yet. So yes, Win98 works for some people and some applications, however anything new or any hardware upgrading should be coupled with Vista. note: Vista Home Basic has been quite problematic on the few boxes I've played with, usually included with entry level PC's along with low RAM and poor hardware. But the Home Premium works great, compared to XP it is faster (a LOT faster), simpler to use, more secure out of the box. Despite the new XP fans (where were they when XP released??) I am confident that Vista is a far better OS, is much more user friendly and helps stop newbies and non-savvy users from making horrible mistakes. With new? Vista Home Premium With up to 10 years old? Win2K Professional Older than 10 years? Win98, if it is supported. Obnviously REALLY old boxes will need some flavour of 'nix, Win3.11 or what have you.

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

I need to do some digging around, but you're right. I'm not so sure it was Gartner, but in the early-90's I'm pretty sure that IDC and others were reporting that we'd all be running OS/2 in the 21st Century. I will dig around and see if I can the actual research for another update.

JCitizen
JCitizen

and 380Mb RAM running Office 2000 and just cranking along swimmingly. Guess no one told him he couldn't either! And it runs quite fast enough I might add.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I wouldn't dream of using gutted winXP in a business but for my personal notebook, that may be just the thing and I can move the saved space over to the Mandriva partition while I'm rebuilding it after the 2008.1 release.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Mainly because of HDD handling. While 98 or even 95 with the FAT 16 or 32 Partitions can be installed on most current drives the NT option is limited to drives with 1022 Cylinders if I remember correctly. Col

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The last time I checked there was no USB support for NT.

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

NT Workstation would be a good alternative in some cases as well. Of course, one of the major drawbacks to NTWS is the fact that it never had the hardware support than 98 did. So, if the plan is to exploit older hardware using 98, chances are there aren't NTWS drivers available for it. NT Workstation was a good operating system for its time. I think it never gained traction when it was new because of its limited hardware support on one hand, and its (for the time) large hardware requirements on the other. You really wanted to have about 32 MB of RAM to make it work well, although it would run in as little as 16MB. At the time, that was a massive, and expensive, amount of memory. By the time hardware prices caught up, Microsoft was getting ready to ship Windows 2000 and Windows 98 was already king of the hill.

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

Think it's time to create a Windows 98 VM and find that old Star Fleet Command III CD. The Klingon Empire has some of the best toys. :)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Writting viruses as proof of concept or for learning is fine provided you kept them contained. If you wrote viruses to intentionally release because "it invited you", well, it's a shame you've not had your fingers broken midway down each bone segment. Your kind are the reason that real Hackers are portrayed negatively in the public media. Being proud that you wrote what any two bit programmer lacking ethics could have written is nothing to be proud of.

TheSwabbie
TheSwabbie

By stating youve written viruses you are NOT impressing us - All you do is piss us off. We have to deal with the S*** they leave us in. Being a RESPONSIBLE IT PROFESSIONAL is someone who does HIS/HER best to do whatever it takes to identify and TURN IN individuals who create these problems.... by the way...what is your name, and where are you located?

eM DuBYaH
eM DuBYaH

What viruses are you responsible for? Any of them ever make the front page? Did you really write them or are you a script kiddie??

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If you're looking to impress anyone bragging about being a malware author, you're on the wrong web site.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

It should install itself but ask you to insert an Older Win 95/98 /98SE Disc to verify that you actually qualify for the upgrade. Well that is how every XP Upgrade Disc that I've ever used has worked but they where all XP Pro as M$ never sold an Upgrade to XP Home in AU. Col

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

I usually start my personal builds with a copy on diskette of PC-DOS 7.0, progress to WIN98 and end with the WINXP upgrade. The WIN98 is only and interum step but is the first Windows progression.

sleepin'dawg
sleepin'dawg

a reasonably up-to-date box in the $20 - $50 range; something that came out just before they started flogging multi-core chips. Saw one at a church rummage sale a couple of weeks ago, including a 17" LCD monitor and all they were asking was $25. It had an AMD cpu something like +4000 and it had six 2.1 USB ports. I think the HDD was 160 gig but can't be sure. It was plugged in and working. You'd have no problem loading Vista onto this and it would handle the camera quite easily. This seems to be the going rate for these boxes and even second hand computer shops are selling comparable equipment in this price range, minus the monitor but usually with some sort of guarantee; 30 - 90 days. The only thing that bothers me with Vista is its nanny state. Click on something and a message pops up telling you what you've clicked on and asking if you wish to continue. This can be disabled in Ultimate but I have no idea if you can do this in Home Premium. If the user is inexperienced it might not be a bad idea to leave it in. [b]Dawg[/b] ]:)

