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Web browsing on 3.11 = NIGHTMARE

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First post, by [ROTT] IanPaulFreeley

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I always attempt surfing the web on my Windows 3.11 machines, and I do so with IE 5.5, Netscape 4.x, and Opera 2.xx. All three browsers constantly crash when browsing the web. I believe I have read other posts on here where people mention they are posting from their 486 itself, however I can't even get this forum to load on my 486 without crashing. Usually memory-related errors.

Actually, I had the same experience when a Celeron 300 was my retro DOS machine - the browsers constantly crashing with memory errors. I always figured it was the old memory limitations of DOS/Win3.1 that made the web just too much for it to handle.

I understand that there are quite a bit of connection "handshakes" when loading any web page in this day and age, and it might actually be a bit of a task for such old gear. But, has anyone tweaked their way to a more stable web experience in Windows 3.11?

- AMD 386 DX/40, 8mb, DOS 6.22 / WFW
- 486 DX2/66, 16mb, DOS 6.22 / WFW
- 486 DX4/100, 16mb, Win98se
- Pentium 166, 32mb, DOS 6.22 / WFW
- Pentium Pro 200, 64mb, Win98
- Athlon 500 MHz, 192mb, Win98

Reply 1 of 36, by sliderider

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I don't see how you're running IE 5 or Opera 2 at all on that system. My sources say that IE 5 and Opera 2 require Win95.

http://www.oldapps.com/internet_explorer.php? … net_explorer=12

http://www.oldapps.com/opera.php?old_opera=1

Reply 2 of 36, by DosFreak

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Reply 3 of 36, by sliderider

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I wouldn't browse the web with Windows 3.1 anyway. It's not going to be secure and not many sites will render properly unless they are really, really old. Even moving up to Windows 95 opens up a whole new world of options that are more secure and can render more sites but even those are hopelessly outdated. Connecting to the internet with anything older than XP with the most recent service pack is asking for trouble, and even that option won't be viable for very much longer after XP support ends in 2014.

Reply 5 of 36, by d1stortion

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How about "Crysis on Pentium 3 = NIGHTMARE" as an idea for a next thread? I have Flash and memory-related crashes/slowdowns even when browsing on current hardware and operating systems. Modern web is horrendously bloated.

Reply 6 of 36, by Malik

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Ermm....Install a Windows 3.1x skin or theme on Windows XP and pretend you're still in 1993 and using Win 3.1x to browse the net?

Hehe...this reminds me of Winsock, TCP/IP protocol installation, Auto-dialler program and my good old USR Sportster 33.6 kbps fax/data/voice modem.

5476332566_7480a12517_t.jpgSB Dos Drivers

Reply 7 of 36, by leileilol

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What if say, there was some sort of proxy wrapper that makes the web digestable for a Netscape 2.0/3.0 to handle without spewing issues? I.e. interpreting CSS layouts into tables, dumping javascript completely, stubbing out flash and ajax, turning 32-bit RGBA PNGs into websafe gifs with colorkey transparency, clamping sizes of large JPEGs, truncating *large* animated gifs (beyond 100kb)... maybe even throttling the speed to simulated 1-3kb a sec for that simulated dial-up. All of this would have to be handled through a separate but fast computer for it to be effective.

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Reply 8 of 36, by sliderider

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leileilol wrote:

All of this would have to be handled through a separate but fast computer for it to be effective.

If you're going to do that, then why not just run a more modern browser on the faster computer?

Reply 9 of 36, by Jorpho

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I remember running Netscape 2.x under Windows 3.x back in the day, and it was anguish. Netscape in general was anguish, actually. ("Document: Done! Document: Done!")

sliderider wrote:

I wouldn't browse the web with Windows 3.1 anyway. It's not going to be secure and not many sites will render properly unless they are really, really old.

"Security"? I reckon any exploit still out there in the wild won't run properly under Windows 3.x, and anything that requires serious security (like banking websites) probably won't function properly at all.

