TechSpot

Windows 98 Remains Widespread

By Julio Franco
Dec 11, 2003
  1. MoRulez

    MoRulez TS Rookie Posts: 66

    Well I personally have never used Windows Update, ever, but just think of all those people who do. And thats beside the fact that there are other components of XP that are allegedly used to send back facts about your computer that most people ignore.

    When i stated "without your knowledge" i meant that it (Windows Update and inetinfo.exe, for example) both send info that the majority of users don't know is being sent:

    Windows update is "telling" MS the listing of pretty much all your programs on your computer (maybe through the registry). And possible inetinfo.exe is sending some other sort of information back as well (but MS states its for debugging...).

    Yes, the WU says it gathers info in its Users Agreement, but it doesn't state anywhere that it gathers the list of software ion your computer. You may think it's not harmful, but this is how MS gains an unfair monopoly.
     
  2. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,871

    Windows NEVER tries to connect except when it does its weekly thing, at least on this machine. If it does, then it does it in a way that it slips past my firewall, which is set to make all apps ask permission before they connect.

    All this paranoia makes me wonder what you have on your machines that you need to hide.
     
  3. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,199

    They were all Pentium Classics I think. It wasn't me who thought they were slow, it was the people I was installing them for.

    Exactly in MERulez's words, Windows XP is not spyware. It isn't without your consent, you agreed to it in the EULA. Get a grip, guys. And no, it doesn't send a list of all the programs in your registry. Give me a break. If it were true, Microsoft would never be able to get away with it.

    I didn't know people were around still that believed everything they read on the internet.

    Now, if we could get back on the topic of Microsoft ending support for Windows 98, hey, that would be excellent.
     
  4. MoRulez

    MoRulez TS Rookie Posts: 66

    The process of MS allegedly gaining info on your software happens along with the process where it communicates with your computer from it's servers. So it happens when you run Windows Update ; its not a seperate procedure.

    And it's not about whether you have anything to hide or not (at least not for me), it's whether MS discloses ALL the "spyware" actions. tecCHANNEL's claims are quiet serious (since MS doesn't say anything in it's User Agreement about software info gathering). There are accusations of other XP files trying to access windows servers as well.

    But the only reason I brought all this spyware talk up was because some people wanted me to back up my claims of XP spyware. And I did. Whether those reports have any relevancy is up to the reader to decide. Untill then, I believe in tecCHANNELs testing, especially since most of us know how insane MS is on monopolizing the industry any way it can. Why wouldn't MS try to go further in analyzing it's user's software list in order to better it's strangle hold on the industry and it's consumers dollars.

    Case closed.
     
  5. agrav8r

    agrav8r TS Rookie Posts: 103

    But the point is yopu don't have to go to the update screen. If you go to the xp section and go to direct download , it will list all the items that it filters out when you use windows auto update. Therefore you can update your windows without it using the scan, and thus collecting my precious , preciouuuuussss ( sorry waiting for lord of the rings) info. If you don't want to go through every file, then use the filter and send the data.
    Now, having looked at the full list, they do have some individual product fixes that get filtered out, as well and certain component combinations. so yes they are collecting info on your computer, just as much as when you send info on bugs ( when it states report, don't report it will gather your registry to determine if it was a programming prob on theirs or another program) As to whether they are using that infomation in an unethical way has yet to be determined , but is assumed by many. Every warrenty card on every product you buy , collects info on you, and most businesses have no problem selling that information to advertisers as well as within their own company.

    your point on using this information to keep their monopoly is somewhat flawed, as for OS the only true competitors are MAC OS ( apple only) and linux which , excluding windows, is not something you could give to your grandmother or parents to use on a daily basis. the majority of people are computer illiterate, and MS has done a wonderful job of dumbing down the OS for the common man. that is why so many of us , tweak it to get more power and functionality. your standard user only wants to take pictures and send emails.
    Sorry i got long winded:dead:
     
  6. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,802

    MoRulez> Why I put ME dead last? Because it caused me no end of problems, and that was without legacy hardware.... I installed a new logitech mouse, and the entire OS went belly up... (I could go on forever about that so I'll just stop now...)


    As for the spyware thingy...

    Veh> So if you consent to it in the EULA it's ok and not spyware? If so, how is gator & newnet spyware? They're mostly installed alongside some other program, and you accept it in the EULA... Thus by your reasoning, it's not really spyware since you've agreed to it.