Lizzie_B
Lizzie_B

"when compared to XP when it first came out, which was teh biggest horror show I have seen from MS yet." -- Aww, c'mon. What about Windows ME? Or are we trying to stick to the real world here? ;-)

alexchiu
alexchiu

You should try windows XP FLP or some new Linux version like Vixta. Win98 has a lot of internet threat and poor memory management.

reisen55
reisen55

Windows 98 SE was the first version of the thing I really liked. Stalled inbetween and functionally dead was Win98ME (which I still encounter on home systems from time to time), then Win2000 and XP. I would stage each of these by platform and use functionality. For a standalone, older system that is used for simple tasks with no internet - or a first time kid computer - Win98 is fine. It's easy to fix, solid and not a system hog. It won't do good stuff as we know it today, but given this particularly niche, I have no problem with it. For a small office (and I just found one with 2 Windows 98 systems), it's limitations jump out such as lack of usb support for backups. From this point onward, I am always for Windows XP Professional on a contemporary system. Networking? XP. Notice I have jumped past Windows 2000, which is still heavily used and I should be phased out in favor of XP (and not Vista) for the reasons that make XP such a rich bag of treasures: faster, more software support, better tools. Vista: At a museum yesterday, we tested a critical piece of software on Vista. Never even installed. Totally dead. Thus, Vista, a waste of time.

thejendra
thejendra

Actually the business and the home world have a pressing need for a small lightweight operating system. Not everyone requires a super duper computer for their business. For example, a small business shop may need a just enough stand alone machine that will run a small inventory or a finance package. And there is never a real need to connect to the internet to warrant a safe enough OS that has all security hardening and the heavy hardware requirements. Operating systems should be available like the motor vehicle industry where we have the option of a vehicle for every type of need, and not insist on buying a truck for every kind of need :-) www.thejendra.com

j-mart
j-mart

I have no problems running Debian 4 on an old Compaq Armada 800 Mhz p3 laptop with only 196 MB ram. Recently upgraded ram to 256MB so I could run a variant of Ununtu patched with a real time kernal and with EMC2, a nc machining controller that I am using to simulate machine tools running G code programs. Win98 is definatly not as usefull as running linux on older hardware, email, web browsing, word proccesing, spread sheets, there a many uses still for this older gear. with linux as the OS. This older equipment will often be more usefull with linux than when it was new with win98.

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

You're right when it comes to Windows 2000 Professional. For most older machines in a business setting, Windows 2000 Professional makes much better sense than Windows 98. I've long had the opinion that it was an underrated and overlooked desktop operating system. When it came out, people were stuck in the Win 9x era and XP came out too fast for it to get much traction. Windows 2000 Professional was much more solid and faster than XP. There was less overhead to it, and it plain got the job done. That said however, the point of the article was Windows 98. I'll certainly be discussing Win2k Pro as the blog continues. You're also right about the XP fanboys/ Vista haters forgetting about the pain and suffering Windows XP caused when it first shipped. We'll make sure we discuss that in upcoming entries as well.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

A little fumble-fingered this afternoon, aren't we? I agree about the software limitations. The article suggested possibly using P3 laptops as loaners with W98. I don't think we can get a Cisco VPN client for W98, but I haven't looked and don't plan to. I run five-year-old P3 Compaq N620c laptops with XP satisfactorily once I jack them up to 512 meg of RAM.

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

In the days of multi-core multi-gigahertz processors with multi-gigs of memory necessary to run Vista, it's hard to remember that XP was designed for a 233 Mhz processor with 64Mb of RAM. The more RAM you give XP, the happier it is, so it doesnt surprise me that 400 mhz and 320Mb of RAM works well. He probably cant do a bunch of multitasking, but running one or two old apps should work fine.

