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Blazing Through the Internet... on Windows 98 SE!

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Old February 12th 14, 03:57 AM
shastalore shastalore is offline
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First recorded activity by Win98Banter: Feb 2014
Location: Alameda, California
Posts: 1
Default Blazing Through the Internet... on Windows 98 SE!

Thanks to Google's mandate for mobile-friendly versions of all websites, I am now able to effectively surf the Internet on Windows 98 Second Edition.

An excellent example of this radical change is Facebook: A real resource hog on even newer computers.
But not if one logs into Facebook via the Facebook-mobile website: m.facebook.com (and without the "www.").

Back in 2013, I picked up an old Toshiba Tecra 550CDT Laptop (1997, 96 MB RAM, Pentium II 266.0 MHz, USB 1.1, Windows 95 native OS, 12VDC) at a flea market for $ 2.00. And I knew that all this laptop needed was some love, to faithfully serve as not only a backup computer, but a real workhorse.

Tossing the 4 GB Windows 95 hard drive, I installed an old 100 GB hard drive, "Flashed with Apple HDD Firmware" (7,200rpm, 8 MB buffer), removed the hard drive partitions with DataFab Media Formatter, and installed Windows 98 Second Edition / Microsoft Office 97 from an old 2 GB hard drive (from my long dead Dell laptop) onto the 100 GB hard drive, over the now completely wiped hard drive. Windows 98 SE, an unusually well-written OS, runs light on the system resources, and will run quite well even on a Windows 95 native OS computer.

After installing (actually, transferring) Windows 98 SE onto the 100 GB hard disk, I then went to the Toshiba website and downloaded and installed their Tecra 550CDT hardware drivers for windows 98 SE.

Inserting an old Xircom 10100 Network plus 56K Modem PC Card XEM5600 into the PCMCIA slot (it actually occupies both upper and lower PCMCIA slots), I was able to connect to the internet via my high-speed internet, using K-Meleon 1.5.4 internet browser.

A good start is to bookmark http//:eboogie.com/ an excellent search engine of mobile-friendly websites.

And some more are at:

For speed and functionality, especially for websites that are not mobile-friendly, with K-Meleon 1.5.4 you may need to block javascript:
Open: Tools / Privacy / Block JavaScript. Or just toggle F7, as many websites require JavaScript, and, even then, some of them are actually surprisingly light on Windows 98 SE resources. I usually prefer to leave K-Meleon 1.5.4 in Block JavaScript mode, and flag some of my favorites with a "JavaScript required" note, where applicable.

And to effectively surf the internet, it's imperative to check your Windows 98 SE computer for any "resource hog" programs running in the background. For example, I chose to use a firewall instead of an anti-virus program, but discovered that the Sygate Personal Firewall was not only hogging too much of the laptop's resources, it also had a questionable reputation. But removing Sygate Personal Firewall, and installing Tiny Personal Firewall Engine 2.0.15 A did the trick: It's light on the resources, and catches everything that tries to sneak through, while remembering and allowing necessary, repetitive functions.

For running demanding applications on my basic laptop, such as surfing the internet, I find FreeMeter 2.8.2 (freeware) an indespensible tool. It has three simple indicators in the Taskbar: CPU load, Physical Memory load, and Page File load. This signals me to momentarily allow the hardworking Toshiba Tecra 550CDT system to catch up on a given task, before moving on to yet other demands and loads.

But, in spite of these precautions, it's not uncommon to get hung up in a large and complex webpage. When that happens, I simply enter the "Ctrl-Alt-Del" command, and select "End Task" to shut down K-Meleon 1.5.4. I then select "End Task" again in the next pop-up window to completely shut down K-Meleon. I then restart K-Meleon, after the laptop resource indicators have settled down. When the "Session Recovery" pop-up box appears, asking if I want to resume my last browsing session, I select "Yes" but quickly select and close the tab of the rogue website before it takes control again -if it appears. This may sound clumbsy and involved, but soon becomes a quick and handy trick.

Using the same Xircom 10100 Network plus 56K Modem PC Card XEM5600 for dialup, I also connected to the internet via FastFreeDialup (and using the same K-Meleon 1.5.4 internet browser), and was quite pleased to surf through the internet with dialup and mobile-friendly search engines. The idea of free internet for all is something I truly believe in.
And, speaking of free services, I also set up a rooftop rotating TV antenna, and receive 104 channels of perfect, free digital television.
Likewise, free dialup internet, such as www.FastFreeDialup.com makes this possible for everyone, and with so many local access numbers available in California, most users avoid long distance charges on their dial-up phone.

For wireless internet access, I use the Belkin Wireless G Notebook PCMCIA Card F5D7010v7 P10408-A.
As a 802.11g wireless device, the wireless card/Windows 98SE combo works quite well with public hotspots (airports, coffee shops, etc.), but only at a maximum connection speed of 54Mbps. The OEM CD-ROM installation of the device was quite simple and intuitive, but after the initial setup it did take several reboots until the initial wireless internet connection was achieved.
Oddly, I tried a number of vintage wireless G notebook cards, as well as wireless G USB devices, only to find that most of them won't work within the Windows 98SE, or 96 MB RAM, or Pentium II 266.0 MHz limitations. It seems that the manufacturers of these devices unnervingly use words as sparingly as possible in the technical specifications and system requirements of their devices, leaving the consumer to flounder.

As this vintage Toshiba Tecra 550CDT Laptop seemed to have hardly been used by the original owner(s), it'll be a real work horse for many practical applications.

You may ask:
Why I'm spending any time at all with a hopelessly outdated laptop, and operating system?
The Reason:
- Because I'm free to put this tough clunker in harm's way.
- Nobody's going to covet and steal this 1.9-inch thick laptop.
- It can be powered by any 12VDC source in the field.
- Many useful hardware devices and peripherals will plug into it.
- Excellent and powerful Windows 98SE compatible software abounds for those who need to get serious work done.

Last edited by shastalore : October 21st 15 at 11:45 PM.

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