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First post, by gerry

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I do.

Out of all the machines I own i only allow a couple cheap 4 year old windows 10 machines and a 7 year old laptop with Linux to go online

all the others, even a couple that could still just about cope with the modern internet and have windows 7 - stay offline

it's mostly for security reasons, why take a risk with unsupported systems?

it's also for usability, just using a modern browser and looking at youtube seems to choke machines that can run doom3 happily

where the type of internet access might suit an old machine, it may as well be done on a new one

however having old machines on a home network completely protected from the online world, seems like a good idea

Reply 1 of 58, by dr_st

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Well, my retro rigs are off most of the time, so they are naturally also offline. 😁

But if it's running XP or newer, then when it's on, it's also online. I don't subscribe to the fear that just because the OS in no longer supported by Microsoft, it will immediately become infected with 100 different kinds of malware.

You can also cheat to get the XP POS updates (up to 2019) and the Win7 ESU updates (still ongoing) if it's important for you to be as up-to-date as possible.

Funny case in point - on Vista you can manually install all the ESU updates of Server 2008, without any "hacking", simply because the code that checks the ESU license is not in Vista. 😁

Last edited by dr_st on 2021-01-18, 11:30. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 2 of 58, by Boohyaka

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I see no point in connecting my retro rigs to internet. The 486 doesn't even have a network card, don't need one. The 4 others (Win98/SE/XP) are connected to my local network, with their own IP as gateway to prevent internet access. It's not even that I'm that concerned about security (still an arguably valid reason), I just don't see a personal use case, and they're better offline until I do.

Reply 3 of 58, by Bruninho

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Since I am behind a router with firewall, I see no problem in letting my retro virtual machines go online. There is no sensitive information in them, only games.

When I am in the mood for more nostalgia, I go online with mIRC on Win98. I can’t believe IRC servers still exists, since the first time I did it around 1996-1998.

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Reply 5 of 58, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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gerry wrote on 2021-01-18, 10:58:

it's mostly for security reasons, why take a risk with unsupported systems?

Yes, but not because of security reasons, but because it's highly impractical to browse anything using retro rigs these days. I don't think 440BX/Windows 98 system is fast enough to browse modern sites today --if they can browse them at all. As such, anything older than Windows 98 is not connected to the internet.

As far as security goes, somewhere in 2016 I reformatted and reinstalled all Windows XP systems in my home office --which coincided with the end of Windows update for XP. Guess what, not only those XP computers stay virus-free and malware-free, but they don't experience progressive slowdown typically happens when you turn on automatic updates. Of course I secure those systems, like blocking suspicious sites using host file, and not letting daily user to install applications (only admin can install), but I don't use Windows updates at all, and the systems do not suffer from Windows rot at all. So far, no security problems at all despite those computers are connected to the internet. But I imagine there will be less and less modern sites we could comfortably browse using those XP systems, and that's why I'm preparing to upgrade them to Windows 7.

And when Windows 7 experience the same problem, I would upgrade them to Linux. I would never touch Windows 10, not even with a ten foot pole.

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
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Reply 6 of 58, by mwdmeyer

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All my retro machine are “online”. Usually just to download files off my local HTTP server but they all have a network connection. Much easier to transfer files.

I’m sure all the viruses out there wouldn’t even run on the machines. Basically cannot download anything from a public website anymore due to SSL anyway.

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Reply 7 of 58, by Joseph_Joestar

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Always offline.

I see no point in browsing the internet from an outdated OS running an ancient browser version.

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Reply 8 of 58, by SodaSuccubus

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Offline. Maybe il give it a shot now and then on my 95 machine for the curiosity, but nothing else.

Most games from the era that are still played online, are also probably better connected from a modern rig anyway. Like Valve games.

Reply 9 of 58, by lafoxxx

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So if I connect my Win98 computer to Internet, it will become infected right away?
I always thought today's malware only works on Windows 7-8-10 (NT based) and will simply not run on Win98 which is not interesting to attackers anymore...

Reply 10 of 58, by texterted

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Mine are all still connected, I still go on a couple of retro sites with my 98 machine, using the last version of Opera.

Cheers

Ted

98se/W2K :- Asus A8v Dlx. A-64 3500+, 512 mb ddr, GF4 Ti-4400 , SB Live.
XP Pro:- Asus P5 Q SE Plus, C2D E8400, 4 Gig DDR2, Radeon HD4870, SB Audigy 2ZS.
Windows Home Server v1 :- Gigabyte GA-EP43, Pentium E5200, Bunch of SATA HDD's.

