Question about Microsoft Windows 98 for PC

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Windows deleted and dos installed

I am writing on behalf of
I am

The above mentioned is the resident computer expert at a not for profit government subsidized senior residence Potiker Senior Family Residence in San Diego, CA. The management is unwilling to get involved as far as restoring the operating system. Another resident, who may or may not have psychological malfunction, is removing the Windows operating system from the donated computers located in the community computer lab. Can you advise the aforementioned on how to 1. restore the operating system and 2. partion the hard drive and install administrator passwords to prevent furhter corruption. Again, these computers have been donated and are not accompanied by any original back up disks. The resident computer expert may not be there for eternity, so is there a way to protect the computer without one individual controlling all functionality? Your help is greatly appreciated. The seniors cannot afford individual computers or internet access and rely on the community computers a great deal as a way to communicate with loved ones or conduct banking and other communication when they cannot get around. Thank you again for any suggestions and solutions.

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First and foremost, Windows 95/98/98SE/ME are not secure operating systems. Passwords are meaningless in these environments unless you are using a third-party security product to provide that functionality. I have seen some custom tools to do this, but I don't know of any that are still available. If the hardware will support it, upgrading to Windows XP or later is one option, in which case you would be able to secure the computer against malicious attack from the console as well as use the Microsoft SteadyState tool that will undo user changes by simply rebooting the machine. If you are looking for free operating systems that are secure, there are many Linux distributions as well as FreeBSD and OpenSolaris, but these *nix environments require a vastly different skill set than the Microsoft option. The commands and tools are different. The desktop options are more varied and quite different than what is offered by Microsoft. These can be more secure than Microsoft, but it takes much more to ensure that they will work in your environment. There will also be a learning curve that must be overcome by your users to become proficient with the new setup.

Posted on Jun 04, 2009

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Another option, depending upon the manufacturer, is to request a 'recovery CD'. Most manufacturers can supply this for a small fee (shipping and handling - typically < $20).

Good Luck!

Posted on Jun 04, 2009

  • jcoady
    jcoady Jun 04, 2009

    The beauty of this solution is that it will include all computer specific device drivers AND any default applications included in that manufacturer's 'factory load'.

  • jcoady
    jcoady Jun 04, 2009

    To emphasize what's already been said - Windows 98 not only is NOT secure, it is no longer supported by Microsoft, so future vulnerabilities will not be patched. At the same time I understand the quandry that you're in - no support and no money to spare to update/secure these systems. Which is the main reason I proposed looking to the manufacturer(s) for these recovery CD's.

    Also, It is possible this malfunctioning resident is trying to keep everything legal, but inform him/her that it is perfectly LEGAL to leave an OEM licensed OS/application on the machine following the sale/donation of a computer. OEM licenses are licensed to the machine, not to the user. The real trick is making sure any personally licensed software is removed.

    As for securing the computer with passwords, there is little security provided by WIN98, so you'll have to rely on system passwords that secure the machine PRIOR to the OS booting up, and find an application that can provide that additional security for you.

    Good Luck!


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You must get a copy of windows OS and do a fresh install for all computers.

Posted on Jun 04, 2009

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