    I'm sorry, but that just doesn't fit my own definition of it.
    Any program that collects data on my computer and sends it off somewhere is spyware... The question is if I know about it and allow it, or if it happens behind my back! If it's the former, then good, I know what is happening. But if it's the latter, then get the **** off my computer and don't come back!
    And I don't really care if you agree to it somewhere deep down in an EULA, as they're so full of lawyer-speak that it's allmost impossible to understand them.

    No, I prefer the honest companies which pop up a window during installation telling you that you are about to install a dataminer, and that this is required for the program you want to run, but gives you a chance not to install the spyware. That is the honest, truthful way to do it, as then you know what you're doing.

    This also puts me in mind of an old userfriendly strip where Pitr adds in certain lines in the EULA which gives him complete control over your computer, and no-one sees it. Why? Because allmost no-one actually sits down and reads all the EULA's they're subjected to.

    [EDIT] Ooops, forgot to mention that I don't look at XP as being spyware, though I do wish they'd give the user a bit more warning about what they're doing when using WindowsUpdate[/EDIT]
     
  7. Krugger

    Krugger TS Rookie Posts: 210

    first don't post something without reading it:
    the first link, this is just gossip "Packets are sent from the process to sa.windows.com, who knows whats in them"
    first of all, i don't have a program called inetinfo.exe
    (for referrence: InetInfo is Part of Microsoft Internet Infomation Services (IIS) and is used for debugging.Seen primarily on Windows NT4/2000 Server where it provides Internet Proxy and Web Server services.)
    but say some people did, to assume that it's 'spying' on you and then call xp spyware b/c of it is silly. so we'll move on to the other link you posted.
    alright, i read that whole thing, and again it's nothing. did you read it? where is the spyware. yes windows update scans your hardware to see if there are any updates... did you not know that?
    Privacy Statement:
    This information includes:
    Operating-system version number
    Internet Explorer version number
    Version numbers of other software for which Windows Update provides updates
    Plug and Play ID numbers of hardware devices
    Region and Language setting
    none of that can personally identify anyone, that's the point.site is quite clear about what they track. also, none of this speculation singles out XP does it? so how can you say XP is full of spyware???
    Again, MS is quite clear in what they do, and you of course have the option of not using update. that is not spyware. i hate when people make a bold claim like that and don't back it up. the first article was vague and just plain wrong, and the second was very technical but told me nothing the WU site itself didn't tell me.

    -edit i just saw your response, and if that is your definition of spyware than this discussion can't really go any further, just admit that it has nothing to do with XP itself, it's all the windows update site. nothing is on your computer tracking you...
    the rest of the world's definition of spyware resembles:
    "In general, spyware is any technology that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge" Without their knowledge is the key here. If it says what they do quite clearly on the page itself, and a bit more one click away (NOT in the EULA, but on the About Windows Update page http://v4.windowsupdate.microsoft.com/en/about.asp? ) then it is NOT spyware. maybe you don't like it sending ANY information and preferred it did it the other way, then fine say that. don't use it if you don't like it. don't just call it spyware.
     
  8. Shnig

    Shnig TS Enthusiast Posts: 175

    The case isnt closed when you have had your rant.

    I have never had probloms running 98se however I nearly blew a few gaskets trying to get anything to work using me.

    I am now useing XP and like it a lot but time will tell me if its better then 98 SE or not (Xp is certainly better on the networking side of things anyway).
     
  9. asand4

    asand4 TS Rookie

    The Obvious

    Like the subject title says, "The Obvious" is that they are getting rid of 98 not only because it is becoming an outdating O/S but because it's keeping more users away from their newer crap. So far. I must say that XP is fairly stable, but still has many compatibility issues that can become very frustrating, especially to the (not so PC savy) user. If someone doesn't know what they are doing, the problems that arise with the compatibility and with the lack of drivers available for XP can cause a whole lot of grief.
    Another thing that we should remember is that XP, unlike it's predessors, XP uses a lot of cache memory which makes it more stable in that sense, because even if your hard drive is maxed out it, it can still function without any glitches. Of course, there is the downside, because it uses cache as its main resource, it requires an above average of RAM. As we all know, there is no point in running XP unless you have a minimum of 256MB SDRAM or DDR. Granted, I have run it at 128MB but, believe me the performance is horrible. In my opinion, XP requires no less than 512MB to see any real difference is performance speed and stability. Also, another point to keep in mind is that if you are using an intergrated video card, many of them now share memory with the processor so if you have only 256MB of RAM and your video card requires 64MB to function properly, well you are now down to only 192MB for XP to function with, hence, you have an underperforming system.
    Nevertheless, I still like XP but I think my preference is Win2K as is has been proven as very stable and it is the choice of most businesses, even with XP available. I currently run XP on my desktop and Win2K on my Toshiba notebook and I am very please with 2000's performance, considering my notebook is only a 400MHz Celeron running with 192MB of RAM. I have had absolutely no issues with applications hanging or with crashes, which I can't say for my XP driven PC.
    Well that's my piece on this. I hope it helps to weigh the pros and cons of both.
    As for the other O/S systems, having worked with them all and having friends in network security and programming that will vouch the same, they aren't worth a plug nickel. Too many issues arise for more involved PC users. Perhaps for the occassional surfer or document prep, 98SE can be tolerated, but the rest are just a disaster waiting to happen.