The DOBC
The DOBC

I think it was that you could only have an 8 gig primary partition unless you patched the install floppies.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I remember trying it on a couple different laptop models. I don't remember the exact issues, but I do remember removing it after a couple of days and replacing it with 98 and never putting it on a laptop again.

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

No... Windows NT doesn't support USB. Remember, it didn't exist when Microsoft created Windows NT 4.0. USB was an add-on option for the first version of Windows 98 as well, and wasn't included until Microsoft shipped Windows 98SE. There used to be third party utilities that added USB support to Windows NT 4.0, but those were commercial products, and I couldn't find any of the products available for sale anymore.

Ben Iron Damper
Ben Iron Damper

Firewire support. These days everyone seems to need USB and or Firewire.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

There's no mistery as to why Janes is no longer publishing flight sims so Longbow2 is the last of a great line os technical but entertaining flight combat sims. It won't run nicely on a modern ATI video card so I'm building an older hardware win98 box specifically to run it when I can collect enough old parts. Maybe nVidia will play nice with the old graphics engine and I won't have too but we'll see. I'd also love to load Comanche3 on a machine and fly around a bit with it. The last time I did that though, I discovered that the game was written based on cpu clock timing because the enemy choppers would pop up and back down through the mountains at about three times the games intended speed. I'd need old hardware and an OS to get it running again at proper speeds unless VMware provides better cpu configuration in the future or I can get the game to run over a cpu emulator. Reaching back even futher, I'd love to find my old Jetfighter2 disks but they will have long since rotted. It was such a good game; even with the nasty old dos vector graphics. There are some really great games now left long behind by hardware advancement and the programming style of the times.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

But not every computer lives on the Desktop so if the job that it's doing is Mission Critical and the correct Security Steps have been taken what is the Problem? Much more importantly what happens if there is a Mission Critical Limited Rum Piece of software in use that can not be replaced and it doesn't run on XP? I still have a few computers running DOS and they are all relatively new and the need for DOS Boxes will be around till well after I retire. Col

mjlas01
mjlas01

I use Win2K on a couple of my computers, including my old IBM Thinkpad 600E. It chugs along at times, but for what I use it for, it works just fine. Just had to add Office 2003 and NAV 2002 and I'm good to go. Plus you don't have the activation issues with XP!

JCitizen
JCitizen

I used to modify G code a lot when I was a machinist and CNC technician, and that would have been very usefull in the lab. My brother has been working on OS9 to port to a PLC simulator as he can't stand working with XP. All his old PCs went away too soon for him I suspect.

Jaqui
Jaqui

I have a dell inspiron 3000. 266 MHz pentium-mmx [ pentium, not pentium 1 ] 144 MB ram [ maxed out at that ] 10 GB hd. [ maxed out, power will not supply enough for larger drive ] and the only distros I can't get to install on it are PCLOS [ requires a p3 @ 700 MHZ and 512 MB ram ] and debian. [ no network card so even the debian install dvd dies on install ] The funny thing is, it's the OLDER versions of distros that support the hardware better. sound card not functional with a current distro, but with older ones it is.

RknRlKid
RknRlKid

I am running Ubuntu 6.06 LTS on a Compaq 500mhz system with 256MB RAM. It runs smoother and more stable than my new Vista laptop that is 1.86 mhz and has 1.5 GB RAM. This of course reinforces to me an adage I have been saying for years: running the right software with the right hardware will produce the most efficient system.

AvengerM1
AvengerM1

I agree that Windows 2K would be the best choice for that old hardware. There are still downloadable 2K drivers on many hardware manufacturers websites. The system requirements of Win2K were light compared to XP, you can run it on as low as a Pentium 133 with 64MB of RAM (according to MSFT). Still that means it will run great on a P2 or P3 with 128MB or 256MB of RAM. Many apps that run under XP will run on Windows 2K, just not a pretty. Win98 is dead. It lacks even what is considered basic security nowadays. MSFT has also advocated no longer using Win98 because it can no longer be made secure by todays standards.

