windows 98

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by smokey420, Sep 4, 2006.

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  1. smokey420

    smokey420 Registered Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    My friend has an older computer someone gave to her, and it didnt have any virus protection or firewall. she did however download virus protection recently and zone alarm as her firewall. but her comoputer is constantly freezing up and she did a hijackthis log at spywarebeware and she's now clean. but she wants to know if there is something she can inexpensively do to make her computer stop freezing and shutting down. it freezes especially when she uses java. msn messenger and IE explorer. she has a processor II 64 mb of ram if that helps. thanks
  2. herbalist

    herbalist Guest

    Mine is an old 98 unit that has very similar hardware, except I've increased the RAM from 64mb to 160mb. What brand/model PC does she have? Is this 98 or 98SE (second edition)? A lot of modern software is too bloated to run well on these older systems. If you could add some more RAM, it would help a lot. The key to using an older system like this is using software that makes efficient use of resources. Most AVs don't. Many firewalls don't. Internet Explorer definitely doesn't. What AV is she using and what version of ZA? The older versions of ZA were much lighter than the present one and are available if you look around. I never had anything but trouble with Zone Alarm on my 98 box. If she (or you) is up to using a rule based firewall, Kerio 2.1.5 is excellent on 98. It's very light and quite effective, but not the easiest to set up. I'm not sure there is a light AV anymore. AntiVir used to be, but their newest version more than doubled in size. The lightest I know of is the free version of AVG. On a box with the limited power that one has, avoid Norton and McAfee at all cost. Way too heavy. Anti-spyware apps that have resident components are often a heavy load for a 98 box as well. The best security application I've found that runs well on 98 units is the free version of System Safety Monitor. It may be a bit more than the average user wants to deal with, depending on who you ask, but it has the potential to secure a 98 box better than anything else I know of. It's also light enough to run well on an old system. Another thing I would suggest that she do is to go to the Network Bondage page at GRC and follow the instructions for 98. While this doesn't help much with performance, it helps secure 98 by closing commonly exploited ports.
    There are things you can do with an older unit that help it to run smoother. Topping that list is cleaning out the autostart. If hers is anything like mine was, it has lots of useless autostart entries that do nothing but use up resources. If it's not absolutely used all the time, don't autostart it. Lots of media players add useless entries to autostart. Many of the 98 units had entries for zip tools in the startup folder, along with others. Get rid of them. Autostart Viewer will show you all the autostart entries and where they're at. Also pick up Process Explorer and see how many unnecessary processes are running that don't show up in windows task manager.
    Animated cursers, system sounds, and active desktop components waste resources. Get rid of them at least temporarily. Uninstall everything you don't use, including unwanted windows components. If you don't use the themes or sound effects, get rid of them. If it's not something you use, it's wasting disk space and adding useless material to the registry.
    Besides eliminating unneeded processes and software, choosing software that makes efficient use of resources is the next most important thing you can do. On my 98 box, Internet Explorer is a resource waster. The longer it ran, the lower my resources got, until something crashed. Switching to the Mozilla browser helped immensely. I'm not sure if the same would hold true for FireFox as I haven't tried it in a long time. Regarding Java, the last version that ran good on 98 (not 98SE) was 1.4.2_06. For me, newer versions caused problems. The new MSN messenger is also heavy, but the older ones don't work (thank you M$). Has she checked into one of the alternative IM programs? Media players have gotten very heavy. Depending on her needs, there are older ones that are very light though they might not handle the newest formats. Adobe Acrobat reader is very heavy. Check out Foxit as a nice lightweight alternative. These are a few examples of applications you can use to lighten the load on your system. Unfortunately, finding the ones that both work best on your system and match your needs is something of a trial process. You also run into the problem of the ininstallers not removing the added registry entries or not restoring them to their previous values. Fortunately for 98 users, there's a solution for that problem. For trying out new software on 98 units, TestRun by BB is a gem. It's all DOS batch files that make a separate copy of your registry and other configuration files to test software on while protecting the originals. If the idea of editing autostart entries out of your registry (mentioned above) worries you, TestRun is a big help there as well. You don't need a working knowlege of DOS to use it. It's easy to use and nicely written, but only works on the older systems.
    After removing unneeded software and system components, defrag your system. It will need it. The 9X systems run much better when regularly maintained. It makes a lot more difference on the old systems than it does on the newer ones. Keeping the temp folders, browser cache, and similar locations cleaned out helps a lot too. I use Eraser to clean them on a regular schedule.
    There is still software available for 98 that will enable it to perform most normal tasks. You won't be playing any heavy duty games or be editing video on that box, but for normal usage, 98 is still viable, even though M$ no longer supports it. That said, she will have to accept one thing. Even though 98 can do most of what a user would want it won't do them all at the same time. Increasing the RAM will help, but that box has limitations as to how much it can do at one time.
    This may not be something you (or she) wants to hear, but it needs to be said. Now that M$ is no longer supporting 98, using it securely is now the users problem entirely. In my opinion, 98 is still a viable operating system for those who are willing to learn its workings, but for the casual user it's going to get increasingly difficult to find security software that runs on it. A lot of AVs and firewalls no longer support it. Of those that do, many are too heavy to run well on 98. Most HIPS (Host Intrusion Protection System) programs don't run on the DOS based systems, System Safety Monitor (SSM) being one of a very few that do. My own testing of SSM convinces me that it can replace a resident AV if the user configures it well enough and doesn't permit questionable processes to run.
    She is going to find the same problem with other software. A lot of new software versions don't run on 98 or use too much of the systems resources. Users that choose to run the old systems will have to keep backup installers for the software they use while they can still find them. Many of the better apps are getting harder to find all the time.
    If you need help with going thru the autostart entries or finding software for different tasks that's 98 compatible, let me know.
  3. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

