Securing a win98 computer

Discussion in 'A+ Certification' started by pgluth1, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. pgluth1

    pgluth1 Guest

    I have an elderly, non-computer savvy relative (out of state, no less)
    who has an old win98 (P-2 500 mhz, no cd-burner) machine that constantly
    gets hacked / attacked / and hijacked. Every six months or so, his
    machine practically grinds to a halt and he mails his hard drive to me
    for restoration and cleaning.

    I don't want to spend much money on a machine this old and I don't want
    to burden this guy with too much software that will confuse him. He only
    uses the computer for basic word processing and light internet surfing
    (exchanging mail / pictures with is old Navy buddies) so this machine
    fits his needs.


    What are the basic programs you would load to protect a win98 machine? He
    is currently running:

    Adaware, Bazooka, and Spybot search and destroy, and Avast anti-virus. I
    have hesitated to put too much in the way of additional protections
    because I don't want him to get bombarded with questions from programs
    like Norton AV.

    It's a shame really. I know quite a few people in their late 70s and
    early 80s who have a computer system that works fine for them, but
    advancements in computer havoc have far outstripped simple measures to
    stop it. If I could physically get to the entire machine, I have thought
    about installing a stripped down Linux distro like "puppy - Linux" but
    the thought of trying to configure a printer and sound card over the
    phone with a guy with little experience scares me.
    pgluth1, Mar 26, 2006
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  2. pgluth1

    J. Clarke Guest

    Another place where virtual PC can be helpful. Set him up a virtual
    machine, teach him to run in it, teach him to restore it from a copy and he
    becomes more or less self-maintaining.

    Or set him up with XP Pro and lock down the user account.
    J. Clarke, Mar 26, 2006
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  3. pgluth1

    Butterfield Guest

    I tried both VMware and MSFT's Virtual PC today for the first time and
    the later is much sweeter IMO. I couldn't get my resolution up from
    VGA in VMware and that was also less intuitive and choppy. VMware took
    me a much longer time to get Win98SE up and running than Virtual PC. I
    don't think I'll use it for much more than studying for A+ OS but it's
    nice to have and poke around with. It's been so long since I've used

    Butterfield, Mar 27, 2006
  4. pgluth1

    Crimson* Guest

    Have you considered Linux? Something like Slackware would probably be best.
    Plus it comes with pretty much everything he'd need (office suite, etc.) and
    you don't have to worry about virii, spyware, etc.
    Crimson*, Mar 28, 2006
  5. pgluth1

    J. Clarke Guest

    No, just relearning the system and all the applications.
    J. Clarke, Mar 28, 2006
  6. pgluth1

    Crimson* Guest

    If he's just going to use it for office suites and browsing the web, what's
    to re-learn? Let's see, click on the GNOME menu and go to the Internet
    folder where it has Firefox. Okay. Click on the GNOME Menu and go to the
    Office folder and select any of the apps there which have the same basic
    interface as MS Office. Hmmm...Seems a lot like Windows except it doesn't
    constantly crash and isn't plagued by malware. Seriously, with an x-windows
    interface, anyone can use Linux today.
    Crimson*, Mar 29, 2006
  7. Quote from the original message...

    "I have an elderly, non-computer savvy relative ..."

    From the start Linux would've been as good a choice, but after ??
    years of acquiring whatever comfort he/she has with Windows, I doubt
    that it's a good idea.

    Tom MacIntyre, Mar 29, 2006
  8. pgluth1

    J. Clarke Guest

    It may seem "a lot like Windows" to you, but to someone in his '80s who is a
    non-geek there are enough differences to cause problems, especially if he
    has achieved any real mastery of the Microsoft applications.

    You clearly have not dealt with elderly computer users if you think that
    these are minor issues.
    J. Clarke, Mar 29, 2006
  9. pgluth1

    Crimson* Guest

    You're right. Better to stick with Windows and add on all of those extra
    apps and utilities for the elderly person to learn to configure and manage.
    Crimson*, Mar 29, 2006
  10. From the message from you to which my reply (which has disappeared,
    giving anyone now reading this no context to go by, but I'll remedy
    that) was directed...

    "If he's just going to use it for office suites and browsing the web,
    what's to re-learn? ..." What extra apps and utilities are you
    referring to, (repeat previous quote here, stopping after the word
    "web")...can't have it both ways.

    The answer to your question, of course, is how to use a different OS
    (Linux rather than Windows, based on your suggested OS change)
    may be fine for some people, even some from the demographic groups
    (elderly and not computer-savvy) that this person has been identified
    as being part of, but why risk it?