Connecting to the internet with anything older than XP with the most recent service pack is asking for trouble, and even that option won't be viable for very much longer after XP support ends in 2014.

I think XP is currently much more thoroughly entrenched than earlier versions of Windows were, and folks were still fighting aggressively to kill off IE6 not so long ago. It will be "viable" for a while yet, if not particularly advisable.

Reply 10 of 36, by sliderider

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Jorpho wrote:
I remember running Netscape 2.x under Windows 3.x back in the day, and it was anguish. Netscape in general was anguish, actuall […]
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I remember running Netscape 2.x under Windows 3.x back in the day, and it was anguish. Netscape in general was anguish, actually. ("Document: Done! Document: Done!")

sliderider wrote:

I wouldn't browse the web with Windows 3.1 anyway. It's not going to be secure and not many sites will render properly unless they are really, really old.

"Security"? I reckon any exploit still out there in the wild won't run properly under Windows 3.x, and anything that requires serious security (like banking websites) probably won't function properly at all.

Connecting to the internet with anything older than XP with the most recent service pack is asking for trouble, and even that option won't be viable for very much longer after XP support ends in 2014.

I think XP is currently much more thoroughly entrenched than earlier versions of Windows were, and folks were still fighting aggressively to kill off IE6 not so long ago. It will be "viable" for a while yet, if not particularly advisable.

As far as security is concerned, I meant viruses designed to execute on old operating systems and browsers that won't run on later software because whatever holes they exploited have been patched. There are still a lot of machines out there running Win3.x or Win9x because the software they need to run has never been updated. Did you that many bank ATM's still use Windows 3.1? A Windows 3.1 virus can still cause a lot of damage. Both BitDefender and Kaspersky still report that they are being attacked by Helkern and how old is that? If Helkern is still active and spreading, how many other old viruses, worms, and trojans are still out there?

And new exploits that take advantage of Windows XP will proliferate even more when it goes out of support because nobody will be bothered to patch them and XP is still in widespread use so you'll be at even greater risk if you still use XP without security patches.

Reply 11 of 36, by swaaye

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Yeah but this isn't a self help site for grandparents with their 1994 machine that is somehow still working. This is a site for people who are messing with old junk out of curiosity and for fun.

Reply 12 of 36, by leileilol

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Yeah and that 'windows 98 machine instantly compromised by conncting to today's internet' is still such a bullshit myth to me. I never had that happen ever 😀

Every old thing done on this board......always could be countered with "BUT WHY NOT USE WINDOWS 8 WITH MODERN COMPUTER" posts. I just see that as noise.

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Reply 13 of 36, by Jorpho

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sliderider wrote:

As far as security is concerned, I meant viruses designed to execute on old operating systems and browsers that won't run on later software because whatever holes they exploited have been patched. There are still a lot of machines out there running Win3.x or Win9x because the software they need to run has never been updated. Did you that many bank ATM's still use Windows 3.1? A Windows 3.1 virus can still cause a lot of damage. Both BitDefender and Kaspersky still report that they are being attacked by Helkern and how old is that? If Helkern is still active and spreading, how many other old viruses, worms, and trojans are still out there?

Well, Helkern is a worm designed to spread automatically through the Internet, is it not? I've never heard to such a thing that could run under Windows 3.x.

I suppose it's not beyond the realm of possibility that someone site out there is serving up exploits that can infect Win 3.x machines, but I would think a more sophisticated virus would be desirable, in the sense that I have trouble conceiving of a virus programmer intentionally going out of his way to include support for Win 3.x. There might be ATMs still running Win 3.x, but they certainly aren't running web browsers.

And new exploits that take advantage of Windows XP will proliferate even more when it goes out of support because nobody will be bothered to patch them

Microsoft won't, but somebody will.

Besides, how many exploits could be left in XP at this point? Sure, patches are still coming out, but aren't a lot of those for new features that also won't be updated any more once Microsoft ends support?