    Dec 29, 2004
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Great reading, even for a XP user.
    I just want to mention that Bellgamin seems to be a collector of lightweight applications, you might want to check out his postings in the forum. Or just contact him.
  4. smokey420

    smokey420 Registered Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    i really dont understand much of what you said but i'll post this to her, she knows less about computers than i do. thanks
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 4, 2006
  5. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    USA - Back in a real State in time for a real Pres
    I know this will sound wacko. But ime less than 5% of computers running 98se & even 95 are infected. I mean by virii, trojans, keyloggers & the real nasties. And these computers were poorly protected if at all. But running on demand scanners such as Ad-Aware and Spybot Search & Destroy turned up nasties only around half the time. And these nasties were only adware & cookies.

    So I think occasional on demand scans are all that are necessary for non NT based MS OS's.

    This guy offers an extreme way to get the most out of a 98se computer.

    Setting up a fast, stable and tweaked PC
  6. judith2208

    judith2208 Registered Member

    Sep 4, 2006
    hi resa420 is my friend and she posted that for me my name is judy and i need to know how to get those programs from stating when my pc comes up? if you can give me step by step instructrions i would really apperciate it thank you
  7. herbalist

    herbalist Guest

    Welcome to Wilders.
    I'll try to keep things in as plain english as I can. If something I post is unclear to you or if you have any questions, please ask them.
    First off, are you using 98 or 98 second edition? You can find this by right clicking on the "My Computer" icon on your desktop and clicking on "properties" on the menu that pops up. What anti-virus and what version of Zone Alarm are you running?
    On Win98, startup entries for different programs are loaded from 3 places:
    1, The Startup folder on your start menu
    2, The registry
    3, The Win.ini file
    The startup folder is the easiest of these to check thru. Click on your start menu and move curser up to "programs". Look for a folder named "startup" in the list that shows up. Everything listed in that folder starts up when the user logs in. If your PC has only the one user profile, those items start when Windows boots up. Look thru the items in the startup folder and see if you use any of the items shown. Unwanted entries in the startup folder can be removed by right clicking on them and clicking delete on the menu that appears. This does not uninstall the items listed there. It only removes the entry that starts them automatically and moves it to the recycle bin. If you do accidentally delete an entry that you need, just open the recycle bin, right click on the item and click on "restore".
    Do you have WinZip or a similar utility on your PC? We'll need one to use the utilities I mentioned in the first reply. Win98 doesn't normally come with one pre-installed, but it's commonly added on many PCs. If you don't, pick up 7Zip, a freeware equivalent from and install it. The utilities I mentioned in the first reply are packed in zip files and a zip utility will be needed to unpack them. I see this is your first post here. In case you're not aware of it, the underlined blue text in the different posts are links. Clicking on them will take you to that site in a new browser window. For right now, pick up these 3:
    1, Process Explorer, which will list everything running on your system.
    2, Autostart Viewer, which will list all the autostarted applications and where they're at.
    3, TestRun, which will make test copies of your registry and protect your normal system registry from any mistakes made, should we need to make any changes to it.
    Just save them onto your desktop.
    Let's start with seeing what's actually running on your system. Assuming you've installed 7Zip or already have a zip utility on your system, after you've downloaded Process Explorer, open it with your zip utility. Clicking the icon should do it. With 7Zip, just click on the file named "procexp.exe" to select it, then while holding down the left mouse button, drag it from the 7Zip screen to your desktop. With WinZip, if you use the classic mode, it works the same way. If you have WinZip and it opens in the wizard mode, make sure the "display file icons after unzipping" option is checked and it will automatically open the folder it puts it in. After you finish extracting the "procexp.exe" file, click on it to launch Process Explorer. I don't remember if you have to click on a user agreement or not. Once you have Process Explorer opened, look to the top-left of its display for the file menu. Click on "File" and move down the menu to "Save As". Take note of where it wants to save the file to or change the location to your desktop. The file will be saved as "procexp.txt". Open this text file and copy its contents, then paste it into your next posting here so we can see if there are unnecessary or undesirable processes bogging down your system.
  8. judith2208

