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Do you know which is the latest web browser compatible with Windows 95 / 98? At the moment I have an Opera 10 working fine; it is very lightweight but very outdated.

I assume that software that works in Windows 95 will work in Windows 98.

  • 4
    Does the kind of browser matter? I'm sure the latest version of elinks can be ported to it... – forest Mar 13 at 8:32
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    I'm reasonably sure I am running Firefox 2.0.0.20 on my W98 box (I'm 3000 miles away at the moment). It works fine for many retro-oriented sites. I regularly use it to hit AmiNet and then RS-232 the downloads to my Amiga. – Geo... Mar 13 at 14:53
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    In case it wasn't obvious, surfing the web with an old browser and an old OS exposes you to roughly a gazillion 3000day exploits. A Bad Idea. Perhaps in a VM which you reset after each session. But to browse the web you do need to be networked which will require careful setup to protect other machines on your LAN. And you may become a spam or DDoS bot within a minute or two, bothering other people. – Peter A. Schneider Mar 13 at 18:50
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    @Peter, but on the other hand, how many exploits are there in the wild that can survive in a W98 environment? In practice, using uncommon environment (esp. OS and browser) by itself greatly reduces the risk. – Zeus Mar 14 at 6:32
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    Opera up to v12 is what I use. Any version before adapting the new GUI should work. – Overmind Mar 14 at 7:41
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That latest web browser I am able to find is K-Meleon 74 Windows 9x Edition. It was created in 2014, when the Pale Moon engine (Goanna) was backported for Windows 2000. It requires KernelEx (and the latest updates) and a rather beefy old machine to run.

You could also experiment with other later browser versions on top of KernelEx, as it adds NT support to Windows 98. If not, then you're stuck with the official latest versions, of which Opera 10 is probably the best.

  • I see that K-Meleon by roytam1 has newer beta releasessuch as KM76.1.1-Goanna-20190309 (based in Goanna3). As I cannot find the requirements, I understand that they probably require a winXP. – Daniel Perez Mar 13 at 15:20
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    @DanielPerez KernelEx does try to simulation Windows XP, if you tell it too. So it probably wouldn't hurt to try it. But you are correct that usually the limit is Windows 2000, as XP introduced a bunch of new stuff. – trlkly Mar 14 at 15:24
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    Opera 11.64 is the last 'tested' version for kernelex it seems, though there seems to be workarounds for some versions of 12 - kernelex.sourceforge.net/wiki/Opera – dashnick Mar 14 at 18:59
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I have not tried any of these, not having a Windows 98 system, but a bit of research reveals:

  • Internet Explorer 6 SP1 was the last IE, in 2001.
  • Firefox 2 was the last Firefox in 2006.
  • Netscape 8 (2005) or Netscape 9 (2007) are available here.
  • Opera 10 (2009) seems to be the last available, here.
  • Safari and Chrome never supported Windows 98.

Browsers carried on supporting Windows XP for much longer, because it was a better platform for software development and testing.

This answer was written before the question was edited to add Windows 95. It's not safe to assume that anything which runs on '98 will run on '95; the reverse is more likely to be true.

  • 3
    Strictly speaking all of these are nearly unusable. Javascript is VERY difference now (I worked as a web dev dealing with IE6 compatibility issues). Almost no website will work using a browser that is more than 10 years old. – Nelson Mar 13 at 6:19
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    @Nelson As someone who occasionally browses with javascript completely disabled, I can say this simply isn't true. Many major websites work fine, although others don't. Any my goodness, the web is much faster with no javascript. – xorsyst Mar 13 at 14:25
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    As someone who still regularly uses Opera 12, I can say that the biggest problem is not so much javascript, but rather the websites which [foolishly] only support https with TLS 1.3. – Zeus Mar 14 at 6:42
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    @Zeus why is it foolish to not support older, less secure TLS and SSL versions? – Moo Mar 14 at 7:11
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    @Zeus First of all, 99% of users have no way to assess what level of security they want or need. From a websites perspective there's also frankly no sane reason why they'd lower their security standards just because some stubborn users refuse to upgrade their outdated systems. – Cubic Mar 14 at 12:51
12

It very much depends on what you're trying to do - Lynx's latest release is from 2018, runs on Win95, and is very lightweight, but, you know, lacks graphics.
I also use Dillo on old machines when I just need Wikipedia. (Yeah, it does not have nice prebuilt Win binaries as far as I can tell.)
// would've like to comment, but I lack the reputation!

  • Basic browsing functions are enough, in fact such small amount of RAM would not be able to render sophisticated and heavy weight pages. But having a browser under support is always better. – Daniel Perez Mar 13 at 15:16
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    Some quick research in the graphical realm also yielded Netsurf and Links -- haven't tried either, yet. Neither mentions which Windows versions are supported & I don't have a VM at hand, but both support other really old OSs, so chances are good. And both seem to be actively developed. – kubi Mar 13 at 18:46
4

IE6 was the last Internet Explorer on Windows98 SE and IE5.5 with high encryption pack for Windows95. These were important for Citrix, and quite a bit of software leveraged IE6 dll's, notably Ultra-Edit.

Seamonkey 1.1.19 - March 2010, a bit Retro. Not as recent as a better answer.

3

You could run Web Rendering Proxy (screenshots) on a server, the browser would just be displaying pre-rendered images with imagemaps.

  • If you are going this way, you can run VNC client and have a complete Linux desktop at your disposal. Though most likely you'll have problems with entering non-ASCII characters. – Radovan Garabík Mar 13 at 19:00
-4

I think this is an XY problem.

If your goal is to surf the web using a really old computer, the best bet is to install Linux on it and use a modern web browser.

Web standards have changed DRAMATICALLY the last 10 years. Almost no website will be usable due to the proliferation of jQuery and various new web standards..

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    Actually, jQuery brings a whole host of shims and polyfills with it, which actually increases the chance that everything will work! And this doesn't really answer the question; it should've been posted as a comment imo. – wizzwizz4 Mar 13 at 7:17
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    Usually, surviving Windows 98 installations tend to be more about either special hardware support/industrial control/test and measurement ... or retrogaming, not about browsing the web on a minimal/vintage system.... – rackandboneman Mar 13 at 11:58
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    Using an old computer and its operating system is not an "XY" problem or a "frame challenge" on retrocomputing. – pipe Mar 13 at 12:55
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    OP specifically asked about Windows 98 latest web browser. At no point did they mention "old hardware". Maybe they installed Win98 on a VM. Even if it is "old hardware" in reality I still fail to see how suggesting Linux is in the realm of acceptable answers given how the question is currently phrased. – MonkeyZeus Mar 13 at 13:48
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    … and in addition to all of the above: As one of the many people in the world whose WWW site will work just fine with such a browser, I challenge the "almost no" for being wrong too. – JdeBP Mar 15 at 9:32

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