    Tom MacIntyre, Mar 29, 2006
  11. pgluth1

    pgluth1 Guest

    I thank you for all the input and ideas. The main problem is this: the
    intended user is computer illiterate. While I can use Linux on a moderately
    proficient basis, I would have to try to talk him through installation and
    configuration over the phone. The newer distros of Linux, particularly
    Knoppix, Damn Small and Puppy, are great at autosensing hardware, they
    still trip over things like sound cards and printers. Moreover, the more
    advanced like Ubuntu, Mepis, and Suse, are not really designed for p2

    I tried for almost three hours to configure my OWN Lexmark printer with
    Puppy Linux - I can't imagine trying to help someone else do it without
    seeing the screen.

    I will probably try pc anywhere.
    pgluth1, Mar 30, 2006
  12. pgluth1

    Crimson* Guest

    It may seem "a lot like Windows" to you, but to someone in his '80s who is
    What do you mean by a "real mastery of the Microsoft applications"? I
    hardly think an older non-power user is going to be doing anything overly
    complicated with Office considering that most business users don't crack
    into the more complex features the suite has to offer. My guess is he's
    just typing letters, maybe doing some Print Shop-like signs or cards, all of
    which are simple to do from any user's perspective in the pre-loaded apps in
    Let's see: I spent 6 years working as the head technician in a store that
    dealt with all types of users. I couldn't tell you how many hours I've
    spent helping older and elderly learn to use computers. Oddly, the elderly
    I've dealt with are far open to learning than, say, a person in the 40-50s
    who are more apt to throw up their hands at something new.

    All of you people are so quick to dismiss my idea yet you have not actually
    tried what I've suggested for yourselves. Have you taken the current
    download of Slackware and done an install? It takes under 10 minutes on an
    old system of mine. Once your partition your hard disk(s), which you
    actually have to read the onscreen help to do, all you have to do is choose
    full install and set back (you do have to insert disc 2, but most people can
    handle that). Outside of that, the appearance and usage of Slackware with
    GNOME or practically any x-windows is the same as Windows. You click on the
    menu to see what apps you have, click on shutdown to shutdown, etc.
    Handheld devices, printers, sound cards, etc. are all practically pnp.

    I'm not a Linux zealot by far. I just think that the user in question needs
    to get away from Windows 98 and its obvious problems in today's IT world.
    The user could spend over $100 on WinXP and then have his older PC run
    slower than it did with Win98 and still require add on apps like
    anti-virus/malware (but why invest more in an older PC?) and on top of that
    he'd have to learn the "new" WinXP interface. Why not try a different
    approach with a free OS that has free apps, but doesn't require them? If
    that doesn't work out, the user could sell the PC for a few bucks and invest
    in a low-end PC (e-machine, Dell special, etc.)
    Crimson*, Mar 30, 2006
  13. pgluth1

    Crimson* Guest

    pgluth1, I didn't mean to start some big MS vs Linux war here. Just
    offering a suggestion/alternative to the norm.
    Crimson*, Mar 30, 2006
  14. pgluth1

    J. Clarke Guest

    Well, there you go. Instead of finding out, you're guessing.
    I measure the time I've spent doing that in man-years.
    So how many of them have abandoned Windows for Linux on your say-so? I find
    that while they are perfectly willing to learn new things if there is a
    good reason to learn them, they are not willing to do so just to suit
    someone's politics.
    Uh, if you bothered to check headers you would see that I am posting from a
    Linux system.
    So, what does one have to do to get, say, a Panasonic KXP-8410 printer to
    They are the same for certain values of "same". They are not identical or
    even close to it. If "click on the menu, click on shutdown" etc made for
    identity then the Macs user interface would be identical to Windows
    Couldn't tell from your post here.
    Set it for "classic" and it's a lot more like 98 than is anything that runs
    on Linux.

    As for "add on apps", I don't use "add on apps" and I don't have any trouble
    with malware on XP. If you do you need to learn how to configure it, oh
    mighty head technician.
    Huh? Linux doesn't require free apps? I'm sorry, but you've lost me.
    And meanwhile he's been without a usable machine.
    J. Clarke, Mar 30, 2006
  15. pgluth1

    MF Guest

    PC Anywhere my help you take care of him, but it won't do anything to lessen
    the need for you to do it.

    The linux suggestion is purely idiotic. There's a reasonable chance that
    any linxu distro will lose track of half of your relative's hardware, mabe
    even the mouse.

    There was a little info missing in your first post. If he is merely word
    proccessing, doing email, and and surfing to innocent sites, he should not
    be having all those problems - unless, of course, he clicks on every link
    that comes to him in email. Or surfs to sites that might tempt old guys.
    the things that tempt people do not go away with age.