    judith2208 Registered Member

    Sep 4, 2006
    thank you so much for your help but in have a question do i need to back up every thing on my pc first then unistall all of my security programs and another ?? i went to my start up file and only 2 things were in there where is the rest of it at because i still have programs starting up when i boot my pc up?
  9. herbalist

    herbalist Guest

    It's always a good idea to make regular backup of your PC, at least your personal files if not the whole thing. Don't uninstall anything yet. Most of the time, programs don't have to be uninstalled to keep them from running at startup. Some are easy to disable. Some make it difficult.
    As for the startup folder, that's only one of the places that are used to start things automatically. I mentioned it first because it's the easiest to work with. Most of what runs at startup is probably loaded from the registry. TestRun will take care of protecting your registry. If we do need to make registry changes, I'll have you install it first.
    In order to go any farther, I need to see what applications are actually running, which Process explorer will tell us. If you're having trouble with process explorer, let me know.
  10. judith2208

    judith2208 Registered Member

    Sep 4, 2006
    i downloaded process exploer and wanted some one to check it out to see if i had some programs Process PID CPU Description Company Name
    DDHELP.EXE 0xFFFCF571 Microsoft DirectX Helper Microsoft Corporation
    MSNMSGR.EXE 0xFFFB03ED MSN Messenger Microsoft Corporation
    mmtask.tsk 0xFFFE56E5 Multimedia background task support module Microsoft Corporation
    Idle 0x0 86.37 System Idle Process
    SYSTRAY.EXE 0xFFFC4CB1 System Tray Applet Microsoft Corporation
    TASKMON.EXE 0xFFFDC189 Task Monitor Microsoft Corporation
    MSTASK.EXE 0xFFFE444D Task Scheduler Engine Microsoft Corporation
    VSMON.EXE 0xFFFE2149 1.07 TrueVector Service Zone Labs Inc.
    KERNEL32.DLL 0xFFEFE9A1 0.08 Win32 Kernel core component Microsoft Corporation
    MPREXE.EXE 0xFFFFAA81 WIN32 Network Interface Service Process Microsoft Corporation
    MSGSRV32.EXE 0xFFFFBD31 Windows 32-bit VxD Message Server Microsoft Corporation
    EXPLORER.EXE 0xFFFD0F91 0.61 Windows Explorer Microsoft Corporation
    KB891711.EXE 0xFFFE2D41 Windows KB891711 component Microsoft Corporation
    KB918547.EXE 0xFFFE374D Windows KB918547 EXE component Microsoft Corporation
    7ZFM.EXE 0xFFFA8771
    PROCEXP.EXE 0xFFF938C1 11.87 Sysinternals Process Explorer Sysinternals

    i didn't need to run
  11. judith2208

    judith2208 Registered Member

    Sep 4, 2006
    i did that autostart program that you had mentioned and this is what was on there

    DiamondCS Autostart Viewer ( - Report for judy@DELL, 09-05-2006
    c:\windows\system.ini [boot]\shell
    c:\windows\system.ini [boot]\scrnsave.exe
    C:\WINDOWS\scanregw.exe /autorun
    Rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,LoadCurrentPwrScheme
    C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\wucrtupd.exe -startup
    HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\Zone Labs Client
    Rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,LoadCurrentPwrScheme
  12. Bubba

    Bubba Updates Team

    Apr 15, 2002
    Hello Judy,

    I would suggest going into Add\Remove programs and un-install that above KB given the fact numerous users experienced terrible results with that update(BSOD, total lock-ups....etc)....even tho numerous other users were fine. That will at least eliminate that item from causing a problem. Once things are settled can then re-visit Windows Update and installl that one again if you wish.