Timbo Zimbabwe
Timbo Zimbabwe

From the article; "Windows 2000 Professional never got a lot of traction" Wow, where have you guys been? For almost 5 years that was all I saw in the corporate world.

eM DuBYaH
eM DuBYaH

Out of the Windows plethora, 2k was my favorite. What I like about it so much is that it doesn't have glitz/glam or overinflated hardware requirements like Vista. Yes I do know I can choose Windows classic in XP & Vista, but running XP with 128 megs of ram isn't the most enjoyable of experiences, and that's not even possible on Vista. For an older box, 2k is my OS of choice. Nostalgic goof that I am, I run on occasion, 98 in a virtual PC window, on a Vista box. (I like Vista, just need a muscle machine to run it)

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

It has given me less trouble over-all than XP has, it appears (to me at any rate) to fragment less than XP, it sits on top of some pretty 'wimpy' hardware easily. Why MS removed the msconfig option from 2K I will never know, but at least they put it back with XP. But then I was happy with NT4.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

[i]You're also right about the XP fanboys/ Vista haters forgetting about the pain and suffering Windows XP caused when it first shipped[/i] Yes XP was a [b]Big Pig[/b] but it wasn't being adopted much either back then as Business was still using 98SE or the then relatively new W2K Pro on the Desktop and no one wanted the expense of moving to XP with all the Software & Hardware Compatibility Issues. Now Vista is here and it has it's own Hardware & Software Compatibility Issues and a few Networking Ones thrown in for good measure just to confuse some more. Right at this point in time however I can not recommend Vista for the Business Desktop as like XP before it it's just not ready yet and with M$ making noises about Windows 7 it may never be. M$ is doing more to hurt themselves at the moment than anyone else as they are talking up Vista when it's not ready for Business and then at the same time releasing information about 7. Other than a better search facility and power Saving if you have a NB there currently is no reason to even consider recommending Vista to any Business Client. The extra Overhead and added expanses of Migrating to Vista as yet make no Business Sense, when it offers something useful to business that the currently available OS's do it will then be time to consider Vista or maybe wait for 7 to come out and get fixed. If anything all of M$s talk about 7 is making the need to consider changing less than it was when XP was new. The release of XP so soon after W2K was what killed W2K stone dead and stopped migration to newer platforms than 98 back then. When people look at what was deployed when they see a long term investment by business in 98 and then in XP with very little investment in either W2k Desktop or Vista by business currently. If 7 doesn't eventuate Vista may have a chance if M$ fixes the problems in it but if 7 hits the streets I can not see any reason to even consider trying Vista for the majority of Business users. Col

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Typing one handed while stuffing a White Spot bacon & Cheddar burger down the shouting hole with the other. Went over it, probably missed some but it is better now. :) Sorry.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I could get his browsers to load faster too. But they load way faster than dialup now. The RAM issue gets worse as you try to load paid security heuristics on board. Even my new laptop can barely get by with 1.5Gb! But I'm switching to light weight in depth defenses anyway so be it!

JCitizen
JCitizen

it is pretty secure and has mostly dropped off the radar for most hackers.. Yeah! I'd say its a contender. If it has recovery features like ME where it is easy to repair I'd say it is especially a contender. The way I always understood it ME and NT 4.0 shared some technology so I would think it was way advanced compared to ME. I never had to do any maintenance to our NT 4 servers but that is a different animal than workstation. We took those offline for Server 2003 by the time I got into doing net administration.

RknRlKid
RknRlKid

I keep finding it for ridiculously low prices. I bought a dozen licenses for 50 cents a copy. I got the full OEM (license, disks, and book) for about $7 a copy. That's why I was wondering if I would be a viable option.

JCitizen
JCitizen

last I checked. And when I found people/businesses that had it laying around none would part with it. Yet I've had offers to carry off a bucket of W2K installation packs. Probably because of the licensing the particular institution was using. That must tell one something.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

You are correct, NetBIOS and NetBEUI are not the same. I was tired, it had been a long day...

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...but only if you had a server configured to do so between networks. My point in context of this discussion was that once-upon-a-time it was safe to have IP packets running loose on an IPX network as long as you didn't have the IP stack loaded on the servers. The IPX traffic wasn't going to get loose in the open, and the Novell servers were going to ignore the IP traffic.