    1. Tell him not to do that.
    2. Get and configure free AVG for him. It's not the best but it's pretty
    3. Get and configure AdawareSE 1.06 for him. It's good.
    4. Get and configure the Zone Alarm freebee for him. I 've been running it
    on W98-2000-XP for years and I don't even think about Windows firewall,
    except to the extent that i am required to teach it. Even OLD versions of
    Zone Alarm will work. You don't even have to stay up to date with it. It
    just works.

    Doing this will be 400 times easier for you than installing linux for him
    and blowing away whatever apps and hardware he uses. And 20 times easier
    than installing XP for him. And once done, it will be easy for him to use.
    His 98 will be fairly secure.

    More secure than most installs of XP SP2.

    Good luck

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "pgluth1" <>
    Newsgroups: alt.certification.a-plus
    Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2006 6:08 PM
    Subject: Re: Securing a win98 computer
    MF, Mar 30, 2006
  16. pgluth1

    Crimson* Guest

    Well, there you go. Instead of finding out, you're guessing.
    Can the OP prove me wrong on this one? It's a fact that the majority of
    users don't scratch the surface of their office suites.
    100% or 0% depending on your outlook. I've never been in a situation to
    suggest this to someone who would come into a shop to confer with a tech
    face-to-face on at least a semi-regular basis. The OP's question dealt with
    long-term hands-free management. The people I used to deal with had the
    advantage of coming into our shop or having us come out to their house. Not
    an option for the OP.
    My bad. From now on I'll be sure to check the headers on every single
    message when I'm responding to a group in general. Sorry Master Clarke.
    My point here was that for most practical uses, the general procedures were
    either the same or quite similar barring the wording (i.e Clicking the
    "menu" on your OS and then Shut Down allows you to shut down regardless of
    the actual OS, the same can be said for word processing, browsing the web,
    Uh, if you bothered to check headers you would see that I am posting from a
    Windows system.
    Windowmaker & KDE are quite similar.
    You're saying all that is on your PC is just what comes with Windows XP?
    You don't have anti-virus, an office suite, or anything?
    Even I'll admit that sentence is pretty confusing, but what I was getting at
    was that there are plenty of applications out there for Linux and most are
    free, but you don't have to have them. Generally what comes with your
    distro is what the common user needs.
    If you mean that while we all argue instead of actually helping the OP solve
    his problem, then yes he will be without a usable machine.
    Crimson*, Mar 30, 2006
  17. pgluth1

    J. Clarke Guest

    "Not scratching the surface" does not mean that they don't use specific
    features. Nobody uses _all_ of Word, but different users use different
    You haven't answered the question.
    Why would you "check the headers on every single post"? If you are replying
    to someone and the gist of your message is "try Linux" then are far less
    likely to make a fool of yourself if you first make the very slight effort
    necessary to determine whether they are in fact running Linux already.
    Unless they are exactly the same they can cause problems for people in the
    category under discussion.
    So? Lots of Linux zealots post from Windows systems, because, for example,
    their boss will fire them if they don't use the OS that he provides.
    Dennis Ritchie usually posts from a Windows system and it's not because he
    has any particular love for Windows. I've seen Steve Jobs post from a
    Windows system because it was what was in front of him when he needed to
    post. Doesn't mean that Steve Jobs is anything but a Mac zealot.
    WindowMaker is a NeXT clone--it has very little resemblance to any of the
    Windows GUIs. I'm using KDE. I would _not_ want to try to teach someone
    80 years old who knows Windows how to use it unless they really, really
    wanted to learn. Yes, there are some superficial simularities, but they
    are just that, superficial.
    One does not use an office suite to circumvent malware. I do _not_ have an
    antivirus. They are more trouble than they are worth.
    I see. So you're saying that, say, OpenOffice is a "free app" unless it is
    bundled with a distribution and then it becomes something else?
    He's using the machine now so he's hardly "without a usable machine".
    J. Clarke, Mar 30, 2006
  18. pgluth1

    J. Clarke Guest

    What is a "MF"? I know the term in other contexts but I don't think you're
    referring to his relationship with his mother.

    Another issue though is transferring data. Some will go easily, some will
    require a battle.
    J. Clarke, Mar 30, 2006
  19. pgluth1

    Crimson* Guest

    You know, Commander Clarke, no matter what I post or what my opinion is,
    you're either going to take things out of context or just argue that your
    own opinion is "right". It's pointless. You can carry on this useless
    argument if you want. I'm just going to move on and offer my opinion when
    people ask for help.
    Crimson*, Mar 30, 2006
  20. pgluth1

    J. Clarke Guest

    Why are you taking this personally?

    I don't agree with you. Why do you have a problem with people disagreeing
    with you?

    Incidentally, my father was Commander Clarke. I didn't stay in that long.
    J. Clarke, Mar 30, 2006
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