AOL and Windows 3.1 ... Today ...

April 26, 2011 at 05:38:24
Specs: Windows xp pro install, Intel Celeron 2GHZ
Hello,

Back when I was using Dial up, I hated AOL because it 'took over your computer', lol. Fast forward till now, I still have my windows 3.1 machine and would like to surf the web, while on the road, with dial up. 486 dx2 66 16 mb ram decent machine for 3.1. Anyway, due to the obvious problems with all of the browswers, crashing mainly, I was thinking about AOL. I remember the last time I used it, the version of IE 4.0 in AOL 4.0 ran alot better than the standalone 4.0 ie browser as far as surfing and not crashing. Now this was almost 4 years ago, id imagine its even worse now... so i was wondering:

Can you still use aol 4.0 to dial in? what about 3.0? (16-bit versions)

(now people tell me im crazy but, im telling you the truth): When i bought an old 3.1 machine about 5 years ago, there was a version of aol 5.0. Now yes, the machine had win32s, and yes, it very well could have been a demo that is no longer supported/available, but many people tell me 4.0 is the latest version for 3.1. Is it possible that this '5/0' was simply updated through those 'closing time' updates AOL forces upon you, and isnt available, or is there a 5.0 16-bit (or 32 bit supportive of win32s) laying around out there? Because every time i install off aol CD it wants to install 4.0. Just curious. I know someone else has seen this version (5 on 31) at some point back in the day.

And finally, is the browser in aol still a little bit better as far as rendering, partly due to the updates that aol offers when you connect? How about crashing?

Thanks,
Shamrock

Matthew R. Keegan
Computer Network Specialist +
Classic Computer Hobbyist
MKeegan1968@Gmail.com


See More: AOL and Windows 3.1 ... Today ...

Report •

#1
April 26, 2011 at 19:10:14
I think dial-up modem access is still available in many areas. Today's web is so broadband based that dial up would be only useful for text duty for Gopher, Newsgroups, FTP or Email. Better are DOS based browsers such as LYNX or DOSLYNX for going everywhere - a small learning curve for setting up though. IE5 is available for Win 3.11 and I use it regularly on my oldie computer although in a very limited capacity. I have scripting, active-x and so forth all turned off. I prefer to use DOSLYNX in DOS to surf for files and reading the newspapers.

All the graphical browsers of the 90s crash regularly on most sites. I have found IE5 the least trouble - others swear by Opera or Netscape (how I don't know). Frankly, I have tried them all and IE5 is clearly the least troublesome on today's web - but it is far from perfect. IE3 renders very poorly and is virtually unuseable. Don't know about IE4, probably similar to IE5.

Having a dial-up connection with a modem on the ready could be worthwhile backup. IE5 for win 3.x is available in a lot of places.


Report •

#2
April 27, 2011 at 02:47:05
Actually, in a lot of places, dial-up is (sadly) more rule than exception. The problem with using AOL (and I'll attempt to refrain from derogatory remarks about doing so) could possibly be finding a working number that still allows you to successfully dial-in. In the locations that AOL has the market on dial-up "cornered" (yes, there are some) being able to get through to a connection is sometimes impossible. In markets where broadband has become more accessible, AOL has pretty much dropped the dial-up service. Unless you travel a lot and need access to AOL exclusively, a local dial-up ISP would be a better solution, and many "national" ISP's (see link below) often have better coverage (i.e. - more phone numbers) than AOL. Even though they likely would deny supporting Win3.1, it should be easy enough to get dial-up networking from Internet Explorer 3.0 or above to work with them. Just remember, pages with old browsers generally don't render very well and give many errors under virtually any Win3.1 browser.

http://www.thelist.com/misc/usa/dia...

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."