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

I was referring to NetBEUI being a non-routable protocol, not NETBIOS. From TechNet: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/294945 NetBEUI NetBEUI is provided in all current versions of Windows. This protocol is the simplest and easiest to configure of the protocols provided. It is a very fast and efficient protocol. NetBEUI is mainly used in small peer-to-peer networks. NetBEUI is not a routable protocol. The advantages of using NetBEUI include its small stack size (important for MS-DOS-based computers), its speed of data transfer on the network, and its compatibility with all Microsoft-based networks. The major disadvantage of NetBEUI is that it does not support routing. It is also limited to Microsoft-based networks.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Sort of. IBM's LAN-to-LAN WAN allowed nodes on different NetBIOS networks to communicate with each other. As it was explained to me, the LtLW controllers formed a meta-Ring using frame transfers to switch traffic between the local Rings. The controller needed to maintain the node name for every machine on the local Ring; when it received a Token on the controller Ring that contained a local node name, it responded appropriately. I was only the on-site button-pusher for that type of network problem, so I wasn't that familiar with it, but as I understood our implementation, a synchronous data link controller did the switching. It was almost a decade ago... Edit: Research indicates that LtLW supported multiple network configurations. From the IBM Redbook "Local Area Network Concepts and Products: Routers and Gateways" dated May 1996: [i]The IBM LAN-to-LAN Wide Area Network Program supports multiple connectivity options.On the LAN side the following are supported: IBM Token-Ring IBM PC Network (Broadband and Baseband) Ethernet[/i]

JCitizen
JCitizen

I remember having to set the switch one way or the other, depending on what the hardware/software was using at the time. We used to practice setting IPX in the Cisco software for routing through TCP/IP. I never used it again after that.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

It was the default protocol for Novell networks in the '80s through the '90s. In fact, there was no good reason to run anything else on a Novell network before the rise of the Internet. (If I remember correctly, TCP/IP wasn't even available on a Novell server until later on in version 4) It was far less noisy than Microsoft's NetBEUI protocol, and I've never done controlled tests to prove it, but I'm pretty sure it was faster on a LAN than IP is.

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

NetBEUI was a non-routable protocol, but IPX is. Does it go across the Internet? No... not unless it's tunnelled inside of TCP/IP, but it is a routable protocol in a LAN and WAN setting.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Never even occurred to me. For whatever reason, in all my years of working with networked PCs, I've never used IPX, it's always been NetBIOS or TCP/IP. Novell clients, yes, but never IPX itself. I'll have to do a little reading later this week...

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...and IPX is not routable. As Internet access become an issue in the later '90s, I tried several approaches. Usually, it was only a few users who needed Internet access, so reconfiguring the main server and adding IP to all stations wasn't justified. There was a product out there that from a proxy server would "convert" IP traffic to either NetBEUI or IPX, and would only communicate with a client on the end-users machine. Over time, I mostly used tradional proxy servers and just loaded IP on the machines that required Internet access. The IP and IPX traffic would remain blissfully ignorant of each other.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Thanks for the links! (edited) Wow; that was a trip down memory lane. Reminds me of the old RS 232 days and 286 desktops. It was amazing how reliable the data gram reception method was even though the failure rate was very low. Course now we have ethernet, so all that extra traffic is really no problem or load on the LAN bandwidth.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

In the case John describes, with a proxy and no TCP/IP, physical access is most likely required to compromise these machines. Stipulated: NetBIOS is not and was not intended to be secure. This lack of security became a problem with NetBIOS and TCP/IP interlaced through NBT (http://foldoc.org/?query=NBT), as each could be attacked from the other. But as John said, these nets aren't running TCP/IP, so most related hacks?ARP/RARP, UDP, ICMP, DHCP, IRC, FTP, HTTP, etc.?are useless. There might be a senior hacker or two who remembers NetBIOS, but most of today's script kiddies probably wouldn't recognize NetBIOS if it bit 'em in the butt. Detailed description of NetBIOS here: http://www.netbiosguide.com/ Edit: I could be wrong...it's been a while since I used NetBIOS.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I can't help feeling nervous about that with all the supposed NetBios attack vectors I keep hearing about out there. Nobody discusses such things anymore because it is usually disabled all through the network, from router down to the POS/system unit. Of course most crackers are ignoring DOS now but, maybe an old exploit could be re-written to take advantage of the ubiquitous sharing capability of the LAN/WAN now.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

NetBIOS is much easier to manage in DOS than TCP/IP. NetBIOS is very inefficient for large networks (>15-20 PCs) and cannot be routed, but for smaller networks it's ideal. Aside: Any old Token Ringer out there who's going to dig up IBM LtLW can save it. I already know.