    asand4:grinthumb
     
  10. MoRulez

    MoRulez TS Rookie Posts: 66

    First off, Krugger asked for evidence of spyware that I stated was on XP, and I showed him evidence. The inetinfo.exe is without a doubt sending information to the MS servers. There's no way you know exactly what is completly in it unless your from MS. If you think it's harmless, thats fine. If you think it's potentially harmful for whatever reason, thats fine too. It's an opinion. Personally I don't use XP so I dont care.

    If you read my earlier post Krugger, you would have noticed I said these are alleged spyware activities. The report by tecCHANNEL states:

    "The ability of the GetSystemSpec() function of the COM component to list the software vendors of all installed software packages (<regKeys /> tag) is currently unused by Windows Update, but it might become a privacy issue in the future."

    and:

    "The approach that older versions of Windows Update took was to download a complete list of updates and then filter out the relevant ones on the user's computer - without transferring any sensitive information to Microsoft. Why does the current version implement an approach that transfers the information required for the filtering from the user's computer to the Microsoft server, which then does the filtering and returns a list of updates that is tailored to the configuration of the user's computer? Bandwidth is hardly a limiting factor today and downloading a complete list of updates would probably take only a few seconds. This question therefore remains unanswered."

    So you can believe that information about your software list is being transfered, or not. Both opinions are fine since both have good reasons behind them to back them up. Again, its called an opinion.

    The User's Agreement (or as you say, the "Windows Update About"page says Windows Update gathers, along with other info:

    "version numbers of other software for which Windows Update provides updates"

    That means other MS software, such as Outlook. Not other vendor's software for updating, such as Winamp. What tecCHANNEL was highlighting was Windows Update was sending encrypted info on your complete software list (that means Winamp and other non-MS software).

    Now, none of the agreements state that it gathers info on non-Windows software, so if this allegation is true, then MS is in big trouble.

    Of course, the informed user wouldn't have to use Windows Update, like agrav8r made light of, and instead download updates off the 'net from a website.

    And as far as using that info: MS is a ruthless corporation. This is an excelleent way for it to, maybe say, optimize software that is commonly used, or sell the info for marketer's money. Of course it is marketed only as fixing bugs/incompatibilities with the OS. Maybe that is all they will do with the info, maybe not. You can't tell for sure unless you're from MS. And whether you think everything MS says is 200% true, is also your own opinion. Remember, they are a corporation with a monopoly....and ruthless one at that. Why do you think they're completly opposed to open-source? Other than losing software efficiency and performance, there is nothing for this monopolized OS to lose.

    Asand4, thx for guiding us back to the subject of Windows 98 support coming to an end. That's definityl one of the major reasons why people are sticking to older OSs: performance. I know that's my main reasons for sure. And of course XP takes up much more HD space too, which is definitly not something I need.
     
  11. Krugger

    Krugger TS Rookie Posts: 210

    about the ability to get complete software lists: your own site says it's not being used... so what's your point?
    The ability of the GetSystemSpec() function of the COM component to list the software vendors of all installed software packages (<regKeys /> tag) is currently unused by Windows Update
    inetinfo... i dont know what to say. it's not on my computer, and therefore i would wager based on the fact that its iis related that it's not tied to XP and not standard.
    so again, your two points don't seem valid, as that application isn't on an XP machine by default, update DOESN'T get a list of software or do anything other then it states it does,
    and i guess we agree to disagree on the spyware definition... so while this is an interesting debate, i think thats all i can go for now, before we continue in circles...
    moving on :)
    -Krugger
     
     
  12. khosw

    khosw TS Rookie Posts: 36

    Windows 98 was easy to fix, only drawback was that it crashed for no reasons, also required a system refresh once or twice a week...
     
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