Report •

#3
April 27, 2011 at 05:18:53
TRA, hey thanks for the response. Im pretty familiar with connecting to different local ISP's through ie, i was using 5.0, it crashed alot, and this was going back a few years. Im also pretty familiar with aol, and i agree with you wholeheartedly, as far as (i will refrain from negative remarks too) difficulties in finding numbers. I am from new jersey, and certain areas are hard to find. I live in NYC and most of my travels now are through urban areas like NYC (manhattan, brooklyn, bronx) and Jersey City/Newark, all big cities, so I actually did a little homework - there are numbers in my area, and my job pays me decent - if i had to dial long distance, id do it, in an emergency. But im curious as to how the browser is for aol 4 or 5 16 bit with all the updates installed, would it do me any favors over a standard ie install? See, i have a modern laptop, but no modem in it, and i don't want to spend money on something ill only use occasionally. The other thing is the software - two main reasons I use 3.1 proffesionally on my other laptop. One, im so partial to office 4.0 i know it inside out and have 10 years worth of spreadsheets on there, its funny im a computer/network tech and i can configure newer versions of office up to 2007 and patch them and explain why different errors occur, but i still dont 'know' the spreadsheet (newer) functions inside and out, and the layout etc. I just like 4.0. Also, i still use one company program that only runs up to nt 4.0, but supports 3.1, so i kill 2 birds with one stone.

Matthew R. Keegan
Computer Network Specialist +
Classic Computer Hobbyist
MKeegan1968@Gmail.com


Report •

Related Solutions

#4
April 27, 2011 at 05:20:04
oh, meant to thank Mister Gopher too, forget to type both names. Thanks guys. appreciate the help. Still wondering if aynone is using aol at all?

Matthew R. Keegan
Computer Network Specialist +
Classic Computer Hobbyist
MKeegan1968@Gmail.com


Report •

#5
April 27, 2011 at 13:58:15
"But im curious as to how the browser is for aol 4 or 5 16 bit with all the updates installed, would it do me any favors over a standard ie install?"

Hard to say, since they both are such old software. There may be easier access to some of the AOL services (been a long, long time since I've used the AOL software), but then again, they apparently have a lot of Canadian users using Win3.1, so there may be some advantages.

"One, im so partial to office 4.0 i know it inside out and have 10 years worth of spreadsheets on there..."

Don't feel alone. I still use Excel 5.0 and Office '97 quite frequently (when not using OpenOffice), and find it difficult to justify upgrading to something newer.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."


Report •

#6
April 27, 2011 at 15:02:41
I too have Office 4.0 installed. Looking at it objectively upon how effective the old Office suite functions, everything since just seems like bloatware. Not only that, the security issues with MS Office including and since the 2003 edition have grown significantly. If I ran a small business, Office 4.0 would be suffcient or Office 1997/2000 for 32bit systems.

-------------------------------------------

I have never liked AOL. IMO it destroyed Netscape by as you have said 'taking over your system' by packaging a whole bunch of nonsense. And it was often difficult to eradicate. It's the same way I feel about Real Player. When Real Audio came out it was great during the 1990s, but they decided to start including Adware in the Real Player package near the end of the decade. I might add that Real Player took over every media file association unless you patiently went through the advanced settings during the setup process. Users got really pissed off and went with WinAmp or plain old Windows Media Player instead.

Not surprisingly AOL and RealPlayer top the list as the worst Tech Products of all time in PCmag


Report •

#7
April 29, 2011 at 07:36:36
Winamp OWNS. I love it, the visualizations are great, the built in equalizer is kicking and the layout is so unique, plus its just so skinnable its great. I agree with you about realplayer. Aol too, unfortunately though, if it offers an advantage, id have to give it a shot. I still need to wait for someone using it currently to let me know whether it does surf the web a little better, because i don't want to go through the pain of an aol install if i dont have to.

Office 4.0 and 97 are by far the best, and you just get so used to them after a while that the newer versions seem pointless to install, especially being that if you convert files right, so can use older versions to view .doc files and excell files from newer versions. But i rarely do that because all of my stuff is typed in 4.0 and i can always open it in newer versions!

I miss alot of the simplicity of windows 3.11, those WERE the days.

Matthew R. Keegan
Computer Network Specialist +
Classic Computer Hobbyist
MKeegan1968@Gmail.com


Report •

#8
April 29, 2011 at 09:58:01
"I miss alot of the simplicity of windows 3.11, those WERE the days."

That's the reason I took it up as a little hobby. I can imagine that in the not too distant future all this old hardware will start getting more and more difficult to acquire. Some of it already is.