JCitizen
JCitizen

more questions about why they would be connected in such a manner; but with my paranoia about net/business security - I wouldn't blame you for not responding at all. I will be satified that this is a nifty simple business solution that more SMBs should consider!

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...via a proxy, but since these stations were not communicating via TCP/IP, there was no way for them to reach, or be reached by the Internet.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Most of the older DOS-based small-business POS systems were stand-alone. At most, there may be two or three PCs running LANtastic. Those of my clients that are still using DOS-based POS systems are stand-alone.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Are these devices connected to the internet in anyway? Server or no?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I hear MS is still selling Dos licenses for embedded systems like POS. I do love seeing my Dos vm boot in 30 seconds though; if I could find a tcp/ip stack and vmware NIC driver I could really leave the sneaker-net behind and rebuild my old Dos rig complete with BBs.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...and would have kept running as a DOS based station indefinitely. Having a station that boots up and is ready to go in 30 seconds or so is such a novelty to people these days.

JCitizen
JCitizen

and they will never change. It does what they need and they aren't on the internet anyway.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I'll have to give my brother a go at that as well!

j-mart
j-mart

Which can be found here : linuxcnc.org is and excellent open source machine contoller which many clever people have used and adapted to make many clever things.

Jaqui
Jaqui

the red laptop display. :( danged screen is going. usb port shot [ and it only has one of them, usb 1 at that ] though the modular floopy / cd / battery bay design is handy, I have the extra battery for the bay, as well as the floppy drive and a cdrw/dvd drive. It's a handy machine to code on. if an app rund fine on it, then it will handle a faster machine fairly well. :D though mostly I use it for web development work, the limited capacity means well designed web apps or they just don't load well from http://localhost

JCitizen
JCitizen

I had a lot of people who couldn't afford a new machine or W2K but wanted at least W2k level security. So I turned them on to Mandrake 7.0 which most seemed to take to, provided I installed the software and hardware for them. To newbies it seemed like Windows 3.1,but way more powerfull of course. It's been so long I can't even remember how to supermount a drive or do RPMdrake anymore.

j-mart
j-mart

I use one running linux to as firewall / router to connect to internet. I doubt if it would be worth effort to upgrade to newer machine as it never gives me any problems.

kgunnIT
kgunnIT

I am running Ubuntu on an old Compaq laptop. XP was running slow on it, I think fans or something may be going out on it. With XP, the machine would run for a while and then shut down because it was too hot. With linux, the machine works like a charm, no problems at this point.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I just decided to rebuild my IBM Thinkpad with Win2K pro. The new company notebook is quick and all, even Vista runs well on it, but it aint my old Thinkpad and there is nothing like Win2K. (I'll hang onto this one for gaming though,shhhhh. One advantage to a new Vista notebook is it has a good GPU for gaming. :) )

Dave Howard
Dave Howard

I have several PC's and on one I use Windows 2000 Pro SP4 with a Pentium 3 500 MHz slot-1 with 512 MB of RAM and it just keeps on tickin. I also have it on a Anthlon Xp Barton system and my 9 year old grandson just pounds the heck out of it. Very stable. I would use Win 98 SE only in an emergency. I do have it in VMware in case someone asks me something about it, nostalga reasons(or horror stories, which are more common)but not mainstream.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Worked like a champ. Seemed like it took a few more steps to get the W2K Kodak picture program to work in XP however.. I don't use it anymore anyway.

geekfelix
geekfelix

It's easy - I discovered that you can copy msconfig.exe from Windows XP and place it in the the system32 folder on a Windows 2000 system (usually C:\WINNT\system32). Then just go to your Run command window (windows key + R) and type in msconfig and hit enter. Voila! your long lost buddy appears. This may work with a Windows98 version of msconfig.exe, but I would recommend a newer version copied from XPsp2. Windows 2000 professional is the first windows OS that didn't require me to totally wipe and reinstall my system at least once a year due to the BSOD. This happened regularly with 95 and 98. I still have a system happily running W2k and is secure on my network.