  13. herbalist

    herbalist Guest

    Windows critical update can be removed as well. There won't be any more critical updates for 98 so it serves no purpose anymore. I think it's removable from "Add\Remove programs" as well. Other than the entries from MSN Messenger, Zone Alarm, and AVG, there isn't much that's unnecessary in your startup. You mentioned there were 2 items in the startup folder that AutoStart Viewer didn't list? Are they items you use or need to run at startup?
    Do you run regular maintenance on your PC, such as defragmenting? If it's not a scheduled task, do you run it manually? The best way to defragment a system, especially if it's been a while since the last time, is to boot to safe mode and run it from there. Overnight is a good time to do this, or whenever the PC won't be needed for a few hours. You can find the defragmenter by clicking on the start menu, going to programs, then accesories, then system tools.
    How much system resources is free on your PC when you're using it in the normal way? To find out, right click on the "My Computer" icon on your desktop, then click "properties" on the menu. Click on the "Performance" tab on the screen that opens. It's towards the top on that tab.
    With any luck, the item Bubba mentioned is the problem. I'm glad he caught it as I forgot all about the problems with that update. Thanks Bubba.
  14. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

    Feb 24, 2005
    Some random Win 98 thoughts...

    First, herbalist, great posts! Why I never ran across Test-Run before, I don't know. But I have it now! ;) (Although I don't place much new on my beloved 98SE laptop anymore.) You also piqued my interest in SSM, so I took a closer look at it. I know I could do it but WOW! There would be a learning curve!

    As for 98 defragmenting, I agree safe mode is best. But I would add that if one can lay their hands on a copy of Windows ME's defrag.exe, rename the Win 98 defrag.exe to defrag.old and then run the ME version, it will defrag at warp speed compared to the one 98 had on board. Absolutely shocking at how much faster it will go!

    Judy, I know you are trying to avoid spending any money but IMO, trying to run Win 98, an antivirus, a firewall and more on just 64 MB of RAM may just be asking too much. My laptop only came with 64 MB and adding another 128 MB made it run much better. Not XP-like speeds at all but still a noticeable improvement.

    Related to the slowdown issue... over the last couple of years, I test drove several antiviruses on my 98 PC (boy, could I have used Test-Run then!) Most of them, including AVG, caused occasional, momentary slowdowns when the CPU was busier. In the end, the best AV for my 98 PC was Computer Associates EZ Antivirus. It caused the least drag on my PC of all of them. (Minimum requirements for EZ with Win 98 are: Windows Me/98SE - at least 32 MB RAM and 150 MHz processor.) The version I am running now is I believe that the current version is 7.1 or 7.2 (which I have not ran.) You can get a free 1 year trial here (An alternative to consider over AVG...)

    Last bit not least... KB891711. I certainly agree that when it was first released, it caused many issues for lots of 98 and ME users (with me being one of them.) But since the 2nd, revised version, I have gotten along fine. One key difference with the newer version is that it loads as a service (which based on your posting, Judy, yours does.) So in this one area, I'm not sure if it is one of the slowdown causeso_O
  15. herbalist

    herbalist Guest

    If defragmenting and removing the 2 items mentioned don't solve the problem, post back. There's lots more that can be done. On an older system, drivers and firmware can be updated. If it's not set to do so automatically, Java can be updated. We can also temporarily disable either the AV or firewall to see if one or the other (or an interaction between the 2) is causing the problem. Often on an older PC, it's not one big item causing the problem, but a lot of little ones that add together.
  16. Bubba

    Bubba Updates Team

    Apr 15, 2002
    While KB891711 may indeed not be part of Judy's problem....temporarily removing it from the equation is still recommended.

    As for "the newer version....loads as a service"....both versions loaded from the the HKLM\.....RunServices key in order to load before the HKCU Windows logon process. should not equate RunServices with an actual NT based Service process in regards to Win98.

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