Now I can relive the old days to the max with my 3.11 Windows. I have found some pretty addicting games for DOS and Windows as well as my old Sierra games. All the stuff I had carefully stored away on diskettes have a new life. Not only that, my MS Golf 2.0 diskettes loaded up and is very absorbing since I acquired all 25 available courses - which I never had before.

The minimalism is the great thing to admire. It's easy to learn the old tweaks and the www.archive.org site provides you with the old web for searching out some utilities or other sites with valuable information that have long since been abandoned. As you might have guessed, I am also involved with Gopher and have my own Gopher hole:Splunge Report

So yeah, it's a worthwhile project to get an old machine and software going. Hooking it up to today's broadband is the most satisfying. One of the major goals is to see Win 3.11 and DOS surfing the web and doing email. When you achieve these things well you have a sense of defeating the obsolescence that is so associated with Win 3.x and DOS. You begin to flow with a desire to help others gain that same satisfaction you experienced.


Report •

#9
April 30, 2011 at 10:51:14
Hahaha, Sierra. The name just brings me back through a time portal it seems. Do you remember when they attempted to enter the desktop publishin/office software market? Or the graphic design? lol, Sierra Print Artist. But to be honest. that (print artist) wasnt a bad program for back in those days. I mean, over paintbrush, anything is better, but this program gave you some of the early featres of PhotoShop , it was pretty advanced. They had a dos version and a windows version, both were identical, you couldnt tell the difference. The windows version was well, a 16-bit windows program, look and feel obviously the same. The DOS version was made as one of those dos programs with a nice GUI and clickable buttons that looks almost like its a windows program, and this particular one was modelled after the windows version so it was identical. Thos graphical DOS programs/games (SimCity would be one) with windows like buttons and filemenus always amazed me. It makes you wonder what computing would be like if microsoft followed more of a linux path - either stayed with dos, or the command line right to the kernel of the windows NT family and kept upgrading, with the option to install a gui, and gave you choices, and alot was done in command lines by adcanced users, and newbies could use the gui's. I mean , we all know we can set up windows to boot from whichever shell we want, like command line, program manager, file manager, windows explorer, internet explorer, or in old cases calmira, dos prompt, etc etc. Just would be interesting. But yea, Gopher - I am a BIG time hobbyist as well. I used to have multiple old systems, unfoturtunately when i moved i couldnt take it all with me. I still have my old laptop with windows 3.11 and i also have a desktop which dual boots XP and 95 but has a 5.25 floppy for me to access old files and games and software on that media. People crack up when they see a modern dual core XP machine with a dirty, dusty, old black-colored (the machine is white lol) 5.25 floppy drive - but i use it all the time. I use it to save files i don't want people to EVER access, financial info, special pictures of me and my girlfriend (lol), etc etc.

Now back to the point, I KNOW Someone is using AOL. Please speak up, I need you whoever you are! I could have sworn i have actualy seen people ON this forum recommending aol for one reason or another. Now im not sure whether it was recent or not, but definitely in the last few years on the 3.1 forum. But im not sure of the subject titles for each post and tried doing a quick search and came up empty handed.

TO MAN OR WOMAN USING AOL ON 3.1, PLEASE RESPOND to this post, or PM me, or ANYTHING. Email if you must.

In the meantime, i definitely do not mind continuing our little 3.1 hobby discussion with my two new buddies Gopher and T-R-A. Oh, T-R-A you say 'channeling the spirit
of Jboy, are you jboy with a new screen name? Jboy used to be on here all of the time, back when i had my odl screen name.

Matthew R. Keegan
Computer Network Specialist +
Classic Computer Hobbyist
MKeegan1968@Gmail.com


Report •

#10
April 30, 2011 at 18:16:16
"Oh, T-R-A you say 'channeling the spirit of Jboy, are you jboy with a new screen name?"

Hardly. If you check closely enough, there were several posts between he and I several years back. He had been here for some time when I arrived on the scene somewhere around '04 (maybe earlier---been so long I can't remember). I grew to admire his knowledge and wry wit on these boards and simply felt it a fitting tribute to adopt the signature:

http://www.computing.net/answers/do...

