Securing Win 98/ME Now It's No Longer Supported by MS

Some of my relatives and customers still run Win 98 or Milennium Edition, in spite of the fact that these OSes are no longer provided with updates by MS. Obviously their security will now be limited.

Clearly virus checkers such as Avast still work, as do anti-spyware apps like Ad Aware. On the other hand, any new vulnerabilities appearing in the OS will go unpatched. Is there any alternative way to obtain some security?

Now that Zone Alarm is no longer available for Win 98 and ME, what is the best choice of free firewall for 98/ME?
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  1. Your best choice is still Zone Alarm, IMO. Go to and download version 3.7 of Zone Alarm. Its the version I use on all my computers, as it is small and does it's job. For some reason, sometimes the newer versions of Zone Alarm would just "OK" a program to access the net without asking me first. What's the point of a Firewall then? Version 3.7 is excellent.

    For more security, recommend customers/family run Firefox 1.5 as their browser, and uninstall outlook. I hear Opera is also a very secure browser, but I haven't tried it, and I'm telling you what I know works.

    Adaware SE and spybot S&D are still nice programs, but with the combination of ZA and Firefox, I haven't had a positive virus or spyware/adware scan for over two years.

    Those are my secrets. Nothing special, but it works. I run unpatched pre SP1 Windows XP on my laptop and my HTPC, unpatched Windows ME on the K6-2, and with ZA 3.7 and firefox 1.5, I've had no problems on all of these rigs. The only other software I highly recommend for PC maintenance is Registry Mechanic and Norton Ghost 2003. After all, adware, viruses, and spyware are not the only things that can screw the pooch on a PC.
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