Reply 14 of 36, by Anonymous Freak

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I use IE 5.5 for Win3.11 on my PowerPC Windows NT system. (The only PPC-native browser for NT is IE3.)

It's definitely crap, but it does work.

Reply 15 of 36, by [ROTT] IanPaulFreeley

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Great discussion.

I certainly agree with swaaye that this is all about using 20 year old stuff just for fun. I actually like to use my old computers to help me get in the zone to be creative, since I sort of get a nostalgic high from the sights and sounds of an old OS and everything that goes with it... I use a Pentium 166 for MIDI sequencing and have done a lot of composing on there recently, using an old Roland MIDI controller and Sound Canvas connected to the game port.

I also went through many of the exercises in the famous book The C Programming Language (by Kernighan and Ritchie), writing them all in Borland Turbo C++ 3. You don't need a 500 MB framework or 8 CPU cores to do string manipulation exercises from the 70's. 😎

Security certainly crossed my mind many times. But since I can't load pretty much anything without crashing the browser, security isn't too much of an issue. 😉

Swaaye, thanks for confirming that browsing on 3.11 was always shitty. That was pretty much my main question.

I'm actually about to move on to trying Windows NT 3.51 or 4 for a more stable vintage browsing experience. IE 5.5 on NT 4 might be worth a shot...

- AMD 386 DX/40, 8mb, DOS 6.22 / WFW
- 486 DX2/66, 16mb, DOS 6.22 / WFW
- 486 DX4/100, 16mb, Win98se
- Pentium 166, 32mb, DOS 6.22 / WFW
- Pentium Pro 200, 64mb, Win98
- Athlon 500 MHz, 192mb, Win98

Reply 17 of 36, by Norton Commander

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[ROTT] IanPaulFreeley wrote:

I believe I have read other posts on here where people mention they are posting from their 486 itself, however I can't even get this forum to load on my 486 without crashing.

If they claim to be posting from WFW 3.11 browsers then those people are full of shit.

I have had the same experiences attempting to surf the modern web with the afore mentioned stone age browsers and can report similar experiences.

IE5/WFW 3.11
IE5v.png

Let's post a reply!!!!!

ie5v2.png

I hit 'SUBMIT' and the message vanished, all I had left was a blank screen.

Let's try Netscape Navigator Gold 3!

nsv.png

Ok let's not.

Hey, I know, I'll try Opera 3.62! That was the best browser for WFW and had the highest success rate with Web 2.0 last time I tried.

Crashes on loading Vogons..no screenshot needed to see that.

It's not just the handshaking/memory limitations but the technology. Old browsers have no idea what to do with modern Javascript/CSS/HTML implementations so they choke.

It's like trying to get Windows 7 to run an your old 486 - even if it is possible, why would you want to do that?

If you must use WFW browsers I recommend you disable Javascript, you'll have better luck loading webpages.

swaaye wrote:

I've found that Win 3.x browsers tend to crash the drivers for graphics cards. I hate that OS. 😀 It crashed browsing the web even in 1994-5.

I do recall rebooting a few times back then because of that!!

Reply 18 of 36, by vetz

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Norton Commander wrote:
[ROTT] IanPaulFreeley wrote:

I believe I have read other posts on here where people mention they are posting from their 486 itself, however I can't even get this forum to load on my 486 without crashing.

If they claim to be posting from WFW 3.11 browsers then those people are full of shit.

I'm one who have claimed to be surfing Vogons on my 486 and I know feipoa is doing it as well. Both of us use Windows 98SE and a much more modern browser. I haven't tried after the forum was upgraded though, so stuff might have changed.

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Reply 19 of 36, by Norton Commander

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I did try this forum before the upgrade on WFW with IE5, Netscape Gold 3 and Opera 3.62. Same results. Don't know about 98SE, the OP mentioned Windows 3.11 and that's what I'm replying to.