Can old Windows98 system be made safe?

July 28, 2009 at 10:41:24
Specs: Windows 98SE
I have a HP pentium 4 running Windows XP. I also have an old Compaq Presario running Windows 98SE that my 12 year old uses. I would like to network the two so that he can access the DSL internet connection that I have on my XP computer. I bought a wired router last year but never hooked it up after I became afraid of security issues.

I know that 98 is no longer supported, so is there a safe way to hook up his computer to a network and not be left wide open to hackers or viruses?

I run Zone Alarm 9 on my computer and own an older copy of Zone Alarm that I could put on the older PC. I am not so concerned about the older PC itself, my son uses it for school and to play some old games, BUT I don't want it to become an entry point into my system where more secure data is located.

I have never set up a network so am a newbie on this. I know people will just say upgrade and I know that is a possibility, but then we get into the expense and I was hoping to avoid that. Any help or advice would be appreciated.


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July 28, 2009 at 12:18:51
Your wired router with its hardware firewall will provide a measure of security from outside invaders. However, it's still a good idea to maintain a software firewall on both PCs (like your Zone Alarm), and a reliable antivirus program. There are some good free programs like AVG, Avast, and Antivir (make sure they work with Win 98). Make sure you keep your antivirus program updates current - some (e.g., Antivir) require you to run the updates manually, but that's usually pretty easy.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

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July 28, 2009 at 12:19:06
It's doable but it will require some work like the above post mentions

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July 28, 2009 at 12:37:49
Thanks for your replies. I am still unsure about a couple of things.

I bought the new version of Zone Alarm because the company said they weren't supporting the old version anymore and therefore any new threats would not be covered. But the new version does not support Windows 98. I suspect the same will hold true for virus programs, their new versions will protect against new threats but their old version won't., and yet, their new versions will be for XP and Vista.

Does anyone know of firewall and virus programs that are still being kept up-to-date yet still support the older 98 machines? If not, if my computer is running a good firewall, will it be protected if the older machine is targeted by something?

Thanks again.

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Related Solutions

July 28, 2009 at 12:52:48
if my computer is running a good firewall, will it be protected if the older machine is targeted by something?

No. The FW will be protecting only the machine it is installed on.

To reduce the likehood of having all computers infected, do not ever enable Print & File Sharing. If you do, all machines will be made vulnerable when one is hit.


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July 28, 2009 at 12:55:05
I have seen that some antivirus programs like NOD32 and Kaspersky may still support Win 98, but they are not free. Of course, you'd be better off paying an annual subscription for your son's PC rather than taking a chance with some nasty virus infection (and, yes, you must have antivirus running on each PC if you really want to be safe). Your best bet at this point would be to Google for antivirus and firewall programs that will work with Win 98 ... some programs that work with it now may not for much longer.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

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July 28, 2009 at 12:56:18
I like to use analogx's proxy. When installed on the newest system with all the good av and antimalware the connection to the other computer is also protected. Best of all, only a few ports are proxied to the second computer. You can limit it to http if you want (port 80).

If you really just use it for internet then you could also install a number of linux OS's that are made for children.

"Best Practices", Event viewer, host file, perfmon, antivirus, anti-spyware, Live CD's, backups, are in my top 10

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