Bringing an old W2K up to date

September 18, 2010 at 12:01:40
Specs: Windows 2000, N/A
Hello Everyone,

I have a unique situation and I would appreciate all suggestions and recommendations.

In a couple of months I will have to work on an old Dell Inspiron 4100 (laptop) with W2K.
The user, a cousin, got it in 2003 and is clueless when it comes to system and security updates and is relying on me to bring her laptop up to date without replacing the OS.

She is not sure what updates have been installed so far, although she does recall installing some.

Another wrinkle is that her connection to the internet is only 28.6k (!!) -- so downloads are painfully slow.

Based on the above, I am considering downloading to my computer all the updates and upgrades for W2K that I can find on the MS website, burn them on a CD, take that CD with me and install the updates on her laptop.

Question 1: I want to make sure I get all the necessary updates and upgrades. How can I ensure that? Just download everything under W2K updates on the MS website?

Question 2: If I try to install an update that's already been installed, will W2K flag that or will it simply reinstall it?

I'd like to be prepared for the worst so any help, recommendations, suggestions, links, etc, would be greatly appreciated.

One more question (#3): Does anyone know of a reliable current anti-virus software that would work with W2K? None of the "staple" ones I checked seems to be compatible with W2K anymore.

Many thanks in advance.


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September 18, 2010 at 14:28:34
Upgrade to 1GB Memory and install XP:

....or spend the money on a newer laptop instead !!

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September 18, 2010 at 15:45:08
A good, inexpensive antivirus is Protector Plus. I've been using it for years.

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September 20, 2010 at 01:35:30
These three links tell you all about the updates - including sp4 - the last one for W2K; and which is the one you ideally obtain and install.

and this is another (non-M$ source for W2K sp4) which you can download and save and ultimately transfer to a CD/DVD; then use that to install updates on the Dell...

When installing updates/sp4 etc... anything already there will you will be prompted to retain or replace; let it replace anything it finds - be it current or otherwise; much easier overall...

Once system is OK... make the ERD for W2K - Emergency Recovery/Repair Disk) and keep it safe. You could also make on before starting any updates; and then renew it after updates.

is virus util that works with W2K and other slightly earlier OS and also XP...

And I understand may have similar; although personally I prefer avast... (had some minor issues with avg on ME and also XP in the past...)

Don't bother with XP; cost of RAM upgrade isn't worth it. And likely it will be a little pedestrian (slow) on the Dell...? As long as you have at least 128Meg - preferably 256Meg RAM for W2K - even better 512... it will be fine. The 512 level will make some difference but 256 is OK...

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September 20, 2010 at 11:38:33
Thank you very much trvlr for taking the time and effort to respond in such detail to my query -- that was exactly the kind of guidance/assistance I was seeking.

I checked all the links you provided and I think I can now find everything I need.

BTW, I'm told the laptop has 512 MBs of RAM so I should be OK.

Once again, many thanks --- much appreciated!


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September 21, 2010 at 02:02:13
Some addtional suggestions; not the least as likely you do not have the W2K CD etc...?

Ensure that the user(s) copy their personal files etc. to external storage - another HD or at least optical-media; and, if the lattter, verfiy that can be access OK on at least one other system. Safeguards them all in event of system failures...?

Also extract all software keys from the installation as is once all updated etc.

If you go:

Start\run\ and type in: msinfo32 and press enter/return

you will get a list of what's installed etc... Dig around in there you can find the keys for assorted software.

Also Belarc (Advisor) will do the same (google for it?).

Useful to have theeeeeese keys etc. externally - hard copy in a safe place; and maybe affixed to the case (underneath too)?

Likewise - if no W2K CD or other software etc... consider either a true backup of the installation to external media (optical is usually best here) - can be done from within W2K itself; or (I think a better approach) make an image of the drive - and this to be bootable as well. Acronis make an excellent utility to this end; and there are others similar too...

Then if the system truly crashes... you can restore a working model from the backup or image - whichever?

Likely on the drive you will find the i386 folder - and if so - copy it to optical media and keep safe... It may allow another way to re-install within limits in event of problems...

Label any/all disks you make accordingly; and include keys as appropriate on labels.

Being a Dell system it is equally possible it has a recovery partition (hidden) on the drive; usuall at the physical start of the drive - and I repeat it's hidden. This allows you restore the system to delivery status; but means all updates have to be re-applied... And all personal files etc are invariably lost in the restore process; which is why again copy them elsewhere (external storage) - regularly...

There will also be a Dell "tag" number on the case somewhere. Note it and keep it safe...). If you go to Dell site/support and enter that tag.. you go straight to support area for that model; and can find all manner of stuff about it - manuals, drivers and the like... You may also be able to acquire any missing re-install/restore disks if needs-be - possibly free or for a modest shipping/postage charge? Woth considering?

A wee bit to do to be safe for the future; but you have very viable and working system... so worth to do?

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September 22, 2010 at 12:20:49
Thank you trvlr for your additional tips and advice.

Apparently the original W2K CDs are available -- which is a relief.

I downloaded Belarc and ran it on my computer. It's a wonderful little app. Loved it!

I was told that AVG does not support W2K although the website says that it does -- so I'll be downloading bot hAVG and avast! just in case.

So far I have downloaded SP4 for W2K and all the W2K updates that were issued after it. I have also downloaded the update roll-ups for IE6 and IE5 (not sure which version is installed on the laptop).

Once I get there, the plan is to proceed as follows:
1. Run Belarc and save a hard copy of the output;
2. Create backup of data files and store externally;
3. Create an image of the hard drive and store externally (I realize there's an overlap with Step '2' but it's for ease of access as required);
3. Apply W2K SP4 and test;
4. Apply all the other W2K updates and test;
5. Apply the IEx updates and test;
6. Install anti-virus app;
7. Connect to the internet and run Windows update to find out if I need to update anything else (possibly MediaPlayer, Messenger, MS Office, etc.).

It might take some time to apply all the updates but after that's done, she's going to end up with a decently up-to-date system that'll meet her basic requirements for some time.

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September 22, 2010 at 13:02:15
Don't forget to make the ERD once all OK; keep it safe... If you make changes to system - additional software etc.. update the ERD (as in make another; and keep the previous one also).

Otherwise you're well on your way.

Bon chance!

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September 24, 2010 at 11:10:13
Thanks trvlr for reminding me to make an ERD after all is done. I will probably also make an ERD before I start installing SP4. I know it might be over-kill but better safe than sorry :-)

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September 28, 2010 at 21:30:59
If you're installing roll-ups for IE, don't forgot the roll-up for Windows 2000 Service Pack 4:

Update Rollup 1 for Windows 2000 SP4 (KB891861) (September 13, 2005)

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