docotis
docotis

I have used W2k for years and because of it's smaller footprint and less drain on resource, it's been a favorite for use on older equipment. It takes a while to update it's original configuration to modern times but well worth it. It will run .net2.0 and IE6 and wimp9 as well as almost anything that XP does. Whats not to like ? Works for me. By the way, msconfig is a simple file added to sys32. Dennis

sevenex
sevenex

I have a client with five Win9x workstations. Three are networked into a Novell print server. The other two are peered and used with a sign cutter machine. The company has no desire to upgrade but one of these machines. Doing so will render the new one incapable of accessing the Novell server unless XP is implemented except if Vista Ultimate, Vista Business or Vista Enterprise is installed! I also have a home client who insists on Win9x. Even though Microsoft doesn't support it any longer, I do two things to any Win9x installation, which must be Windows 98 Second Edition to be worth my trouble: 1) Install v2.1 of Unofficial Win 98 Service Pack and 2) Install the Intelliadmin.com Win9x DST patch for today's correct DST.

Lizzie_B
Lizzie_B

Yes, a new piece of hardware at < $1k isn't that expensive. But there are a *lot* of businesses out there, the one I work for included, that just can't spare the money. And I think as the economy continues to falter, more and more businesses will reach that edge. With one exception, our new machines are all 5 years old or older - and two of our machines, as I mentioned earlier, are running WFW3.11. The ONLY problem with them are failing hard drives. Once those are gone, we won't have a choice about replacing them. But in the meantime, the systems are stable and reliable and do exactly what we need them to.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Sure on the Desktop 98 Hardware isn't much chop and more likely that not Obsolete. But if it is in a Production Environment driving some piece of Machinery things are drastically different. A 40 foot bed Lathe that is computer controlled costs around 4 million and will be in service for at least 15 years. The software for these things only runs DOS so the ones that I keep working which are all relatively new less than 5 years old need to be there for a very long time to come. That place takes about 6 months of no production to replace and setup all the Computer Controlled Equipment that is used to make Electrical Generators from scratch. So they are enormous bulky and they will be there for a very long time running DOS. This is because the makers of these things see no advantage of migrating to new Computer OS's as what they have works and if they change what they have now their customers will need to reengineer their core products to work on whatever OS is used. The actual Hardware or Machine Tools are Propriety Controlled but feed with a DOS LAN to make whatever it is that they make. Industrial Robots are big business and anything that was brought out as Computer Controlled tends to remain Backward Compatible for ever. So it's not so much a case of wondering if it will turn on next mourning but what new Hardware can I buy to keep this running? The actual Machine Tools are the easy things but what scares me is all the overhead cranes and such that actually move things from one device to another to make the item that is being produced. The Armature Winding Machine is over 65 feet long and 25 feet high well not quite it can wind Armatures up to 25 Feet in Diameter so it's very big and has a lot of energy while in motion. Really not something to pull out an replace for the sake of the paint on it being worn off so it needs replacing. But if you are only talking about the Office Desktop I totally agree old hardware there isn't a goods choice but even there depending on what the company does it may be necessary to use NT4 Server for some Dedicated Software to an Industry and those NT4 Servers are all new but running old M$ OS's. Col

j-mart
j-mart

New gear may be relatively cheap but sometimes it is not worth the effort if it ain't broke. At work we still have an old 486 machine that has quietly been doing the same task for about 15 years not worth the time and effort to upgrade as long as it is efficeinly performing its alloted task.

support
support

Let's face it, most computer equipment isn't designed to last more than 5 years. Talking about using 10 year old equipment is, frankly, counter productive! I know there are some out there, but what kind of serious business put their valuable info and records on antiquated equipment. I mean, for under $1000 bucks, they could invest in a new piece of equipment that you shouldn't have to worry about whether it will come on, the next time you turn the equipment on! Oh yeah, Windows 2000 Pro, was an excellent OS, but I still like XP's (w/SP2) networking features much better. Vista is a true Win. Me reincarnation, and a disaster. Their only saving grace is that Leopard shipped bugging as well, I understand! Anyone recommending Vista right now, should be slowly back away from, until you get enough room to turn and run as fast as you can from them!!! Remember: Vista promoters are visually cued, so if you move slowly away from them... never exposing your back to them and not making any sudden moves, until you have put enough distance between you and them to assure your escape when you turn and run, you might... just might have a chance!