Reply 11 of 58, by chinny22

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lafoxxx wrote on 2021-01-18, 13:32:

So if I connect my Win98 computer to Internet, it will become infected right away?
I always thought today's malware only works on Windows 7-8-10 (NT based) and will simply not run on Win98 which is not interesting to attackers anymore...

If you connect it to the network but never browse the internet I would say your safe.
If you started browsing, downloading, of the web. Your still pretty safe as 9x isn't NT based as you say how safe depends on what other software you have like java, adobe products, etc

gerry wrote on 2021-01-18, 10:58:

however having old machines on a home network completely protected from the online world, seems like a good idea

Having all your computers on a network is 100% worth it, even 200%! Anything I have gets a network card.
My rigs are on a switch that's connected to the router. I only turn the switch on when I want the network, more due to fan noise then security but its a bonus all the same
Never go on the web with my old rigs because as you say that's a task suited better for something modern.

Reply 12 of 58, by Almoststew1990

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My XP and up are online, for the convenience of accessing GOG games and various utilities etc. Browsing the net is a bit of a pain on P4s etc but doable.

Right now I am downloading Fallout 3 from GOG at ~6MB/s (max speed of the adapter) to test out of a 2x 2.8GHz Gallatin with Hypertension system using Windows XP.

Theses PCs are only used for about a week at a time, and only for gaming so I am not that bothered about them being infected with anything. I don't "sign in" to anything on them either, and they don't talk to my main PC.

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Reply 13 of 58, by Warlord

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dont mean to sound rude but what is the point of this thread. it's like who pets their dogs I do, let me make a thread about how i pet my dog and why i should or shouldn't then ask other if they pet or dont pet their pets.

Reply 14 of 58, by vetz

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All my systems have access to each other and the internet. They are all behind a firewall and also I don't have anything of value on the retro machines. If they are a security issue I don't really care.

Also as others have pointed out, they are for the most part powered off.

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Reply 15 of 58, by dr_st

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Warlord wrote on 2021-01-18, 16:25:

dont mean to sound rude but what is the point of this thread. it's like who pets their dogs I do, let me make a thread about how i pet my dog and why i should or shouldn't then ask other if they pet or dont pet their pets.

Good point. I don't have a dog, but if I did, I'd probably pet it. 🤣

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Reply 16 of 58, by Standard Def Steve

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Most of my retro machines are online, but on a separate VLAN.

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Super P3: PIII-S @ 1.63 GHz/FSB155 | 2GB DDR-310 | 6800GT AGP | 500GB 7200 RPM
Super G4: 2x PowerPC 7455 @ 1.5 GHz | 2GB DDR-333 | 7800GS AGP | 300GB 10k RPM
Super G5: 4x PowerPC 970 @ 2.5 GHz | 16GB DDR2-533 | x1950XT PCIe | 512GB SSD

Reply 17 of 58, by mr.cat

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Warlord wrote on 2021-01-18, 16:25:

dont mean to sound rude but what is the point of this thread. it's like who pets their dogs I do, let me make a thread about how i pet my dog and why i should or shouldn't then ask other if they pet or dont pet their pets.

I was thinking the same, seems kinda obvious to me... I mean is there any compelling reason to put these old rigs online, if you can't get updates?
Without updates the risk is always there, but it may be an acceptable risk to some (and could be mitigated with proxies, for example)...it's all relative.
Win9x isn't a target per se, but that doesn't mean you can't get old viruses. Your router, OTOH...

For the record, I keep mine offline. And I also try to pet any and all pets that come within reach 😁

EDIT: Maybe this rather general question could be split into subsections, something like:

  • Old rig+internet: Why do it in the first place
  • What threats are there
  • What kind of setup you need to minimize those risks
Last edited by mr.cat on 2021-01-18, 17:41. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 18 of 58, by Warlord

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All my computers have private IP addresses and they are on the same subnet, but none of them have gateway, or dns settings. Id be willing to bet a lot of people don't know what that means. I use something called a hosts file for routing purposes.

Reply 19 of 58, by Caluser2000

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I get any thing I have any age online. Had no issues at all.

My 286 I use as an IRC client running MS Windows 3.1 has NEVER been hacked in over 10 years.

Nore has my DEC 486DX/66 system with OS/2 v3 Warp in well over 20 years.

I could go on but I wont.

Last edited by Caluser2000 on 2021-01-18, 17:48. Edited 1 time in total.

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