My own "original home" from the late '90's onward is here:

http://uncreativelabs.net/phpBB2/in...

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."


Report •

#11
May 1, 2011 at 16:12:08
Yes I can confirm all the old Windows versions still work, but I don't know about the MS-DOS version. I wasn't online when AOL worked on MS-DOS, and I only use TCP/IP which that version can't access, so who knows?

According to this old Computing.net post from 2000, it may not work anymore.

And in case you were worried Big Brother was watching, I know a person that works for AOL and they are even able to see (a) what operating system, and (b) what version you're using to connect to their server!. The newer versions 6.0+ also have a (AOL keyword) SYSINFO tool and you can see this info yourself. I use AOL 3.0 via TCP/IP on my laptop, while AOL 2.0 was the first version that had the option of using TCP/IP.

If you really want retro, AOL 1.1 is on my server and you can download it here. It's from March 25, 1993! (Just change the unzip directory to C:\AOL11)

http://sdfox7.com
http://marcusct.com


Report •

#12
May 1, 2011 at 16:14:21
By the way, use this AOL page to find access numbers by area code or country code:

http://access.web.aol.com or go to keyword ACCESS from within the AOL software.

http://sdfox7.com
http://marcusct.com


Report •

#13
May 2, 2011 at 06:05:48
SDFOX 7 - how is aol 3.0 for web browsing on windows 3.1? What about 4.0? Does aol display/render web pages better (with all of the updates installed)? Are they better than ie5 16 bit or netscape 4?

You seem to know alot about legacy aol software ...

Matthew R. Keegan
Computer Network Specialist +
Classic Computer Hobbyist
MKeegan1968@Gmail.com


Report •

#14
May 2, 2011 at 11:07:00
In my experience, 99% of the stability/crashing problems that are encountered with today's internet on old browsers are due to the old browsers choking on Java Script. The 16-bit versions of AOL do not contain JavaScript in the integrated browser, and so do not suffer any crashes.

Try it sometime. Open a web page in IE 4.x or 5.x with JS enabled. I guarantee it will crash. Then close the browser, change the settings to disable JS, and then relaunch IE. Sure, a small set of features won't work properly without having JS enabled, but it never prevented me from being able to casually browse the web.

This is the same case with Windows 95/98/NT 4.0 with IE 3.0/4.0/5.x.

I have posted the archived version of the instructions in case the original page or server should ever go down.

Here are the instructions for Netscape 3.x (no archived versions available due to ROBOTS.TXT however, I've copied and pasted to my server, with reference credit to the original source):

http://www.chami.com/tips/internet/021398i.html

http://sdfox7.com/jscript.htm

http://sdfox7.com
http://marcusct.com


Report •

#15
May 3, 2011 at 09:16:43
I am definitely going to be trying this out, thanks SDFOX. It sounds like aol may have a few advantages, but only due to non built in JS. And like you said, JS can be turned off in all browsers anyway. I just wish i could surf the web in 3.1 and access my facebook, gmail and google docs. If i could do those 3 things, id have it made. But i can use a mail program for gmail.

Matthew R. Keegan
Computer Network Specialist +
Classic Computer Hobbyist
MKeegan1968@Gmail.com


Report •

#16
May 3, 2011 at 11:24:07
Good luck with getting those apps to work. Very difficult if not impossible on a 16-bit system.

In order for Windows 3.1 to be most relevant these days, you have to use it the same way it was used in the 90's and early 2000's: e-mail, web browsing, and office software.

The only way I've got Facebook working on my Win95 PC is by using either Firefox or Opera and accessing the mobile site: m.facebook.com You can use the standard version of Facebook under Win95, but chances are that if you're running the kind of old hardware I'm running Win95, it will take all day to load the interactive page, even on high speed.

http://sdfox7.com
http://marcusct.com


Report •

#17
May 3, 2011 at 11:32:04
To sum it up, I think your best best is to run the latest IE5 or Netscape Navigator 4.08, and just disable JavaScript.

http://sdfox7.com
http://marcusct.com


Report •

Ask Question